Potty training and going out

“Ballerinas don’t wear diapers*” – said Z. and never agreed to wear a diaper again.

2 days later she knew she has to go to the potty if she doesn’t want her dress and ballet shoes ruined. Yey! I really had little to do with what happened (apart from gentle introduction to the potty from when she was around 1 year old).

With potty at home it was all clear but how to go outside? Keep the nappy? No nappy? We went out with nappy twice and I quickly figured it doesn’t make any sense. I have to try and see, we can always go back to wearing diapers outside, right?

Potty training and going out… Was it stressful? Yes! I was so afraid! A wet accident is a horrible experience.

Here’s a list of helping tips:

1. Before going out, always ask the child to use the toilet.

2. Plan your outing ahead, anticipate. For example – I go to the grocery store first (no toilet) and then to the park and playground (trees, bushes). When out for a long time plan a bar/restaurant/gas station/mall/clean public toilet.

3. Avoid ballet costumes or be smarter than me and buy leotards that have buttons at the bottom… Otherwise you have to undress your child completely, even if it’s a cold morning in the middle of February.

4. Frequently ask whether they need to go to the bathroom. When busy and happy they can forget and tell you at the last minute. Try to be near a pee-friendly spot around the time they might need a bathroom, you’ll safe yourself some running and you’ll save your kid peeing on the sidewalk with people staring, pointing and making comments.

5. Observe. Talking too fast? Not being able to focus? These, and many other, are signs of a child in a desperate need of emptying their bladder. Holding urine is unhealthy, it should be avoided.

6. Control amounts they drink outside. Simple as that.

7. ALWAYS have clothes for change – underwear, pants/tights, top. And a pull-up (in case there is nowhere to pee, you may have time to put the nappy on this one time!)

8. A small travel potty. Small enough to fit under your pram and easy to set. There’s always a chance it will be rejected without explanation. I don’t have one but know people who swear by it’s utility.

9. Trust your kid. If they say they have to go, they have to go. No questioning. Think of the nearest bush/tree/private place and run.

10. Don’t test them. I once asked Z if she can hold it till we’re home (less than 10 minutes). She said she would. She couldn’t. She came home in wet ballet dress, wet tights and wet wellies (yep, if ballerina wants to jump in a muddy ballet she MUST wear her boots). She was sad and confused. I hope she forgot.

11. If your kid is always informing you at the very last minute, or being wet too often, and point nr 4 is not working, – put that diaper back, at least when you’re out. It’s not a defeat, it’s not a setback. It’s being respectful of your child’s abilities and saving him and you stressful and negative situations.

12. Don’t be afraid to go back to diapers full time. It might happen. It’s not shameful. Not a big deal really. When they’re not ready or for some reason they regress, better to go back for a while than force anything. I promise you, they won’t go to school wearing diapers, we all grew out of them somehow.

13. Respect your child’s privacy. Have you noticed how many kids hide to poo, while still wearing a diaper? Z used to shut the door to her room and would not let anyone in. I know a boy who would hide behind a curtain and a girls who would always turn her back on everyone to feel alone and private. It’s not modern world, internet or the global village that made us feel better in the toilet alone. It’s not a taboo thing either. If the small kids feel the need to poo in private than it must be an instinct, right? So, please respect it. If they have to pee/poo in public, find the most private place, a place you would use for yourself. Kids have the right to privacy.

Following above guidelines will hopefully keep you safe from being responsible for the pee in the middle of the park, where kids sit, roll, play, kick a ball, do picnics. Accident do happens, sure! But let’s minimize the risk. It may be a really bad experience for some kids, and a stressful one for parents.