Potty training is a bit step in the world of toddlers, but if you’re headed out on vacation, traveling with a potty training toddler is intimidating. It doesn’t have to be worrisome; with the right tips and planning ahead, your potty training toddler will rock any vacation you go on together.
I know that potty training is one of those times that I felt like I walked on eggshells. We made great progress, but I always worried that something I did would cause a regression. When your toddler starts to use the toilet, it feels like a bit more freedom is on the way, and you don’t want to lose that.
No one wants to keep buying diapers; they’re so expensive.
Traveling with a potty training toddler doesn’t have to be a horrible experience, and as long as you approach it with a positive attitude, toddlers tend to go with the flow. If you aren’t nervous and have a solid plan, traveling doesn’t have to be a terrible experience.
11 Tips for Traveling with a Potty Training Toddler
1. Don’t Train Before a Big Trip
Got a beach vacation coming up in three weeks?
Now is not the ideal time to start potty training a toddler. Even if, by chance, your toddler figures out potty training pretty fast, it takes several weeks for most kids to get it down pat without any accidents.
In my experience, it takes much longer for kids to be fully potty trained.
Kids need time at home to learn how to potty train, and traveling with a potty training toddler is no joke. Unfamiliar surroundings and situations increase the likelihood that your child will have an accident, and too many accidents lead to regression.
That’s what you don’t want.
Regression is hard; your toddler might feel defeated if you take him on a trip too soon after introducing potty training. They understand that they had an accident, and too many leaves everyone, including your toddler, feeling frustrated.
So, take a look at your calendar, and make sure you don’t introduce toilet training until either after a vacation or no sooner than two months before your vacation.
2. Use the Potty Right Before Leaving
I’m in the habit of making sure my kids use the bathroom before we leave the house no matter where we are going. It might be the store or the lake; no matter where we go, the potty trained toddlers have to use the bathroom before we leave.
3. Use the Potty Before Getting on an Airplane
The same goes if you’re flying with toddlers! Make sure your child uses the bathroom right before you board. That ensures you get through the sometimes long process of boarding, taxiing, and taking off.
It sometimes is up to 45 minutes before the seatbelt light turns off. In some flights, it doesn’t turn off at all if your flight faces any turbulence.
4. Visit the Bathroom Whenever You See One
When you’re traveling with a potty training toddler, use the bathroom whenever you see one. Even if they say that they don’t have to go right then, they might in 15 minutes.
You’ll regret not using the bathroom beforehand.
When it comes to traveling, you never know when you’ll be stuck in a line or how long it’ll take until you see the next rest stop.
5. Plan Route and Scheduled Breaks if Traveling by Car
If you’re driving to your destination, make sure you an idea about how long you’ll be in the car and how many stops you need to take along the way. Take a look at the map and note how many rest stops or exit are on your route that might have a potty break location.
I also suggest stopping before your toddler is screaming that they need to use the bathroom. We stop every two hours or sooner, and everyone – parents included – uses the bathroom.
6. You Need to Use Training Pants
I get it; some people swear that training pants do more harm than good. Supposedly, it means that your child won’t realize that they’ve having accidents. Many families skip pull-ups entirely except at night.
Traveling with a potty training toddler is a serious exception to this, in my eyes.
Practice often goes out the window when you’re vacationing, and you never know when you’ll find an acceptable bathroom. Plus, everyone is having fun, decreasing the likelihood that your toddler will notice that they need to go to the bathroom until it needs to happen – RIGHT THEN.
I totally suggest that you use training pants on vacation, especially during a road trip or when flying on a plane with a toddler.
7. Bring A Few Extra Sets of Clothes
Accidents happen, even if your child has been potty trained for several months. I subscribe to the idea that I always need to be prepared, so you’ll never catch me without extra clothing for my kids.
If you’re traveling with a potty training toddler, you need to bring several sets of clothing and a plastic bag to store the wet clothes. You also want to bring extra shoes and socks or wear waterproof shoes.
Bring extra clothes for you. You’ll get wet carrying your toddler from the car into the rest stop bathroom – trust me; I know from experience.
8. Keep Your Potty Essentials Close at Hand
Whether you’re on an airplane or driving to your destination, you don’t want to have to dig for your potty training essentials. I suggest having a small bag that you keep close at hand with baby wipes, training pants, travel toilet seats, and extra clothing.
What other potty training essentials could you need when traveling? A few things we take with us include:
- Plastic bags for soiled clothing
- Mattress cover for toddlers who aren’t night trained
- Nighttime pull-ups
- Laundry detergent – you don’t want stinky clothes hanging around.
9. Keep a Potty Chair in Your Car
One of the things that I think all parents need to have if they have a toddler is a potty chair in your vehicle.
Listen, I was skeptical at first; I really didn’t want a toddler using a potty in my vehicle. What if they spill it? That would be horrible.
However, let’s be real – cleaning car seats is pretty horrible too, and it takes forever. I got the Honboom Portable Potty Training Seat, and it’s been a huge help when we’re traveling or just driving around town running errands.
I learned after having a few toddlers that large public toilets don’t always work well when traveling with a potty training toddler. Not only are they often dirty, but they’re loud and make your toddler feel nervous. Having a potty chair in your car or even one that you can bring into the bathroom reduces fear and accidents.
They even have foldable potty seat rings for airplanes and airport bathrooms! Check out the Jool Baby Folding Travel Potty Seat if you’ll be on an airplane.
10. Teach Your Child to Go Potty Outside
This tip might seem a bit strange, but it’s a life saver.
If you don’t have a potty in your car, then teaching your toddler how to go on the side of the road or in a park is essential. Doing it when they’re nervous is intimidating. All of my kids have peed outside in our backyard.
Would you rather your child have an accident in their car seat or on the side of the road? I bet you pick the road!
11. Make Sure Your Destination is Potty Training Toddler Friendly
Some travel destinations aren’t ideal when you’re traveling with a potty training toddler. Anyplace that has long lines or a lack of reasonable bathroom access is a no-go.
I think going to the beach with a toddler is a great idea or anyplace that you’ll be outdoors. Going to amusement parks, like Disney, could be a good or bad idea. They have plenty of bathrooms, but lines for rides can be long.
Don’t Stress Too Much
My biggest tip is to not stress too much; this isn’t life or death. Your toddler will make it through. You might have to clean up several accidents when traveling with a potty training toddler, but don’t let it ruin your vacation.