Whether you are on a long road trip or just at a playdate, taking care of your child’s elimination needs can be a bit nerve-wracking, to say the least. I remember taking my son to the grocery store in those early diaper-free-outing days, and I was terrified we were going to have a pee-soaked car seat or worse, a puddle on the grocery store floor. (For the record, since then, I have dealt with an accident in the car seat and while not fun, it was a very good learning experience for our whole family and definitely wasn’t the end of the world; maybe I’ll write a post about that at some point…).

In any case, while it is an exercise of trust in our child, our intuition, and our system, it is a necessary and very important step on our road to diaper-independence with each of our children. However, there are several things that can make it a lot easier.

#1 Gear – Make sure you have a mini potty or a portable seat reducer. You can keep the reducer in your diaper bag and the mini potty in the back of your car (believe me this works really well!). Other gear that might be helpful are trainers and wet bags. TinyUndies.com sells really absorbent cotton trainers that provide extra protection while out and about as well as cloth pull-up covers called TinyUps that can go over underwear or trainers if you are really nervous about an accident. TinyUps protect car seats and grocery store floors while not getting in the way of taking your child to the bathroom. TinyUndies also carries wet bags which are life-savers if there does happen to be an accident (otherwise you’re stuck wrapping the wet clothes in paper towels and hoping your other stuff doesn’t get wet, or if you’re super lucky you might have a grocery bag which may or may not have a hole in it…).

Speaking of gear, GoDiaperFree.com is having a flash sale today in honor of Andrea’s son’s 4th birthday. Use the code BRANSON30 for 30% off. If you’ve been planning to purchase the Go Diaper Free or Tiny Potty Training book, now would be a great time to snag them!

#2 Arrival and Departure – When you arrive at your destination or a stop on a road trip, take your child to the bathroom first; Andrea calls this a “foundational pee.” For me, this means using the mini potty in the back of the car in a parking lot, the restroom at church, or the bathroom at a friend’s house. Make sure you also take your child right before you leave. As a personal preference, I typically avoid taking my toddler to a public restroom at the grocery store or zoo just because I also have a baby and it’s just easier to use the mini potty in the car. If you are on a longer road trip, I definitely recommend adjusting the backup you use for your peace of mind and the smoothness of your trip. Your child’s progress in most cases will not be significantly hindered and you will pick up right where you left off when you get settled in your new situation.

#3 A Calm Demeanor – I know this is very much easier said than done, but your child will pick up on the fact that you’re nervous and things might not go as smoothly as they might have otherwise. Trust that things will be okay. After all, as Andrea reminds us, pee is sterile and things can be washed. It’s not the end of the world. Use whatever backup or gear makes you the least nervous, but also don’t hold yourself and your child back just because you’re scared. They are often more capable than we give them credit for.

As an example of what our children are capable of, my husband took my then-15 month-old son on a trip to see my husband’s parents who lived 1.5hr away. He kept him in underwear and he stayed dry the entire way up, all day while they were there, and all the way home. On another occasion when we visited my husband’s parents, I was too nervous for Caden to be in underwear, so we put him in a diaper and he stayed dry the whole way up; on the way back he told us he had to pee so we pulled over, he peed, and we carried on, arriving home with him still dry. If we give them a chance many times they will rise to the occasion.

Good luck on your outings! 🙂 Remember about Branson’s birthday sale and have a wonderful day!