Real Friends Send You Port-a-Potties

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While on my most recent adventure with my traveling toddler to the Outer Banks we had a several hour drive through North Carolina after we landed in Raleigh. I plan to post a full trip review soon, but I posted a brief post about “Ten Things That Really Happened Today” while I was still on the trip. The trip was fantastic, but when you travel alone with a two-year-old there are inevitably some “interesting” moments along the journey.

One of the interesting moments on this trip included an emergency stop on the side of the road. My two-year-old is now 99.9% potty trained during the daytime hours. She actually had a pull-up on for our journey since it started at 4:30AM and she said it was “too early for panties”. Fair enough. It was too early for everything. If you have never driven from Raleigh to the Outer Banks it is actually a very nice drive, but there are some portions of the drive where there aren’t exactly frequent gas stations or restaurants where you could stop.  My kiddo had drank quite a bit during our lunch stop, but we had not yet re-entered civilization where we could stop again for a quick break. I knew she would need to go soon, but I was crossing my fingers that she would last a bit longer.

That hope was dashed when she started crying that she needed to potty NOW. She said it hurt and she needed to go right NOW. Again, an emphasis on the now portion of the statement. I told her she had her pull-up on, so it was okay if she had a little accident. I also told her that I would stop as soon as I could. Her screams got worse. She had no desire to use her pull-up, and she was very upset. I was driving on a section of road that had no room to pull over. As much as I hated to hear her in pain and screaming, I wasn’t about to jeopardize our safety to pull over.

As soon as I got to a safe place to pull off, I got her out of the car (in the rain, of course) and told her she was going to use “an imaginary potty”. I held her hands while she squatted and the flood gates were released. We sacrificed a shirt in her bag for clean-up purposes and continued on our way. She felt much better, and I gave her a high five for being such a trooper. This scene repeated itself on the beach a couple days later when her three-year-old cousin had to potty on the beach and there were no facilities to be found. This cousin was not impressed with the “imaginary potty” idea, so eventually we got smart enough to dig a hole, put a princess bucket in the hole, and call it her “princess beach potty”. It worked, but there were many stressful minutes for the little girl before we came up with an idea that worked for her.

Fast forward to a couple days ago when I got an email from my friend Pizzaman, who is one of the founders of Milepoint and also writes the blog “Pizza in Motion“. He asks for my mailing address. I ask if I should be on the look-out for any explosive packages. He says “maybe”.

Yesterday the UPS guy made his almost daily stop at my house and my husband asks, “What did you spend money on this time?”. I honestly answer him that I have no idea. I often forget what packages are coming since almost everything we use is purchased through an online shopping portal and then delivered to our house. So the package could have been an exciting and exotic item like dog food, toilet paper, dish washing soap, socks, etc. Only this time it was our very own port-a-potty courtesy of Pizzaman. Real friends send you port-a-potties!


He had read my post about C’s roadside adventure, and sent us this awesome Cool Gear Travel Potty! Not only does it look like a potty, so the little ones are more likely to use it without protest, but it has baggies that capture “the goods”. That really wasn’t mission critical for our liquid incident, but it could be in the future should the emergency bit a bit more solid in nature…. My buddy Pizzaman has two children, and said that this potty has been invaluable to them. He also said that since it folds up so small, they often just put it in the stroller bag when they check the stroller for flights so they have it at their final destination. The box advertizes the potty as being able to fold into “briefcase size”.



Wow – what a stylish briefcase. 😉 I could see how it would also be useful when we go camping (if we ever did such a thing), while out on the lake, or out to play on friends’ land where there are no potties! He does recommend against getting the Pottette Plus as he says it is way too small to be functional. Just stick with the original and you should be fine.

Let’s just hope the day never comes where my husband or I are pulling over to use this fancy new contraption. Thanks again to our friend, Mr. Pizza!

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  1. Just an FYI, depending on where on the OB you go, Norfolk might be a better airport. If you DO fly into Norfolk and drive down to the OB, you must stop at Morris Farm Stand, not for the produce and farm-stand kitsch, but for what have to be the largest and cleanest bathrooms in any farm stand in any part of the world. I stop even if I don’t have to pee just to attempt to pee in these bathrooms.

    • @MikeP, I think that ORF would have been a shorter driver for sure – however I got into RDU for less than half the price of what I could find for ORF. Thanks for the tip if we are able to go into Norfolk next time!

  2. Why might a person read Phrases like, “it was too early for panties” and “use an imaginary potty”! One was enough to have me rolling in the floor, both = hysterics! Glad to hear things worked out on the car ride! Awesome post!

  3. @mommypoints: that makes perfect sense. As to traveling with a 99.9% potty trained girl, I feel your pain. My problem was that I was traveling alone with her AND her little sister WITHOUT mommy. So stopping at a rest stop becomes a chore especially if little-sister is asleep. This was for my recent BOS-EWR-DCA-EWR-BOS driving extravaganza.

    Keep up the great work, especially stories on traveling with your daughter – very, very helpful.

  4. @Brian, ha ha. If I can at least make a few folks last then I’ll chalk it up in the success column! Of course, some folks may be quite disappointed in the content here if they got here by searching for “too early for panties”. 😉
    @MikeP, OMG – that sounds terrible. There is a reason I only have one child. I would be outnumbered in our day to day life when daddy is at work/out of town for work/can’t travel with us because of work/etc. That sounds terrible! Glad you liked the post. 😉

  5. And… that’s why I’m glad I have boys – you don’t have to encourage them to pee outdoors (more often you have to encourage them NOT to pee outdoors).

    That’s a great sign that she didn’t want to use the Pull-up – you may be at 100% PT soon!

    • @Susan, ha ha! I have heard that about some little boys. 😉 I was really proud of my daughter for not wanting to use her pull-up – I agree it was a great sign!

  6. Loved your story. All 3 of my children around the ages of 2 and 3 were deathly afraid of public restrooms. They did not like the automatic flushing toilets and the blowers were too loud. So they would walk in with their hands over their ears be on the verge of a meltdown. So, with my daughter I would a pull-up on her – but she refused to go into any public bathroom, and also did not want to use her pull-up. Make for interesting trips to the store. Thankfully – we are now over the hump, although at 4 years old she still asks if the toilets are going to flush by themselves.
    And more children are harder work, but easier in some ways because eventually they can play with each other and you do not need to be the sole source of entertainment :).

  7. My 3 year old son only likes public restrooms – we are thinking about putting the blue restroom signs on the bathroom doors at home because he won’t use them! He knows where every restroom in town is, loves traveling so he kind find others. And since he is a boy some of the dirties bathrooms he can still use, and he does! Airplanes, portapoties, parks doesn’t matter to him. It gets kind of annoying when you know he doesn’t really need to go, but wants to because he is out.

  8. James, I can’t vouch for mom, but our 6-year old who weighs just shy of 50 lbs. has been using our version of this potty for 4 years. It takes a beating and keeps on…well, whatever. You get the picture.

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