Potty Training in Nature

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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

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