I hadn’t planned on potty training whilst on holiday. Particularly a holiday which involved three hotels, a rented house and numerous journeys on trains, buses, boats and cable cars. However, after successfully potty training Dickon earlier in the summer, he caught a nasty bout of swine flu and seemed to forget everything he’d learnt. By the time we left for our holiday, he was doing standing-up-wees in the loo again, but with frequent accidents, and refusing point blank to sit on a loo, even with a special seat. Added to this is his terror of hand driers and dislike of dirty loos, both of which makes it very hard to get him through the door of a public toilet. So, with a heavy heart, I decided to dig our ancient Tommy Tippee Potette (travel potty) out of the cupboard and add an extra bag to our mountain of luggage.
So for the benefit of those who are planning a trip to Switzerland with a less than continent toddler, here is what I learnt:
- Our old-school Potette has an alarming tendency to collapse without warning when it’s placed on a slightly uneven surface. Luckily Dickon is only alarmed by loud noises, not collapsing potties. I don’t know if the newer models are better, I hope so.
- When you run out of the official Tommy Tippee Potette inserts, a small drawstring bin liner is just as good. Don’t try and do it on the cheap by nicking the fruit bags from the supermarket. You will find out too late that they have small holes in.
- Dickon was sufficiently intrigued by the idea of watching his wee hit the track to develop a fascination with train loos. This meant frequent, lengthy trips to the loo on every train journey, accompanied by loud squeals of excitement.
- We didn’t come across any dirty loos in Switzerland, and we tried lots. Everywhere was sparkling clean, even in railway stations, so we gradually persuaded him to enter public loos without a screaming fit.
- Switzerland’s frequently placed dog poo bins are very useful for throwing away the contents of the potty.
- The dog poo bins also all have bag dispensers which come in very useful for wrapping up damp clothes when you have run out of nappy sacks.
- Washing clothes by hand in a hotel sink and a toddler who wets himself at least once a day are not a happy combination. On the plus side, I got good use out of my travel washing line.
- With reference to point 7, a few drops of lavender oil or tea tree oil added to your sink of washing makes everything smell a lot better.
- Do not carry a bag of poo up the mountain for an hour in the hopes of finding a suitable bin. You are expected to carry all your waste off the mountain and after you’ve carried it all the way down again it will smell horrible, masking the beautiful smell of the resinous pine trees.
On the whole, I think I would rather potty train a toddler in the comfort of my own home with non-collapsing potties and a washing machine to hand. However we survived the experience and I sincerely hope that by the time we leave on our round the world trip Dickon will be fully continent. Still, at least the view from the potty was good.