Traveling with a Toddler: Potty Training and Travel
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
A few days ago I got an email from a reader asking if I had any suggestions regarding traveling with a toddler who was potty training. I have had the fortune (or misfortune?) of traveling several times with Little C while she was potty training, so I am happy to share some of the things that I learned during that process since I know this is an issue that almost every traveling family will face at one time or another!
As I’m sure almost everyone knows, potty training is about consistency and routine, so obviously throwing travel into that mix can create problems. Your child won’t be on their normal routine, won’t have their normal bathrooms available, etc. However, potty training on a trip doesn’t have to be too stressful or messy if you keep a few things in mind and adjust your expectations accordingly.
- Wear pull-ups. Unless your child is “fully potty trained” I highly recommend putting them in pull-ups at least during crucial travel portions of the trip. This is true even if they are wearing real underwear at home. In my mind, there is just no reason to tempt fate and risk having a real accident on a plane, in the car, etc. when a pull-up can prevent a little accident from becoming a big accident. In fact, when I traveled with my daughter from Houston to the Outer Banks in August I put her in a pull-up for our travel days there and back even though she was pretty much fully potty trained. We didn’t need it, but it made it much less stressful knowing that if she couldn’t hold it at least there wouldn’t be a huge mess.
- Continue to encourage the potty, but don’t make it a huge deal on the trip. My own personal advice is to not make the whole trip about potties. Continue to encourage your child to use the potty as you would at home, but don’t obsess over the potty training aspect, especially if your child is newer in the potty training journey. Have them in pull-ups/diapers, and don’t let the trip be ruined by a little potty training regression. Hopefully the trip won’t be a set-back, but even if it is, it is likely to be a minor one if you quickly return to your old routine when you get home.
- Consider bringing a portable toilet seat. I personally don’t like having a bunch of potty training “gear” as I want to just be able to plop my kid down on any potty and have her go, but I know that doesn’t work as well for every kiddo. So, if your child is used to a portable potty seat, then consider bringing it on the trip. That isn’t something I did, but I know other families who have.
- Consider bringing a portable potty. I didn’t even know these existed until my friend, Pizzaman sent me one after reading about Little C’s roadside potty adventure a few months ago. If your are planning a road trip or outdoor activities like hiking, camping, etc. where restrooms might not be readily available, then you might want to consider bringing a portable potty such as this one.
- Bring extra clothes. Despite all your best planning and intentions, real accidents may happen so always be prepared. Always have a change of clothes available in a backpack or purse that is easily accessible.
- Pack some large ziploc bags to safely store any clothing that may get wet from accidents that happen while you are out and about. These are also helpful to help dispose of diapers so that they don’t sit in your hotel room. Please don’t just leave nasty diapers/accidents in hotel rooms – yuck!
- Buy diapers or pull-ups at your destinations. If you decide to just go with diapers or pull-ups for the whole trip, it can get a bit tight to pack enough for longer trips. In that case, consider shipping some ahead of time to your final destination, or just go buy some at the store when you arrive (assuming you are going somewhere that has stores easily accessible).
- Make it a game to explore new bathrooms. While I don’t think you should obsess about potty training on the trip, it is still important to give kiddos a chance to use the restroom, so make it a fun game. Airplane bathrooms can be kind of weird and scary for kids (heck, even for adults), so try your best to make it sound like a fun and exciting game to try out new “special” bathrooms. More often than not, if i get excited about something my kiddo is going to get excited about it.
I’d love to hear what other advice parents have for those who are now facing the “traveling while potty training” dilemma!
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants in the first three months of card membership.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Earn 50,000 Bonus Miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
- Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
- Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees