Potty Training Boy/girl Twins

Updated on January 10, 2010
K.F. asks from Gibsonburg, OH
12 answers

I'm ready for some advice...NOW.

I know all about power struggles, and fear of pooping, been through that w/ my first. This potty training my twin son and daughter is wearing me out physically and financially! They are now 3yrs and 7mos! Now I know why Pampers and Luvs make a size 6!

I think the current problem is that they both see their twin and know the other is still pooping in pants, and think, "well, it's still ok for me to go poo in pants." They're good about peeing. My boy's BM's tend to be soft and frequent, so sometimes he doesn't know he has to go until it's too late. He doesn't have a "special place" to go squat and hide; he'll just do it anywhere, and he's willing to go on toilet, just has trouble listening to his body.

My girl is less regular, but she really knows when she has to go poop. She clearly has a fear of the toilet for pooping. I think she still has to rely on the squatting position in order to relax. I've offered books to read, and made sure her feet touch the floor to feel secure...so far no motivation.

The "prize" idea doesn't settle well w/ me just b/c they're twins. I don't want to promote sibling rivalry or jealousy. I simply offer praise, and/or draw a smiley on a hand. I don't want the other to feel punished.

A thought popped in my head to separate them for a few days, alternate between my retired in-laws, that way either one doesn't know about the other's poop progress! Seriously, I really don't know how to get out of this cycle.

And, yes, I've tried to make this a team effort for them, such as when they BOTH are completely peeing and pooping in the potty we'll take them here or buy them this, hoping that in their private talk they'll make a plan...patience is wearing thin.

Any suggestions from moms of twins, or kids close in age??? Thanks!!


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So What Happened?

Thanks for sharing advice and your experience. Tomorrow I'll start keeping track of #1 and #2 on their own individual charts (using a marker, not stickers b/c they tend to rip them off! Maybe they can have a sticker to wear...) Hopefully seeing the chart fill up w/ stars/happy faces will really motivate them to move on to underwear permanently. My boy knows he will get the "Toy Story" DVD (old to us but new to him!) as his final reward-the characters are on his nighttime pull-ups and he just loves Buzz Lightyear. My girl, like me, is undecided on her big prize. I also plan to encourage them to cheer each other on, and turn this into something exciting that will hopefully be completed soon!


Featured Answers



answers from Lima on

Have you tried the potty training videos?? Yes, they are really weird, when the song outright says, "be a good pooper". But for some kids this really helps and works.
One book in particular, talks about things that don't belong in the toilet, and the things that DO BELONG in the toilet.
Point out that the cats have a special place they put their pee and poop.

More Answers



answers from Columbus on

I think you are on the right track, but, you mention that they regress because they know the other one is pooping or not pooping on the potty. They are individuals so they need to be rewarded individually for their triumphs. I don't feel as though making it a team effort is going to work out for them. Each child potty trains at different stages...as you have already determined with your two. Don't feel guilty because the other twin isn't "getting it". They are probably aware of this and may be milking it! I say "so what" if one twin is able to potty train before the other. Give that twin the praise and rewards that they have earned. It is possible that the other twin will see the progress and want to do the same. If not, oh well! Boys and girls learn differently.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Columbus on

I have kids close in age. They are separated by only 14 months. The older one just turned three last month and the younger one will be 2 in just four weeks. They are both girls and I know from my oldest that means my 3yo is 'late' potty training. I too, don't know what to do. She has the potty and loves all the potty books and movies. She likes going to the bathroom with me, washing her hands, flushing the toilet etc. She sits on her potty but has had no success worth mentioning for peeing or pooping (ugh!) I too am disgusted with the cost of groceries and wish I could lessen the burden by buying less or no diapers.

One night when hubby gave them a bath ONE of them peed on the potty but get this--he doens't know which one! Argh! He always has the older one sit on the potty before bath and the younger followed suit and when she got up there was pee in the potty so he doens't know which one did it because he forgot to look when the older one got up! Also at church they claimed the oldest went pee on the potty all day but that was over a month ago. I tried to capitalize on that success but haven't been able to duplicate it. I too give her books, sing songs, tried rewards (I even have some new stickers in there and she seems to like them but I told my husband we can't let her take one until she has success because when I was rewarding attempts she would go 'try' and only have attempts. I think she pretended just to get the reward so we abandoned that idea.

I think your idea about separating them a weekend is a good one. I wish I had that option. Could they work on the issue with the other child too so that when they returned you 'fixed' it at home and they had success there?

I wish I could offer help. I posted this to commisserate with you, hoping in the responses to you, I could find a solution myself.

Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

My boy/girl twins are two and the little girl is eager eager eager to pee on the toilet, so recently everytime she wants to go pee he would tear his pants off tear the diaper off and try to beat her to the toilet because he would say he has to "want go pee"...well he really just didn't want her to go at first, but then caught on what was going on, so I went and bought another potty and now everytime she goes he goes because he wants too... I believe its about making them feel comfortable and rather than seperating them...Give them both a toilet and make it a game...Like say okay whoever goes poop on the toilet today will get five minute with mommy or will get to pick out the book we read for bed or something fun... I dont know about you but if one wants something the other wants its...If one does something the other one will do it... Take advantage of it... I know your twins are much older and you know much more, but I believe that its not hurting them by making a game of it, cause its going to make them eager to try harder to get something in the end that they want....
Let me know how it goes or if you even try it
D. R



answers from Cincinnati on

My daughter was a similar age when she finally decided to go number two in the potty, and it was because she found a princess doll that she wanted and I told her I wouldn't buy it until she went poop in the potty. She went straight home, did it, got the doll, and continued going after that with a few more toys as rewards. It was a conscious choice, and at three and a half children are old enough to understand rewards. As a parent of two children myself, I do not feel that rewarding one for good actions or behavior is a "punishment" for the other. If anything, it sets a positive example for the other. I encourage you to reevaluate your stance on using rewards for potty training. They are a powerful tool for children that age.



answers from South Bend on

When I potty trained my twin boys, I used mini M& M's for potty and the little bite size snickers for poop. I personally didn't worry if the other one became a little jealous that his brother got candy and he didn't, because all he had to do was go on the potty and he could have one as well. Sometimes if they see their getting something that they're missing out on, they'll be more motivated to do it, too. =)

Best of luck!



answers from Indianapolis on

a quick idea, you mentioned your kids squatting ....so allow them to squat on the toilet...who cares if their feet are on the seat. When my daughter has problems going, she STILL will squat ON the toilet. she say it helps and she is 7 now.lol...

good luck



answers from Columbus on

My daughter, at age 4 and 1 month finally started pooping in the potty two days ago. She chose a number of days and we did a countdown to no more diapers. The first days we discussed it, the number she chose was something like twenty-four-sixty-four-eleven-thirty--LOL. But one day she mentioned a countable number, 2, and I grabbed it. We kept talking about it, saying one more day, and discussing what mommy would say if she asked for a diaper after. The first day of no more diapers went smoothly. She was so proud of herself for pooping on the potty. The second day she was fearful that it would hurt. She had a little tummy ache and spent about 2 hours crying off and on for a diaper. I held her, empathized and was very clear that there were no more diapers. Finally, after a little bit came out in her pants, she went in and sat and amongst some more tears, went poop. Immediately the tears turned off and the smiles came out.

A little more info--We have been trying to potty train since she was 20 months old, off and on. She pee-trained at 3-1/2. She's known about her poop for a very long time, but we were having control battles for most of her third year, so I decided to let it go and let her do it on her own. Well, she turned 4 and still didn't want to go in the potty. Then once right before she turned 4, we were in a restaurant and she went poop in the potty there. She said she knew there weren't any diapers there. Aha, a clue that she just liked going in diapers but could go in the potty if necessary.

Her brother, who is 2-1/4, has been pooping in the potty since 22 months, 80% of the time. But, like your son, he sometimes misses it and is already going in his diaper before he tells me. He has no control over his pee yet.

Anyway, I'm sorry to rattle on about MY situation. I just thought it might help to know that this stage will eventually pass. My daughter is such a different person at 4 than she was at 3-1/2.

Unfortunately, I don't have any thoughts about how to handle twins, but your separation idea sounds interesting.



answers from Lima on

Kate Gosslin trained 6 and she did it with M&M's. 1 for pee and 2 for poop. It worked 6 times, well make that 8 times.



answers from Cleveland on

If they are going somewhere and hiding when they have to go poop, they're aware that they have to move their bowels and are mature enough to go on the potty. My daughter would sometimes do this and thats when we started putting her in big girl panties. I had to clean them out ALOT, but it was worth not spending all that money on diapers. We used stickers and MnM's as a reward for successful pooping/peeing on the potty. Its an often smelly and bumpy road, but they'll get it eventually.



answers from Muncie on

The prize idea might still be a option, stickers in a book, one book for each of them. They get a sticker when they use the potty. Jelly Beans in a jar, a jar for each of them and they get a few beans in their jar when they go (you can let them eat only one at the time you add to their jar). You can also use M&M's the same way. If one sees the other is getting something really nice for going on the potty it might cause a little jealously, but in a good way. It wouldn't be as if you are punishing or praising the one over the other, just praising the good behavior over the wrong one.

I hope this helps.



answers from Indianapolis on

Hi - I have 3 1/2 yo twin girls. It is hard to manage both, I know. I don't know if you have potty seats or are using a toilet seat, but I found that having the option in the same place was good for them to be able to choose. If one had to go, and the other then followed, we could be in the same bathroom together, and I didn't have to run back and forth to help them, we could hang out together, which made the time go better. In terms of rewards, that is very specific to the type of child they are, not necessarily that they are twins. My oldest son (he's 9 now) could care less about charts. But my second oldest liked them. So if one twin likes the reward system, great! Individualize each of their training experiences to their personalities. Don't worry about rewarding one and not the other - they each need to receive their own praises and encouragements for their accomplishments. I know it is hard - you don't want to feel like you are penalizing one for not accomplishing, but it isn't fair for the one who does to not receive their encouragement (in whatever form). My girls followed a pretty similar pattern of training with each other, but there were times where one would have a few steps back, and vice versa. Just remember they are two different people, and to be patient with them. If one trains before the other - that is ok. Keep talking up the "big girl" "big boy" terms and give them their own goals if they are at different stages of training. I do remember that when one of the girls had success, the other was quick to cheer and clap for her - it helped to encourage them both when we all got excited for success. Good luck - it will happen!!!!

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