Potty training is hard. We’ve found it to be one of the most challenging periods in our house (so far). It’s this crazy time when your little one is figuring out their independence and discovering so much about the world around them. They’re not a baby anymore, but not a big kid yet – and they seem to quickly flip between these two throughout the course of any given day.
In the midst of this crazy and yet oh-so-fun time in our little guy’s development, we went to Walt Disney World. As with any Disney trip, we walked away with amazing memories! And some lessons learned… I’m here to share a few of our takeaways – with the hope that it can make another family’s trip go that much more smoothly!
Do Your Homework
As many of us do preparing for a trip to Disney, take some time to get to know where you will be visiting. Specifically, get to know where the bathrooms are where you’ll be visiting. Disney parks and resorts are generally pretty well laid out and the good news is that a bathroom is likely not too far when you need it. Still, I found it to be well worth the time investment to study the park maps before our trip.
Keep the Routine
My husband and I both felt like we were ready to keep the routine on vacation. Regular trips to the potty helps prevent accidents, right? This is true, but it is so incredibly easy to lose track of time when you are caught up in the magic of your Disney vacation. (That’s part of why we love Disney – you get a chance to escape reality with your family and lose yourself in vacation memories!) This is all well and good, but our family learned quickly that when you’re in the midst of potty training you need to also keep yourself tethered to the reality of regular bathroom trips.
At home, we are big fans of timers. We’ve found them to be helpful with transitions and giving our little one a clear idea of what to expect. At Disney, we had to break out the timers more as a reminder for my husband and myself. It’s easy to lose 10 minutes here, an hour there – setting timers on our phones at the parks helped us make sure we were keeping little guy on track for regular trips to the bathroom. They helped us make sure we were setting him up to be successful.
Do whatever works for you and your family to keep yourselves on track. If regular trips to the potty are what is working well at home, figure out how you can keep this going while on vacation. Whatever it is that works at home is most likely to work when your little one is in a new environment – find your best way to keep it up.
Baby Care Centers
There is a lot of stimulation at Walt Disney World – it’s a lot for little ones to take in! While there are lots of bathroom options in the parks (and we are so grateful for all of the family bathrooms they offer!) there is still a lot happening that can keep your little one from focusing on the task at hand.
This trip was the first one where we checked out the Baby Care Centers. Each of the theme parks has one and they are nothing short of fantastic! The name is a bit misleading because they are wonderful not only for infants but also toddlers and other young children. They offer space and equipment for all kinds of needs – from feeding to changing tables and beyond. They also have lots of supplies – including wipes and pull ups! The biggest asset for us was being able to use their family bathroom with our little guy. It offered a much quieter and less rushed potty experience, which we found to be exactly what he needed later in the day.
The Baby Care Center at Disney’s Animal Kingdom is located behind Creature Comforts.
The Baby Care Centers have lots of supplies you might need for your little one. Diapers, pull-ups, wipes are useful for potty training. But all parents might find themselves needing sunscreen, medications, and some of the other infant and child care items offered at the centers.
All the Clothes
As of parents of potty training kiddos, we of course know the importance of having extra sets of clothing at all times. This should be at the absolute top of your list when it comes to what’s in your park bag. (And don’t forget the socks!)
We like to pack extra outfits in zip top bags – it helps keep everything organized and you have a place to put wet clothes when there’s an accident.
Now, the one thing we did not think of is packing extra clothes for the adults. We learned from experience that sometimes an accident might happen when – say – you have your little one in your arms and are running to the bathroom… (This is what made my husband go from wearing a t-shirt to only a hooded sweatshirt in 85 degree weather.) Save yourself the heat, or the cost of an unexpected theme park t-shirt purchase, and toss an extra shirt in your backpack.
In the End
Accidents are bound to happen – it’s just part of this stage. Stay positive, cut yourself (and your little one) some slack, and think of it as part of your family’s Disney adventure. You’ll look back fondly on these memories one day, too!
Have you visited a Disney theme park with a toddler who was potty training? What tips do you have? Share them in the comments below or on Facebook or Twitter.
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