FAQ Friday: Getting Out Of the House

I’ve had a busy holiday full of potty training consulting over here! It’s been exciting to hear about the little daily successes adding up to INDEPENDENCE for our toddler and preschool friends.

As the “newly potty trained” move from Blocks One and Two into Block Three, parents want to set them up for success on the go, and I’ve been fielding quite a few questions about GETTING OUT OF THE HOUSE and TRAVEL POTTIES.

First of all, read Jamie’s post on traveling. The “travel diaper” is ideal for those really traveling, such as on a plane or for longer car rides (I’d say longer than 20-30 minutes, especially if you’re commuting on a major highway that you can’t get off and on quickly). You may only have a few seconds to get your kid out of the car seat and onto the potty once you hear that quiet little voice whisper “potty?” from the back seat.

Now that your diaper bag is a little lighter without those diapers, here’s what I’d put in it:

1. Change of Clothes. Look, accidents happen. Take a deep breath, dust it off. It’s OK. You both are learning how long is too long to go without a potty break. For the newly potty trained, take a couple changes of clothes and a bag to put wet stuff in.

2. Your choice of on-the-go potty accessories. Here are a few things that I’ve found helpful to have in my own bag. But this is totally personal preference. If you want to just let your child sit on the public potty and then really really wash his or her hands well, knock yourself out. I’ve been there too.

  • Clorox/Lysol/Bleach wipes. You can wipe off the seat and the handle for flushing (and the walls? just kidding, mostly).
  • Potty covers. This depends on your sense of wasting paper. They are giant, but they do cover everything. Good for those little tiny potty trainers who really do need to touch the potty for balance (older or bigger kids can push their hands together and touch their elbows to their knees in a “squat type” position). Here’s an example from Amazon, but if you search you can find all types.
  • Flushable wipes. Maybe not always so flushable, be willing to throw in the trash, but good for having because that single ply public paper isn’t always the best.
  • Sticky note to cover the sensor on automatic toilets. You can also use your hand, but do cover it. It’s really startling to have that toilet go off, especially for a kid using a public toilet for the first time. It can set you back.

3. Travel potty*. Again, this comes down to personal preference and situation. If you travel primarily by car your options are much wider than if you’re walking everywhere and have to fit everything in your stroller (in which case, you might first try out the red solo cup trick).

  • You can just use the little potty you’ve been using for potty training at home and put it in the back of your car. You should also take something to clean it. I like dog poop bags and a container of wipes. Easy peasy. (By the way, this is my very favorite little potty. Easy to clean, simple, sized right.) Or, you can buy a travel potty.
  • I used a closeable potty that can be slipped into the bottom of the stroller with my own child (though I can’t find the exact one, this looks comparable). And I liked it. I still recommend cleaning it after each use rather than closing it and driving somewhere else. That seal can seal in some disgusting smell. You can have them sit on it in the trunk of the car, beside the car on the ground, on the floorboard of your car, or in the front seat. Put something under it like a towel or a chuck (mentioned in Jamie’s travel article) if you set it in your car, since there is a splash risk.
  • Many parents like this potty because it has a bag attached that you can just throw away. But you have to remember to have bags because there’s no back up in the seat. It looks like you can store it in your bag and use it on public potties too. But then maybe have your bleach wipes to wipe it after…
  • There are some other options that parents have found useful that I don’t have direct experience with, such as this foldable seat cover. I haven’t used it but there are a lot of reviews there…

*I’ve had a client who insisted on taking her own closeable travel potty into the public restroom. Her kid would sit on it instead of the big public toilet, she’d empty it, close it up, and move on without the kid touching anything else in the bathroom. FOR ME, it seemed like a lot to haul around but she was very happy for this solution, especially since her kiddo was only 20 months, so the smaller size was useful. So that’s an option, too, particularly for the more squeamish among us.

And now, RELAX. Be ready to pull over when your kiddo asks, but be calm. You have a plan. It’s just like when you added pants. Maybe you had an accident? So, you took the pants back off. It’s all learning. You are learning to work together, to travel together, and you are learning what works for you now with your newly independent pottier. Send me a message or comment on this post if you have some advice for me or a product that you love. I am always looking to learn!