Many parents feel confident helping their little ones master potty training at home, but dread what might happen if they take them out – in fact, they’re positively scared to leave the house when potty training.
So much so, in fact, that when we carried out a potty training survey, 1 in 6 (16%) of our parents said they set aside a full week to master it without going out at all.
Of course, this isn’t always possible, and at some point you’ll simply have to go out.
And while accidents may happen, don’t anticipate the worst, rather expect the best – and bear in mind these tips from potty training guru Amanda Jenner (founder of My Carry Potty) designed to help make the transition to the outside world as successful and stress-free as possible.
Potty training when you’re out – 9 things to remember
1. Always do a toilet trip before you leave the house
While it seems obvious, it’s so important we think it’s worth stating here. Always make a last-minute visit to the potty or toilet before any outing (even if you’re just popping to the local shops). Making this part of the routine from day 1 is a real investment for the future.
2. Get your child to use the potty in a different room from usual the day before
The day, or days, before your first outing, try getting your little one to use their potty in different surroundings – for example, in a different room. This will help them see that there’s no connection between physical environment and their ability to perform.
3. Start with short visits
Before you venture out on too many ambitious long journeys or day trips, try a few shorter outings to familiar places, like friends’ houses. This will help your little one gradually build their confidence in being out and about without nappies.
4. Get your child to choose where you go
Get your child to choose your first big outing. If they’re going somewhere they love they’re less likely to be concerned or worried about it.
When you’re out and about with your little one, keep a keen eye on your watch and give them plenty of opportunities to visit their potty or go to a toilet. It’s far easier to lose track of time when you’re out – and that’s when accidents can happen. It’s common for children to suddenly need or want more potty visits as soon as they’re out and about.
This is because they feel less confident about their own ability to predict when they need to go once they’re out of their totally familiar home surroundings.
Although it can be frustrating, it’s important to go along with their requests as knowing that they can go whenever they want will help build their confidence in the long run.
6. Get a good travel potty
Invest in a good quality travel potty, like the My Carry Potty, so that there are no horrible stresses when your child announces they have to go right NOW. 60% of the parents in our ‘Wee Know’ survey said they found having a good travel potty a real help with successful potty training.
5. Limit drinks if you can
If you’re planning a long car journey or visiting somewhere without easy toilet access, try to limit the number of drinks your child has in the hour before you leave.
Have water available in the car but keep an eye on the quantities being consumed. It’s worth having a second bottle available and decanting small amounts at a time.
That way you won’t have any nasty surprises when you suddenly realise you’ve got a toddler in the back who has downed a whole bottle and is now totally desperate to go!
6. Have wipes and changes of clothes handy
It’s always good to have spare pants and leggings/trousers/tights with you – make it 2 or 3 if you can just in case.
Carry some hygienic hand wipes in your bag at all times too. Not every public toilet you use will replenish their soap supplies but this way it doesn’t matter. Wipes are also invaluable for cleaning public toilet seats before your child uses them.
7. Don’t get stressed if an accident happens
Try not to be too embarrassed if your child has an accident in public. We’ve (nearly all!) been there and it’s important your child doesn’t sense any stress or anger.
If there are long queues for a public toilet don’t be afraid to be un-British, explain your predicament and jump the queue. Most people will be very understanding and more than happy to help.
8. Choose aisle seats
If you’re flying or travelling by train, request an aisle seat so that, if you have to make lots of toilet visits, you don’t have the embarrassment of having to disturb other travellers multiple times.
9. Celebrate your first dry day out
Make a big fuss of your child when they’ve experienced their first dry outing. Reward them and celebrate it by letting them choose a fun outing in the near future.
Pics: Getty Images