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Avoiding Road Trip Toileting Emergencies with Kids

One of my childhood travel memories involves a plastic ice cream tub.  For years, my mom would keep a empty bin with a snap-on lid on the floor of the minivan in case of potty emergencies.  The only time I remember us using it was when we were stuck in the line for a ferry crossing.  One of us had to go RIGHT NOW, so Mom got out the ice cream tub.  It saved the day and made a lasting impression on the memory of everyone in the car.

Although I haven't gotten as smart as my mom yet, I've been thinking a lot lately about our upcoming road trip and what a huge pain it is to take our kids to the bathroom.  Public toilets are gross and germ-filled, and you know kids just have to touch everything in sight!  It's always challenging to know which parent should take the kids with them or how many trips Mom should take back and forth to get everyone pottied (last summer's road trip often had me doing 3 every stop).

If you have a child who is easily overwhelmed by bathrooms like I do, you know that public toilets are even more challenging!  Every stop is a new location with different experiences.

Will the toilet flush automatically or will I have to push a button?  Or pull a lever?  Will the result be different if I flush 10 times?

Will the sink water start automatically or will I have to turn it on?

Is the soap magic or do I need to do something to make it come out?

Is the bathroom only for one person or a bunch of people at once?

What's that smell?  What's that bin for?

Why is there a koala bear on this shelf thing?

Will my voice echo if I scream really loudly?  (I don't know- but I have to test it).  How will other people react to my big voice?

Can I go straight to the bathroom or will there be a gantlet of exciting and interesting things to see first?

Will there be a line?

Do I talk to the people in the bathroom?

Why is this bathroom so different from the one we used a few hours ago?

I had the hardest time naming this blog post!  I just couldn't narrow down all of my feelings about this topic.  I really wanted to call it "Beyond Potty Training- Rest Stops with Kids."  Or maybe "Avoiding Dirty Bathrooms on Road Trips."  Or "Drop in a Bucket- Potty Stops with Kids."  Basically, I was looking for solutions to all the toileting problems moms face when we're on road trips with our kids.

I started looking at all the travel potty solutions on the market and looking at Pinterest for DIY ideas.  I also ran into a hilarious video from the guys at Good Mythical Morning, where they test out a few travel toilet options.  Because I think best in graphics, here's a smattering of the DIY potty ideas I found.

We already own this travel potty, which we've underutilized in our few years of parenting.  This post has motivated me to get a system set up so we'll have it ready at all times.  My current plan is to use diapers, since they're already designed to be portable.  I will hang a grocery or garbage bag off the toilet seat (the one we own has little clips for the bag) and put an open diaper on the bottom.  My husband and I both agree that diapers are far preferable to cat litter, since they will be lighter and less messy when spilled.  Then, we can just tie off the bag and throw it away- no different from any other diaper disposal.  I'm looking forward to faster potty stops, less stress, and more family memories.

Do you have a brilliant travel potty solution?  Comment below!

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