Tips to Help You Continue Potty Training Even When You’re Traveling
Start with introducing potty training at home
It took me weeks to be mentally prepared to potty train my toddler, even though intuition had told me he was ready at least a few months prior. My biggest concern was that my toddler was speech delayed, living abroad while pregnant, and often I’m a solo parent due to the military life. How much would potty training and the no-longer convenience of diapers complicate this already complicated life? The good news , is it wasn’t near as bad as I was making it out to be! My goal: before potty training while traveling, he was going to have it down at home.
Thankfully my toddler was potty trained within a week!
I suggest you find a window where you will be home for a significant portion of the time! Between the control and convenience of home, I do think that was part of our success.
We delayed potty training by 4-6 weeks because we had our two-week trip to Italy and thought it would be best to train once we got back.
What I didn’t realize that week of potty training was that I would book a job the next week, which involved my son and I flying from Germany to Lisbon and spending five days away.
These are all of my tips for potty training while traveling!
How to go out when potty training:
Start with small outings outside
Are you asking yourself- how do you potty train without being at home?
After three days of locking ourselves in the house, we made small outings outside.
Instead of driving, we walked everywhere- typically part of our normal morning routine. Initially, we started with an hour and then slowly increased our time window. We ventured out to the park and then eventually out to dinner. I tried to cap it at about two hours for the end of that first week.
Communicate with your toddler
tell your toddler what the plan is. As I’ve previously mentioned, my toddler is speech delayed, so I struggle with how much he understands- but I make it a point to tell him our plan. I believe this helps. Tell your toddler exactly what you will be doing and that you will be bringing the travel potty when going out.
Give them the opportunity to potty before leaving the house
Always offer the potty before leaving the house. This will eventually become part of your normal routine.
Work going out into their schedule
Hopefully, after the first couple of days, you will know your little one’s potty schedule. Try to work on potty training while out and about around their potty schedule.
Find the right potty for training
Bring your portable potty. While at the parks, I would just set the potty next to the stroller. Living in Germany, no one seemed to care! Some public restrooms have little seats for toddlers. I suggest having a travel potty with you every time you go out.
Prepare for accidents
Just like with everything, the one time you forget one of your toddlers’ essentials will be when you need it! Don’t leave the house unprepared! As a mom, it can be such a defeating feeling!
Even if your outing is only for an hour, bring your potty-training travel kit!
Potty training while on long car rides
Stick to their routine
Hopefully, by the time you venture out on a long car ride, you’ll have an idea of your little ones’ potty schedule and how it has fit into your daily routine. Try to plan around their schedule. What not to do when potty training while traveling- restrict the fluids. Long car rides are hard enough, don’t restrict their normal snacks and liquids.
Be sure to plan, and take those breaks. Have some possible potty pit stops on the way.
For the longer car rides, we have my son wear a pull-up. I was apprehensive about this at first, concerned that he would regress and go back to using the diaper. Thankfully, my son didn’t. I think this can be very child dependent. Communicate with your toddler:
Mommy and Daddy are going to have you wear this pull-up in the car
Just in case we don’t make it to the potty in time, and you have an accident.
It is okay if you have an accident
Potty training on airplanes
The big question- how do you travel on a lane with a potty-training toddler?
I’ll be honest; planning for a plane ride or a long trip right into potty training isn’t a great idea. But- I had an amazing work opportunity in Lisbon that I couldn’t miss. We were in our second week after potty training when I traveled solo with my son. Also- traveling alone with a toddler is no easy task!
Thankfully our potty training while traveling was a success, even on the airplane. I hope these tips can help you as much as they helped me!
Arrive at the airport early
Give yourself plenty of time to get situated to find the bathroom as soon as you arrive at the airport. Many people, including myself, have a bit of a journey to the airport. Part of successful long trips is plenty of snacks and water. It was an early morning, and my little guy had a meltdown leaving his daddy. I bribed him with chocolate milk, which he spilled all over himself in the car seat!
I have found that giving yourself time is one of the best mother hacks; it has truly helped me be a more patient mom.
Get situated and find the bathrooms
Hopefully, you will have arrived at the airport with plenty of downtime before your flight. This downtime is ideal to buy some more snacks, let your toddler run around, and hopefully get in another potty break. Ideally, you want to use the potty right before boarding the plane. What not to do when potty training: holding off on the liquids and snacks. Trust me- if you are traveling with a toddler, snacks, and water are some of the most essentials to have on hand for you and your little one!
Wear the pull-ups
As apprehensive as I was about reintroducing the pull-ups (just because they are close enough to be a diaper) a week after potty training. The ease and convenience of wearing them made so much sense. Honestly, potty training is hard. Traveling with a toddler is hard. Potty training while traveling has many challenges, and it feels like swimming in uncharted waters! Make it easier on yourself! Wear pull-ups.
Our flight to Lisbon was 3.5 hours, and my son needed to use the potty. Know your little one’s cues- especially if they are delayed in speech. They can be overly excited or even anxious in this environment.
Going potty while on the airplane
Will you be bringing your travel potty? I love the one we have! But I ended up packing it in my suitcase. Thankfully two days prior, my husband and I went out and had our son practice using the public restrooms. I think this helped mentally prepare him.
Things to keep in mind:
- The toilets on airplanes may look a little scary- there is no water in the bowl.
- The bathrooms are tiny! It was not an easy task assisting my toddler on the toilet.
- They don’t smell great and can be unsanitary.
- At the early stages of potty training, your little one may only have a tiny warning window. If there is a line, understand that they may not make it t the toilet in time.
- When you board the plane, offer or suggest using the potty before takeoff.
I explained to my son:
We will be flying on a plane; I understand this is a different environment.
You’re wearing a diaper; it’s okay if you have an accident.
How do you dispose of a poopy diaper on a plane?
Bring an airsick back if you do not have an additional sealed bag and dispose of it in the bathroom garbage
While potty training while traveling, be sure to Continue with the award system you’re using
I was unbelievably proud of my son for using the potty on the airplane- especially since it was week two! Don’t forget to praise your little one. This is a huge step, and you should be proud of them and yourself!
Where to stay when potty training while traveling
I would suggest staying somewhere with a washer. Be prepared for accidents, and frequently change those clothes.
If you end up staying in a hotel, bring some laundry detergent. You can easily wash clothes in the sink and hang them to dry. Thankfully their clothes are so tiny!
Additional tips for potty training while traveling
Get comfortable with public bathrooms
Remember, change can be hard. Big toilets and public restrooms may be intimidating for little ones. Try to slowly get them acclimated to using them.
Try to use the big toilets
I am so impressed with my son. He doesn’t care for the travel potty when placed on the toilet. But would prefer to straddle the potty. He now does this at home, rarely using his other standalone potty. This has been quite convenient as far as using public restrooms. And the best part- he prefers doing it this way! I would suggest having a travel potty that can easily be placed on the toilet.
Address the fear of flushing
Flushing can be scary- especially if there is an automatic flusher. Post-it notes in your potty training kit to cover up the sensor. Thankfully while living in Germany, we haven’t encountered any automatic flushers.
Potty training while out and about takes the potty training challenge to a different level. Your little one is out of their comfort zone, their home. The reward system should be continued, even if there are some stumbles. The last thing you want to do is make your little one feel guilty or ashamed. Be sure to pack whatever you use in your potty training travel kit.
Think about yourself!
If you’re stressed, your toddler will sense it. Try to keep a calm demeanor, even through the difficulties. If you find yourself becoming impatient, take a deep breath. Remember, if you’re not taking care of yourself, it makes it so much harder to take care of your little ones.
- Related Post: How to potty train your delayed- speech toddler
Addional questions for traveling while potty training
Can you potty train while on vacation or holiday?
I do think it’s possible! It depends on the readiness of your toddler. Have patience and grace on you and your little one during this time. If it’s not working out, retackle the potty training when you return home.
One of the benefits of potty training while on holiday is having that additional time. You may be able to block off a few days to camp inside and focus on potty training.
Can a vacation cause potty training regression?
I think any significant change can cause regressions in toddlers. I was apprehensive about this myself. If your little one shows signs of deterioration, remember it’s okay. They are out of their normal environment, their safe space. Be understanding. Try to stick with it as much as possible, and tackle the potty training when home from vacations. I think it’s best to potty train around your travels.
Potty training travel kit
- Travel potty
- Extra undies
- Extra shorts/ pants
- Sanitizing wipes
- Baby wipes
- Hand sanitizer
- Travel laundry detergent
- Baggies for soiled clothes
- Your award system
- Post-it notes
Yes- it is possible to potty train while traveling!
Potty training is hard, traveling with a toddler is hard- but potty training while traveling is possible! Being prepared is key. These tips allowed us to travel while potty training successfully! Remember, it is a journey for everyone involved. Have grace and patience! The reward is extra special, and you will be one proud mama!