Camping and traveling with a toddler while potty training

If you’re traveling with a little one in diapers you already have a lot to pack. But I always thought I’d have to pack so much less once we started potty training. Boy, was I wrong!

To make the potty training experience as easy and stress free as possible I found a few things that would help us. And everything I bought I purchased not only with every day use at home, but also with the camper and our frequent road trips in mind. I believe that made a big difference on our way to success.

First of all, it helped to let Jennie pick and choose things from options we gave her. Being involved made her feel like she was in charge and she was very eager to get started!

The number one item you’ll need is either a potty seat or a potty chair. We actually bought both. Camper toilets aren’t usually your average toilet size like you would have at home so the seats are different, too. I found this foldable toilet seat on Amazon and thought it was perfect for us, as it can be used on pretty much any toilet seat and makes public bathroom stops a little easier on this germaphobic mom over here! You can find the seat HERE. It comes in three colors and with a neat little plastic bag that fits in a pouch where you can also stick some disinfectant wipes. Perfect for your diaper bag or purse!

The potty chair that I decided to purchase for traveling I found at Walmart. at only about $14 it was a good deal and it being by Summer Infant it was a brand I knew. What really sold me on it thought is the fact that it has a lid that closes (which also makes it usable as a step stool!!), a removable seat (you can use it without the chair) and a tray that catches their “business”. Until I found a good deal on potty liners I used up the leftover diapers by lining the tray with them, clicking the potty seat over them to securely hold them in place and when they’re done it is a super easy clean up! I thought it was perfect as Jennie’s travel potty and so far it did not disappoint! Another plus us that it fit in our backseat of either one of our vehicles and perfectly fits into the bathroom in our camper! Space can be an issue and this little potty blends in very well for us without anyone tripping over it etc. It also is available in two colors. You can find it HERE on Walmart’s website! The potty liners I”ve been using I purchased on Amazon, find them HERE.

Now, lets talk car seat protection. This is another very important thing to think about and prepare yourself for. Because there is a very high chance that there will be accidents in the beginning!! And trust me, you do NOT want to have to wash your car seat all the time. They are a major pain to take apart and put back together, at least in most cases. We own the Chicco NextFit and the seat liner I found doesn’t slide in our seat (I was worried about that for safety reasons) and has survived several washes already (told you, there would be accounts!) I purchased a two-pack so I would always have one ready to be used in case another one would be in the wash. From what I read about them they should fit almost any car seat. They’re sold on Amazon, you can find them HERE.

Lastly, here are some other items and tips that have helped us with potty training Jennie in general. Letting her pick out her own underwear was a big thing to get her started as well as finding the right bribe to use as a reward for successfully using the bathroom! Several princess dresses had been purchased on Amazon and at Walmart as they had the best “cheap” items out there. Because no one wants to spend a fortune on “potty presents”… The Dollar Store has also been a great place to find little rewards and presents! You can get so many items like stickers, sticker books, little toys, coloring books etc. Some kids may prefer candies or snacks over that but other than mini marshmallows here and there we stuck to small toys and other items that could easily travel with us.

I hope this article will help you on your quest to potty train your toddler. May the odds be ever in your favor!

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What to expect when camping with your children and/or pets

Camping with little ones is so much fun, but it also comes with its challenges. From dealing with their nap and bedtime routines on the road, them adjusting to sleeping arrangements in the RV to things like teething or sickness while traveling. Not to mention potty training! Then add pets and their possible issues. It certainly never gets boring!

I think the most amount of gear I pack for anyone is for Jennie, followed by the dogs. I always travel with at least three extra days of clothing for her because, well, she’s a toddler. They get messy as soon as you turn our back on them! But, that’s a part of having fun and making memories on the road!

So, if you’re considering to go camping with your children and they’re anywhere between baby and pre-potty trained toddler, you are going to want to bring A LOT of diapers. Because for some reason it feels like we went through almost twice as many diapers as we were at home. We also never travel without things like infant/children Motrin, Ibuprofen, cough medicine (we love Zarbees), rubbing alcohol and Benadryl. Because chances are that you’ll need at least one of them. And don’t forget the bandaids! Those are just the bare necessities you should have on hand, besides the foods and snacks.

Things that happened to us was stuff like Jennie working on not one but eight teeth while on our 5 week vacation in 2017. We went through our ibuprofen we brought along from home and then some. The poor little thing didn’t catch a teething break for months back then. On top of that we dealt with extreme temperatures due to a heat wave and our generator ran basically 24/7, which didn’t help with Jennie’s sleep on the road. Most of the nights she ended up sleeping with us, which didn’t help my sleep either haha! At least daddy, who did all of the driving, got to sleep! Thankfully this was just a phase with the poor sleeping for Miss Jennie, mostly due to the teething, I’m sure.

How did this not wake him up?!

We still had to deal with the heat outside and planned our outings not only around her nap time but also the hourly temperatures. Depending on where you go, you’ll need to make sure to know what to expect weather wise ahead of time, it will make everything so much easier during the trip! Hiking and exploring in mid to late morning as well as late afternoon worked best for us. Not just for Jennie but also for the dogs. It was important make sure the ground we intended to hike on wasn’t too hot for them and there was enough shade. A foldable water bowl for them as well as extra water was also always packed. Oh, and the Benadryl. NEVER camp without it if you have pets. Our three girls were quite inquisitive on our big trip, like most dogs are. And on one particular occasion they got into something that caused an allergic reaction/irritation on all three dogs. But Echo, our special baby, had it worst because her skin was sensitive to begin with. All I can say is that I was so happy we had an extra bottle of Benadryl for just them. We were in the middle of nowhere with no cell phone reception and no town nearby when this happened. Thankfully after two doses she almost looked like her normal self again. But it took a full 24 hrs for the swelling to go away completely.

Now, don’t let this scare you away from going camping with your two and four legged family members!! I am telling you all those things so that you know of the things that can happen and can take them in stride, being prepared for them and know what to expect. Every single camping trip was fantastic in its own way, no matter where we went. Because the most important thing is to always make the best of every situation.

Part of that is that you’ll also want to prepare yourself for rainy days, or days where it is simply too hot to be outside. If you’re a family that can be entertained by TV with movies etc, great! Jennie gets bored with TV fast and we always travel with a handful of toys she picks out herself. Something I always pack are laminated activity sheets (homeschool supplies for preschool), paper and crayons & watercolor, plastic table cloth for crafts, glue, craft paper, popsicle/craft sticks, pompoms, pipe cleaners, wiggly eyes etc. Whatever it takes to keep her happy and entertained when weathered out works for us. And it is fun for the grown ups, too!

Back to dog supplies before I finish up! We found that crib mattresses for our Great Danes work really well in the camper. Our old rig had a jackknife couch that we let the dogs have, and that was perfect. But we don’t have that option in our new one, so we had to get a little creative wit the space we have. The sheets for them are easy to wash and we also have an array of doggie blankets and towels we travel with. Other things you should think of are plenty of waste bags, maybe an extra leash or two, tie out cables/leashes, a crate (if it fits), brushes, clippers, shampoo and pet wipes. That’s our standard “suitcase’ our pups travel with, minus the crates because they’re just too darn big for our rig!

So, I hope this little article will be helpful to you. Feel free to share!

Below are a few snapshots from traveling with Jennie and the dogs. Wonderful memories were made alongside of messes, even though someone got sick here or there, it was only a short period of time and then we turned it around and made something good out of it. I hope you enjoy your next camping trip, or maybe it will be your first!

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Traveling with a toddler… AND a mother-in-law!

Ah, road tripping. It can be a little exhausting. Wether you are traveling alone, or with a partner. It WILL be exhausting if you travel with a toddler, trust me on that one! But you can still make it a blast and less exhausting if you plan around your little one(s) routine and pack plenty of snacks and entertainment.

We were a mix of three very different personalities, driving for hours on end and then adding a fourth one, my dear mother-in-law! Some people may think that’s insane, to go on a month-long vacation with your husband’s mom… But, they had no idea!

First of all, let me start with the fact that I LOVE my mother-in-law! And I am not just saying this because she is going to read this (Hi Dale!) She is just the right kind of crazy to make it several weeks with us. Stuck together in nothing but a truck and a camper… A camper that unknowingly had started to fall apart on us while in storage. No way to escape. Unless you feel like hiking through the scorching hot Midwest all by yourself…

So, Dale was a big help with entertaining Jennie and also added plenty of comic relief. Wether intentionaly or not. And she certainly helped create memories that will last all of us for a lifetime! We documented our trip as much as we could, we did as many things together as physically possible and not once did I get into so much as a disagreement with her. She is a wonderful travel companion and I think one of the reasons we get along so well is that we see eye to eye in a lot of things. We all just really tried to have the time of our lives! And boy, did we ever!

Elk Selfie at the Grand Canyon! Guess this lady elk had the same idea as us of checking out the souvenir shops…

From hiking around the Grand Canyon together, to exploring Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon, horseback riding at Yellowstone and moose spotting in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. No opportunities to do something fun and/or crazy together were missed. And those are only a few of the places we have visited as a family. So much more was added to our list that summer, with no end in sight!

If I had to give any advice to someone that plans to take a vacation with their mother-in-law I’d tell them to make sure not criticize each other, to relax and to have a glass of wine together while complaining about the men in your life. Not really. My husband will be reading this, too 😉

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Well hello there!

Thanks for joining me and welcome to my blog about our life as a camping and outdoor living family. Follow me as I share our past and future adventures of camping our way through North America.

I am Marion, the wife and mom of our pack. I am responsible for our travel photography, packing food and snacks for everyone and entertaining the little one. You’ll almost never see me without photography equipment, snack packs and a toddler (and sometimes even a dog or two) attached to my hip. #Momlife

In 2012 I moved to the US from Germany and since then my husband and I, as well as the rest of our little tribe, have traveled as much as physically possible to explore this beautiful country together.

And in 2016 we purchased our first camper together. She was a 2003 Dutchmen travel trailer and we nicknamed her our “rolling turd”. Don’t get me wrong, we LOVED that “little” camper but there was almost daily maintenance or at least tweaking required. But hey, it sure never was boring when traveling with it!

We took a few short trips right after we bought our new home away from home and then, in June of 2017, set out for the trip of a lifetime! 7,500 miles throughout the states. My husband, our daughter, my dear mother-in-law, our (then) three Great Danes and myself. It was crazy, amazing, hilarious, sometimes a little nerve racking (we never knew what would need fixing next) but overall we had an awesome time and no one tried to kill each other!

So I will share with you the memories of that trip along with many other camping trips we have taken, some hacks, tips and ideas and also advice on camping/road tripping with a toddler and dogs.

Thanks for reading!

Find us on YouTube, Facebook and Instagram for videos and photos of our camping adventures!

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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