It started out the way I had planned. My girls, twins, now 25 months old had displayed all signs of “readiness”, and we’d been practicing sitting on the potty and wearing pull-ups for a few months now. With summer vacation and its’ long car rides behind us, this was it.
Full of anticipation, I went charging into Walmart on a wild shopping spree loading up with piles of big girl undies, stickers, treats and books on the subject du jour.
Driven to succeed, I put all work projects on hold, rolled up rugs, and prepared for the big week at home that would end the twins’ diaper days forever.
The Reality of Potty Training Twins
Monday, week one, day one, we are off to a good start. They were hitting the potty now and then. Expectations met. The other chunk of my time was dealing with wet clothing and cleaning regular messes, but we were on our way. Day two was similar, but I started to hit resistance–which I was ready for. Bribery wasn’t beyond me.
By day three it started completely falling apart, no interest in the potty at all, no concern about doing a #2 in the pants, and no desire for candy bribes! With a pervasive urine smell and with total confinement to the house, the dark spiral downwards began and continued for the rest of the week. I even threw in an extra weekend to give it a last chance.
Early Monday morning, week two, 8:00AM, unwashed and bleary eyed, I pile the kids into the car with their pull-ups on and bring them to daycare. Mission not accomplished. Depressed, but with a guilty sigh of relief, I pull out of the daycare parking lot. I think about how I don’t have to mop the floor today, and smile for the first time in a week.
Maybe they aren’t ready, what was going wrong? I thought I did everything right. On my way home I stop at the nail salon for a manicure to cheer myself up.
Another lady sits down in the chair beside mine as I’m chattering frantically about everything to the poor woman stuck doing my nails. She overhears the conversation about my apparent lack of potty success.
She was very calm and looked me right in the eye, “ it’s not about you” she said. I was surprised by her frankness, but I was listening. “We have to respect children and be humble in our dealings with them.” She told me that she was an elementary school teacher for over thirty years, near retirement and she’d learned this very early on.
I realized in that moment that potty training had become “my” personal project. I shared with her that I was quite used to succeeding in my career when I worked hard enough at something.
Maybe this was about me. Did I or anyone else for that matter really care if they wore pull-ups for a couple more months?
With this realization, I was able to relax and stopped pressuring my kids and myself. Today, it is happening naturally. And, no we aren’t completely there yet, but we are coming very close. What really matters is the lesson that I learned from a complete stranger–funny how that happens sometimes.