Potty training challenges while traveling can cause problems when you are on the go and out of your element, like when you are on vacation. The keys to success are consistency and scheduling. Taking your toddler on vacation and trying to stay on the training schedule can be a bit of an overwhelming experience for parents. There are some basic rules you can follow to keep your child on the path to diaper freedom while you are away from home.
The first step to making sure you stay on target while you are away on vacation is planning. Before you start on your vacation start your toddler going to the bathroom in other locations. If you are using a dedicated baby potty you may want to consider switching at this point to a toilet training seat cover for a regular toilet. This will allow you to take the toilet with you wherever you go and give your child a familiar potty regardless of location. Take the potty cover to friends and family when you go for visits. Start doing this a few weeks before your vacation time. This will get them familiar with going on the toilet at locations outside of their home.
For potty training, scheduling has a great deal to do with success. This is why you need to try and stay on schedule. If you are used to taking your child to the bathroom every hour, try to stick with this schedule on vacation even if you are driving in the car and even if they say they do not need to go. Make sure that you have familiar objects with the child during this time to help them relax. Favorite reading material is a great idea for this process and gives them something to help calm them in an unfamiliar location.
Acknowledging success is vital when you are on vacation with your toddler. They need to know that their success is very important and makes you very happy, no matter where they are. This having been said, it is also very important that you try to shy away from showing too much disappointment with accidents. There will be accidents while on vacation and being prepared to handle them with as little drama as possible is very important to not setting your progress back several steps. Be fully equipped with diapers, wipes and underwear. Remaining calm and simply dealing with the situation is the key.
If you need to leave home for an extended period of time for any reason, know that traveling makes training much more challenging. While you shouldn’t schedule any long vacations during your expected training period, sometimes things come up and you must travel.
Perhaps your toddler is taking a long time getting used to the idea of using the potty all the time and they aren’t completely trained when you need to travel. That’s where this section would apply as well.
Have your child leave home empty. That means to go potty before leaving and no liquids on the road – well, minimal liquids. Resist the urge to put them in a pull up. He or she is a big kid now. Putting a diaper on him or her now can only confuse.
Take along the potty chair or adapter seat. Little bladders can require frequent pit stops and you want to be prepared. Anywhere you go, look for the bathrooms first. Make note of rest areas along the way where you may be able to stop for a potty break.
Carry extra tissues and sanitizing gel for strange bathrooms. You don’t want to be caught short. I always liked to have an extra roll of toilet paper in my purse along with a huge bottle of Germ-X. You never can be too sure what type of situation you’ll be getting into.
Always choose the handicap or family bathroom. You’ll have extra room if you use the stall for people with disabilities, but the seat may be elevated and your child will need more help.
Shopping malls and many other places are now building unisex family bathrooms specifically designed for parents. These bathrooms are as large as handicap bathrooms, private, and can be stocked with needed toiletries like Kleenex and wipes.
Teach children to line public toilets with strips of toilet paper as an added barrier of protection if toilet seat liners are not available.
Always, always accompany your child into public restrooms. Safety is nothing to take for granted – even while toilet training. Never, ever let your child go into a public restroom alone. Don’t even let them go with an older sibling. Have them accompanied by a trusted adult – at all times!
Pack a waterproof sheet, small plastic tablecloth, or heavy plastic bag to cover mattresses, or a rubber-backed bathroom rug that rolls ups easily for travel. Hotel staff will be just as appreciative as relatives and friends.
Don’t be surprised or upset if your child starts to have accidents. Revert to training pants for now; relax and enjoy your trip. Don’t make your trip a battleground. Worry about training or retraining when you get back home.
Watch your child’s diet while on the road. A change in diet during family vacations is likely to bring about a change in bowel habits, either constipation or diarrhea, and a corresponding slump in training progress.
I know this from experience. While training my dear daughter, she showed interest in the potty just prior to a trip to Florida with my in-laws. She was doing quite well – and then the road trip began.
The whole entire trip, she was unable to make it to the bathroom in time because she had diarrhea nearly the whole time we were gone. She was completely frustrated and mad at herself for not being able to continue what she had started at home.
Of course, once we got home, it was only a day before she was back in the old routine and completely using the potty consistently. I still wonder if, at that time in her life, she wonders why she couldn’t be a big girl in Florida!
What about that child who just won’t go no matter what you try?