It took a long while for my daughter to be ready for potty training. And just when she did and was potty-trained quite fast (as she was exactly 3 years old when we went through the whole process), our life kind of went upside down and we had to travel quite a lot. I went from barely going out to avoid accidents and tantrums in the car, to having to go through security, take-offs and landings in a very short time. Thing is, potty training is already a big deal, especially for first-time parents, and traveling is equally a big deal for all parents, so imagine both combined! If you’re going through a similar situation, you’ve clicked on the right link. Read on for advice and tips on potty training while traveling!
Before any trip you might be taking, it is important you make sure that your toddler is potty trained prior to it. There are many methods used to potty train and this article can certainly help you, but knowing what to do to work around it while traveling is essential. You’ll have to properly organize your packing list and method, be flexible when it comes to using pull-ups, and make sure your toddler is familiar with public restrooms beforehand. A list of essentials to keep handy is absolutely necessary as well. Wipes are lifesavers, especially when moms (like me) already have anxiety when it comes to all public restrooms. Raise your hand if you can relate! Keeping a travel list in check, and following specific tips on potty training while traveling can make your life way easier.
What to pack when traveling with a potty training toddler?
Trust me, just knowing your essentials are here and at an easy grip, will make everything smoother and stress-free. When you know your wipes are handy, your toddler has a warm change of clothes or even that a wet bag is available for those extremely wet pants, you’ll feel much calmer about the whole process. Because whatever happens, you’re ready for it.
Accidents can and most probably will happen. You never know when the pilot will turn the seatbelt sign on and you never know when traffic can hit in the middle of a highway when on a road trip.
Be prepared with this list of essentials to have when traveling with a potty training toddler:
- Toilet seat covers
- Diaper bags
- Extra clothes (for your little one AND yourself!)
- Portable potty
- Pull-ups – can be ideal when you’re stuck
- Two changes of clothes and add one for you mommy!
- Wet bags or zip-lock bags for wet clothes
- Rewards like stickers or other (whatever your reward system is at home)
- A tiny laundry detergent
- A mattress cover for the night
- A thick towel for the plane or any other transport, or even to dry your little one in case of accidents
- Post-it notes to cover automatic flushers in public restrooms and prevent them from going off (their sudden noise tends to scare toddlers)
How to Make Traveling Easier With Your Potty Training Toddler
Potty training doesn’t have to make your life complicated. We sometimes tend to feel like these milestones are weighing us down and preventing us from doing the things we like. Traveling for holidays is supposed to help us take a break from everyday life and come back refreshed. So let’s see how you can make traveling with a potty training toddler easier and enjoyable.
Of course, these tips can be also used if you are forced to travel for personal reasons or just because life happens.
- Try to plan your holidays accordingly. Sometimes road trips are easier as you’re in control of when to stop and where to stop.
- That said, train your toddler to pee outside. It’s a lifesaver to be able to stop on the side of the road and just have them go potty there.
- Bring your rewards with you. Whichever reward system you might have at home, bring it with you! Snacks, stickers, or even tiny gifts, bring them along! This will help you keep the potty training routine going even if you’re out of familiar zones.
- Get your toddler ready for public restrooms. Try to visit public places and go potty there before traveling and let them use the plane bathroom as a first public restroom outside the house.
- Explain the whole process in detail. Talk to them about how public restrooms look and the noises they’ll hear there (like a loud flush for example). Also, explain you’ll be going through various steps, like security checks, passport checks, and then the plane.
- Spot bathrooms anywhere you go (at the gate, at the duty-free zone, etc.) and show them to your toddler telling them that if they need to go potty, you’ll just run over there.
- Travel with a potty if you think your child won’t sit on the toilet. It’s familiar and encouraging.
- Keep your essentials accessible to you at all times. This will avoid panic moments and make you feel less anxious about the process, which in turn makes your toddler less anxious.
- Sometimes, just let them wear their pull-ups. You’ll both be more relaxed in case there’s a potty emergency and you can’t get there on time. For it not to confuse your child, explain the circumstances, and state this is only for this specific situation. You’ll be amazed at how much they can assimilate at this age.
- Take a potty break whenever possible, even if your child doesn’t have to go potty. Chances are they will go and they’ll get used to going at specific times.
Dress your potty training toddler with the right traveling outfit
To make everything smoother, your potty training toddler’s outfit is of great importance at home and while traveling.
- Forget about overalls and onesies. By the time you remove them, a potty accident will have already happened.
- Elastic waistband pants that can easily be pulled down are your go-to.
- Dresses for girls are the best choice if the weather is warm.
- Have your pull-ups ready for emergency situations or for times when you know you won’t be able to get up.
Making sure you have a change of clothes (or even two), adding one for you mama can play a huge part in reducing your stress about it all.
What NOT to do while traveling and potty training
Before you’re out to explore the world with your little one, it is important to make sure he has time to be comfortable with the whole concept and master it. My advice is to put off potty training if you don’t have enough time for your toddler to get comfortable with it before you travel.
If you start right before and he’s not used to it all, then you’re only asking for regression and a long period of time for him to be fully trained.
You also have to make absolutely sure that your toddler is used to public restrooms before he sees the airplane one. Part of the potty training process is for your little ones to see that bathrooms can be different, depending on where you are. Get them ready for the unexpected, you’ll thank yourself.
FAQs – Questions you might have before potty training and traveling
How long does it take to potty train so I can account for it before my trip?
Potty training is all about readiness, luck, and discipline. It can take a few days, a few weeks, or it can last 2 to 3 months. It all depends on your child, his personality, and the context he’s in. Remember to stay patient and follow your child’s signs of readiness to make the process easy for everyone. If you’re traveling soon, remember it can take time for your child to adjust and be fully potty trained.
Is it okay to take a break from potty training while traveling?
It is usually believed that when a toddler is not making progress or refusing to potty train, it is okay to take a break and start again later. It is totally fine to take a break and come back to it later if your trip is coming up soon and your child is not ready.
Does the 3-day method work so I can potty train before traveling?
Again, it all depends on your toddler’s readiness to use the toilet. If he or she is showing signs that they are ready to potty train (to name a few, your child shows interest about the toilet, has less wet diapers during the day, and tells you when they go potty in their diapers), then the potty training “boot camp” (i.e. the 3-day method) has been proven very efficient. You basically block 3 days of your week where you stay at home, with a toddler wearing very few clothes and staying close to the potty. By day 3, you’ll be amazed at how quickly they have transitioned.
At what age should a child be fully potty trained?
There is no general rule to when a child should be fully potty trained. On average, most kids are well potty trained when they’re between 2 to 3 years old. Also, while your toddler can be fully potty trained during daytime, it can take way more time for him to be at nighttime – which has an average of 4 to 5 years. Remember every toddler is different and has different ways of developing and achieving milestones. There is no best age. After all, they all end up removing those diapers and using the bathroom!
So no need to worry if you have to travel and that this means your child might have a slight potty training delay or regression.
The best rule I put myself as a parent was the no-pressure rule. There is absolutely no pressure in achieving milestones before you and your child are ready. The more you go easy on yourself and follow your gut and your child’s readiness, the easier and smoother it will all be.
With a proper packing list and a few tips to follow, the whole family will be calmer and happier and enjoy traveling with a potty training toddler.