Potty Training Your Shy Child Away from Home

Jan 18, 2023 | 2 Minutes Read

Shy children are likely to be especially cautious when they’re out of their usual habitat. They struggle with transitions and changes, so don’t be surprised or critical of your child. Your introverted toddler may get nervous or worried, so help them feel a part of the process by adapting the plan — together — when you’re on the go. 

Mother and daughter packing training pants

Assure your Big Kid that you will stick to the routine that you’ve established, but that you may need to add some steps, like finding the bathroom. Make sure to bring their favorite potty time book and special potty toys just like at home. It’s especially important to allow your child to choose their Pull-Ups training pants when you are out and about, even if they’re regularly busting out the Big Kid underwear. Allowing that extra protection and the control of choice can give your shy toddler the comfort and confidence they need to be successful.

  • Make sure you have your toddler’s favorites, whether it’s the special potty seat you always use, or the right character Pull-Ups. A trip is not the time to improvise when it comes to a nervous personality.
  • Prepare your Big Kid with what to expect: “When we get to Grandma’s house (the store, restaurant, shopping center, etc.), we’ll have our bag. Right when we arrive, we will find the bathroom and check out what it looks like.”
  • Let your toddler know you’ve packed extra clothes and other items they may need. Your reassurance that you’re prepared will go a long way.
  • Shy chidren may be scared of an automatic flusher because it’s loud and unpredictable. (Even us adults don’t enjoy having an unexpected spritz when we’re doing our business.) Carry some sticky notes in your bag and place one over the sensor while your little one is on the potty. When they’re done, they can take the sticky note off and have control over the flusher.

For Longer Trips

When you’re on longer trips, give your child the option to wear Pull-Ups even if they’re regularly in underpants. A child who is sometimes in underwear but who will be going on a long trip might do best wearing Pull-Ups. Explain by saying, “Things are going to be different today, and sometimes we won’t be able to get to a potty fast enough.” However, a child who regularly wears undies might feel insulted by having to wear Pull-Ups again. For these children, you might bring some Pull-Ups along and have them handy just in case they’re needed during the trip. Regardless of your child’s choice and the stress of travel, try to keep your potty times as positive experiences your toddler can rely on.

Potty Talk:

  • We will be in the car/plane for a long time today. Will you feel more comfortable in your Pull-Ups or in the underwear you’ve been wearing?”
  • “If you start to feel like you have to go, tell me right away because it may take us a little longer than usual to find a bathroom. As soon as you tell me, we can do our best to get to the potty in time. It’s OK if we don’t make it, though, because you have your Pull-Ups on. Sometimes, kids don’t make it to the potty on time during long trips and that’s OK.”
  • “What do you think an airplane potty looks like? Do you think it’s the same as at home? Would you like to look at it first before you have to go so you’ll know what it looks like for later, when you have to go pee pee?”


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