How can I potty train twins?

Q: My 2-year-old twins fight over the toilet, and don't want to use the potty chair. How can I potty train them at the same time?

A: Potty training twins can be tough. While both of your kids seem eager to use the toilet, it's just as likely that each is simply vying with her twin for the honored position of getting your attention. To fix this, you'll have to hone your patience and teach them to take turns -- not an easy task at this age.First, keep track of whose turn it is to sit on the toilet (having a chart will make this easier). Let's say Sister A claims she needs to go potty. Take her in the bathroom, check the chart. Put Sister A on the toilet if it's her turn to sit there. If Sister B insists she needs to go too, say, "It's Sister A's turn on the toilet. You can use the potty chair if you have to go now, and you can have a turn on the toilet when she's finished."If Sister B flies into a temper tantrum, acknowledge it, but don't cave in. You can say something like, "I know you're really mad and you want to sit on the toilet right now, but it's your sister's turn. You can go in two minutes." Place a timer in the bathroom so that the girls know when their time on the toilet is up. Two minutes is more than enough time to ... you know, or get off the pot.Because your children's emotions will run high as they attempt to be first on the toilet, you'll need to be firm and kind as you control the situation. One will be happy as she gets her turn, the other may be frustrated as she waits. If your twins are really anti the potty chair, get creative and make it more appealing -- try dressing it up like a throne, say. And be sure to offer equal praise (and rewards, if you use them) no matter which toilet or potty either twin uses.Remember, potty training is only one of many "turn taking" challenges you'll face with your twins. Whether it's taking turns on the computer, practicing the piano, or later driving the car, you can't have two of everything. So along with the benefits of your girls learning to use the toilet will come the added advantage of them knowing how to share.

Originally published on, February 2006.


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