Wee Experts: Potty Training for City Families

Easier potty training for city kids who are always on the go Read more

potty training philadelphia

This post comes courtesy of child development and psychology expert Catherine Pietrafesa of Miss Catherine Child Consulting, which specializes in helping parents with potty training, healthy eating, behavior modification, sleep habits, and more. You may remember Miss Catherine from the last time she offered up helpful tips on vacation sleep (hey, that might be worth the second look right about now!) … or you may know her from places like Nest and the Havertown YMCA, where she’s run parenting workshops.


Over the years I’ve helped many families potty train their toddlers successfully. Yet a lot of techniques and guidance out there seems to be geared toward your average suburban family — I’ve noticed that our Philly families seem to be forgotten. Those of us who use the bus, a bike or simply walk to get around can’t cart a potty seat everywhere we go! The easy bathrooms or the quick drives home to use the potty aren’t feasible when you are on foot at 2nd and Catherine on a hot summer day! I had to start to twist my own potty-training techniques to adapt to the ever- growing number of families in my favorite city of Brotherly Love.

Here are a few helpful tips on Potty Training your Philly toddler for your always-moving family.

Timing. If it works for your family, I would choose a time of the year to tackle potty training when you are least transient. This will help with consistency in training and will also allow you to learn your child’s strengths and weaknesses for training so when you are “on the go” you will know what to look for.

Have a Plan. If there isn’t a great time for you to tackle potty training and you need to do it when you are “on the go”, at least make a plan. Plan how many times you will stop and where. Research who has public bathrooms you can use and try to use the route you take in the day to allow for lots of potty breaks.

The Public Bathroom. One obstacle that many suburban families have in potty training is that their children are afraid of public bathrooms, often just because they’re not exposed to them very often. On upside to an “on the go” little one might is that he or she may be better versed in the public restroom. In any case, I would suggest looking for bathrooms that are family-friendly so that your little one can take his or her time and not feel rushed.

Pack Your Gear. Just bring the essentials: wipes, change of pants, hand sanitizer and — if you feel like it’s necessary — a potty liner. If you’re using regular potties throughout the day, I would recommend staying consistent and using your regular potty at home. A potty seat is not necessary, but you can buy silicone potty liners, which are great for making your child feel more secure and have a sense of ownership of the public potty. Use your old diaper bag to hold your gear or make a “potty bag” that your little one can help decorate and they can carry all they need to be successful on the potty!

Reward. Always reward your little one on the accomplishment. Those who are training in more of a public setting should be rewarded for being willing to train in public!