Potty training is exciting for your little one. But what do you do if you have a camping trip planned and you’re right in the middle of potty training your toddler? Do you postpone any trips until she’s fully trained and ready to go?
There’s no reason not to go on your trip. It’s important that you keep up with your normal activities and don’t let potty training take over your life. At home, everything is familiar to your child so potty training is more of a challenge when you’re away. But with a few tips and tricks up your sleeve, you can have both the camping trip and the potty-training child.
Potty Training Gear to Bring Camping
To make life easier for both you and your child, there are a few things you should plan on taking along on your camping trip. Other than the toys, books, and games you’ll need to keep your child entertained, the following will give you the upper hand when it comes to potty training.
Bring along more clothes than you think you’re going to need. No matter how well your child is doing with her potty training, accidents can and will happen. Even children who are fully potty trained at home can forget that they have to go when they’re camping and having fun.
Take along clothes that are weather appropriate but that are still easy to get on and take off. You don’t want to be standing there in the early morning chill trying to change a freezing child who had a little mishap overnight. And don’t forget an extra pair of shoes!
For children who are at the beginning or in the middle of potty training, you might want to bring along some pull-ups, particularly if your child still has nighttime accidents. She’ll be pretty tuckered out after a busy day outside and either may not wake to go to the bathroom or be in such a rush if she does, that your chances of getting her to the potty in time are slim.
Explain to your child that the pull-ups are just for the camping trip and not for when she’s at home. You want to make it clear that there are different rules for potty time at home and potty training while camping.
There are different types of potties that you can buy, just don’t leave home without one! It’s best to take along the potty your child has been using at home. Children like familiarity and having her own potty with her is going to make it easier for her to go.
Before your camping trip make sure your child is completely happy with her potty. The last thing you want is to get your campsite all set up only for her to decide she hates the potty you’ve brought along. Let your child know that you’re going on a fun camping trip, but you still expect her to use her potty, just like she’s been doing at home. Young children need to know what you expect from them and that there are boundaries.
There are plenty of potty seats to choose from. Some have been specifically designed for camping and the outdoors. These are easy to carry and use, and they don’t take up much room when you’re packing. The nice thing is that you can open the potty seat quickly and just set it up over restroom toilets. Some models come with foldable legs that you can set up directly on the ground, either at your campsite or while you’re out hiking. They come with disposable bags that can be securely attached and detached, making cleanup simple with no fuss.
Just make sure to choose a potty seat that your child likes and is comfortable with. We use this one at home, because of our toddler loves Paw Patrol. It helps make training time just a little more enjoyable for him.
A potty chair is ideal for using at home as well as for taking with you when you go camping. Ones with a high back are best so your child is comfortable, especially if they need to sit for a while! The removable pot makes disposal and cleanup quick and easy.
Though more expensive, a portable toilet means everyone in the family can use it. These are a good option if you’re going to be camping for longer than a few days. Keep in mind that for your potty-training toddler, you’ll still need a potty seat so that she can sit comfortably without fear of falling in.
Wipes and Toilet Paper
Make sure you pack plenty of wipes and toilet paper. Better too much than to be miles from the nearest store and run out. Paper towels are also convenient for drying little hands after washing.
Using the campsite restroom is really only an option if your child is fully potty trained and capable of waiting for a few minutes to get to the toilet. If you’re going to take your child into a public toilet, try to get a camping spot close to the restroom if you’re setting up in a campsite that has one. Even the shortest walk to the bathroom can be too much for a child who has to go…now!
Take the potty seat with you so that you can place it over the public toilet. This will make it easier for your child to sit as well as more sanitary. Some children find public toilets frightening. If this is your child, using the restroom might not be a good option for you as your child may just refuse to go at all.
One drawback with using the restroom is getting your child there in the middle of the night. You may end up stumbling around in the dark with a flashlight and a sleepy child who desperately needs to go. If your child isn’t fully potty trained and able to get to the restroom with a little bit of a trek, a portable potty is a better option for you. If you’ve only been potty training for a few days, the potty seat or full potty is your best choice. This way she’ll have quick access to her toilet, reducing the chance for accidents to happen.
Go in the Woods
Consider letting your child go to the bathroom on the ground in the woods, or against a tree for boys. If you’re in a busier campsite you may not be comfortable with this. However, in more a remote location with less people around it can work well, if not all the time at least for those times when you can’t get your toddler to the potty fast enough.
Designated Bathroom Area
It’s easy to set up a designated area in your campsite for the potty. Find a spot close to your site so you and your child don’t need to go far and you can keep an eye on her at all times. It can be in amongst some trees or bushes to provide a bit of privacy. Place your child’s portable potty here and call it the “bathroom.” Your child will quickly learn that this is her own bathroom and know what she’s supposed to do there!
You can buy a privacy tent to include with your camping gear. These are good for both children and adults. It’s simply a smaller tent that is tall enough for you to stand up in, making it easy for you to assist your child when it’s potty time. They give a little more privacy which comes in handy for those children that want to be alone when they’re on the potty. And you’ll know exactly where they are.
Don’t Forget About Handwashing
Washing your hands is important, so just because it’s more difficult to do while camping doesn’t mean you should neglect it. Set up an area in your campsite where you and your child can wash your hands with as little hassle as possible. It’s as easy as putting a 5-gallon water jug with a spout on a picnic table. This way you can keep to the potty routine of toilet followed by hand-washing that you’ve already established at home.
Praise and Reward
It’s important to remember not to focus too much on potty training throughout your entire camping trip. Yes, you want to keep going with the training, knowing that the end of diapers and accidents is just around the corner. But don’t become that nagging parent where you spend far too much time reminding your child to go on the potty or asking them if they have to go…when they just went an hour ago. Have fun with your child. Camping trips are a wonderful way for your family to spend quality time together.
If you’ve been using rewards at home for potty training, be sure to keep this up on your trip. Perhaps you praise your child, or maybe you reward them each day with a new book or little toy. Whatever you’ve been doing at home, do the same on your camping trip. You might want to add little bonus reward for your toddler while camping. After all, she’s doing her best to remember to use the potty, even with everything that’s going on around her.
If you haven’t experimented with rewarding, Parenting Passage has a nice list of ideas worth checking out.
Potty Training Success!
Potty training is important for both you and your child. She’s moving out of diapers and starting to be more independent. Camping should be exciting and not over-complicated about where and when your child should go to the bathroom. Have fun and be flexible. With the tips mentioned here you can enjoy your camping trip without too much fuss and stress.