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Sonoma Family Life Magazine

Top Ten Tips for Dry, Diaper-Free Holidays

Nov 12, 2009 12:00AM

Talk to any department store Santa, and he’ll tell you that being peed on is an occupational hazard! Even if your child has been diaper-free for a few months, holidays can be a challenge – for both of you. Anxiety, excitement, sugar-filled treats, and standing in long lines can wreak havoc and turn your child’s routine upside down.

Here are the top ten tips you need for the holiday season (and to stay on Santa’s "good" list):

  1. Reinforce that your child is now a "big boy" or "big girl" and that means that he or she will tell you as soon as the urge to go strikes. But don’t count on it. Make a pit stop in a restroom every 30 to 45 minutes or so.
  2. Whenever possible, visit the rest room as soon as you arrive in a store. Lots of times the restrooms are right inside the front door, so it’s a convenient way to help ensure that your child won’t have to go in the middle of shopping.
  3. Stop often, especially before a long wait. Right before standing in any line, whether it’s a check-out line, a line to purchase event tickets, and especially the line to see Santa, stop in the nearest restroom even if your child says that he or she doesn’t have to go.
  4. Keep your child well-fed and hydrated. Sugar-filled treats and drinks go hand in hand with holidays, so it’s important to give extra attention to your child’s diet by making sure he or she is drinking plenty of water, eating nutritional foods and getting the right amount of fiber to avoid stomach upsets, constipation, or diarrhea.
  5. Travel prepared. If you have a long drive (more than an hour) to visit friends or relatives, bring your child’s potty chair and a supply of plastic trash bags so you don’t have to rely on being near a rest stop or public bathroom when your child has to go. Line the potty chair cup with two plastic bags, one inside the other (just in case one breaks.) For clean-up, just seal the bag and drop it into the trash.
  6. When you don’t have an adapter seat or potty chair, help your child to use the adult toilet by lifting him or her over the toilet seat, facing the back of the toilet. It’s often worth the time to take your child’s pants and underpants off before attempting this acrobatic feat.
  7. Take disposable pull up diapers in case you want your child to wear them as a "just in case" measure where restrooms are few and far between or in places where you will be standing in very long lines.
  8. Carry a day’s supply of toilet tissue (in case the restroom is out) and wet wipes for those times when "dry cleaning" isn’t enough.
  9. Expect the best, but plan for the worst by carrying a change of clothes for your child just in case he or she has an accident.
  10. Remember the season. Emotions can run rampant during the holiday season for you and your diaper graduate, so above all else, make the extra effort to maintain the holiday spirit by practicing tolerance, patience and forgiveness.

Tips from the author of Potty Train Your Child in Just One Day: Proven Secrets of the Potty Pro, Fireside Books (Simon & Schuster), NY, NY, June 2006. Readers have potty training questions? Then Ask the Potty Pro at