Saturday, January 19, 2013

On the Importance of Pottying in the Woods

Any kid who’s going to be hiking more than a couple hours should know how to potty in the woods. Little ones in diapers are relatively easy – bring the stuff along, and plastic bags to pack it out.

We taught Boo backwoods toileting while she potty trained. I was unemployed at the time, and we were putting in a couple hours on the trails several times a week. I put her on the toilet before we’d go out. We’d hike. Sometimes she’d need to pee (again). I’d find a spot, put her in position, hold her steady to avoid wet pants, tahdah. (The avoiding wet pants is key – watch the urine stream carefully, and you’ll pretty quickly find out how your individual kid needs to position herself to stay dry.) I assume boys who are peeing standing up are even easier. As long as they’re old enough to give you that 10 second warning, they will pee. For a few months I hiked looking for potty spots. I didn’t see anything besides safety issues and potty spots. The first few times, I’d get her into position, and nothing would happen. But she just couldn’t hold it until we got to a toilet or a pull-up.

Pooping wasn’t much harder. She was not interested in pooping in the toilet. So she waited until we were away from one to demand a pull-up. Which is all well and good until she used up her supply. Again, I quickly found a spot, dug a hole with a stick, and positioned her. Nothing happened. Repeat about 5 times over half an hour, and there was success. Once she did it once, there were no problems. She announced a need, I dug a hole quickly, and it was done.

She actually pooped in the woods before ever pooping in the toilet. And it was hard to get her to go in the toilet. She much preferred to do her business in the woods. Especially early in the process, she couldn’t tell she needed to go until she needed to go now. There wasn’t a lot of time to pick the perfect spot. And there wasn’t a lot of time to find a good digging stick. I got a garden trowel and carried it all the time after that first woods pooping. Now when we go out, she reminds me: “Baba, do you have a snack? Water? The trowel?” 

Room to Grow

Start early

Always carry a trowel

Keep an eye out for good spots

How easy or hard was woods-training your kid? What worked? What didn’t?

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