When to Potty Train Twins: Double the Potty Training Trouble

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My boys are 26months old and it has begun. A couple of weeks ago we took the plunge and started potty training. I can’t say it’s going well, there has been a lot of floor mopping and not a lot in the potty. However, they slowly seem more interested and we no longer have a double tantrum at the sight of a pair of Paw Patrol undies. Small wins but I’ll take it for now… do I stick with it or take a break? How do you know when to potty train twins?

When to Potty Training Twins

What is the Average Age for potty training?

Many of the older generations would be horrified at the thought of giving up on potty training and returning to diapers for a while. In their day, most kids were are least dabbling with the potty at 18months:

In the 1940s, the average age for potty training was 18 months. Averages today, according to a 2001 study by Schum, show baby boys in the United States give up diapers at 39 months and girls at 35 months. (S.Davis WebMD.com)

It seems us moms have either got lazy or we’ve realized it is better for all to wait for kids to show solid signs of being ‘ready’. These days it’s not uncommon to see kids running around in diapers at 3yrs and I’ve heard many twin moms say they didn’t even try until they are 3.5yrs.

A new study suggests 27 to 32 months is the ideal window for moving your child out of diapers. (J.Thomas ABCnew.go.com)

Although some kids are trained successfully at an earlier age, some researchers say kids are less likely to have relapses and accidents if parents wait until around 3yrs because they are emotionally ‘ready’. Personally, the idea of changing (and paying) for diapers for another year is rather depressing, and how do I know when they’re really ‘ready’? 

when to potty train twins ready

Factors Affecting Twins In Particular

When considering when to potty train twins, there are three people to consider… mom, and the two kiddos. I’ve heard many moms say “I think they’re ready but I’m not” because the mere thought of two half-naked toddlers running around in pee free flow is terrifying. But remember, each of your twins is an individual and they may be ready at different times. That means you may prefer to tackle one at a time, and many ‘experts’ suggest this.

There are unique challenges which also may affect when to potty train twins:

  • They often experience developmental delays.
  • Twins often copy each other… if one decides they hate the potty it may be catching.
  • Many twin moms choose a nanny over daycare meaning they don’t see other kids using the potty.
  • As individuals, they may not be ready at the same time.
  • Competition between twins can cause an emotional hindrance to potty training progress.

With my boys, George has always been more ‘ready’ than his brother. I planned to focus on George in the hope it inspired Arthur to follow suit. In reality, as soon as I put George on the potty, his brother wanted a go, and if one gets up so does the other. So for us, I think it’s double potty training trouble all the way.

Knowing When Twins Are Ready

When my daughter was 18months she picked up a potty in the store and said “Please Mommy!”. I’d say that was a good sign she was ready to start potty training and sure enough she was one of those wonderous kids that sat on the potty for the first time, peed and we never wore diapers again (we kept them on at night for a little longer).

I knew it was unlikely I was going to get that lucky twice, and I have heard boys are more difficult to train. Still, I was hoping for it to be done quickly. I mom-bossed it before, I can do it again… you just put them on the potty every 20mins and praise them when they go, right? Unfortunately, it’s not always that simple. My boys have spent more time on the potty than off the potty some mornings, yet as soon as they stand up, they pee all over the floor. Or on my bag, or on the TV remote, or whatever happens to be in the general vicinity.

when to potty train twins twinpickle
George is smiling because he’s looking forward to peeing on the floor in 5 minutes time.
Signs I Was Sure They Were Ready
  • Disliking being in a dirty diaper.
  • Tugging at the diaper saying ‘doh-doh’ to me when they have a wet diaper.
  • Being able to stay dry for a long period of time (dry diapers after naps etc).
  • Being interested in me going to the bathroom.
  • Disappearing to the corner of the room to poop.
After Trying, Signs They Are Not Ready?
  • Disliking underwear and asking for their diaper to be put back on.
  • Holding their pee when sat on the potty.
  • Accidents seem to catch them by surprise, do they even know it’s coming?

Progress is Still Progress

I’ve managed to grab a George mid-pee and make it to the potty in time for the last dribble, but other than that we haven’t had one successful pee in the potty so far. I honestly wasn’t expecting it so be this difficult… I knew there would be accidents but if they’re sat on the potty long enough they’ll go, right? Er, no. Still, we have had progress.

I’ve been wondering when to potty train the twins for a while and we’ve had the potties hanging around for months. This meant the boys were happy to sit on them, but they were not prepared for underwear. They were horrified at the thought of putting on the Paw Patrol and Thomas Train undies I bought them, however after a few days they came round to it. The novelty of the underwear is in full swing!

Having not bothered for a few days I was all ready to give up yesterday and try again in a few months. But this morning George brought me the potty, put it down and tugged at his pants. “Do you want to sit on the potty?” I asked, which was responded to with a vigorous nod! ‘This is it!!!‘ I thought to myself. The magic moment when they ask to go, pee, we celebrate with a song and dance and my boys will be out of diapers within the week. But alas, he sat there for 10mins sipping water and watching ‘Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom’ with not a drip to hit the potty.

Update: Find out how I eventually conquered potty training the twins by focusing on one at a time.

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About the author

Katherine is an electrochemist, hiking enthusiast, and family lifestyle blogger. As a mom of three, including twins, she enjoys DIY, travel, and eating good food. British born, Katherine moved to the US in 2014, and now called Las Vegas home.

4 thoughts on “When to Potty Train Twins: Double the Potty Training Trouble”

  1. Our twin boys are now age 6. I tried to potty train them the first time at age 30 months, and it was a complete failure. I decided to let it go until they started taking more initiative, and Twin A ended up getting on board and mastering the potty about a month or six weeks prior to his third birthday.

    Twin B had less interest in using the potty than his brother, and even at almost 3 showed little to no interest. He often said “I wear diapers” when asked to use the potty. What finally convinced him to potty train was hearing that his brother would be moving up to the “big kids” class at daycare and that he couldn’t join him because he wasn’t using the potty. He got it in less than two days then. 🙂

    Nighttime dryness took longer, and interestingly, the twin who was more reluctant to potty train actually gave up nighttime Pullups first and insisted on using the potty. He didn’t like the feeling of the wet Pullup. His brother is a heavier sleeper, and even now, at 6, he occasionally wets the bed (once every week or two).

    • Thanks for sharing Sharon! I think when they’re older you can reason with them more. They will understand the purpose of it all more, including the benefits such as ‘big boy’ status. Because my daughter was so early I felt a real pressure to get it done but researching and speaking to others has made me realize there really is no rush 🙂

  2. Ah, a great post! My twins are 31 months old (a boy and a girl) and this is the third time we are starting the potty training in as many months. It is not easy and it feels like we are not getting anywhere with it. They do what they need to do on the potty when I sit them on it, but no sign, whatsoever, of the understanding they actually need to ask for it. I’m giving it another go as of Monday for three full days, so wish me luck! And, the best of luck to you and your adorable boys!
    P.S. Thanks for the tip re underwear – going to get some Paw Patrol undies; hopefully that helps…

    • I’m just seeing this now… so I’m hoping day 1 and 2 have gone well!! My boys have had bad tummies the past few weeks and are being tested for food intolerances this week. It’s giving the perfect excuse to avoid the potty training for just a little bit longer, lol!!


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