9 Tricks to Avoid Potty Training Disasters When You’re On the Go

The only thing worse than dealing with a potty training accident at home is dealing with a potty training accident literally anywhere else. The mess, the cleanup, the embarrassment, the tears (both yours and your child’s) . . . let’s just say it ain’t pretty. But while potty training is, to an extent, necessarily awful, that doesn’t mean you can’t make it easier on everyone, even if you’re attempting it out and about. Here are nine tips to avoid disaster when you’re on the *ahem* go.


1. First things first: Make going potty before you leave the house/the park/wherever part of your routine. Instead of asking, “Do you need to go?” say, “It’s time for everyone to go potty now.” At this stage, using the bathroom -- at least trying -- isn’t a choice but a requirement. It’s just something you do.

2. It’s also a good idea to have your child use the bathroom as soon as you get to a destination, especially if it’s somewhere super-awesome-crazy fun, with lots of entertainment and distractions. To avoid having to drag your kid screaming from the bouncy house (and/or avoid having him pee in the ball pit), start each outing with a compulsory visit to the potty. Make a game of taking bathroom-mirror selfies in every location if you think that will help!

3. If you’re just starting potty training, let your kid get very comfortable with the concept at home before you let her brave the outside world without backup protection. If you’re still on shaky ground but don’t want to backtrack into diapers, disposable training pants are great because they’re not diaper diapers; they allow some autonomy with the off and on and they help children notice when they’re wet and encourage them to stay dry.

4. Even kids who are potty trained when they’re awake can have accidents when they sleep, so trainers are a great option here too. If there’s ANY possibility of a car nap, just pop on training pants and rest easy.

5. Encourage your kid to go frequently, and give consistent praise for trying, not just for times she successfully uses the potty. If you have trouble keeping track of time, set an alarm to remind yourself to remind your child it’s time to visit the bathroom.

6. Travel potties are not just for road trips. Keep one in your car as a matter of course, and it will save you from ever being without a bathroom or, sometimes worse, being without a clean bathroom. Yuck.

7. Be prepared for accidents, because they will happen. Take a change of clothes and shoes for the kid (and it’s not a bad idea to take some for yourself too, says the lady who has learned this lesson the hard way...), and keep a “wet bag” on hand for stashing any soiled pieces until you get home. (The cute and fancy versions are fun, but a resalable plastic bag is fine too.)

8. Remember: Potty training is not one-size-fits-all, so don’t think you have to push a kid before she’s ready. Talk with your pediatrician if you have concerns, but otherwise know that every child is different, the range of “normal” is bigger than you think it is, and some kids just need a little extra time. You’ll get there eventually!

9. Finally, potty training is no joke, but that doesn’t mean a sense of humor won’t help you get through it. Brace yourself for the possibility of accidents, and do your best to go with the, uh, flow and keep a positive attitude. Mishaps happen, and it’s not the end of the world, so keep your expectations reasonable and your quick-thinking parenting superpowers at the ready. With a little preparation, you’ll be ready to deal with whatever comes your way. You can do it!

What are your best potty training tips and tricks?


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