It has truly been both the best and the worst of times.
The exhilaration, the taste of emancipation, the success, the celebration… oh, and the poop. I can honestly say that I have never felt the full extent of the triumphs and tribulations of being a MoM (Mom of Multiples) until it came time to potty train my twins.
Like pretty much everything with twins, once you experience a high you rarely have time to celebrate before being hit with a dose of reality. When nursing you finally have a successful feeding, but aren’t allowed the rewarding snuggle afterwards because the other is now awake and hungry. You get them on a nap schedule and one decides it is now time to climb out of the crib. You get them to eat their veggies and one decides to throw them on the floor instead, and of course, the other follows suit. “It’s like raaaain, on your wedding day,” right Alanis?
Potty training has been no different.
As anyone who has been through the potty training trenches knows, it is hard! Depending on your child and which method you choose, it can bring you to your knees at times. Thankfully, my husband and I learned a thing or two about potty training from our very stubborn, very articulate first-born. After on-and-off bouts with his froggy potty, he decided he was DONE. It became a battle of wills. When we told him that he would learn when he turned three, I kid you not, he responded “Fine, then on my next birthday I will turn two!” In the end, what it took was letting him prove to himself that he was in control of his potty needs. The very first time he felt the need to go, he went, and hardly had any accidents after that.
So we were armed with a fool-proof plan for potty training the twins:
They will do it when they are ready. Probably when they are three, maybe even four. Frankly, diapers are easier right now!
We will use the potty seats that go on top of the toilet. Because a) we really don’t want to have kiddie potties all over the house because when you have two of everything, it really does begin feeling like Noah’s crowded ark fast; b) they are gross to clean out and I couldn’t fathom doing that (x2) every day; and c) we prefer to avoid the extra step of transitioning to the big toilet later on.
You will be shocked to know that the words plan and kids don’t usually go hand in hand. Proving yet again that I can’t plan anything, my daughter decided she was ready before she turned 2.5. The good news? When she was ready, it was the easiest thing ever. Literally, that first day she sat on the potty and went every single time — #1 and #2. She would tell me when she had to go and she even went on her travel potty on a hiking trip the second day after she decided she was going to do this. (In case you haven’t heard, girls are waaaay easier!) Due to an onslaught of company and travel, she naturally regressed. Honestly, that would be fine with us, since we’re truly not ready for this. BUT she is still interested.
She has had a taste of the princess pull-ups and there is no going back.
I am sure this is all sounding very familiar, but did I forget to mention the biggest challenge? TWIN BROTHER. Oh that kid, bless his heart. As with everything, they both want to do what the other is doing. He wants to go potty because she is, but has absolutely no clue what is going on. He just sits there, grinning like the Cheshire Cat, yet to unleash even the tiniest trickle into the potty. Best summed up by the Pull-Ups Potty Training Personality Quiz,
“Squirrels’ can’t stop-won’t-stop energy makes potty time a real adventure.”
Ahh yes, and that is exactly what it is. An adventure. While we as parents know that he is nowhere near ready and have no desire to push him, he is a twin with an innate desire to do what his sibling is doing. Just as his sister spent sleepless nights trying to figure out how to walk because he had taken his first steps, he will want to sit on the throne, even if he is just faking it until he makes it. Of course we’ll support him in whatever he wants to do, but he is a SQUIRREL! He sits for half a second, demands a sticker and then has to move on to his next activity! In the meantime, he barges in on his sister, fights with her to go first, and tries to flush the toilet while she is sitting on it.
Another thing parents of singletons take for granted is the simplicity of incentive charts. With our oldest we had a simple sticker chart in which he had to earn a certain amount of stickers to earn a reward, upping the ante as he progressed. The twins are too young to understand that system and are ecstatic just to get a sticker and put it on the paper. However, they are grappling with the tough fact they will face throughout their entire lives:
They will always do things at different paces in different stages.
I have a jealous and confused squirrel who earns his sticker just for sitting for 10 seconds and “trying.” I have a disconcerted owl who has to make a potty deposit in order to earn her sticker otherwise she will regress.
As for me, I will always be challenged to meet their needs wherever they are and strive to ensure they know that they are unique individuals. I will ride the twin paradox and fluctuate between feeling like a rockstar and a failure on an hourly basis, always knowing that above all, these truly are The Best of Times.