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Potty Training Out and About
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Potty Training Out and About
Yes, another potty training question...sorry.
My daughter is doing really well on ''number 1'' while we are at
home or at someone's house. When we run errands, go the park,
or have any length of a drive, I do not want to set her up to
fail, but when I am not sure about the ''facilities'' available
to us, I am inclined to put on the old pull-ups, but then I
wonder if I am undoing the training that she has accomplished.
Also, she is at least telling me when she needs a pull up to
go ''number 2'' - she has no interest in going on the potty chair
(hers or mine) - she says it feels funny.
Any words of wisdom on either issue?
Thank you for your time and help.
I got one of those travel potties for the car. It's basically
a plastic frame that you line with a plastic bag. You can buy
refill bags, but I just use grocery bags with a folded paper
towel on the bottom. We check the time between the last time
she used the potty and if it's about time for her to go again,
we ask her to use it. If she refuses the one at home, we'll
tell her as we leave that she will need to use the one in the
car before we get in the car. So I think timing is essential
knowing how often she goes and begin suggesting using the potty
as the time approaches and knowing how long before you are able
to access another facility or the potty in the trunk.
As for number 2 I'm unable to help. I had mine doing number 2
in the toilet since she was 3 months old so number 2 was the
first thing she mastered then we worked on her doing number 1
herself. She's been diaper free since age 2 year 3 months.
Another item I used often during the beginning of the underwear
period was the doggy training pads. I use them in the bed
under the sheet as well as in the car seat. She would sit on
top of the training pad in the car so if there is an accident
it's easy to clean up.
We always took our potty with us in the car, even for shopping trips
to Costco and the like. We would put our little one on the potty when
we got to the store ''to try'' and when we left the store. Same with
longer car trips; we would pull off after 45 minutes or so and put him
on. That way, he stayed in undies and was successful. And passers-by
always thought it was hilarious!
(1) You will shortly learn where the public toilets are at every
place you go regularly. When you have a toddler, you will
usually be permitted to use employee only toilets.
(2) Pack his/her potty (or buy a spare) to carry in the trunk of
your car. We didn't carry it all the time, just when we were
heading to a park or somewhere where we knew there were no
bathrooms, but some moms I know carried one all the time.
Use a pull-up when you go out. It won't disrupt the process.
Eliminate the conflict. I would say let her guide this process.
Because it is connected to feelings of attachment and advancing
into the world. Kids fluctuate. When they take a big step, then
they sometimes step back a bit, or insist on having some control.
They become increasingly aware that they have very little
control and feel a need to control the process. This refusal is
a way of her asserting control. She will potty train when she is
ready and it sounds like she's well on her way. My son wasn't
entirely proficient until he was 3 years and 8 months.
We have an amazing little portable toilet that comes with
disposable zip-lock plastic bags.
Look for the Cool Gear Travel Potty. It's so cute, too -- you
might ALMOST think it's a laptop! :-)
Lisa in Oakland
We have a travel potty called the Potette. It folds completely flat
and can easily go into a diaper bag. It is sold online and at
Rockridge Kids. It has little plastic bags with absorbent liners that
fit inside it. We use this all the time. It was a little hard for my
son at first because it is so small but he quickly got used to it. I
would much rather put him on the potette in the back of our car or
even on the sidewalk or something than take him to many sketchy public
I used to put my daughter in a diaper/pull-up when I knew no
bathrooms would be available- or the ones that were would be
gross. My daughter was fine and understood the difference
between diapers and panties. Actually, although she's been out
of diapers during the day for about 18 months now, I'll still
give her a diaper to use if we're caught in traffic - she opens
it, slips it under her and away she goes. I also used to carry
a potty in the trunk of the car in case we got caught short
As for ''number 2'', she also would only go in a diaper and would
hold off until one was put on. This is common and I followed
advice that said to let her dictate when she was ready to use
the toilet. However, after about a year I determined that
using a diaper for ''#2'' was a control issue, not fear of the
toilet, fear of flushing, fear of watching her poo being
flushed (she LOVED to flush) so I decided to withhold the
diapers. I was prepared to back off if she became
constipated. Well, she screamed and yelled, but used the potty
that night and was very proud of herself. The next day she
also screamed and yelled but went in the potty. After that
we've never looked back. Now I'm trying to figure out how to
get her to use only the toilet instead of the potty so that I'm
not required to admire her ''handy work''.
Finally diaper free - for one child
Our son decided back in October that the potty is pretty cool
and pretty much trained himself. He had literally just turned
two the week before. My husband and I feel grateful that our
son took the initiative and he is a regular user at home and
Our problem is when we are running errands. He still wears a
diaper (as he is not 100% trained) and I can't figure out a
simple way to get through the whole process. For example:
We are at the mall. I head to Nordstrom's and discover he has a
poopy diaper. So, I go to the bathroom, remove his diaper and
clean his toosh at the changing table, carry him buck-naked
from the waist down across the bathroom and pray there isn't a
line for a stall or that his need to go is immediate!
Then I get the seat insert we bought so he doesn't ''fall in''
and he does his business. Then I carry him back to the changing
table and pray their isn't another kid on the thing, put a
diaper back on and go about our day.
This takes a good amount of time. Then there are the issues of
carrying around a naked kid (folks tend to not like that), and
the fact that there are often lines at both the stalls and the
I tried to change his diaper in the stall. But that was a
disaster and I vow not to do that again. The one thing that has
been helpful are the rare occasions I can find a changing table
*in* the stall, but those are few and far between.
Does anyone have a better system? I hope that there is an
easier way, as my fumbled way leaves me in a sweat every time
we have to use the restroom!
When I was potty training my now 5.5 year old and my 4 year old,
I always took my child to the bathroom before we left the house
and as soon as we arrived at our destination. I know it might
sound excessive, but it truly works. My first question as soon
as I arrived at stores was ''Where is the nearest bathroom?'' And
I would head there right away. On a lighter note, today I saw a
couple walk into church services carrying a portable potty seat.
I'm sure glad that time is over for me!!
Been There, Done That
Look into a little device called On the Go Potty. I bought mine
at babycenter.com for $10-$12. It is a little pop-up seat with a
plastic bag and an absorbent pad. You can set it up anywhere and
throw away the little bag. Once I ran out of purchased bags, I
made my own with grocery-style bags (those 10-for-a-dollar Hefty
bags at Target, so no risk of holes in the bottom) and maxi pads
from the dollar store. I love, love, love this thing. My
daughter is reluctant to use the big potty at the stores and this
has saved potty-training.
We aren't quite there yet, so I look forward to reading the
responses on this. But, have you considered the pull-up
diapers? Since it's more like underwear it's probably a little
easier to get them on/off in a bathroom stall.
I think that you are being too considerate of others. Just do
what you have to do when and where you have to do it and your
life will be easier.
If you think of it this way, you might have an easier time.
People are so bored. They get so trapped in their little what
should never be mode, that we mothers just HAVE to do a stand
up diaper change here and there. Don't apologise. Ignore people
staring at you. You are giving them something to get charged up
about. They should thank you.
Also, for me, the minivan was an amazing revelation. I always
had a cool car. With a baby, I can not tell you how many
people, usually middle aged men, came and wanted to talk to me
about my car while I was sitting in it nursing. I was a sitting
I got a 10 year old minivan dirt cheap and have been so happy!
Mostly for the portable potty in the back. I line the little
pot bowl with a baggy (recycle my produce bags that way) some
one pees, (several times that someone has been me!) you lift it
off, tie a knot and toss it in the nearest trash can. Diaper
wipes are the most handy thing for tidying up the van.....
I keep magazines for me to read while I wait. They love the
privacy and I hate public toilets so it works out.
Really, you shouldn't miss your flight or whatever because your
child has poo. Just change them on the spot. Put the diaper in
a plastic bag, knot it and it will not stink up the trash. If
you notice that you have scandalized some one, pat yourself on
the back. They were so bored, and you gave them some some
Good Samaritinism in the trenches!
I trained my duaghter, which people say is different from
training a boy, very early. In fact, much like your son, she
trained herself. She really liked to be naked all of the time
and did not like peeing on her legs. My adivce about being out
and about is this: It sounds like you are having an extremely
difficult time right now and what I suggest may be the same
level or less of stress. WHen my daughter decided to potty
train I realized there was no sense in her wearing a diaper out
of the house if we were trying to train her at all times. So,
we only kept er diapers on at nap and night time which are
untrainable hours really. Yes, we've had accidents outside,
almost never poop and she trained quite quickly. My advice is
to carry a bag with extra clothes as you may already do and a
plastic bag for the dirty ones. Other than that you are set.
Show him where the toilet is wherever you go and when you
can't, like at a mall, remind him to let you know when he has
to go and to tell you. It may sound scary but it is less hassle
than what you describe. Being in the middle of the transition
sucks and it sounds like you're prolonging it accidentally.
I went through the same thing with my son. He's now almost 3 and,
thankfully, seems to have mastered the potty on the go. Two
things helped immensely. Switch from diapers to pull-ups - they
are as absorbant and have the breakaway sides in case you have to
take them off like a diaper; but they are a lot easier to put on
in a bathroom stall than a diaper. My son also hated the folding
toilet seat we bought for travel and mall errands; so that never
worked out for us. What did work was a suggestion from my
sister-in-law -allow him to seat on the seat backwards. Most
toilets are narrower at the front; so it's easier for little
bottoms to feel supported. Of course you have to remove one shoe
and pant leg ensemble to do it that way; but you'd have to do
that anyway to change the pull-up. This frees you from having to
carry and clean the travel seat and it also turns out to be a
good beginning for the whole standing-up-while-peeing routine my
son is now learning.
If you can't do without diapers entirely (and I urge you to try
it -- many kids will use 'em if they're wearing 'em but hold it
if they're not) then I think you should switch to the pull-up
kind. Much easier to change in the stall.
Also, you may not need to bother with the seat insert
doohickey. We never had one and I just held my son on the seat
when necessary. He was older and probably larger at the time,
but he learned how to balance himself pretty quickly.
We are now trying to potty train in earnest, and have found
that we can take our ''portable'' baby bjorn potty with us in the
car (for driving over to a park, etc.). But we cannot figure
out what to do about the weekdays when our daughter is home
with her nanny, who uses only the stroller to go to the local
parks, walk along College Ave., and other local routes. There
are no close bathrooms at most of the parks they go to
(Bateman,Willard,etc.); the potty is too big to carry around
(it's the kind with the white pot that you remove from teh seat
to empty out), and even if she did haul it in a big plastic bag
hanging from the stroller (which seems really awkward), there's
no way to clean it easily after use.
How do people deal with potty training when they are out and
about during the day with a new trainee who cannot yet ''hold
it'' until they can find a bathroom perhaps 5 or 10 minutes
Any advice appreciated!
1st time potty trainer
Our son has just started potty training and if we don't have the
potty or access to a toilet i get him to pee wherever is
convenient...ie a bush or tree etc. This may be easier for a
little boy but he did have to poop once in a park with no
toilet and we got him to squat and then cleaned it up with one
of the numerous plastic bags we always travel with now! I've
also become very aware where toilets are (rockridge kids, frog
park. cactus etc). But sometimes these are just not available
and when you gotta go, you gotta go!
''Little Potette'' (or something like this) is a foldable plastic
potty you can get at Babyworld, Rockridge Kids and Long's Drugs.
It's small enough to fit in the bottom of a stroller, or even in
a bag. Toddlers often have fun to set it up themselves.
A quiet corner on the playground, in a park, or at a not too busy
sidewalk are places to go.
The potty comes with disposable plastic liners. If you prefer
something reusable, you put some tupperware under the potty and
close it with a lid afterwoods. (One of the standard Rubbermaid
round flat sizes fits perfectly.) You can either take everything
home, or you empty it in a public bathroom or pour it into the
canalisation (the latter not for #2).
Try to Google the 'Potette' to get some pictures of it so you
can get an idea if that fits your need. I bought one when I was
in NY area (in buybuyBaby store), but there is no store other
than NY/NJ area, and I could not find the product in its
website. However, a quick search in Google resulted in few
online stores in the USA (the first link was for UK market,
maybe it's more popular there).
PS: I have not used it, so I can say if it was a good buy or not.
PS2: I think I remember saying that she bought hers at Baby
Depot at Burlington Coat Factory, maybe you should check there.
We bought our Potette at OneStepAhead. We've used it a couple
of times now & are very pleased with it. It seems a bit
flimsy, but it is comfortable enough for our 37 lb widget.
this page was last updated: May 16, 2009
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