Potty training at home can be a stressful task. Going out and using public restrooms can add another hurdle to an already strenuous task. If you are like me, you try to avoid public restrooms altogether, they can be smelly, dirty and just plain ole nasty. However when you have little ones it is very likely that the need to go potty will arise in a public place. When this happens you need to be ready to take them to a public restroom to avoid having an accident. Here are some tips that will help you along that journey.
1. Always, always, always use the bathroom right before you leave the house. I cannot stress this enough. Make it a rule, a routine, a habit that is hard to break. Do not let this be an option for your children but a requirement or part of the routine. Even if your child says they do not have to go, have them sit on the toilet for a few seconds anyway. Having them use the restroom before you leave home gives you a longer stretch between the next time they have to go.
2. Plan ahead, know the types of restrooms that are available in the various locations where you take your kids. Check the restrooms of places where you may have never thought of using the restroom, like the grocery store, banks, post office, everywhere. You never know when the time may arise when your little one has to go to the potty and you do not want to be stuck anywhere confused looking around for the restroom or conflicted about using dirty restroom.
3. Try to avoid drinks in the car, especially if you have a long drive ahead of you. Do not dehydrate you children, but space their drinks out so that when they have a any liquids there is a restroom readily available. Also in case of car seat accidents, it is a good idea to place some chux on their seat.
4. In the event that an accident does happen always have an extra pair of clothes available and a plastic or Ziploc bag to place wet clothes in.
5. Carry a travel size disinfectant spray, travel disinfectant wipes (not baby wipes) and hand sanitizer in your purse or diaper bag. Unfortunately you may come upon a toilet that needs a little clean up before your child uses it. Make sure you are prepared.
6. Have a travel potty seat that folds up. A travel potty seat helps out in three ways. It gives the child a familiar experience that they will have with each public restroom visit, which makes potty training on the go a lot easier. It also helps them not fall into the toilet, because the seat fits their small size. Lastly it acts as another barrier between their bottoms and the public toilet seat. You can find plain fold up seats or ones with charters on them as well. They fold up very nicely and can fit in a purse or diaper bag.
7. Don’t forget the baby wipes and/or flushable toddler wipes. Sometimes bathroom stalls run out of toilet paper, always keeps extra wipes on hand.
8. Teach your child proper hand washing techniques. According to the CDC we should scrub our hands for 20 seconds before rinsing them off. Count down while washing hands, or sing a song to help keep track of the 20 seconds, make it fun. ?
Here is a good song to learn and sing while washing your hands:
If the restroom has a blow dryer instead of paper towels, sing and dance while drying hands to ease the tension, sometimes the loud blow dryers can scare children.
9. Have a trial size soap available as well as towel to dry hands on in case the restroom is out them.
10. Always have lotion available. You will notice that with busy toddlers and potty training on the go, you will end up doing a lot of hand washing. Most restrooms do not carry lotion. I hate the feeling of dry ashy hands, so I try to never forget my moisturizer. I need my lotion!
Mommies, what has been your experience with potty training on the go? How do you handle taking your little ones to public restrooms? Please share.
Angele is a wife to a wonderful creative husband, mother to two beautiful intelligent daughters and a lover of art, education and laughter. She is the creator and author of ABC remix.