Potty Training is always a hair-raising experience. And from our experience, you might think your child is potty trained until you are on that long road trip in the middle of the desert. Our kids just can’t seem to give us enough notice to make it to the potty. We found a few life-savers that we always bring in the car, especially on road trips. And we’re confident that once you try them, you’ll be thankful for these items as well.
TravelJohn Disposable Urinal
OK we admit it, the Travel John looks and sounds funny. And it’s even hilarious to see used in person. But we always have a few in the car. For those times when you can’t find a place to stop with a restroom (or you don’t have enough time to make it), you can just pull to the side of the road and solve your child’s pee-pee problem. Dwarf Dad admits to liking this item as well as he has an aversion to public restrooms, especially those found in gas stations! These Travel Johns get an A+ review from us.
The Travel John is basically a long skinny bag that is sealed and rolled up for use. When you need it, you unravel and do your business. It’s filled with liquid absorbing polymer (kind of like what diapers are stuffed with) which solidifies your liquid into a gel in about 30 seconds or so. Just be sure to not try standing it up on the ground (or in your car) until it’s solidifed, otherwise you will have a mess! Once it’s in gel form, you can save it for another use or toss it in the trash. The gel also absorbs odors so it won’t be offensive sitting in your car. The standard version does hold a decent amount of liquid, as Dwarf Dad and Dwarf Son have both used one before disposing it. Yes, it’s a little gross thinking of both using it, but on the road you gotta make do. The TravelJohn is also useful for children and adults that are not able to reach the urinal. Dwarf Dad is still shocked when he encounters public restrooms without a lowered urinal, but even that is too high for our son.
Amazon has had the 6-pack on sale for as low as $8.46 and as high as $19.96. A better bet is to buy the 18 pack of Travel John Urinals which as a much cheaper per-item cost. Also available is the TravelJohn Junior version which is smaller and holds less liquid.
Kalencom 2-in-1 Potette Plus
For those times when your child has to go #2 and you don’t have time to stop at a restroom, the Kalencom 2-in-1 Potette Plus is a lifesaver. It is very compact and stores easily in your trunk, in addition to being affordable. This travel potty comes with refillable disposable liners that are very absorbent and generally leak proof (the liners are about 20 cents a piece). When you are finished, you just tie together the sack and throw away in the trash. To save money on refills, you can also use garbage bags but they won’t have the absorbent liner and are more likely to leak. It’s available in Blue, Green, Pink and Red. Dwarf Mom has been known to use it in a jiffy!
Another use of the Kalencom Potette Plus is to use as a seat reducer on public restrooms. If you don’t want to use the disposable liner in the car (or on the side of the road), you can take your child into the restroom and place them on the adult-sized toilet using the Potette Plus as a seat reducer. This is used by both our LP/dwarf son and average height daughter.
Helping Your Child Have Potty Independence
I don’t ever try to or pretend to be the “know-all-be-all” of LP knowledge. But, the questions that POLPs often ask help me think back 30 years. When I write these blog entries, I hope my children will read this and see that we LPs do indeed live independent lives, as much as possible. But we do depend on others as well to help along the way. Everyone needs some help, even just to reach that one grocery item on the top shelf.
Independence vs. Safety
We as LP parents are very tough on our LP son. Though he is smaller than we were at his age, we try to encourage him to strive for independence as much as possible. We come from a generation that had no ADA rights or laws. If you overhear our conversations with our son, often we will say, “We know it’s hard to do things, but you need to try.” And sometimes, he cries and we say just to keep going, that he can do it. He often tries to just put out the pity card because he is 7 years old. The pity card only gets you so far with LP parents. We try to push him as much as we can to be independent, until he clearly has tried and just can’t do it.
I know a lot of average height parents ask, “Well, when can he/she go to the restroom without me? Are they going to be 10 years old and still need me?” Maybe so. But, there is something to be said about safety versus independence. I would rather have someone bring my son to the restroom just because he is smaller than the average 7 year old and his limbs being as small as they are prevent him from defending himself as other 7-year olds can. Even with my 9 and 12 year old average-height nephews, I send my husband or their dad to go with them to the bathroom, or ask them to go as a team. These days, you can never be too careful.
For summer camp, bring a small stool to help reach the toilet and sink. Ideally, it can be stored in a grocery bag in their backpack. The EZ Foldz Step Stool was actually sold during a LPA National Conference expo and is easy to open and fold.
If you’re looking for only a little height for the potty, yoga blocks might work. They’re light and compact to fit in your child’s backpack. Just keep it in a plastic grocery bag to take in and out. Bathrooms can be kinda gross. If you buy that yoga kit, the yoga strap can be quite useful too. Pack it in the bag and they could strap it to the back of the toilet for leverage to shimmy their tooshies onto the toilet
Another suggestion is a Compact Portable Folding Footrest which was suggested by another POLP. Though, use caution, as I think it is simply a footrest. I don’t know how much weight it will hold securely.
Packs of anti-bacterial wipes or gel are still great for me as an LP adult. We still can’t reach every sink, and kids are just dirty, so keep them at hand. If I use wipes, I like the Wet Ones brand because they’re less dry than the generic brands you find out there. Generally I prefer the anti-bacterial sprays and gels because you don’t have to mess with opening a package. Dwarf Mom’s favorite is the Cleanwell All-Natural Hand Sanitizer although Dwarf Dad questions how well it cleans without any sting.
Your child may not be able to reach the toilet seat covers, or there might not even be any, so bringing along some disposable Stick-In-Place covers can be very helpful. Of course, the alternative is to cover the toilet seat with strips of toilet paper but they tend to not stay in place and fall in the bowl.
Your child can use Clorox wipes if he needs to wipe down the toilet before he uses it, but really, he’s going to get dirty either way. And he’s going to use anti-bacterial gel afterwards, so it should be fine. As LPs, things aren’t done in the most sanitary way sometimes, but they get done. Make sure to have your child wear pants that are easy to take off and put on. Jeans tend to be tough. Try sweats, trackpants, or shorts a size bigger than they usually wear. Encourage them to do it themselves at home with small rewards like Skittles.
Do you have any other ideas for potty on the go? Let us know.