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Potty Training: Are You Ready to Go Public?

By Jill Brennan

You’ve done a lot of the hard work and potty training is now going well. To get things running smoothly you’ve been staying home and it’s been working. You’ve got a good system happening between the two of you and there have been relatively few accidents in recent days. You’re even starting to feel like this potty training thing is no big deal.

You wonder whether maybe it’s time to head out, to move beyond the safety of home. However, you know that potty training at home is very different to potty training in the big wide world but you aren’t sure how different and what to do to prepare yourself and educate your child on what to expect.

Just because it’s new and perhaps a bit intimidating, you can’t stay home forever. No really, you can’t! Of course, it’s tempting to put them in pull ups so you won’t have to worry about any potential accidents. The only problem is that it isn’t really sending your child the right message about the path ahead.

You know that your child can go for at least an hour in between potty visits so if you time it right you might be able to get there and back within the hour. Well, maybe. But bladders, especially children’s bladders, aren’t always like that. You know what it’s like when you get excited or nervous, you need to go to the bathroom more. Your child is like that too, only they can’t hold on like you can. So you may well find that your child needs to go more when they are out, not less.

So what can you do?
1. Explain to your child what will happen when you are out, how it will likely be different from home and any concerns you may have.

2. Get them to go, or at least try to go potty before you leave.

3. Find out where the toilets are as soon as you get wherever you are going and go straight away. It’s much easier doing this calmly before they really need it than in the rush of a sudden urge.

4. If you’re out in public, as you move around always be on the lookout for those tell-tale bathroom signs so you know exactly which direction you should head if you need to.

5. If you don’t have a portable potty with you, try getting your child to sit backwards on a regular toilet – some children find this easier because they have the wall or toilet cistern to hold onto and don’t feel like they are going to fall off the seat on to the floor.

6. Take some spare clothing, a couple of plastic bags, and some baby wipes and paper towels with you in case of accidents.

7. If they have an accident in a shop or restaurant – let the staff know and race to the bathroom with your child. Sure it is embarrassing but you won’t be the first. All you can really do is apologise – quickly – and leave a big tip.

8. If your child has an accident at a friend’s house then it’s your responsibility to clean it up. Best to take your own paper towels so you can quickly spring into action without having to ask for everything and make it a big deal.

9. Don’t forget to take your sense of humour – accidents or not, you’re going to need it. There may be several false alarms with your child wanting to find out what happens when they say the magic trigger word. If you feel this is happening, try not to get upset with them. Instead try praising them for telling you and being so responsible about their potty training, even though you know it’s not easy.

Good luck!

About The Author
Find more information on how to handle potty training road blocks and what other potty training sites won’t tell you, visit
Potty Training. There you will find the advice and resources you need to succeed with potty training in the long term.

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