Starting the potty training process can seem overwhelming at first to parents and children. Add in strange bathrooms, adult-sized toilets and the less than pleasant condition of many public bathrooms, and potty training can feel even more overwhelming. But you can’t let potty training tie you to your home, and kids eventually have to learn to go potty when you’re out on the town.
Vicki Lansky, mom and potty training expert, suggests these strategies for potty training away from home:
- Be sure your child goes potty right before and after going anywhere.
- Use the larger, handicapped stalls in public restrooms.
- They allow you and your child to be more comfortable.
- Take a change of clothes, and don’t make a big deal about accidents. They happen!
- Have children use unfamiliar toilets around town before going on a trip.
- Encourage them to use toilets at stores or wherever you’re normally out and about.
- Stop frequently at rest stops or other places where there are bathrooms to give the child plenty of opportunity to go to the bathroom.
- Bring travel potty chairs, which fold up fairly small and have a carry handle.
- If you’re going to use a portable potty, try it on the big toilet at home first. Some children will be reluctant to go on a potty that is not theirs.
- If they are familiar with both, it won’t come as a surprise when you use the portable one away from home. Repetition helps and it may take lots of practice before a child who happily uses the potty at home will be willing to use a potty away from home.
Keep the routine familiar even if the setting is different. Just remember to be patient and consistent. Your toddler wants to learn to be in control of her body. Encourage this by avoiding the power and control struggles that easily become a hallmark of this age. Remember that you should be your child’s potty partner rather than a potty supervisor.
Playing potty training games at home will give you the base you need to keep potty training fun and entertaining when you’re on the go. Making sure your child is comfortable is an essential step while training on the go. You can prepare your child for when they will need to go by scoping out the restrooms in an unfamiliar place with the Potty Seek and Find Potty Training game. Say, “I’ll race you to the potty. Let’s see if we can find it!” This game will make sure your toddler comfortable going potty while out and about.
Pull-Ups ® Potty Seek and Find Game
Here’s How It Works:
- Choose a “Potty Time Toy”
- Let them select a favorite toy to help him find the potty.
- Hide the Potty!
- Hide a potty chair in a new room for your child to go find.
- Find the Potty!
- Let the “Potty Time Toy” Help your child find the hidden potty. Once found, role-play the potty process using the “Potty Time Toy”.
- Let Your Child Try!
- Have them use the potty in the new room just like his “Potty Time Toy”. This will help your Big Kid be more comfortable when using the potty in strange places.
When out and about, use the same process and the same language. With time, your Big Kid will be comfortable going potty wherever, whenever!
Extra Potty Training Tips When Away From Home
Lansky also suggests parents have a potty plan before leaving home. Know what you’re going to do before you go out shopping, take a long trip or go to a restaurant. Know where the bathrooms are in each place you go in case you need to get to one fairly quickly, and don’t be so distracted by shopping or visiting that you don’t pay attention to your child’s signals that he or she has to go. A solid plan can make everyone more comfortable and remember that a relaxed attitude toward potty training goes a long way.
Remember, while you will start to be able to leave your diaper bag at home, you’ll still need a few supplies so that you can handle any messy situation. Here’s what to bring:
- Extra Pull-Ups® and underpants
- A spare pair of pants and socks (yep, trust us on that one)
- Zip-top plastic bag, in a gallon size, that you can use for wet clothing and then reseal
- Any “must-have” potty props, such as a special book or stickers
BONUS TIP: : Stash a “potty training pouch” — a zip-top plastic bag with a spare pair of soft pants like leggings or shorts and extra Pull-Ups — one in the car, your purse, Dad’s backpack, at your mother-in-law’s house, wherever. It can be a lifesaver!
Make no mistake; potty training away from home is a big deal for your child. You’re just getting your child used to the idea of using the potty in the comfort of their own home and then you rock their universe by introducing potty training out in the real world. Potty training on-the-go is a whole new challenge, but as long as you stay consistent and keep things fun, it’s a challenge you and your Big Kid will overcome together!