Potty training tips we learnt the hard way

It feels like potty training our twin boys has been a full on experience. I’ve had way too many conversations with my husband and mum friends about wee and poo.  Maybe writing this post will also stop me boring my friends with my potty training chat!

Potty training our twins has been quite a long process in comparison to potty training my older daughter. She seems to get the hang of it in about a week and missed out using the potty altogether opting to use the toilet from the beginning. When we first started the process with the boys it was a bit of a disaster with accident, after accident and endless extra clothes to wash. However in the last two weeks we have turned a corner. Our boys are nappy free all day now and we are mostly (fingers crossed) accident free.

At the risk of sharing way too much information I thought it would be helpful to share the potty training lessons that we have learnt through trial and a lot of error.

Potty training tips

Bribes
Some children will love having stickers to chart potty training progress. Others, like mine, are all about the edible treats. Choose your treats carefully. We made a bit of a mistake by starting off with giving the boys a Jaffa Cake each time they used the potty. These are quite big chocolate biscuits for little people to be eating all day.

The boys were getting the hang of using the potty but between them they were eating an alarming number of biscuits. We were getting through nearly half a packet a day and the boys were refusing to eat their meals as they were full of biscuits we realised we needed to down size the treats.

Another downside of big treats is that it does not give you any scope for a bigger reward for pooping on the potty. We’ve settled on giving the boys a Jelly Tot, Malteser or Smartie for using the potty. They are small enough not to fill the boys up plus we can double up the treats for a poop in the potty.

Remember if your kids are used to treats for using the potty pop some in your bag for when they use the potty/toilet on days out. I learnt this after a “where’s my treat” melt down in our local shopping centre.

The pros and cons of a fancy potty
We have two potties for our twins (the joys of twins is the scope for experimentation). One is a plain and simple basic potty. The other is a fancy Thomas the Tank Engine potty that plays a tune as a reward for using it. It cost a lot more than a regular potty. I’ll be honest I bought the Thomas potty in a moment of desperation in the early, messy days of potty training. I’m a sucker for a cool gadget making impressive claims.

There are some good things about the fancy potty. The boys really like it and as it is a little bit bigger than a standard potty it is more comfortable for them to sit on (my boys are 3.5 years old so quite big). It has a lid too so it looks more like a proper toilet. With the lid closed it can be used as a step stool.

However my ultimate goal is to get the boys using the normal toilet and dispense with the potty altogether. I think the boys love of the fun musical potty might be actually hindering them progressing to use the proper toilet. They are now quite particular that they want to use their cool potty and not a standard one or the toilet (which is completely impractical for days out). With hindsight we might have done just as well to stick to the cheap and simple standard potties.

Training pants
Disposable training pants are somewhat absorbent like nappies but can be pulled up and down like pants. There are various different brands available. I don’t remember these being very common when I potty trained my daughter but they seem to be mush more popular now. We used training pants when we started potty training our twins. In a way it was reassuring to know that we would not have a mess to clean up if the boys weed before they got to the potty.

However personally I think they slowed down our potty training progress. They were absorbent enough that the boys did not feel uncomfortable if they had weed in them. This did not give them an incentive to go to the potty/toilet instead. We were switching from pants in the house to training pants when we were out and about. I think this approach confused the boys. It seems that successful potty training is all about consistency. We have made much more progress since we have switched the boys to wearing regular pants all of the time (despite all of the washing and cleaning up this has generated and a few slightly nervous moments when I’m worried the boys will wee in our favourite cafe).

Plastic fantastic
As well as packing spare clothes when heading out don’t forget to bring plastic bags. There is nothing worse than getting your little one changed after an accident and being stuck with wet or dirty clothes, not the kind that of thing you want in your regular bag (yep I’ve made this mistake!). I also now bring out with me hand cleaning foam so that I can wash my hands without water if needed and a few paper towels (yes one of my boys peed on the floor in a local shop).

Carpet clean ups
We have carpet at home which is not great for potty training accidents. If you are one of the sensible person who has lovely hard floors feel free to skip this one. We discovered Dr Beckmann Carpet Stain Remover to work quite well as it has a built in brush and makes spot cleaning easier.

If your carpet still smells of wee after cleaning – sprinkle on a generous amount of baking soda. Leave it to work for a little while and vacuum it up. This will leave your carpets smelling fresher.

How have you found the potty training experience? Are there any other tips that you have found helped you?

3 thoughts on “Potty training tips we learnt the hard way

  1. Thanks for these tips, especially the baking soda!! We luckily have hard flooring downstairs but we do have rugs, and have had a few accidents on the sofa sadly! I’m hoping avoid using the potty too much as Thea is 3 so big enough to use the toilet, but she seems to be favouring the potty. It’s only day one but we’ve had about 7 puddles… I feel like we have a long way to go! xx
    Becky at PinksCharming recently posted…Our ‘baby’ Thea is Three!My Profile

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