Potty Training in Nature


Yep! We are heading to the woods! We are going camping with a newly potty trained camper. Life does not come to a screaming halt because a toddler is semi-potty trained. Life goes on and we all adapt. I encourage you to get out there in nature for the benefit of nature and the outdoors for your child is far greater than the small hassles with potty training.

We enjoy camping about anywhere as long as nature is there! But here’s the deal, all of my family especially loves camping up north in or near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. (BWCA)  It is an area between Minnesota and Canada.  It was made a national park years ago and there is a story there I would like to share.

My family was immigrants from Finland. They settled in what is now BWCA.  When it became a national park, they moved into “town”, Ely.  Their cabins were left behind and are now ranger stations in the BWCA.  President L. B Johnson approved the BWCA National Park and my grandparents were pivotal in that process.  My grandmother cooked for LBJ’s family when coming to Ely.

The BWCA is a series of lakes, (over a thousand lakes) that are connected by portages ( walkways between the lakes.) When going to the BWCA you canoe to where you want to go and you carry everything between the lakes on portages. Needless to say, you want to pack light.My grandfather leads the CCC ( men working for the government during the great depression who needed work) to clear portage trails and determined campsites when the BWCA was created.  The campsite was cleared and a toilet was set in the woods for privacy and a big hole was dug as that was the “sewer system” for your toilet. This is your bathroom while camping there.  Actually, these woodsy bathrooms are quite beautiful and sometimes there is a scenic overlook over a lake as you may be sitting on a cliff. Children are intrigued by the set-up!

My grandmother was the cook for the men who created these portages and campsites.  Needless to say, my Dad was a toddler, and he was raised in the woods and learned to use the potty chair up there! He had a bear for a pet.  He grew a love for the north woods that stayed with him throughout his life.  He spent many summers in the north woods as that was home for him.

Being that my father was a teacher, we spent many summer days in the north woods. Fishing, campfires, whittling, sleeping in tents, reading, talking, hiking, eating, and going to the bathroom in these lovely bathrooms in the woods. It was all a part of the experience.  As little tykes, we were there.  It was just natural.  We loved the woodsy bathrooms.

When I grew up, my daughters went with me to the woods.  They, in turn, have gone on trips and now they bring their children.  The repeat of the same experience.  Handed down through the generations. Today my daughter is embarking on a BWCA with her son. She is sent off with pasties and monster cookies.  A must!

Potty training a child would never get in the way of spending time in nature and the woods.  But due to the fact that trails to bathrooms in the BWCA or campsites can be far away, I highly recommend bringing a light portable potty chair that can be emptied in the woods bathroom for your child.  Find a woodsy spot for them close to the tent and gathering area.  The experience will thrill them.  They can have their very own woods bathroom.  Time spent waiting for a BM can be spent watching butterflies,  wildflowers with bees buzzing here and there or waters lapping up on the rocks.  I dare say that potty training in nature can be an enriching experience! Besides, boys love to pee outside! And really, if they pee on the ground, BIG DEAL!  Things are pretty simple in the woods and there are not a lot of distractions.  Maybe it is the perfect place for potty training?

Recently I have learned of a light-weight potty chair called, “My Magical Potty”. (www.mymagicalpotty.com) This product is made of cardboard with a plastic covering so it is very light and durable. It also comes with one use liners that can be sealed and thrown away after being used.  This particular product could not be used in some camping areas unless you found biodegradable liners that can decompose and be thrown away in the woods bathroom.  A paper coffee filter works well and is biodegradable. However, if you are camping in a typical campsite with garbage containers, the regular liners would be ideal. And just a thought,  think about using pull-ups at night for the sleeping bag! Everyone sleeps pretty hard and getting out of a sleeping bag in time to pee might be a challenge!

So do yourself and your child a favor and enrich and enhance your child’s potty training experience by taking them camping! The whole idea of going to the bathroom outside just might tickle their fancy! Another way to look at things.

The Potty Fairies live out in nature so they will be close by to support, help and leave rewards too. Visit The Potty Fairy at www.thepottyfairy.com


Copyright 2017

Dad Can Do It! (Dads and Potty Training)

Child Dad White Sheet Laugh LayLet’s take a moment to consider dads role in potty training children. Although, most of the time moms are the primary caregivers to small children in the home and daycares are typically staffed with female caregivers, we need to make room for dads in this process.

On average, boys take a bit longer to potty train, and one has to question if it is because boys are primarily having females teach them how to use the potty chair?  Dads can play an important role in potty training particularly for boys so that they can demonstrate how this all works!

Besides this obvious reason that a male role model for boys in potty training is important, dads have other natural assets that they can bring to the potty training process that can help either gender child be successful using the potty chair.

Educational research has informed us that children whose dads are involved with their academics will have more academic success in general.  Although learning to potty train is not necessarily academic, it is a very important developmental step for young children. I would venture to say that it can be quite academic for a child.  The potty training process could be more academic by sharing books about potty training. Science could be added in, and Dads would talk about the process of going to the bathroom and why we need to eliminate fluid.  How we drink water that cleans our insides and then the used water needs to be eliminated.  Make it a bit like a science lesson!  Share with them that when you drink a lot of water that you need to pee.  Keep it simple and keep it interesting. Kids are sponges. 

Children with involved Dads will also tend to be more emotionally secure, confident in new situations and eager to explore new surroundings.  Learning to use the potty chair can be scary for some children and fear of the potty chair and the entire process can overwhelm a child.  There will be times your child will need to use a potty chair that is not at your home!  If dads tend to naturally provide an energy and attitude that promotes emotional security, confidence, and eagerness to try new things, it seems obvious that their involvement in potty training is so important to help ease a child’s fears! Share these attributes with your child and you will help in so many ways. These positive attitudes will be carried over to other aspects of their lives, too. 

Moms and Dads typically have unique and special roles in a child’s life.  A father tends to encourage competition, independence, and achievement. Dads tend to be a bit more “matter of fact”. While mothers tend to highlight equity, security, and collaboration.  Both roles bring important aspects to a child’s life and upbringing.  Recognize your unique and special roles and bring these to the potty training process for your child.

Let’s take a look at how a dad could bring his unique aspects to potty training:


The Sports Camp Method certainly comes to mind here. ( See AskThePottyFairy.blog post on this method)  If Dad is interested in getting really getting involved in potty training this may be the method to try with your child.  Be creative and develop some fun games and competitions to the potty training process.  Possibly time how fast your child can get to the bathroom when needing to go!  Count to see how many seconds it takes to get to the bathroom. Your child will love it.  Keep track of how many successes in a day and provide an award.  Throw cheerios in the potty chair for boys to try and hit when they go to the bathroom.  Get creative and have fun!


Signs that a child is ready to potty train psychologically is the ability to be independent.  They need to be ready to be independent with the potty.  Dad’s desire to nurture independence may be a natural alignment to encourage the use of the potty chair.  Of course, the child needs to be developmentally ready to be independent, and when ready, dads encouragement can be a bonus.  Possibly dad can have a conversation about how wonderful it will be when your child doesn’t need to depend on diapers anymore and can use the potty chair on their own. 


Depending on your child and how you want to approach potty training, there would be different ways that you can celebrate your child’s achievement with the potty training.  A success chart with stickers could be used and your child can reflect at the end of the day with a success chart with her dad who may not be there during the day.  Dad will want to comment or catch their child doing well and compliment them on their achievement.   A celebration with both mom and dad when a child is potty trained is certainly fun and rewarding for your child.

Matter of fact:

Another important approach to add to the potty training regiment and for dads to contribute is to discuss body function in potty training. Dads are “matter of fact” and can readily share this information with their child. Dads are usually more comfortable having children in the bathroom with them when they’re doing their business. Dads are just more matter-of-fact about it. It’s the best thing for kids to be in the bathroom with the dad, hearing poop stories and potty jokes, making it just a normal part of a conversation

In addition:

Dads love to be playful and dads encourage taking risks but dads also have the need to provide protection and discipline. A dad can bring a playful attitude and approach to potty training that also encourages a child to take the risk to go potty in the potty chair.  Dads natural playful, fun-loving approach will add so much to the training process. Making potty training a fun, family event that is something to celebrate can help make it not a chore, but a fun event for everyone.  Moms and dads can be a tag team both bringing something special to the process.  Children gain more from their parents in everyday involvement than in big trips or events. Children want and need their dad every day as a child’s everyday things are BIG in the eyes of a child.

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The Potty Fairy loves to help dads!

Copyright 2017