Handle Potty Training When You're Not Home

A young boy flushing a toilet
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When you're out and about, chances are, your child will have to use the potty at some point. You don't want the progress you've been making in potty training to be hampered, but it will take some extra effort.

Potty training on the go is a little bit like being a Boy Scout. No matter what your method is, you've got to be prepared.

Try to get your child to use the bathroom before setting out on your trip, and make sure you've got everything you could possibly need before heading out the door. More clothes are better than not enough, and never leave the wipes at home.

Here's how you can be prepared for different situations. Most importantly, don't forget to exercise the same patience while out with your child that you do when potty training at home.


When shopping, some children are afraid of using the big potty. It's loud in there, the toilet is large, the flusher is loud—who can blame them?

You can help by bringing along a seat that fits in the regular toilet. This can be large and cumbersome, but since the diaper bag isn't full of a lot of diaper paraphernalia anymore, chances are you can find a seat that will work.

Try kneeling beside your child while they are sitting and hold their hand or their body if they seem scared about slipping in. Or, you can sit as far back on the toilet as you can, and then put your child in front of you.

You never know when potty emergencies while shopping may actually work to your advantage. If your child loves a toy store, he may be reluctant to leave rather than giving in and using the public restroom. This can be a breakthrough for using the potty.

Visiting Friends or Family

When visiting friends, you've have a little more flexibility. You can bring a potty chair along as well as any dolls and books your child might enjoy while going to the bathroom.

Just make sure you outfit your child with plastic pants or even pull-ups if you have a friend who is uncomfortable with accidents on furniture or floors.

Make sure to explain to your hosts how you handle accidents and ask that they try to maintain a positive atmosphere for your child. Ask about any special bathroom issues.

Is the toilet very loud? Is the toilet paper hard to reach from the toilet? Is the light easily accessible? Does the toilet have any problems flushing?


There are some great potty chairs available for road trips. There's an inflatable potty (Inflate-a-Potty) that uses regular trash bags for liners.

You can pull over and go right there if you're not close to a gas station or rest stop. These chairs are inexpensive enough to equip every vehicle you own. Make sure you have changes of clothing and wipes handy just in case.

Concerts, Fairs, and Other Events

The inflatable potty will certainly work for these situations too, and there's also a chair that folds up like a suitcase that your child can carry if you already have a load of stuff to carry.

1 Source
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  1. Nemours KidsHealth. Toilet training.

By Stephanie Brown
Stephanie Brown is a parenting writer with experience in the Head Start program and in NAEYC accredited child care centers.