Potty Training Out and About

Archived Q&A and Reviews

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Should I give her a pull-up when we go out?

April 2008

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. Anon

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. Good luck. Crystal

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! anon
Two things:

(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. Carrie

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. susanjane
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 restrooms. Jillian
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 while out.

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

Potty Training 2-year-old: Out and About

January 2006

Hello- 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 school.

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 changing table.

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! Thanks!! :)

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. Erin
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. anon
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 duck.

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 juice!!! 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. Nicole
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. Beth
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. Holly

Potty training for on-the-go stroller set

May 2004

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 away??

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).

Good luck

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. anon

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. KB