Wednesday, February 11, 2015

How to potty train your child while at Disney World

When E started showing interest in using the potty, I was elated.  I love cloth diapers but, let's face it, getting your kid out of diapers is the ultimate goal.  E was just about 22-months-old when he tackled the potty and, soon after, I wrote this post about our humorous start to potty training. What I hadn't planned was that daycare would be so zealously behind our new adventure and that E would be potty training so quickly!  Just about 1-month after he initiated potty training, we were leaving for our first family vacation to Disney World.  I was torn--should we try to potty train at Disney?  Should we just throw our hands up and let E regress during the trip?   I turned to the internet to see what other moms had done, but there was a surprising lack of info about "how to potty train your child at Disney World." Boo.  So we were on our own and I'll share what we did and how it seemed to work out.

  • What not to do: buy a travel potty chair
 Well, this was exactly what we did before leaving for Disney.  I bought a fold-up potty seat that looked the like ultimate, must-have item for potty training your child while on the go.  We tried it a few times before the trip and my son refused to sit on it.  The seat was a total failure and, although we brought it on the trip, I didn't even bother trying to get him to use it.  There may be some cool travel potty chairs out there, but if you are traveling by airplane then you'll need something compact and easy to clean.  Don't get suckered into something gimmicky.

  • Practice, practice, practice and practice with an adult-sized potty
 Instead of getting sucked into the travel potty chairs, help your child figure out how to use a regular potty without the use of potty seats and training aids.  This can be a bit miserable because, if your child is like mine, he got really used to the kiddy-sized seat accessory that fits on a toilet.  Forgoing the kiddy seat resulted in lots of tantrums at our house.  Since my son associated the kiddy seat with our upstairs bathroom, I started taking him to use the potty downstairs and without the kiddy seat.  We also practiced while we were outside of the house on errands.  Warning, if you have a little boy it takes some practice for both parent and child to figure out how to get pee inside the toilet and not all over pants and unsuspecting bystanders (I joke, sort of).  My son is still too young to stand and pee, so practicing a week before our trip was critical to figuring out all the nuances of making this work.
  • Let your kiddo decide
One thing I didn't want to do was to pressure my son into using the potty while at Disney World.  I wanted it to be his idea, so I planned that we were going to regress during the trip.  After all, Disney is filled with lots of activity and I didn't know how he was going to handle the new experiences of the trip.  I brought a package of diapers along and kept a diaper on E at all times--that way if he had an accident, it would be absorbed by the diaper.  This was less stressful for everyone.  We visited restrooms often to "check" to see if anyone needed to go potty.  My daughter (4 years old) sometimes accompanied us into a large bathroom stall and was great at encouraging E to try the potty.  It helps to have an older sibling for some peer pressure!  If your child is completely fighting using the potty at Disney World and she is pretty new to potty training, don't force it.  If you have an older child who should have potty training mostly figured out already, then sometimes a gentle reminder can help him remember what is expected.
  • Make sure your child is hydrated
 If your child has not urinated in over three hours and insists she doesn't need to go, she could be dehydrated.  Disney involves a lot of walking and it can be intense for a young child.  Try to keep your child hydrated and always carry a water bottle just for your kids.  You can refill water bottles at drinking fountains near the restrooms or at many quick-service food stations.

  • Forgive accidents and celebrate achievements
 Shockingly, we had no accidents during the entire week of the trip and no wet diapers (besides naps and overnight).  I made sure to tell E what an awesome job he was doing every time he used the potty.  We were so proud of him!

Tell me about your Disney potty training success story (or hilarious failure).  What additional tips do you have for potty training while on the go?

1 comment:

  1. I think "plan for regression" is probably the best advice. Sounds like your no-pressure tactics were great too. Glad it went so we'll for you!