I know ‘potty training’ is the passé term for ‘toilet learning’ but since it was such a challenge for us, I prefer to think of my daughter as “difficult to train” as opposed to having a learning disability.
It wasn’t until she was almost 3 that we really got started in earnest, and that coincided nicely with our trip to Florida and visit to Walt Disney World. I was sorely tempted to just throw back on the pull-up and take a break while we were away, but I was afraid of creating a significant setback. We decided just to go ahead and be prepared for lots of accidents. Turns out it was a lot easier to potty train on the road than it was in our day-to-day life, and hopefully these potty training travel tips will help you figure your trip out.
Potty training travel tips…
Don’t ask, tell.
First, since we were on the move so much, the first thing I’d scope out wherever we went was the loo. And I quickly learned not to ask if she needed to go but tell her that I did and she had to come with me. Don’t ask, tell. If there was more than a hint of reluctance, I’d come up with some sort of ploy that appealed to her nosiness – like, “I wonder what kind of tiles they have?” or, if the taps are automatic?
The first thing we did when we arrived somewhere, was hit the washroom. And the last thing we’d do before we left anywhere, was hit the washroom. Lather, rinse, repeat!
Speaking of automatic, the automatic toilets freaked her out. I’d come up with some kind of toilet paper creation to cover the sensor, or else do it with my hand. I’ve read to bring stickers along to cover the sensor. This is a great idea but I just know I’d probably forget to remove it and plus I’m always nagging my daughter not to put stickers on her dresser. But hey, when it comes to potty training, whatever works! (Editor’s note: said daughter is now ten, and is still displeased by automatic toilets. It’s just a thing we live with now.)
We were very fortunate in that we never came across any public toilets that resembled the one in Trainspotting. However, I was always armed with my arsenal of diaper wipes and gave every commode a good scrubbing before my daughter’s precious skin would touch it. (Note: Don’t flush the wipes!!)
Occasionally we’d come across a toilet with no seat, and I’d manoeuvre myself into some kind of yoga/gymnastic posture to allow her to hover. It was during those moments she’d astutely mention that if she had a boy’s bits she could just stand. Here’s hoping her then-unborn baby brother was listening!
She’d say “Yuck!” and I’d think “F*#&!” but say, “It’s not so bad. Here, mommy will clean it up.”
Be sure to have plenty of wipes, and plenty of hand sanitizer with you as well. Not all public washrooms had soap, or the sink areas were particularly nasty. A big thing for us was never grimacing or showing that the restroom was gross in any way. Like I said, we didn’t run across any that were Trainspotting-ish, but we would come across our fair share of smelly, or my personal favourite, evidence of someone else’s complete lack of hygiene or consideration for others (I’m not going to spell it out for you). She’d say “Yuck!” and I’d think “F*#&!” but say, “It’s not so bad. Here, mommy will clean it up.”
I’m not lying when I say that potty training while on the road was easier than at home, but at all times I was prepared with:
- 2 changes of clothes for her (remember to include socks, and wipeable shoes like crocs are the easiest to keep clean)
- Plenty of plastic bags to hold any “accidents”
- A couple of pull-ups for if we were going on long car trips or if we would be out and about for her nap
- Plenty of diaper wipes (again – remember not to flush them!)
- Plenty of hand sanitizer
If you’re just thinking about starting potty training before a trip, I would definitely wait. However, once you’ve started, there’s no reason to backtrack or put it on hold.
By the way, the tiny toilets in the baby care centres at Walt Disney World were a big hit. If only all public toilets were as clean as the ones there!