This is how I potty trained twins (and you can too!)

These products saved potty training from becoming a potty train wreck

Boy sitting on toilet
@caitlinrheaphotos via Twenty20

In raising three boys (including twin toddlers who have just recently graduated from pull-ups to underwear), I have put more time and thought into the subject of potty training than I ever imagined. Along the way, I've learned that potty training is like chess—it involves strategy, planning, and quick thinking, and you have to roll with the set-backs in order to keep your mind on the end game. Here's how I like to think of the process, to make it more potty training, and less potty train wreck:

Are You On "Team Training Potty" or "Team Potty Seat"?

Spoiler alert: Neither team is right or wrong—and many people choose to start with the training potty, and move up to the potty seat. Here are some things to consider with whichever approach you choose. So do your research, pick your potty "team" (or stage), and get ready for a marathon!

Time is of the essence

Speaking of racing, nothing has made me wish that I tried harder in grade school relay races quite like potty training my three boys has. It doesn't matter where I am in my house or what I'm doing—the moment I hear the words, "Mommy, I have to go poopy!" all other activities become insignificant, and the mad dash to get whichever toddler is calling for me to the potty in time is on. It took a few slightly traumatizing accidents for me to realize the necessity of acquiring anything I could to shave even a few, critical seconds off of that race to the potty.

Remember, it's hard on the littles, too

I'm a firm believer that, when it comes to potty training, the only thing as important as a sense of humor is empathy. Many of us have heard the saying that our "…kids are not giving us a hard time; they're having a hard time." Potty training is no exception. Our little ones don't want to have accidents. They don't want us to be disappointed. They don't like the stress they sense when we have to clean up their messes. They get embarrassed. Not to mention that it can be a real physical challenge for them, too. Take a look at some of these ways to help make potty training a happier experience for your little ones.

Here are the products that helped me make potty training a success:

The training potty

potty chair

In my experience, the benefits of a training potty are that kids learn a little quicker with them, and they're truly a portable potty, meaning that your child doesn't have to wait until they're at an actual bathroom to "go." The drawbacks are that you have to clean out the potty each time yourself, and that a separate transition to a "real potty" will have to happen at some point. BABYBJÖRN is one of the most trusted, established brands for training potties. Their Potty Chair is a great, easy-to-clean staple, while their Smart Potty is another reliable—and easily portable—option. Great for when little ones have to "go" on the go!

$30

The potty seat

BABYBJ\u00d6RN  Toilet Training Seat

With potty seats, training is streamlined, and your child is less likely to be daunted by the size of real potties or the sound of flushing if they start their potty training with them. However, it can take longer for children to initially learn this way, and they will also have to learn to always "hold it" until they have access to an actual toilet. The BABYBJÖRN Toilet Training Seat is a fantastic go-to option, especially since it comes with an adjustable dial to help ensure a perfect fit with your toilet.

$35

Stepping stool

BABYBJ\u00d6RN  Step Stool

We were on "team potty seat," and one item that helped us tremendously was this simple, non-slip stepping stool by BABYBJÖRN. It's so frustrating for both parents and little ones when there's an accident simply because your kiddo couldn't get up to the potty in time, and a good, sturdy stepping stool can make all the difference.

$20

Clothing

LA PALOMA  All Day Dress - Seaside

The right clothing—like dresses, or soft pants with an elastic waistband—can also really help when it comes to saving time. At Motherly, we love the Simple Cotton Sack Dress, Denim Skirt, and Denim Culotte (all by The Simple Folk) because they are super adorable, comfy, and perhaps most importantly, easy to take off or lift up in time!

$58

Rewards

Fun rewards can be an extremely effective motivation in getting little ones to step up to the plate (or in this case, the potty). Check out some of these toys in the Motherly online shop, which foster your child's imagination and also make for some pretty enticing potty training rewards.

$35

Avoiding diaper rash

EVEREDEN  Soothing Diaper Rash Cream

Another area of potty training where we really empathized with our boys was the physical discomfort. If your little ones have sensitive skin (like two of ours did), they might benefit from some products specifically designed for that, like these bamboo training diapers by Eco Pea and this amazing diaper rash cream by Evereden. These products are made with safe, natural, non-toxic ingredients, and could end up being just the items you need to make potty training painless for your munchkin.

$15

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