We unexpectedly found ourselves potty training a two year old and camping all in the same weekend (you can read about that here). Really poor planning on our part, right? It turns out it was really, pretty easy and we feel it shouldn’t be a deterrent from getting outside with your kids.
Back when we potty trained with the girl, we took this stance: we decided to wait. A Really. Long. Time.
We decided we would not potty train her until she was really, really ready. I mean asking to use the big potty. We were lucky to have the luxury of time. Our preschool didn’t require potty trained kiddos and The Missus is a part time stay at home mom so we didn’t have day care issues. It worked really well for The Girl and we did not feel like we had any major day time potty battles with this approach. She was ready to potty train one month before her third birthday and it took about a week of timed bathroom breaks (every 30 minutes), lots of undie changes, and some patience from The Missus. Nighttime potty training was a different story. That didn’t really happen until she was almost four.
We decided to take the same approach with The Boy. And low and behold, about three weeks before his third birthday he decided he was ready. Of course this was right when The Missus went back to teaching after summer break, right when we were breaking in a new babysitter, and right before a camping trip. The Missus thought that she would hold off until we got back from camping. The Boy had other ideas. As soon as he saw his big boy underwear he was not having anything to do with a diaper. So camping and potty training was going to happen. Period.
Here is what we found to be most helpful for camping with a potty training two year old.
Nine Tips for Potty Training While Camping
1. Bring your own potty. We found that clean up was easy. The Boy did not want to always use the big potty. When that was the case, we would sit him on his training potty. And yes – this sometimes happened in the middle of the campsite. When we was done, The Missus would dump the waste in a diaper and clean the potty with Clorox. It kept everything contained and cut down on the gross factor.
2. Bring a lot of spare clothes and undies. This includes socks and a few extra pairs of shoes.
3. Have baby wipe, hand sanitizer, and Clorox wipes on hand.
The Clorox wipes are to clean and sterilize the training potty.
4. Don’t try to nighttime potty train. Who wants to deal with wet sleeping bags?
5. Plan lots of potty breaks. We would not leave camp until The Boy went potty. We tried to be patient and give him time to sit on his potty. Letting him go before we left helped cut down on accidents. We asked him to go and encouraged him to try with lots of positive language.
8. Offer incentives. We don’t offer treats for going pee in the potty. Just lots of praise. We do like to give a treat for bigger business, because this often requires more patience by both the parent and child. Plus, this skill is sometimes harder for kids to grasp. When They Boy went poo in the potty we rewarded him (and The Girl because that’s how it goes around here) with a gummy worm.
7. Diapers in the car. For longer car rides we did opt for the diaper. There is nothing worse than trying to clean a car seat when you are on the road. We encouraged bathroom breaks and told The Boy it was just for the car ride. As soon as we got to our destination, the big boy undies could go back on.
8. Bring a few plastic bags. Just in case there is an accident, you will want a way to store it without smelling up the car and camp.
9. Be patient. I know this can be difficult with schedules and agendas, but camping should be fun and it really is a way for us to slow life down a bit. Take your time with your potty training child. If you don’t get to everything you wanted to on this trip, don’t fret. It is a perfect reason to start planning your return visit.