How to Solve Road Trip Potty Resistance
You've got places to go, places to be – what to do when little ones won't pee?? Today I share all my best tips for road trip potty success so you (and babe) can chillax, get back on the road quickly, and keep the fun in family travel.
You will hear:
- my top 9 tricks, including pottying and entertainment hacks
- how to maximize your PRE-travel time
- 3 bonus tips, including how to prep yourself, as a parent
- coming soon: my public-toilet auto-flush solution to keep babe calm and confident!
Links and other resources mentioned today:
- Coming Soon: The Golden Window (newborn program)/span>
- Coming Soon: Mobile Baby Program
- Coming Soon: Passing the Baton (toddler program)
- Coming soon: auto-flush rescue!
- Top Hat Potty
- Mini Potty
- Potette Plus (and reusable liners!)
- Waterproof pads
- The Log App for iOS and Android (to track timing)
Download the Transcript
If you can't listen to this episode right now (um, sleeping baby!?)...download and read the transcript here:
Transcript download: How to Solve Road Trip Potty Resistance
Today, we're going to talk about nine tricks to solving potty resistance during a road trip. You can check out the show notes at godiaperfree.com/189.
Hey, there. Welcome to the Go Diaper Free Podcast. I'm Andrea Olson, your host, author, and mom of five babies all EC from birth, all out of diapers by walking.
Today, we're going to talk about resistance during a road trip. Now, I have five kids over the course of 11 years. I am a huge fan of traveling, and I also have babies who don't let me not do EC while traveling. I have done a lot of pottytunities in a lot of public bathrooms, truck stops, you name it, Airbnbs, hotels, on the sidewalk. I mean, I've done it everywhere during road trips.
Today, I'm going to share with you nine tricks to solve potty resistance during a road trip, because yeah, sometimes pottying in public is a lot easier than pottying at home. But on the other hand, it can be really, really frustrating if your baby resists on a pottytunity during a road trip and you really need to get back on the road. This is no joke, where a five hour trip turns into a 10 hour trip. Ask me how I know. Maybe you're in the same boat.
The first thing I want to suggest, we've got nine total, is to bring your potty or your seat from home. Get your baby really, really used to using a certain potty seat, whether it's the Top Hat Potty, or the Mini Potty we have at Tiny Undies, or you've got Ginsey toilet seat reducer, which I love that has the handles. Even if it doesn't fold up, it doesn't matter. Maybe you'll use the Potette Plus at home because that's really good for your porta potties. You're pottying over grass and everything and they get used to that at home.
If you have a month before you go on a road trip, this includes air travel too, you guys, you can apply this to that as well, but especially road trips, we're talking about today, where you have to make stops and you really need them to go, the last thing we want is potty resistance to go on. I just remembered something, I'm going to give you the bonus tip first. Number one is bring your potty seat from home. I don't care how big it is. Get a giant bag from T.J. Maxx. Stick your full on potty seat in it. Carry that with you so that when you go to the public toilet, or when you potty inside your minivan, you have the right receptacle that you already know your baby uses. We don't want to put a new potty in the picture on a road trip.
I'm going to give you bonus tip two. Because I'm going to forget by the end, I want you to always cover the public toilet sensor because I'm pretty sure I didn't put this in here. Yeah, I didn't put this in my list. That one thing will ruin your public toilet pottytunity the experience permanently. You're not going to psychologically damage your baby, but you're going to traumatize them a little bit if the toilet flushes on their butt. Did you know that that has a name? If you look it up in an urban dictionary, it's the pupus interruptus, when the auto fledge toilet goes off on your butt when you are sitting on it. There is a name for it. It's crazy.
You know how I am, I'm an entrepreneur and I have an invention for that I'm going to be pre-selling to you guys really, really, really soon that is so amazing. It's fully developed. We're actually starting production already, and I'm going to be paid taking pre-orders on it. I can't tell you what it is, but it solves this possibility of your auto-flush going off on your baby's butt. Now, back to this. That's your bonus tip. You're going to put a little piece of toilet paper on top of the sensor so the eye can't see them. We never, ever, ever once want to risk that toilet going off on your baby because they will be afraid to use that potty for three or four years on any public toilet. My daughter Isadora is eight now. She's just now getting to where she feels comfortable going on public toilets. She just wouldn't go. And then you have problems if they won't go during a road trip, so let's get back to that topic. That was a bonus tip.
Number two, keep your potty in the car and use the bathroom in the car.
Some babies just aren't going to go in a public toilet or maybe you don't want to go in there because it's kind of gross. I have definitely pottied in the car a lot. I recommend it. You guys probably know this. Before and after shopping, whip out that potty. The Top Hat Potty you can use even with a two year old if you aim correctly if you've got a boy, but you really want to do it inside the car if possible. We'll talk about this in a second where we have everybody try at a stop. We want to do that in the car with the baby, if possible. If there's another adult there, then they can watch the baby while the rest of you go into the public toilet. But it's just a little bit easier to manage doing this in the toilet. And then what do I do with the pee if they pee in the potty in the car? Well, I always keep a Mini Potty in the car. I've gone in the Mini Potty in the car, maybe you have as well. That's interesting too. Sure, the car is pulled over. And if we're on the side of the road, there's grass, we're just going to dump that pee right into the grass. But what if it's poop? If it's poop, you're going to want to put it in a bag and you want to tie that bag up and then bring it to a trash can or to somewhere where you can... Think about if you had a dog and you picked up their poop with a bag. Where would you throw that? You wouldn't just leave it on the side of the road, so we're not going to do that either.
The other thing is, if you do the Potette Plus and you do it over the grass, then you don't have anything to dump. There are so many ways to do this, but we want to go potty in the car, pulled over obviously in a very... I wouldn't pull over on the side of the highway. It's super dangerous. Take the next exit ramp and go and find yourself somewhere safe to do this. That's tip number two.
Tip number three is use diaper backup as a tool during the trip. Will it hurt to say, "Go ahead and go in your diaper because we can't pull over right now?" No, it won't hurt your progress at all. Your baby will understand. I've had to do that with a nine month old baby who is already out of diapers. I put a diaper back on him in the car and said, "Well, you're going to have to use that because we can't pull over right now." Some babies are going to insist. They won't take it. They won't have it. You're going to be out of luck. You're going to have to pull over. But the cool thing is, you are supporting them as an individual and their dignity and their autonomy. In a way, spending 10 hours to go five hours is worth it and it's not going to be forever that you do this. Eventually they're going to be able to hold it the entire trip and you'll be like, "Wow. That was a tiny blip on the whole screen, the whole life of my baby in diapers." Yes, even with Isadora who was out of diapers at 13 months, telling me every time at 15 months, we went on lots of road trips between 14 months and 20 months, and I always put her in a diaper backup during those road trips. And then one day I just decided not to. Full permission granted, that's number three.
Number four, time your trip. You want to leave right after breakfast, if possible. Maybe after breakfast we do a little playtime, then we have our first snack at 10:00 AM, Then we get in the car. If your baby is still doing a morning nap, leave right after breakfast, then you will have a lot of your trip be nap time. If your baby is down to one nap a day in the afternoons, then you're going to want to leave right after lunch. If you time your trip to be during nap time, you're going to have a lot less pottytunities. When your baby wakes up from a nap, that's when you're going to offer. That's number four.
Number five, occupy them. Oh my gosh, you will have less, "Can I pee mama? I need to go pee," crying, wah, wah, wah, if you occupy your child with either constant snacks or tiny snacks that take a long time to eat or entertainment. Now, I personally don’t show movies to my kids, but once a week, and usually it's Little House on the Prairie, and I try to do things that are not going to influence them culturally. I think there's a lot of stuff out there right now that's really dangerous to watch. I try not to. My exception is on a road trip. I got these Kindle Fires for all of them. Yes, my youngest is three. If you've got a baby, obviously you're not going to want to stick them in front of a screen. But you know what? Try it out. And if it works and it helps you and it keeps them occupied and you only do it during that road trip to and from your house, wow, that is going to make a lot less questions, a lot less I need a pottytunity and a lot more smooth and stress-free drive.
It's so important for you to be able to focus on the road when you're driving, and it can be a much more pleasant trip if you just use screens as a tool, only as a tool. I won't tell anybody if you want to do that. I definitely do it. We're about to go to Georgia, then we're going to go to South Carolina, then we're going to go to Georgia again to go to the beach three times this summer. I have the Kindle Fires in the closet. I will bring them out for that. You can download the video straight to it, and then have them watch what you've chosen for them. They're not connected to the internet. They're not apps. They're not games and none of that stuff. But honestly, whatever works for you. We've also had the full on seat back trays that have all the drawing stuff and the crayons and everything else. You can do that too. Whatever keeps them occupied. I definitely overfeed snacks during road trips, because again, I really want my kids to be really chill during a trip because it stresses me out. I'm very sensitive to sounds. It stresses me out and makes it a dangerous trip if they're not occupied. And they just ask to go pee less. That's number five.
Number six, know your child's timing and assess the seriousness of signals. Your child will play with you. We'll say they need to go. They need to go, but really they just want to get out of the car. And honestly, so do you probably want to get out of the car, but we need to stick with it. How do we decide if they're just playing with us, they're just toying with us. Oh, they can't possibly need to go again. We literally just stopped 15 minutes ago. Know if they did a full poop or not on your last exit of the car. Know what their usual natural timing is. Maybe they go every 45 minutes. Okay, it's only been five minutes. Okay, honey, we'll just wait a little while and here's a snack, and just to delay that you know that they don't really need to go really until every 45 minutes. Again, a child will not hold it if it hurts, so they're going to release it. Another wonderful thing to do, and I don't think I have this in here, is to protect your car seat so you don't have a massive cleanup to do. I have these wonderful Waterproof Pads from Tiny Undies that I sell and just fold that a couple times, twice. Stick it in the bottom of their car seat, and that's bonus tip number two.
All right, so let's see one, two, three, four, five, six, seven. Everybody tries to go potty at every stop. If you have a teenager and your grandpa and your two month old daughter and your husband, everybody tries at every road trip stop. Now, I'm mostly talking about if you have multiple children and your eight year old will say, "I don't need to go," and your baby just went and it's great and you're just like, "Well, we're not going to stop again." With a four year old, a five year old, a six year old, a seven year old, they're not going to understand the concept of time, which drives me nuts. How can you not understand yet how long a minute is? But they just can't. Let's say we're not going to stop again for the length of a full length movie, so they know that that's a really long time, but we don't even have a conversation about it. We all go in. Everybody tries. I want to hear some pee from all of you if they're under 10 years old, if they're under eight years old. If they're eight and up, usually they're just entering that logical stage. They know whether or not they need to go. But even then, my 11 year old sometimes will say he doesn't have to go, and then he'll be like, "Oh mom, I gotta go right now." We want everybody to try at every stop.
Number eight, everybody will pee before we leave the house, including mommy. Ooh, I have bonus tip number three. Bonus tip number three is whoever is driving or in the passenger seat, all the adults, please don't drink tea and coffee to keep yourself awake during the trip. If you're okay with drinking one of these, get an extra strength 5-Hour Energy. It's for when you're tired, but you're not thirsty. You're not going to be filling your bladder with all this caffeine and dehydrating yourself. 5-Hour Energy, I will drink half of one for two hours. And then two hours into the trip, I'll drink half a five-hour Energy, and then I'll drink the other half two hours later if I still need it. What I find is that it helps me not to have to be the one who is like, "Oh, I got to pee so bad and all my kids are napping." You've got three kids napping in the back and you're the one who has to pee, you're in trouble. That's bonus tip number three. Didn't realize I have so many bonuses, but hey, I told you I do this a lot of times.
My tip number nine to solve potty resistance during a road trip, the basis of all eight so far is you be prepared and they will be less resistant. You be matter of fact and they will be less resistant. I hope that makes sense. Number nine is to drop all expectations of catching a single thing. Your stress, because you expect to catch pees like you do at home, or you need to catch a poop or a pee in order to make this throw trip a success and you're perfectionist like I am, all that stress is going to cause resistance. An auto-flush going off will cause resistance. Not having the right potty seat will cause resistance. Not offering at the right time will cause resistance. When they're toying with you about a signal and they just want to get out of the car seat. They're going to be resistant to the potty because they actually don't need to go. Making this happen right after a baby wakes up from a nap, you're going to have potty resistance because they're going to be grumpy and they won't want to be in the car.
Number nine is super important, just drop all your expectations, drop the bar to the ground. I know it's embarrassing. I know you become ashamed or you feel guilty about not being a good enough mom or dad when things hit the fan, but nobody's watching except for yourself. Just take a deep breath, don't expect to catch anything, use that diaper backup. Because if you're not using a diaper backup, or you don't have the car seat protected and they're super relaxed and they go in it, you are going to be stressed.
You're going to have so much resistance just because of your mood being so negative during the road trip. And honestly, going on a road trip shouldn't be stressful. Going on vacation shouldn't be stressful. I know that oftentimes mine have been when I've been holding onto the wheel too hard and have too high of expectations on myself and my children. I'm a single mom. I've got five children. I've really learned a lot about what to let go of and what to make sure to get.
Hopefully these nine tips to solving potty resistance during a road trip by being prepared and having a very matter of fact attitude and just having the plan and sticking with it. If you have a husband or a wife or a partner that you're traveling with, be on the same page about these things. Go through all of this. Make some notes and go, "Okay, this is our plan to tackle how to potty during the road trip to reduce the possibility of resistance." I really hope that was helpful for you.
And that's all I have to say about that. You guys can check out the show notes at godiaperfree.com/189, and I will link to everything I mentioned in today's episode. Thank you so much and we'll see you next time.
Thanks so much for listening. This is the Go Diaper Free podcast at godiaperfree.com. We'll see you next time.
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About Andrea Olson
I'm Andrea and I spend most of my time with my 6 children (all under 10 yo) and the rest of my time teaching other new parents how to do Elimination Communication with their 0-18 month babies. I love what I do and try to make a difference in one baby or parent's life every single day. (And I love, love, love, mango gelato.)
I actually see the opposite: potty resistance for my kids is usually at home. Out in public, they go easily. At home, it seems like they just plain are too busy having fun to pause. My 3 year old has taken to “But I didn’t pee in my undies!” When I catch a cue and tell him it’s time to go to the bathroom. 🤷🏼♀️🤦🏼♀️😂 My just-turned 2-gear old is my first EC/potty before 1 baby where I didn’t give up after a week or two, and she has a tendency to tell me she needs to go when we’re out and about, but at home, she only tells me once she’s wet. 🤷🏼♀️
Well hey, Yay for communication! You got this momma!