I remember the first time I took my oldest out onto the trail while she was being potty trained. She was past the point of having lots of accidents but it was not uncommon for her to still have at a few every week. I had no idea if it was going to be a complete disaster or how she was going to manage going to the bathroom on the trail. But I went for it and the hike went really well! I am now entering the potty training stage with my second daughter and have come up with these 8 tips to help you potty train on the Trail.
WARNING: This post talks about all things poop and pee related. Getting real with real parenting.
8 Tips to Help YOU Potty Train on the Trail
Leave the potty gear
Leave the potty gear at home or at least in the car. Trust me, you don’t want to have to carry around that gear for the next year because you did not just teach them how to squat or stand and pee. I mean your not potty training them so you can ditch the weight of diapers with a portable potty. It also makes you do a happy dance when you child learns to go outside in the wild. Just another one of those milestones…. First Steps, First word, First Hike, First Trail potty…..
Teach them to Squat/Stand
When they need to go pee or poo then teach them how to go potty on the trail. Head off the trail a few feet/metres and teach the little gals to squat and the little boys to either squat or stand. A couple of tips. Make sure their pants and underwear are below the knees. Feel free to hold their hands while they squat but this is not necessary since kids typically have a squat that can crush most adults ability to squat.
Bring extra clothes
Bring extra clothes. This includes underwear, pants, and socks. There is no need to pack an extra shirt unless your child is wearing a long shirt or dress. They can forget to lift it up ( I know this from experience with my daughters winter jacket….)
Bring a Poop Bag
Bring a couple of bags to scoop the poop so that you can bring it home to throw out. Have a few on hand just in case. It is also nice to have an extra bag to put the soiled bag into to prevent it from leaking if you are using something like a grocery bag. Think dog poop bags, grocery bags or compostable bags. If you want to stay green then bring a reusable wipe to pick up the poop and put it into a reusable wet bag to be washed when you get home!
Bring Wipes/Toilet Paper
Bring something to wipe their bum and then add it to the poop bag.
Bring a Wet Bag
Bring a wet bag for any soiled clothing. This is separate from the poo bags and used for clothing that has suffered from an accident.
Expect your child to be able to successfully squat or stand while going to the potty outside. Show your child that you are confident they can succeed and that you expect them to be able to potty on the trail.
Ok… This tip is in direct contrast with the previous one. I guess what I mean by having no expectations is that the hike might be challenging if you have to deal with accidents or an unsuccessful trail potty break. This may happen and if it does not happen the first hike it might happen on a future hike. But know this… Your child WILL become potty trained and WILL be able to successfully go on a hike without an accident eventually.
Don’t let potty training stop you from getting out on the trail!