My wife and I recently returned from a long vacation with our two young children. I use the word “vacation” lightly, though. As any parent knows, traveling with a child of any age can be tiring and stressful and yet, relaxing at the same time (usually when the kids are asleep).
Potty training while traveling and vacationing can be challenging. There are new and exciting things to see and do, bathrooms are not always nearby (if we even know where one is), and normal routines get thrown out the window. Thankfully, my almost 5-year-old daughter made it through our 10-day trip without an accident, but there were some close moments.
The Challenges of Potty Training While Traveling
My daughter has all but mastered potty training during the daylight hours. She knows when she has to go to the bathroom, tells us when she needs to go, and if we are somewhere familiar, can find the toilet. We are still trying to potty train her at night, however. We have found out she still needs a diaper when she goes to bed at night or takes a nap.
That was actually one thing my wife and I did not adequately prepare for ahead of time. On our plane ride to our vacation spot, my daughter fell asleep in her seat without a diaper. We didn’t think to put a diaper on her because it was still daytime, and she fights us when she has to put on a diaper at night.
Instead of waking her, disturbing both her nap and our peace, we decided to just let her sleep. We do this sometimes at home as she occasionally falls asleep while riding in the car without a diaper on. She almost never has an accident during these short rests, so we went without a diaper. We got away with it because she was farther along in the process, but if she was younger – or had a penchant for more accidents – we would have needed a diaper and would have woken her up.
Time for a Test
The other challenge was maintaining our nighttime routine. Granted, our kids went to bed much later than they do at home, but we tried to keep things as similar as possible. For my daughter, that meant putting on a diaper as we got ready for bed. Even though she still complains, we wanted her to wear one to keep dry during the night.
We tried to use the vacation time as a test. We told my daughter that if she makes it several nights in a row without going to the bathroom in her diaper, then we will try a night without it. I told her if she made it through the trip without a wet diaper, then we would try letting her sleep with underwear. We told her that if she woke up in the middle of the night, to use the toilet like normal and kept the bathroom light on so she could find it.
Ultimately, she did have a wet diaper a few mornings, although not every morning. While vacation and travel can be a fun way to unwind and do something different, the need to keep potty training never goes away. Parents should always remember this and try to keep normal routines as much as possible. Vacations can be difficult, too, but can also serve as a test to see where their children are when it comes to potty training since they must operate in a different environment.