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By the time your twins are toddlers, it’s safe to estimate that they have decimated over 6,000 diapers. So it’s no surprise that you are ready, even a little excited about getting those tiny humans out of diapers and onto the potty. But nothing can make you long for a blowout, even an up-the-backer, quite like the thought of taking two inquisitive, curious, toddlers into a public restroom. As a self-proclaimed germaphobe, who has spent years perfecting my hover as to not actually sit on a communal toilet seat, I have considered every possible disgusting scenario and compiled my survival tips. Here is what you need to know to take your double potty show on the road.
The best potty is the clean one at your own house. Make it a rule to always go before you leave. If you are only going to be gone for a short time, you may be able to dodge the public restroom altogether.
If a longer trip is on your agenda be sure to pack a potty bag with these necessities. It goes without saying that you should never leave the house without hand sanitizer. I keep a travel-sized bottle in my bag, and a full-sized bottle in my car. A change of clothes for each child is also a given. Don’t forget socks! You will also need some sort of barrier to place between your kid and the petri dish that is a public toilet seat. I like ones that are disposable, and provide extra coverage in the front. To keep costs down, insist your twins share one. Some parents swear by a portable seat, but I like being able to discard the used cover. Throw in a roll of doggie poop bags. They hardly take up any space and are perfect for wet clothes. Also, include a few disposable incontinence pads (chux). In the event of an accident, cover the bathroom floor with a chux pad to change your tot’s clothes. Round out your potty apocalypse prevention kit with a travel potty. If you only purchase one piece of elimination equipment, let it be a travel potty. Keep it on the floorboard in the back seat of the car, instead of the trunk, for easy access. This also makes it easier to contain one twin while the other goes. You may also find yourself without access to a restroom, like at the park. Or even worse, faced with using a port-a-potty. Travel potty to save the day! Keep some wipes and a bottle of water handy for cleaning it on the go.
You can make all the plans, and still be staring down that filthy public bathroom door handle with a toddler who has got to go! This is what you have been training for...and you are ready. If possible, wait for the handicap accessible stall so you will have a little more room for your party of three. The idea is to get in and out without anyone touching anything. I have found, however, telling kids to not touch is like giving them an open invitation to play in the toilet water. Instead, try asking them to make bunny ears, or give themselves a big hug. Pull out that toilet seat cover. Typically I like to encourage independence at potty time, but this is not the place for that. You handle the clothing and place your twin on the covered seat. Make sure to have boys practice standing and going at home, so you can avoid sitting altogether. When they open the lid on the sanitary napkin receptacle (ugh that’s the worst) whip out your travel sanitizer. One down and one to go. Repeat the above process, throw away your seat cover, flush (with your foot of course) and usher the bunch over to wash their hands. Don’t forget a paper towel for opening the bathroom door as you exit.
You made it out alive! And if things didn’t go as smoothly as you had hoped, don’t worry you will have hundreds of opportunities to get it right!