How we handled potty training while traveling

How we handled potty training while traveling

We became interested in potty training our son a little before his second birthday. We didn’t feel a rush or pressure — he’s not in school yet, and while we’d love to lighten our diaper load, we were managing fine — but we did feel like he was showing signs of readiness. He was curious about the bathroom, would tell us when he was about to go, and loved the game of pulling his own pants up and down. 
The challenge we faced is that we were on the road, moving between new cities and countries every few weeks. We felt intimidated by the idea of needing to be constantly near a bathroom when our lifecycle included days out and about exploring. And yet, we went for it anyway, and are so glad we did. Here’s how it went down:

Start with some light reading

The book Oh Crap! by Jamie Glowacki came highly recommended by a few friends, so we gave it a read. The general premise was that potty training didn’t require a complex reward system, and instead could involve a few days of concerted effort, followed by ongoing reinforcement. We didn’t take notes and follow the recommendations to a tee, but we found the framework helpful.

Find a stable location

Next, we identified a time where we’d be a steady location for a few days without too much going on: that was Thanksgiving week in Los Angeles. We’d be staying with family, but otherwise largely relaxing at home and catching up. We figured we could be near a bathroom for a few days in a row, and commit to the process without feeling a need to be out and about. 

Go for it

The first 3-4 days were involved: our son’s bathroom habits were much of what we talked about, and there were plenty of accidents to clean up. But more quickly than we expected, he started to get it, and we were able to go on small outings with our family. 
On day 6, we kicked it into high gear and flew from LA to Mexico City where we’d spend the next month. Our son flew wearing a diaper, and this was totally fine. We explained to him that it was a “special plane diaper” and he had no qualms with that. Upon landing, we took it off and got right back to our new routine. 

Settle in

We’re now a few weeks in to our life in Mexico and potty training is no longer the hot news to discuss. Our son has gotten better and better about communicating his needs, and we don’t feel tethered to toilets constantly. Of note: we don’t have a portable potty we carry around, simply because we didn’t want to pack one and we haven’t felt a need to get one. He’s able to hold it well enough that we can run into a cafe or public bathroom if he needs to go while we’re out.
And that’s it! Potty training wasn’t a huge ordeal, and it’s been a fun learning experience for our son. He feels such a sense of pride in wearing his underwear and being a “big boy” and we’ve enjoyed supporting him through it. Travel was a minor blip, but not a major obstacle!
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