Potty Training on the Road

It is no secret that potty training is tough. Here is a new concept for a kid to learn and one more thing a parent has to figure out how to teach. I mean really, haven’t they figured out how to preprogram some of these basic life skills? No? OK, well then let’s tackle it together.

My biggest challenge is remembering to bring Dek to the washroom whenever we are out, whether he admits to needing to use it or not. He is busy having fun. Often times Dek will be in a pull-up or diaper if we are out of the house. If you knew you had a back up plan on your bum, would you stop playing with your trains and cars to run to the bathroom? Probably not.

Here are a few tips and tricks I have learned along the way and from other friends tackling this next phase of child rearing. Check back often. I’m sure the tips will change as I learn a better way to do this.

Getting Started and Keeping Strong

  • Patience is your best friend. Don’t stress out your kid with too much pressure. They will get this eventually; it’s just not a 24-hour process. Lots of factors are involved, not to mention your kid’s self esteem.
  • Make a big deal of it. Dek loves to have his parents’ approval just as much as any other kid does. When he goes to the bathroom on his own, I pull out all the stops. You would think fireworks and a parade were running through our house. We high-five. We shout “wahoo!” Anything and everything to make this little guy know that he did something amazing and should go right on doing it. Now that we are further into the process he doesn’t need validation as much, but there are times that he still runs to me and says, “mommy! I did the potty!!” I roll out the fireworks again. Whatever he needs, I will give it to him.
  • Don’t forget the stickers. If you are giving rewards (or bribes if you prefer that term) for using the toilet, don’t forget to bring them when you travel. I forgot the stickers we were using for Dek’s “potty chart” when we went to Whistler. Poor guy kept asking where his sticker was. When we went to Vancouver I didn’t forget, but by then he had figured out, unless we are at home, there are no stickers.
  • Give the restroom a try. Remember to ask if s/he has to use the restroom, but also just bring them there to give it a try. Dek won’t admit he has to use the bathroom if I ask him, but when I walk him on over 2 out of 3 times he’ll actually use it.
  • When you feel comfy at home, take it on the road. I was terrified to try public restrooms with Dek. I wrote a whole post about it. A month after we started potty training, Dek announced he had to use the bathroom while we were out. I was shocked. I continue to be shocked by this kid and the potty training process. I figured out how to get him seated on a public toilet and he went with no problem. The next day we were in a coffee shop and I asked him if he had to go. “Nope.” Well we were going to give it a try. The shop had a stool, so we tried going “boy style.” He did great. Reminded him of daddy. OK… what works for you kiddo.

Using Public Toilets

  • Keep it clean.Kids will put their hands anywhere. Trying to stabilize themselves on an adult sized toilet makes the hands fly out even more. Line the seat with toilet paper or seat covers. Make sure you cover the small dip at the front.
  • Positioning. I have found that if I have one of Dek’s legs in the dip in the front of a toilet (if available) and the other leg up on the right side, he can get a little more comfy and his bum is not squished.
    • If there is no dip, I’ll still sit him towards the side so that the narrow section does not squish him. It’s not fool-proof, but it does work most of the time. Just don’t let go of your kid! They can still fall in.
  • Standing Up.If you have a little boy, and he is comfortable, try letting him stand up to urinate. If a stool is available where you are at that is preferable. Have the little guy stand on the stool and lean into the toilet a little bit so the angle is correct. No one wants a dribble down the front of a the toilet and splashing back on them.
    • Check out Storable’s Foldable Stepstool. I have a friend who throws one under her stroller for her son to use whenever they are out. It is also great if you have a tiny bathroom at home, like we do.
  • The Evil Auto-Flush. If you have a child with some public restroom fears, particularly when it comes to those devilish auto-flush toilets, you have to read Travelingmom’s post Potty Training in Public Bathrooms

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written by Keryn Means

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