8 Apr

Potty Training Twins

It was a few months coming.   I read up on all of my favorite blogs and baby websites about “when is the right time to toilet train your child”.   I talked to other mothers.  I talked to our pediatrician.  I talked to the head of the pre-school.  I listened to my children – I *REALLY* listened.  I didn’t want to start too early and fail or cause psychological damage to my children – but then again, I didn’t want to wait until they were too big and also potentially psychologically damage my kids either.  Apparently, there is this wonderful “toilet training sweet spot” for boys that if you find it your life is easy and wonderful and your children go through life without being messy or having OCD or somethingridiculouslikethat.  I knew this is a crucial moment to choose.   I knew that I couldn’t make a mistake.  

I just happened to be at my friend Madi’s birthday party.  I started talking to a seemingly nice couple who were probably about 10 years older than Javier and I.  And they just happened to have 16 year old twins – so of course, I started asking the mother all about being a multicultural mom and having twins and she gave me a lot of advice.  *Okay, first I have to go off on a tangent here because a few weeks later I happened upon her blog where she totally talked about our conversation and totally misread my facial expressions to be fearful, while in fact they were just me thinking, “you a crazy crazy b*tch, cause I may be a lot younger than you but I’m not going to be playing my kids’ BFF and be buying them booze at 16 and telling them ‘I’m teaching you responsibility cause you’re drinking with me’.  I’ve seen that not work so many times on so many people that right then and there she lost all credibility to me.  So when Ms. Crazy told me not to toilet train my twins at the same time “or else you’ll have sh*t all over your house – literally”, it was then that I decided to just put my brave hat on and suck it up and toilet train my two kids at the same time.

A few weeks prior to toilet training, I made sure that my kids knew how to say “Pee-Pee” and “Ka-Ka”.  They did.  I bought two different models of little portable child potties.  One chimed music when “filled” and the other one was just a very basic, plastic training toilet.  We let the kids explore them a little.  Then a few days before we took off the diapers, we mentally prepared the kids.  Every time they got a diaper change, we would make a comment like, “You’re getting to be such a big boy and soon you’ll be using the potty like mommy and daddy!”  or “In three days, you’re not going to use the diaper anymore.  You’re going to use the potty to go pee.”

Our pediatrician as well as the director of the pre-school said the same thing: once you take those diapers off, they stay off.  We didn’t listen to that at first.  We insisted upon putting the diapers on at night for the first week.  Let me tell you how that went.


On January 1st, one of the warmest days of the year here, we let them wear underpants, but the boys didn’t understand that the underpants weren’t diapers.  On the second day, I had run out of clean underpants so I just let the boys run around naked.  We had a few instances where the boys were surprised that they were peeing but by the end of the day they just started calling out that they needed to pee.  We would rush them to the toilets and they would sit there and pee.  It was great.  When they peed in the toilet, they got lots of praise – no stickers, and there was (and still is a no playing with toys on the potty rule).  Strictly business.  If they had an “accident” we would just say, “It’s okay.  Everybody has accidents.  Next time go pee pee in the potty.”  We would walk them to the potty and show them that’s where they were supposed to go.  On day four, we put the underpants back on and had more luck and a lot less accidents.  We even went to grandma Carmen’s house on day five, where Bruno pooped all by himself in his little toilet.  It was a very proud moment.

The boys did so well.  In a week they were potty trained and although my house had withstood quite a lot of little pee accidents, it was nowhere near as bad as that crazy woman told me it would be.

At the end of the first week, I just took the boys diapers off at night.  I realized that I didn’t want to them off at night fearing that my nights would be plagued with sleepless nights cleaning beds and and and and and then it came to me.  That was my fear, holding my children back from learning what they had to learn.  And yes, at first we had a few accidents.  NO BIG DEAL.  In four months, we’ve had less than ten nighttime accidents between BOTH boys.  I hit that sweet spot.  Between the director of their pre-school and our pediatrician, I had 60 years of child rearing advice at my fingertips, both saying, “Don’t take off the diapers and then put them back on.  You’ll confuse them”.  And they were right.  Look at that.

The Regression:
We did have one setback.  They say that most children regress in one form or another with potty training.  I had to go to the US in January, so when I came back after two weeks, the boys were less than happy with me for “abandoning” them.  Almost every day when I left them at school, they peed in their pants.  Every day.  When Tony did it at home, we would tell him calmly, “Everybody has accidents.  You don’t pee on the floor, you pee in the potty”.  We walked over to the potty and got cleaned up there.  After a month, it stopped.  But that’s the thing about regression.  If the child receives attention or understands that you’re upset, they’ll do it and do it and do it over and over again.  So I took a deep breath and tried to hide as best as possible my frustration by putting on my poker face.

And here we are.  So far so good.  No diapers since January 1st, 2014.

So, what do you think?