The Mommy Potty (and Other Secrets to Toilet Training On the Go)

The "mommy potty" is what my girls call the elegant solution my husband devised for what to do when you're toilet-training away from home.

to lChances are, if you’ve got a toilet training toddler or preschooler, you’ve found yourself far away from a potty seat or child-sized toilet at least once on this adventure. (Unless you never set foot outside of the house, of course.) My husband devised a simple but elegant solution to this dilemma when Kimmie was on the path to Big Girl-dom. Essie recently gave his potty training on the go solution a name: The Mommy Potty.

What is the Mommy Potty?

The Mommy Potty is especially well-suited to a morning out doing errands, a road trip to Grandma and Grandpa’s, or any other occasion when public restrooms with those large, long seats are plentiful, but are also your only option. If your little one is like either of mine, there’s no way she’s gonna sit on that big gaping hole to do her business (and you’d probably have cause to fear she might fall in, anyway).

The "mommy potty" is what my girls call the elegant solution my husband devised for what to do when you're toilet-training away from home.

The answer? Just sit behind your child. No need to remove your own drawers, even! Just straddle the toilet, sit as far back as you can, and plunk your little one on the seat in front of you.

How the Mommy Potty Makes Potty Training Travel Easy

Using the Mommy Potty meant freedom for me and the girls. No more feeling as if every trip to the store meant backsliding into diapers, or schlepping along excess stuff when I was just getting used to feeling liberated from my diaper bag. As long as you know there will be a public restroom within reach, the Mommy Potty means you can leave the house again, even with a little one or two transitioning out of diapers. When it comes to best toilet seat for toilet training, the Mommy Potty is as simple as it gets.

Not only is the Mommy Potty a lifesaver for errands, but it’s useful in so many other travel situations. Like roadtripping in areas with plenty of public restrooms. Or even plane travel. For those of you who’ve wondered can you take a potty on a plane, the answer is, Sure! IF it fits in your carryon allowance (keep in mind that diaper bags are “freebies” on most U.S. airlines). But realistically, where are you going to set the thing up? Airline bathrooms are already microscopic; how will you get yourself AND your little AND the potty seat all in there?

Which leaves you with setting up your travel potty seat in the galley area or the aisle. Neither of which is going to go over well with the flight attendants or fellow passengers. Solution: Just use the Mommy Potty instead.

Alternatives to the Mommy Potty

Much as we love the Mommy Potty, I have to admit that there are times when we needed a Plan B. For example:

If you’re on an older toilet in a private home, you may not be able to sit down all the way, due to lack of space. Instead, you’ll probably have to hover-squat (bonus: toning exercises for you!). This solution can also be hard to pull off if, say, you’ve got a Baby Sibling or two on the way. In those cases, having a fold-up potty seat to tuck into your purse or diaper bag is a better choice for potty training while pregnant.

What to look for when buying a potty seat:

When you’re thinking about which fold-up potty training seat to choose, you’ve got a few considerations. Fold-up potty seats that come with a storage bag are nice, but not necessary. A decent-sized ziptop bag works just as well to contain it within your purse or totebag. Make sure that the travel potty seat you choose is non-slip; I recommend avoiding options with suction cups, which can be hard to secure when you’ve got a kiddo in a hurry to go.

Also, based on my kids’ experience, a fold-up travel potty seat with handles can make kids feel more secure about the whole process. The one we had was similar to this model, which has the added advantage of small plastic extensions on the bottom that help it “hook” securely within the edges of the toilet seat. Finally, parents who are potty training boys should also look into getting a fold-up portable potty seat that includes a splash guard.

But when all else fails, there’s nothing like the Mommy Potty’s secure embrace of a parent sitting right behind you, arms wrapped protectively around you, to take the fear out of using a public restroom when you’re still transitioning out of diapers.

Potty Training On The Road

But what about when you’re in situations where public toilets are few and far between? Long car trips with kids can be challenging enough, without adding worry about traveling while potty training. Especially if you’re roadtripping solo with kids, and a sudden potty emergency for one child can’t wait for you to pack up the entire family and schlep them into the nearest public restroom.

In situations like this, I highly recommend a small foldable potty seat for your road trip potty. When considering which to buy, think – again – about ease and speed of setup as well as portability. Some foldable potty chair options have their own carry bag, which in this case I’d recommend over a zip-top bag. Easy-to-set-up foldable potty seats are key when your kiddo has to go in a hurry on the side of the road somewhere (been there, done that). If you really want to get the most bang for your buck, consider a foldable potty seat that works both as a stand-alone option (with liners) AND a toilet-topper.

A tightly-sealing container with a small hole at the top will also work as a car-based emergency potty option for a boy. My mother’s emergency potty for car was a tight-seal plastic bottle for my younger brother’s emergency pit stops on remote roads. If you go this route, look for a container that is dishwasher-safe.

If you’re using an actual foldable potty chair, you’ll also want to have a supply of plastic potty seat liners on hand, for mess-free road trip potty stops. Not only will this make it easy to clean up the mess and get back on your way, but it will keep your potty looking like new by minimizing the “ick” factor.

Potty Training While Camping

What about potty training while camping? I will admit, Dear Husband was not comfortable with family camping trips until both our kiddos were well out of diapers. BUT, with the right equipment, potty training while camping is perfectly doable; it’s mainly a matter of thinking through the logistics.

In our experience, potty training while camping (and camping with young children more broadly) is simple: If you have boys and Nature Calls (especially in the middle of the night), use the Great Outdoors, just like Daddy does (assuming there is a Daddy figure camping with you).

But what if you have girls?

For girls, including toilet-trained girls as old as elementary school, bringing your kids’ old potty seat along with you will make your life as a mama a LOT easier. I also recommend a family-sized camping tent with a vestibule or a family-sized tent with enclosed porch, for the sake of privacy.

Our first family camping trip. Notice potty seat set up in our tent’s “back annex.”

A family-sized tent with rooms can also work, if you are OK with putting the potty seat inside. Though not as private overall, a family-sized tent with an attached screen porch will also work, assuming that the potty seat option will be used mostly at night so Mama can sleep while kiddos use the bathroom.

RELATED POST: Must-Haves for Family Camping With Preschoolers

RELATED POST: 100 Genius Hacks to Make Family Tent Camping Easier

One Last Consideration…

A final note on using the Mommy Potty for day-to-day potty training on the go: The Mommy Potty can also help guard against one of the other potential terrors of using public restrooms: the Auto-Flush Toilet.

The "mommy potty" is what my girls call the elegant solution my husband devised for what to do when you're toilet-training away from home.

If your would-be Big Kid is as terrified of that blinking sensor light as Kimmie was, it’s worth it to take a peek at the “handicapped” stall (or even better yet, the family restroom if one exists!) before you get your child undressed. In our experience, these are the best places to look if you want to avoid the modern “convenience” of the automatic flushing sensor, which can both scare your sensitive youngster and soak your own backside.


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      The "mommy potty" is what my girls call the elegant solution my husband devised for what to do when you're toilet-training away from home.


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