Toddlers: 24 Months+

Long car ride for the first time! Need your advice!

My daughter and I will be enduring an 11 hour car ride in 2 weeks and I'm looking for travel suggestions!

She is 2 and completely potty trained with no overnight diapers. She has an iron bladder and can hold it for SO many hours but I'm still concerned about being in the car in the middle of no where when she says, "potty mommy!" I thought about throwing a pull up on her just in case, but I don't want her to regress into thinking it's okay to not use the toilet anymore. Suggestions? Experiences?

Any suggestions to keep her occupied? I'm hoping she sleeps a good portion of it. We'll be traveling with the man I am seeing and his 3 year old daughter (who is not potty trained, so he is of no help) who travels all the time with him, so I'm sure he has some ideas, but I'm still nervous.

Lastly, we're staying in a hotel. My daughter's first hotel stay. Any suggestions there? As far as sleeping arrangements? She sleeps in a twin at home with a rail, which she frequently is held into her bed by. I thought about asking for a roll away cot, but I'm unsure of how far they are off of the floor.

Thanks for any and all advice you have to offer!
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Re: Long car ride for the first time! Need your advice!

  • potty in the back of the car!  then, you just need to find an appropriate location to pull over, not an actual bathroom!
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  • I agree, potty in the back of the car.  And don't stress it - she'll do just fine!  We actually do better traveling during the day (my kids resist sleeping in the car) and just make a really long lunch stop in the middle so they can run off some energy.
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  • When DD was 2 1/2 I traveled across country with both my kids. I put DD in a pull up the first day of the trip. Like you, I was afraid she would say she had to pee and there would be no bathroom or there would be no place to pull over but tge the side of the interstate which I hate doing for safety reasons. She did fine! We stopped enough for breaks that she never had a "gotta go" moment in the car, so I put her back in underwear for the rest of the trip. I had heard of people keeping their kids in underwear and putting a puppy piddle pad on the seat of their car seat just in case.

    I loaded our tablet with toddler shows and apps, which she loved. She also liked the color wonder travel pack I picked up. New toys/booka are always a hit. You can check out the dollar spot at Target. Make sure you stop regularly so they can stretch their legs - McDonalds playlands are great while traveling, rest stops are also great (I keep a ball and/or bubbles in the car when we travel in the warmer seasons so they have something to play with if there is no playground at the rest stop.) Keep clean easy snacks in the car and within arm's reach.

    As for the hotel, try to get there early so you can find some place for the kids to play. They will have probably slept most of the ride and not want to sleep. My kids are always bouncing off the walls once out of the car for the day. Find a park or indoor playplace nearby. I always find the hotel staff very helpful in finding a place. At 2 1/2 I either put a folded up quilt on the floor and let DD sleep there or had her sleep between DH and I.

    Good luck!
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  • If the hotel has a pool, use it! Great way to get their energy out!!

    Agreed potty in the back while help.

    A portable dvd player w favorite movies along. Books are also good, color books are also great! Get a tray (buy just a plastic one like you find at fast food restaurant, or cafeterias) I found those fit perfectly across my son's lap in the car seat and perfect for him to color on.
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  • We take long trips regularly because my ILs live 8 hours from us (one way).  I would suggest putting a pull up over her undies, and explain that you expect her to still use the potty but they are for accidents only. Because I swear, you will pass the last exit for 50 miles and she'll say she needs to pee before you can even pull over.

    Also, you may seriously consider buying a DVD player. They are a truly wonderful, fantastic, glorious invention for parents of small children.  We bought this one last year - dual monitor.  But they come in various models with various price ranges.
  • We do the DC to Detroit drive several times per year. This is what we've found works well:

    1) Car potty and a folding potty seat for rest stops.
    2) LOTS of snacks. DS1 is happiest on long trips if he's allowed to perpetually graze. It's his special treat for that much patience.
    3) A diversion bag. Ours currently has a Kindle Fire (preloaded with books, shows and games), a travel crayola whiteboard with dry erase crayons, lots of books, and some interactive toys.
    4) Whenever we stop anywhere we run him for at least 20 minutes. DH will either run around with him or we'll sit on benches apart from each other and play a game where DS1 runs back and forth to give us hugs.
    5) A toddler neck pillow. DS1 HATES to sleep in the car but will eventually if he's tired enough. We get about 2x the sleep out of him when he has his neck pillow on.

    Good luck!
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  • Potty in the back of the car. Also tire her out before you leave and have a potty trip before getting in the car.
  • Thanks for all the advice!! I forgot to mention we are taking a very small car (awesome, right?) and taking our mobile potty won't be an option as it's too large. I think we're going to stick a pull up over her undies and/or try the potty pad suggestion. I am going to invest in a portable DVD player though, thanks a ton!!!
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  • IMO putting her on a pull up for the 11-hour trip wont cause her to regress. Ive been doing that with my kid when she was that age and she did well. HTH

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