Potty Training and Travel

Just when you have overcome the trials of endless sleepless nights, watched your child take their first tentative steps, marvelled at their vocabulary with their first words and convinced them that some vegetables are worth chewing and swallowing you are not only hurtled into the world of the toddler tantrum but also I would dare to bet the one bit of raising a toddler almost all parents dread – potty training.

We started Master ATWWAH relatively late at this, at about 33 months (not long off his third birthday in other words).  And I do think that starting him later worked for us.  And although he has picked it all up relatively quickly there is still the worry when you head out of the house for any great period of time that he could need a loo and there isn’t one around.  So, I thought I’d put together a list of suggestions for anyone about to embark on any sort of travel with a child no longer in nappies/pull ups.

I hasten to add that I’m no parenting expert and those who have made lots of money out of books and TV series may disagree with some of the following but it seems to have worked for us.  Feel free to add any comments/tips on what works for you when travelling with a little one.

Avoid introducing potty training when you’re on holiday.  There is a logic to thinking if your offspring is going to be running around half dressed in the sunshine with your full attention without the usual minutiae of real life interrupting your day you can really concentrate on potty training.  But, unfamiliar surroundings probably aren’t the best place to potty train and although it may work on holiday as soon as you get home all your good work could go out of the window as real life resumes.  And, lets face it, do you really want to spend your time potty training when you can be discovering new places or sunbathing with a cocktail?

So, potty training has started and you can make it to the shops, nursery and park without too much fuss.  If I know we’ll be out for awhile I do tend to still take a travel potty with me which can fit under the pram for emergencies.  Although having a little boy means if you know they only want a wee then if you’re in a park you can go behind a tree or something.

We use the Potette Plus Fold Away Travel Potty which can be easily converted into a toilet seat too by moving the legs out.  It folds away into a drawstring bag and comes with three disposable liners (you can buy more) so you don’t even need to clean the potty while you’re out, just get rid of the disposable liner which hooks around the potty legs and then can be tied up neatly.  I also encourage Master ATWWAH to stand up and use it aiming at the frogs on the disposable liner.


Potette Plus Travel Potty & Trainer Seat

The one downside is it’s quite a bit smaller than regular at home potties so can take a bit of getting used to and it’s quite close to the ground too, whereas some other potties are higher up.  Master ATWWAH has the Baby Bjorn at home, the throne of potties in my opinion.  But I do think the Potette Plus one is the best travel potty about as it’s easy to transport and hygienic.

But for longer journeys I do something which all the books say you shouldn’t – I put Master ATWWAH in a pull-up and explain why to him.  I don’t make a big fuss I just say we’re going to be in the car on the motorway for quite awhile and if he needs the toilet he should say but if we can’t get to a toilet in time he is fine to do it in his pull up.  Lots of parenting experts would be aghast and I’ve even read in a book that if you can’t get to a service station on the motorway just pull up on the hard shoulder with a travel potty.  Really???  Because I don’t think I’d be able to go to the loo, no matter how desperate, at the side of a busy British motorway with all the noise and traffic.  It’s not exactly the safest option out there is it?

As soon as we get to our destination the pull-up comes off and we put underpants back on.  Master ATWWAH doesn’t give it a second thought and admittedly most of the time he’s totally dry but I’d hate for him to have an accident in his car seat because we couldn’t make it to the services on time and then he sits there all wet.

If we’re going on a day trip with a short drive we usually keep him in his underpants and as soon as we get there he sits in the boot or on the car park on his potty, without having to worry about finding the public loos on arrival.

On a plane journey I would probably risk staying in underpants but only if he’d been to the toilet just before boarding.  Anyone who has taken a baby on a plane knows the benefits of changing nappies while you’re still in the airport at the departure gate so it’s not a new habit to get into.  If you really don’t think your little one would be able to wait while the plane is taking off/landing and the seatbelt signs are on then just take a pull up to pop them in.  You can always take it off again once the plane is in the air.  None of us want to be in the situation of the US mum who got into trouble for cleaning up her daughter who had an accident as she couldn’t go to the toilet on the plane despite the plane still being on the tarmac.

And regardless of whether it’s the car, train, plane or any other mode of transport you can think of, little ones are often cautious about ‘new toilets’.  Most public toilets are adult sized so there could be some reservations about using ‘big’ toilets.  Travel potties that convert into loo seats are a good idea to use and should help with this concern.  But I have noticed Master ATWWAH isn’t always comfortable in public loos – they are often pretty dirty, hot and noisy.

I’m a big believer in doing whatever makes your life that bit easier, especially when travelling, so listen to your gut instinct.  And, this part of their development doesn’t last too long as they get better at waiting until a toilet is available and telling you when they need to go so you have time to find a loo.  It’s all good fun…….




  1. Oooh this is perfect – some great tips as potty training is not too far off for us. I’m not sure exactly when but my daughter is two next month, so I’ve already started looking at travel versions and wondering if we might start before the summer is up to take advantage of fewer layers.

  2. Good luck with the potty training and let me know if you find any other useful products for potty training and travel.

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