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Potty training twins: Part 2 {The next step}

So our very first day of potty training our twin boys was February 6th. I wrote this blog post four days later: "Potty training twins: Party 1 {no plan}." This is part 2, day 18 of potty training.

Potty training our eager toddler C has been good-- actually, almost easy; I think because he really wants to potty train. When I potty trained our oldest, I was very stressed leaving the house with him in underwear. I had a system and a fully loaded diaper bag, ready for every possible scenario. The other day I decided to take the boys to lunch. I made it halfway into the restaurant when I remembered that I didn't have a diaper bag with me (I usually leave the diaper bag in the car since our twins are now toddlers). I took the boys back to the car and scoured around the van trying to find a change of clothes and some spare diapers in case of an accident. I feel like it has been one of those times of what you do with your first child compared to what you do with your second child. While the idea of potty training twins caused me serious anxiety, I haven't been as stressed now that we've actually started.

As for our other toddler, O... I don't know if he is ready to potty train. This past weekend, a little over 2 weeks of potty training his twin brother, he insisted on wearing underwear. I actually took him to church in underwear yesterday (another example of something I never would have done with our first, "Oh, you want to potty train? Okay, well let's leave the house then."). I am not entirely on board with this because I don't think he actually wants to potty train right now. I feel like it is almost like his brothers are getting a lot of attention for potty training or being potty trained and so he is trying to jump on the bandwagon. However, he actually did pretty good yesterday. Today he has again insisted on underwear. While he's doing well, I think a lot of it is treat motivated. He keeps using the restroom and then demanding a treat, "I went again, Momma! Treat!" And then because he's using the bathroom, his twin brother C is stepping up his bathroom usage, "I went too, Momma! Treat!" Let me tell you, I thought I was in the bathroom a lot during the first week of potty training a couple weeks ago. I feel like this has become a game for them and, honestly, it is driving me slightly crazy, not to mention we are out of treats and it isn't even noon yet. I'm hoping that today is just a novelty and that it will wear off soon. I am trying to be supportive of it (while tempering their desire for treats) since the end goal, even if it is just a game, could mean fully potty trained toddlers.

I am not sure of the direction we are heading with O. I feel comfortable taking C places with us in his underwear, like to our neighbor's house or to the park. I feel comfortable with him in his car seat and he did great with a baby-sitter. I don't know about O... I don't know if I would want him in underwear out and about right now. He didn't have an accident in the church nursery, but I think that was because he had just used the bathroom. I don't know if he would have told them that he had to go. He seems 100% motivated by whatever he has to do to get treats, not the desire to potty train. Today we are hanging around our neighborhood and so I'm letting him dabble in potty training. If he has accidents on our walk or at the park, I'll probably put him back in a diaper until he actually is ready to fully potty train-- for reals.

As for fully potty training C, he is acting like he wants to take the next step: nights. While not having 2 kids in diapers during the day is excellent, I don't really consider a child fully potty trained until they are going days and nights in underwear and are trustworthy in those underwear. These are the questions I ask myself to determine if our boys are trustworthy in underwear:
  • Would I let him sit on our couch in underwear?
    O- yes, but only if supervised and we know when he last used the bathroom
  • Would I let him ride in his car seat in underwear?
  • Would I let him watch a movie in our guest room in underwear, on our guest bed for an hour and a half?
    C- not quite there yet. I've been keeping him out of the guest room
  • Would I let him hang out on my husband and I's bed in underwear?
  • Would I let him hang out on my parents' Tempur-Pedic mattress in underwear?
I feel like these kind of questions get progressively more difficult and require a greater degree of trust. Obviously only our oldest is a "yes" to all the questions.

The idea of potty training C during nights right now doesn't thrill me. When we potty trained our oldest for nights, he was just waking up every morning with a dry diaper, so, really, there wasn't much potty training required. We told him what to do if he had to use the restroom at night and it pretty much happened from there. We did do the whole protecting the mattress trick. The mattress was protected in a zipped vinyl mattress protector. Then I made the bed with a fitted sheet and a loose sheet. Over that I put a fitted waterproof mattress protector. On top of that, I again made the bed with a fitted sheet and a loose sheet. On top of the loose sheet, I laid a waterproof mattress pad. On top of that I put his comforter. The idea was that if he had an accident at night, the comforter would be protected by the waterproof mattress pad and I could just strip the bed of the first layer of messed sheets and have a second layer already made on the bed (no making a bed in the middle of the night). It worked great. The few times he had an accident, it was usually just a little bit, enough to wake him up and alert him he needed to use the restroom, and it didn't happen more than once in the night.

C is not waking up in the morning with heavily wet diapers, but they are still not dry. However, every night when we put him in a diaper before bed he gets quite upset and insists he wants to wear underwear all night. He is taking his afternoon quiet time in underwear. Some days he just stays in his room and plays for an hour, heading to the restroom if he feels he needs to go potty; some days he actually takes a 2-4 hour nap and is dry the whole time. I'm completely on the fence about whether or not he would do well in underwear at night. Even more so, I'm concerned about how well his brothers would handle him using the restroom at night. Since they all 3 share a room, would he wake up his brothers? Would I have 2 toddlers playing in the bathroom at 2 am? Would I be struggling to get 3 boys back to bed after changing sheets in the middle of the night? I'm just not sure how it will go. I think I would feel more adventurous and cavalier about trying out nights if I wasn't almost 22 weeks pregnant. Sleep has become quite important to me.

My husband and I talked about it and we feel like if C is really wanting to do nights, we should let him. He may surprise us, just like O may surprise us by actually being ready to potty train. I'm at a point in this pregnancy where I feel pretty good. I have energy during the day. I'm taking it a bit easier than usual, so we are home more. Why not let them potty train if they are ready? They will be turning 3 mid-April and so the alternative is to wait and potty train them when I am huge pregnant in my third trimester or, even less desirable, when we have a newborn, who will most likely be arriving this June.

We have already decided to go into this with our plan thrown out the window and this is just another example of seeing where the potty training road takes us...

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