Double Trouble: Potty training Twins by Octavia Lonergan
Octavia is a bestselling children’s author and graphic designer. She is also mum to twin girls who turned 2 at Christmas 2020. Although she'd been preparing to start potty training for a while, she took the plunge when they were 27 months old. Here at Kiddiwhizz we are so grateful she is sharing her experience and tips with you all. This is her story.
To begin with I read ‘Oh Crap! Potty Training’ as I’d heard great things about it - I read it twice, in fact, as I wanted to really absorb the ideas (I never do things by halves!)
I’d been noticing all the signs that my girls were ready to start potty training – well, some signs from one of the girls and some from her sister. I decided to just go for it with both of them and hoped they’d cheer each other on.
My husband took a week off work so we decided to start then, so I had a bit of backup – the idea is you don’t take your eyes of them for a second, and with twins you need extra eyes if at all possible. The first stage was having the girls totally naked; we put away a lot of their soft toys and covered the sofas with towels and waterproof pads as I was convinced there’d be wee over everything. It was actually a really bonding time for us all – it was new for all of us and it felt like they knew that. Plus, there’s nothing cuter than two little nude bums dancing about!
We had about three days on what the book calls ‘block one’ with them naked – it wasn’t totally smooth sailing; there were times that they’d totally forget they need to go to the potty as they were engrossed in something, but we learnt their little signs - both would get a little flustered and hop from one foot to the other when they needed to go. It was wonderful to see them helping each other, often they’d follow each other to the potties and also encouraged and congratulated each other which was beyond adorable.
Block two meant they wore clothes again, but no knickers - the theory being that the feeling of wearing knickers was too close to nappies and would confuse them. This made total sense so at first I had them in dresses to make it easier. As long as we remembered to lift their dress over the back of the potty, that is. My husband went back to work so it was down to me! The girls had surprised me with how well they were taking to it, so I wasn’t too worried. We progressed to wearing loose cotton harem pants, still commando, and they looked like little MC Hammers! It obviously added a tiny bit of time between them saying they needed a wee, and getting them on the potty, but for the most part it was fine. One major tip is to get them to lean forward on the potty to stop it potentially spraying everywhere – this avoids getting soggy undies and trousers if they’ve a tendency to spray a bit!
It was during this block that I discovered the Whizzer, and what a difference it’s made!! We started taking it into the garden when out there playing, and the girls took to them immediately – I was so proud. I’d also take it whenever we had a little walk to the shops; I didn’t take them out for more than an hour at first, and always tried to do it just after they’d had a wee, or sit them on the potty before we went out.
After 4 weeks in total, it was time for Block 3 which meant putting knickers on them. This somehow felt ridiculously grown up and they weren’t my little babies anymore (who am I kidding? They’ll ALWAYS be my babies). We always take at least one Whizzer out with us – they’ve used them in the garden, at the playground, at the bus stop, thirty seconds from our front door, in the bluebell woods, you name it! It’s so convenient to just pop in your bag (or attach it to the outside) and reassuring to know you don’t have to try to find a toilet whilst out – the design means it protects their modesty, and especially when wearing a dress it’s not even obvious what’s going on (though you should obviously never be ashamed of them using it, it’s a totally human need).
As far as poos go, there were quite a few incidents in the early days… little presents to discover any time I had to leave the room! And they then seemed to save it for when we put nappies on at nap and bedtime. But after a while they got used to it, and the fascination which each other’s poos encouraged them no end. It didn’t quite become a competition, but there was certainly an element of that! We’ll definitely be keen on the poo attachment for the Whizzer as that’s something they always ask to do!
We used potties for about three months, and really liked OKBaby Pasha Potty Chair, White https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B017YZ8D1Q?ref=ppx_pop_mob_ap_share
We then moved house and made the switch to using toilet seats such as this one Pourty Flexi-Fit Toilet Trainer,... https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00PY2ISCQ?ref=ppx_pop_mob_ap_share
and now they never want to use the potty! They’ve also decided we don’t do naps anymore 😣 😆
There’s the odd tiny accident which usually happens when they’re distracted “ooh Mummy, I did a wee wee in my knickers” gets said every so often. One incident quite early on, one of the girls was sat on a bucket pretending it was a potty. Then she forgot she was pretending. A bit like when you’re daydreaming and forget where you are.
We’re still using nappies at bedtime but always make sure they try on the toilet beforehand. Occasionally in the morning they wake dry. But we’ll keep them in nappies until they’re ready – it doesn’t affect them whilst awake; if they need a wee after waking they still want to go to the toilet, not in their nappy.
That’ll be the next major milestone but we’re in no rush as the ability to remain dry at night is hormonal.
The Whizzer has definitely been a major part of us potty training and we always take one or two out with us. The whole process was far less stressful than I expected, try to treat it as something we just ‘do’, not a big deal or scary – they’ll pick up on that.
Embrace it, and good luck!
Check out Octavia's bestselling children's book using the links below:
“Cats’ Eye View of... Lockdown” https://amzn.to/36Asl89
“Cats’ Eye View of... Litter” http://ow.ly/FsbO30rwbfs