Potty Training Kids on the Road RVing & Camping

How to potty train kids when camping or vacationing in an RV?

Potty training waits for no man or child; even when you’re away from home, you’ll want to continue potty training your kids. Here are some guidelines on how to do just that.

As one of the hallmarks of parenting, potty training can be a lot more challenging when you take it on the road. When you’re training your child at home, you have the advantage of familiarity and the ability to control everything. However, when you’re camping or off in an RV, it can be quite difficult to keep the discipline needed for potty training.

Top tips for potty training when on the road:

  • Do not start potty training right before a long trip, it’s probably better to wait.
  • Pack more extra clothes than past trips (before potty training started).
  • Pack training pants and wipes.
  • Bring your own potty training seat with you, preferably one your child has already been using for some time and is comfortable using.
  • If you are planning to be out camping, it’s definitely worth considering a pop-up camping privacy tent. This can help take some of the stress away (less stage fright) and give your child a private space.

Why continue?

The big question that a lot of people ask is why keep on potty training while on vacation. It’s a vacation, after all. Wouldn’t it be okay to let the young children keep their diapers while they are away from home?

The answer to that question is a big “no”. Toilet training usually starts at around 22 to 30 months of age. Some children are different though, and may start later. You’ll need to be careful about timing since if you start too early, then it will be a lot more difficult because toilet training needs to happen when your child has developed the ability to control their bowels. This usually means they have a regular bowel movement and that they often have a dry diaper for longer than two hours. This is an important time and you need to teach them the basics now.

A child is considered potty-trained when they can climb onto the toilet and manage to use the toilet with little help. They may need a bit of wiping done until they’re a few years older, but they should be fine by then. However, to reach this milestone can be very difficult.

The average time it takes for toilet training is around 3 months. That can be a pretty long time as you try to assist your child to learn the basic of potty training. As experience shows, regularity and habit are part of the learning process. Stopping potty training while on a trip may seem convenient, but in the long run, it will be a problem.

Children are still developing their brains and, until something has become a habit, you can bet that they will forget your lessons. When you return from your vacation, you will most likely need to start from the beginning. Going in the other direction and trying to rush things will cause behavioral problems.

If you don’t want to spend half a year training your child to go to the toilet and accompanying him, then you’ll need to put in the effort to continue your potty training.

The challenges

It is easier said than done though. One of the big problems when traveling is the facilities. When you’re camping or staying in an RV, then you may have problems finding a toilet. An RV is easier since they sometimes have portable toilets. However, when you’re in the field camping or if your RV has a very compact toilet, it will be hard to get your child potty trained.

It is not just the presence of toilets that’s the problem. Children who are potty training like the familiarity of their home toilets. When you take them to another toilet, especially those in public places like in airports, restaurants, and more, they may find themselves uncomfortable.

Fortunately, it is possible to be able continue your potty training with the following tips.

How to answer them

When faced without any facilities, it is best to bring your own. There are quite a few portable toilets specifically designed for children. A travel potty chair has the child sit in it to do their business, and a disposable bag. It should be easy to just throw away the disposal bag when you’re done.

The great thing about travel potty chairs for children is that they can fit anywhere. They’re all pretty light and cheap; you can easily set it up and fold it away when done.

However, while away from any resting spot or while on the go, you won’t have time to do so. This is why it’s okay for your child to wear diapers. You will need to explain to your child that this is a special occasion though. This is especially important if you’re on the road for hours. A 6-hour car ride should be reason enough to return to diapers for a while.

When there are actual toilets available, you should choose to use them. This teaches your child that they need to use the toilet wherever they are. The main difference with normal potty training is that you will be doing all of this in public and in an unfamiliar place.

This can be a challenge since some children may find the toilet frightening. It’s large, it’s noisy, and some children freak out when they experience the automatic flusher.

That’s why you’ll want to join them in the stall when they do their business. If you have one, a portable toilet set meant for children would be very useful; if you don’t have one then you will most likely need to hold on to your child while they sit on the larger toilet bowl. You’ll also need to help wipe them and reassure them that they are doing fine.

All of these can be pretty stressful for children. To compensate for that, you need to be as encouraging and as patient as possible. Try to calm them down if they are uncomfortable, since this can affect their performance. Their progress might be stunted if they ever feel too stressed.

To help with this, you should continue any reward program that you developed with them. For example, you can give them specific travel rewards for their potty attempts. A sticker for every time they properly do it can help a lot.

Finally, you’ll want to be ready for accidents. Always plan for the worst; this means having a change of clothes ready and having covers for your car seats. You’ll appreciate not ending up cleaning up a messy car later. You should also have children wear elastic pants or skirts so that they can easily do their business. With the right approach, you should be able to keep your child on the potty training path.

Speaking of RV toilets, make sure you are using the right kind of toilet paper for your RV that will not clog up the toilet or put undue stress on your system.