Works For Me: Emergency Preschool Potty

Here’s a trick I shared last spring when I was in the midst of baseball season. I thought it would be a good one to run again in honor of Works For Me Wednesday.

When you have big kids and little kids it can be a struggle taking care of everyone’s needs during sporting events. Half the time in the middle of an older kid’s baseball or soccer game, at least one of my preschoolers will need to go to the potty. The bathrooms are always a mile from the ball fields– or they’re nasty-looking porta-potties.

Last year one practice field had NO bathroom– not even a tree thicker than my 2 year old’s waist. Forcing a mom to pack all the young ones into the van in the middle of the game, drive a quarter mile to the nearest Chevron station, and take care of business there.

Unless you have my handy-dandy potty kit. It consists of the basin from under a child’s potty chair, some plastic sacks, a couple of cut-in-half diapers, and some disinfecting wipes. Here’s my trick: I put half a diaper IN the potty seat BEFORE the child uses it. Then, you see, the diaper soaks up the moisture. No sloshy liquid to spill. Nothing to dump. Just sack up the diaper, wipe down the basin with a disinfecting wipe, and sack up the wipe. Then bag up the basin for the next emergency.

Fortunately my van has a big empty space in the back AND tinted windows. So the child has perfect privacy, and WAAYYY cleaner surroundings than a porta-potty frequented by 11 year old boys….. ((shudder)).

By the time they’re old enough to object to this system, they’re also old enough to ‘hold it’ for an hour or two. So it works out perfectly. I do take the kids to the bathroom if it isn’t a mile away, but at least a couple times a season my potty kit is a real sanity-saver.

Works for me!

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  1. Oh my goodness! This is an amazing tip. When my daughter was being potty trained my friend told me to take the little potty with me everywhere I went, the car, the mall, EVERYWHERE. And I did… and thought it was the best idea ever. My daughter never had accidents (no joke! seriously!) because we always had the potty with us. But we did have a problem with having to drive home with, um, liquid sloshing around in the potty (didn’t want to dump the, um, liquid in the street). Using the diaper to soak up the, um, liquid is a genius idea. My daughter is potty trained now, but when my baby starts training I’m totally going to use this tip! Thanks!

  2. What a great idea! We’re getting ready to start potty training our son. I’ll keep this in mind.

    Thanks for sharing!

  3. What an ingenious solution! Thanks so much for sharing!

  4. We’re going to start potty training soon too. I love this idea! It’s too bad I got rid of my potty chair because none of the other kids used it. I’ll have to find another one at a garage sale.

  5. Great idea! I definitely have to remember this one for the future. Thanks for sharing =) Happy New Year!

  6. Part of me thinks this is clever and useful. And part of me can only remember the time we were taking a family vacation in the old family van and my parents rigged up something like this in the van so they would not have to find bathrooms for us when they wanted to drive. The youngest of us was eight, and we all refused to use it. It is still a shudder-inducing memory.

  7. Wish I had thought of this when mine were little- but with boys, every tree is a potential target!

  8. Awesome idea – wish I had known about it when we drove from Illinois to Maine last summer! When you cut the diaper in “half”, exactly which direction do you cut? I’ve also heard recently that sanitary pads work, too – ever tried ’em? (I have an entire package I need to get out of my linen closet, as I had my hysterectomy last year!)

  9. That is the smartest thing I have ever read.

  10. Great idea! We’re starting potty learning with my youngest in just a few weeks. I’m sure your potty kit idea will come in handy for us as soccer starts in just a few months!

  11. Mary,
    Now that is good! I keep a little potty chair in the van for emergencies. But the clean up makes me gag. The diaper cut in half trick is awesome!

  12. Elizabeth says:

    We’ve used solutions like this too — but I just go ahead and put the plastic bag into the potty first, then the absorbent material (diaper, etc.). Less handling of messy stuff entailed. Just tie up the bag and you’re good to go.

  13. My cousin keeps the potty in the back of the van too. But the addition of the cut diaper is pure genious!

  14. I love this! Luckily, my kids are all potty-trained now, even the 2 year old, but I’ll be sure to pass this along to my family and friends with tiny ones. Great idea! I love the half diaper idea, too. Genius!

  15. Yep, this is a must have … seems quite simple, yet it never occurred to me! Thanks for sharing!

  16. Martina Fahrner says:

    My good half applauds your genius! My nasty half wants my kid to take my kid a big dump right next to the coaches bench, which might draw some attention to the toilet issue!

  17. This is ingenious! I’m filing it away for when my babies are bigger!

  18. Does this work for more solid waste too? LOL

  19. Fantastic! With a thirteen month old, potty training is on the horizon. I’ll definitely put this tip to use!

  20. Great tip!! Now we just need the minivan 🙂

  21. Amazing tip!
    Thanks for sharing.


  22. What a great idea! I will pass it on to my friends who have little ones!

  23. aha! A diaper in the bottom – now I haven’t thought of that one! Good idea!