Potty Training During the Holidays
4 Steps to Potty Training During the Holidays
6/2/2008 | by
By Melinda Copp
Travel, excitement and disruptions in routine are characteristic of the holiday season. And these factors make potty training your child more of a challenge than it would normally be. Plus, bulky winter clothes make getting undressed and into position more difficult, especially for little ones with an urgent need to go. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t or shouldn’t potty train at this time of year.
Although the holidays may seem like an inopportune time to start potty training, you can’t plan when your child’s readiness will strike. Your little one may start to wake up dry from naps or in the morning. He might become more anxious than normal when his diapers are dirty. And he may actually express a desire to start using the potty.
“Just weeks before Christmas last year my 2-1/2-year-old decided that he wanted to start going potty,” says Bridgett Clark, a mom from Jacksonville, N.C. “And the week of Christmas, we headed back home to Ohio from North Carolina on an 11-hour drive with a child fresh from diapers.”
If your child is ready to potty train during the holiday season, use the following strategies to ensure your success:
1. Stay Positive, Despite Stress
Holidays mean shopping for gifts, cleaning for company, sending cards, traveling long distances, preparing big meals and many other stressful activities. When you’re busy and stressed about all the things on your to-do list, you may not have as much patience for potty training as you would at other times of the year.
“It’s hard not to get frustrated, but you have to stay positive,” says Polly Jackson, R.N., a pediatric nurse at the Volunteers in Medicine Clinic on Hilton Head Island, S.C. Give yourself a break from the hustle and bustle, and make time to focus on your child. Do something together, like re-reading your favorite potty book or talking about what a big boy or girl your child has become since last holiday season. Understand that your child needs your attention and support, and expressing your frustration will likely do more harm than good.
2. Make Potty Time Fun
Kids love new experiences and exciting adventures. If you can present potty time as something fun and special, then your child will be more interested. When you’re traveling or heading to holiday parties, prepare ahead of time by purchasing a portable toilet seat adapter that is easier to manage than a small potty that sits on the floor. You and your child can even decorate it with holiday stickers and give it a name, like your Special Holiday Potty.
“Introduce the Christmas Potty at home two weeks before you’re traveling,” says Teri Crane, who teaches potty training “boot camps” to parents, educators and childcare providers. “Then practice outside the home in a kid-friendly place, like a favorite restaurant or toy store.”
3. Take Frequent Potty Breaks
Kids live for the holidays. And who can blame them – at that age holidays mean presents, parties and sweet treats. Your child may get wrapped up in the excitement of fun holiday activities, such as visiting Santa and attending parties, and forget about going to the bathroom until it’s too late.
“Kids are easy to potty train when you catch them at the right minute,” Jackson says. If you want to avoid accidents, you must take frequent bathroom breaks. Keep an eye on how much your child is drinking and make sure you ask if they need to go every 30 minutes to an hour. And remind them that if they need to go potty, they should let you know right away.
4. Prepare for Accidents
No matter how well your child seems to be catching on to potty training, accidents are inevitable. The best way to handle the situation is to help your child understand that accidents are OK – and to be prepared.
“Let your child know that everyone has accidents when they’re learning something new,” Crane says. When you’re away from home, pack extra clothes and a supply of toilet paper or wipes for cleanup. Don’t make a big deal out of accidents to avoid embarrassing your child when you’re at a holiday party. And just to be safe, consider dressing your child in disposable training pants when you’re visiting family and friends or when you’re on the road.
Although it may seem like too much to handle at this time of year, with a little preparation and understanding you and your child can accomplish anything you set out to do – even potty train. When you keep a cool head and use these tips for potty training during the hustle and bustle of the holidays, your child can enter the New Year diaper-free.
Avoid Holiday Accidents
Even the most motivated little ones can easily get wrapped up in holiday excitement and forget about potty breaks. To reduce the risk of accidents, Teri Crane, who teaches potty training boot camps to parents, educators and childcare providers, offers the following tips.
1. Before entering a long line, whether you’re waiting to see Santa or checking out at a store, always take a potty break even if your child says he doesn’t have to go.
2. When you enter a mall or other large shopping center, stop at the directory and scope out the bathrooms. Then show your child where they are, so they can see and understand.
3. Carry disposable training pants just in case restrooms are scarce or you run into unexpected delays.