• Mary Carlson Pap

Potty Training and the Holidays

Updated: Nov 22, 2019

You may not be actually potty training during the holidays, but you might be in that 3- month period after potty training when extra support is needed to keep your little one on track with using the potty chair.

Here are some helpful reminders with the holiday season upon us:

1. Be ready to head out! You may want some disposable diapers available if you will be traveling, or if you are attending holiday events in places that are not familiar to you and your child. My grandkids loved having their own small backpack with extra underwear, outfits, and maybe a diaper or pull up.

2. Bathrooms can be an issue when not at home. I found this particularly true with going poop for my children. They were going to 'save it' for home! Well, if you are going to be gone during the holidays for a few days that could be a problem. Talk to your child before leaving home to give them advance warning regarding using a different bathroom when away from home. For some children, bringing you potty chair from home can help. Or even a smaller add-on toilet seat that is familiar to them.   Having one of these items available will be worthwhile when visiting relatives or friends for a few days. Shopping or theater events are yet another issue. Public bathrooms can really bring on the anxiety. Everything is so loud and big and unfamiliar, so I found family bathrooms helpful for a little-added privacy. If it is all too much for your child, you may find yourself resorting to disposable pull-ups for a brief time.

3. Holiday outfits are so adorable and fun. Before you decide what to put on your child for the holidays, think about your child managing the clothing during potty time. Lacy, fluffy dresses maybe a bit too much for your newly potty trained child to deal with on the potty chair. Fancy outfits with belts and suspenders could take time to undo and create an accident ready to happen. If your child is newly potty trained choose an outfit that will be easy for your child to take on and off with this year. Fancy outfits may need to wait for another year.

4. Most of our diets change during the holidays. We might eat a little more and drink a little more while at parties and celebrations. More to eat and drink could lead to tummy aches and could also create a situation where your child may need to visit the bathroom more often. Many parents will limit the number of liquids their child drinks before naps and bedtime. Be ready to bring your child to the bathroom often to avoid accidents!

5. Realizing your child's schedule is not being followed as usual, try and include extra chances to rest and go to the bathroom. Be sensitive to your child’s needs and try not to get stressed out. Anticipating these things ahead of time and being prepared is helpful and could save the day. Letting close family members know they are potty training can be helpful as well! Grandparents, uncles, aunts and even older cousins can help encourage and notice when they have to go.

7. Be ready for lots of distractions. Try and stay as consistent as possible with ALL the distractions that will be occurring all around you. Timers can help you keep on track with going to the bathroom. There are a variety of apps available for your phone so that you can set a timer to remind you of potty time, snacks and naps. This could be helpful for staying on schedule with distractions.

8. Stay patient. Realizing that the holidays are stressful for you, recognize that holidays are also stressful for your child. Your child may regress during this time. Regression is common during transitional times, and holiday schedules can sure make life busy and in constant transition. Be patient with yourself and be patient with your child. Your child may go regress with potty training during this time, even during the best of circumstances. Don’t panic. Just know when the holidays are over, you can get back on track. You may need a short period of time revisiting potty training with rewards, reminders, and praise when the holidays are over.  If you realize this is a possibility and you have a plan in place, you will likely ride the tide a little easier. Bringing a few items that help to calm your child as these items will be helpful for calming your child when not at home too.  Special toys, blankets, and books can help ease anxiety and help in a tense situation. 

Being prepared for the holidays when it comes to potty training can help you enjoy the holidays and be ready for what might come up. Being prepared and aware is half of the battle. Compassion for your child and yourself will help ease the anxiety. Enjoy the holidays and realize the holidays will pass too. Your regular schedule will return and your child will get back on track with potty training too.

The New Year will bring so much to celebrate and enjoy with your child. Why some of your experiences could help you figure out some New Year’s Resolutions!  Keep your sense of humor. Cheers!

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