Back in the early 2000s, I was the unfortunate victim of having to suffer through Southern California traffic during late-day rush hour. Having an afternoon meeting on a Friday at one of the TV networks in the ‘Valley’ (San Fernando – over the hill) while living on Venice Beach couldn’t have been a worse scenario.
At that time of the day, a 12-mile trip might take in excess of 2½ hours, weaving in and out on the 101, 405, 10/90, surface streets, etc.
More than once during this unfortunate voyage, I had that ‘moment’ when I HAD TO GO, but couldn’t. There’s NO WHERE to pull over when you’re coming across the Sepulveda pass – DARE you split away from the herd and lose your place in line.
So you take the physical and mental whipping that comes along with it. Come to think of it, I could’ve used some training pants of my own in this situation – even though I’m pretty sure they don’t make my size.
On occasion, my colleague and roommate at the time (you know who you are, bro) and myself, found ourselves in that all-too-often predicament and I suddenly became privy to the way he handled the moment. It was then, that he punched me in the arm with an empty bottle, doing the ‘upward head nod’, which meant ‘go ahead, exhaust your bladder in this thing so we don’t have to pull over’.
I declined. Within the next few minutes, several things crossed my mind and I decided to explore various methods of distraction and meditation so that I could make it home in one piece – DRY.
These days, things have changed.
For my toddlers, it’s a little bit different. Potty training is an incredibly important milestone – but it’s also an opportunity for parents to work together with their children.
There are simple things that you can do to keep the momentum of potty training and stay consistent in your journey, AND driving without having to visit every rest stop between you and Alaska, but it requires some planning.
- THINK AHEAD: If you know that you’re leaving in the morning, there’s no need to host a hot dog eating contest in your backyard the afternoon before. There’s absolutely no reason to have everyone pull down 3-dozen dogs and drain your well dry by drinking every drip of water available. This won’t bode well for you on your morning journey.
- PACK STRATEGICALLY: If you’re leaving early, I always recommend putting your potty training toddler in Pull-Ups Training Pants before you load them in the car, and packing lots of extras for the road. Sometimes we leave as early as 4am and even if the kids are awake, they tend to fall asleep before we stop for breakfast. Trust me, those Pull-Ups have saved us MANY a time. It’s really common for people to think that if their child is in underwear, it’s not okay to resume using Pull-Ups but we’ve always found that it lowers the overall stress of our travel.
- GET BLADDERS SYNCED: I always try and get everyone to use the bathroom before we ship off, however, it seems like the kids are always asleep and the adults need to hold it until the little ones have to go – at which point, we SYNC UP. It never hurts to hope this happens.
- CARRY WIPES: Those open slits on the doors of every vehicle are usually meant to hold drinks or cell phones – but when you’re a card-carrying parent that sometimes feels like a school bus driver, you load up every door with wipes.
- DON’T BE ASHAMED TO STOP: Up until a few months ago, I was vehemently against being one of those parents that kept a port-a-potty (okay fine, potty seat) in the back of the truck. You pull over and whoever has to go – goes. I don’t need this to turn into some sort of event on the side of the Interstate with people flying by – beeping and waving while we take turns on a plastic toilet, however, here I am…with a Johnny in the back of my vehicle. Staying on track when potty training on-the-go is challenging enough as it is, and having a potty seat your child is familiar with can really help them adjust.
These are just a few of the things I’ve learned over the last 7 years as a dad, traveling across the country, up and down the Easter seaboard and locally.
For those of you planning spring or summer travel destinations with little ones, you should think about the benefits of using Pull-Ups on the road AND taking into consideration my 5 words of wisdom above!
I also encourage you to share your story with the Let’s Get Ready to Potty Contest – visit parents.com/itstimetopotty and submit how you got your kids (and yourself!) excited to start potty training by making it fun. You could win $1,000 and be featured in an upcoming issue of Parents Magazine. Three runners-up will also win a 1-month supply of Pull-Ups Training Pants.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This was a sponsored post on behalf of Pull-Ups and you might want to follow their #Time2Potty on social for tips on getting started. For more information about the brand, please check them out on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!
This post is sponsored by Pull-Ups.