Potty Training for Active Families: Our Basic Steps

{Second post in a series on potty training for active families}

We’re active.  Even when we’re not traveling somewhere, we’re off exploring our local area whether that’s just getting exercise through walking, hiking, and biking, getting things done around town, rooting for our favorite home teams, or participating in community events.  We like to get out.  

Because of this lively lifestyle that we love, visions of serious potty training terrified us.  Yes, we wanted so badly to be rid of the diapers.  However, the thought of being homebound for a even a few days or a weekend was paralyzing.  We dreaded it.  Those 3-day potty boot camps (as much as we wanted to be over with quick) just wouldn’t work for us. 

So we took our time and figured out an approach that worked for us and allowed us to continue our adventurous lifestyle with just a few changes.  

For this second post in the series, I’m sharing the basic steps we took toward getting our son Bergen (2.5 years old) potty trained during the day.  To learn more about the potty training necessities we bring along in our backpack when leaving the house for training on-the-go, check out the first post of the series.  Also stay tuned for tips and helpful practices that have come in handy for us along the way.

Potty Training for Active Families: Our Basic Steps | WildTalesof.com

1. Lots of practice at home and on the road.

For several months before taking the training on the road, Bergen used the bathroom at home beginning with a small training potty, and then moving up to the potette plus potty that fits right over the toilet seat.  We would practice and ask him if he needed to go sporadically throughout the day, but made a routine of going before and after naps, and before and after bedtime. To be clear, he was still in diapers.

Once was comfortable using the potty at home, we brought the potty along with us on trips so that we could continue practice in our “home away from home”.  Since we travel frequently, it was important to us to remain as consistent as possible so that we wouldn’t have too much backtracking when returning home.

2. Find a window of opportunity and get serious.

During our trip to the Carolinas, I noticed a change in Bergen.  He was beginning to see that he had control over his bodily “systems”.  Not only was he gaining a lot of confidence, but I gained confidence as a potty training mom by watching my nephew in the middle stages of training.  Seeing his success (and learning a few tips from my sister), made me realize that:

  • Bergen was ready! No need to hold him back because of our anxiety.
  • Potty Training wasn’t so scary!

Consequently, knowing we had more than a month until our next trip, I decided to get serious about potty training as soon as we returned.  On that first morning back (late April), I put Bergen in underwear, and we haven’t turned back since.

3. Equipped with key supplies, get on your way! 

With just a few necessities for each outing, we went along with our regular routine.  Visits to the park, attending sporting events, and just generally running errands around town continued.  Knowing we wanted our active lifestyle to remain, we made sure not to let fear or anxiety take over and just stay home, even though it would have been easier.

On the morning of the very first day, we walked to the park (with travel potty, etc. in tow).  After playing for a bit, Bergen used the potty in a private area of the park (thanks to the disposable liners) and we continued on with the outing.  This success gave both of us confidence to continue.

4. Provide bathroom breaks frequently. 

In the beginning, probably for the first 2 1/2-3 weeks, we made a habit of bringing Bergen to the bathroom every 30 to 45 minutes.  Yes, this was tedious, but over time, the time between bathroom breaks grew and grew.  Were there still accidents? Of course, but we were prepared with a fresh set of clothes and towels and wipes for clean-up.  I learned the hard way how important it is to make sure Bergen has gone to the bathroom before he begins a round of focused (child-centered) play.

At this point (about 2.5 months in), we don’t fret as much, and while we do bring him to the bathroom out of routine, he often tells us when he needs to go.  Most of the time,  a suitable bathroom is close by and we can use the travel potty over the seat.  In a pinch, we’ll set up the travel potty in the back of the car and use one of the disposable liners.

5. Be patient, positive & Don’t Give Up.  

I’ll be honest, after a few accidents occurred over the course of one day, I was ready to throw in the towel (or throw the diapers back on).  Thankfully, my husband (Slaed) remained positive and provided the encouragement necessary to keep us going.

I realized, yes, I can be disappointed in Bergen when he has an accident, but getting mad isn’t going to help and it certainly won’t move him along in his independence.  Many accidents, not all, but many, could have been prevented with some foresight on my part.  We made mistakes, took mental notes, and adjusted accordingly.  It’s a learning process for everyone.

We had faith he could do it, believed in him, and tried our best not to show any doubt we may have had.  We didn’t give up!

Share your potty training wisdom and experience. What was an important step in getting your children potty trained? Or for those with kids not yet trained, what fears do you have?

Stay tuned. Next week, I’ll share specific tips that have helped us in Bergen’s potty training journey.  

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7 thoughts on “Potty Training for Active Families: Our Basic Steps

  1. We potty trained z while on the road and did pretty much what you did except we didn’t have a portable
    Potty (boy that would have been nice though).
    I think the key component of potty training any child is that the child is ready (showing signs that they are ready… Not just a specific age), has had dry diapers through the night for some time, and once you put on those underpants you don’t ever use diapers again. 🙂
    I love this series you are doing, I think many others will find it very helpful!

    • Thanks so much for your comment, Jennifer! Yes, love that you pointed out–when the child is ready. We would have just been spinning our wheels if B wasn’t on board! 🙂 Totally agree with no more diapers too–we thought about it for road trips, but I just think it would have been confusing for him.

      Thanks again!

  2. Good luck on the potty training. I remember my daughter being really scared of autoflush toilets. I”d have to cover up the motion detector with one hand and try to help her get her pants back on with the other hand. Finally, she started accepting them when we would both just Roar back like crazy at the toilet as it was flushing. I’m sure the other folks in bathroom thought we were crazy.

    • That’s great! Yes, B is a little taken aback by the autoflushers–I like the roaring technique–that would be fun to try 🙂 He also hates the loud hand dryers and always declares, “No Bergen need that.”
      Thanks so much, Michele!

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