Potty training is a challenging milestone for any parent. (And, it’s absolutely no one’s favorite.) It’s hard enough to potty train at home, but it’s extra difficult when you’re on the road! Toddlers can’t always be trusted to let you know when they’ve gotta go, so traveling with a child who is potty training needs special planning . . . and a lot of patience. 

One of the biggest concerns when it comes to potty training and car seats is that accidents are inevitable, and that means a soaked seat. If the car seat is wet, it could be uncomfortable for your child to ride in for the rest of the trip. And, once you do finally get home after the potty accident, cleaning the car seat is a whole other hassle. (Here’s how to safely clean a car seat.) 

To help remedy this problem, lots of parents have turned to car seat covers and other forms of potty protection. But, are these safe? And, if not, what are the alternative strategies? We’re going to examine these questions today, and we’ll give you some of our top tips and products for traveling while potty training. 

Here’s what you need to know:

Car Seat Protection When Potty Training 

Use the potty before leaving the house.

One of the best ways to prevent accidents in the car is to have your child use the potty right before you leave and then limit liquid intake while driving. For a short trip, you can likely just avoid dealing with the potty issue altogether. For a longer trip, hopefully, this strategy will at least get you to the first pit stop where you can have them go again! 

Pack a portable potty chair

Okay, let’s be honest, being able to perfectly plan when your toddler has to potty is wishful thinking. Right? So, another great way to prepare for that inevitable, “I have to go potty!” when you’re in the middle of nowhere or stuck in school pick-up lines, keep a portable potty chair in your car. That way, you can always whip it out and have a potty ready no matter where you are. 

Honestly, this is good to have for older kids too. If on a long road trip, you never know when someone will need to go. If there’s not a rest stop in sight, you can always fall back on the trusty potty chair

Look into manufacturer-made potty liners.

Aftermarket potty liners or car seat protectors are not approved for use in car seats. They’re not safe! Though it seems like a good idea to protect your car seat, bench seat, or bucket seat from wear and tear from an accident, they’re not crash-tested and can be downright dangerous in a crash.

There is an exception to this rule, however! If the car seat protector or potty liner is made by the manufacturer of the car seat (and is marked as compatible with your seat), it’s considered safe. Clek, Diono, and Britax all have options that are safe for use with their brand of car seats. 

Use a cloth diaper PUL or wool cover. 

A cloth diaper PUL cover (AKA rubber pants) or wool cover is another great way to add a layer of protection to prevent leaks if your potty-training child has an accident. A PUL cover like this Thirsties Hook & Loop one is waterproof and fits perfectly over underpants. These can be washed and hang-dried if soiled. 

Wool covers have even better leak protection, but they do require some prep and a special wash routine. Once you do it a couple of times, though, it’s easy! Plus, because the lanolin in the wool fibers naturally neutralizes urine, you don’t need to wash wool covers every time they get a little pee on them. That’s a big bonus for wool! 

Have cleaning solutions ready. 

At the end of the day, messes are going to happen sometimes. It’ll make the situation a whole lot more stressful if you don’t have the tools to clean it up. Have cleaning supplies ready to go if there is an accident. We recommend having a kit with the following items:

6 Portable Potty For the Car 

1. OXO Tot 2-in-1 Potty Chair

This 2-in-1 potty chair has some of the best customer reviews of any seat on Amazon. We like it (and many others do too) because it can be set up as a free-standing potty or it can fit onto a standard toilet to make it toddler-friendly. This is a great combo because if there’s no rest stop available, you want the free-standing function. If a rest stop is available, you’ll want the training cover to make the toilet easier to use. 

It’s also compact, quick to fold out, and easy to clean, which are all plusses in our book! And, for just over $20, it’s well worth the price. Put one of these in your potty training tote or emergency kit inside your vehicle

2. MCGMITT Portable Potty Training Toilet Seat

This potty is similar with its 2-in-1 functionality, but there are a few differences as well. Instead of relying on plastic bags to catch the waste in the OXO version, this one includes an expandable silicone basin. It also comes with plastic bags, though, if you need to collect the waste until you can throw it away at the next stop! 

The potty doesn’t fold up quite as compact, but it is sturdier. Plus, this one comes with a plastic storage bag to use on the go. The seat on this one is pretty small, so if your child is older or on the larger size, this one may not be the best fit. 

3. Portable Folding Silicone Training Toilet Seat

If you’re far enough along in the potty training process that you’re not worried about a roadside stop (or you have a little boy who enjoys peeing outside “the old-fashioned way”) this trainer seat is great to have in the car. You can use it in public restrooms and even at friends/family houses that don’t have a toddler-friendly seat available. It’s a soft silicone and the fun shape helps encourage your little one to go in unusual places. 

4. Kalencom Potette 2-in-1 Training Potty and Training Seat

Here’s another great 2-in-1 option! It functions very similarly to the OXO version and is bigger than the MCGMITT one for older and larger kids. It uses plastic bags to collect waste and the whole thing folds flat to transform from a potty seat to a toilet cover. The potty chair comes in a lot of colors too, which doesn’t sound like a big deal, but your child’s “favorite” color might be the thing that helps motivate them to go when you’re in an unusual place. 

5. Nuby On-the-Go Portable Potty Seat

The Nuby potty chair is also a 2-in-1 convertible seat. It has a silicone basin for waste collection that you can use with or without bags. The seat folds up nicely and comes with a handy drawstring bag for sanitary vehicle storage even after use. It’s best for kids on the younger side of potty training and works great when fixed on a toilet as well! 

6. Honboom Kids Folding Travel Potty

This last seat is almost identical to the MCGMITT version, except it comes in 3 color options. Again, this isn’t important at all to the functionality, but your potty-training toddler may appreciate it! It’s compact and convertible. Plus, it comes with a silicone basin. The only thing it’s missing is an included carrying bag. 

Protect your vehicle and car seat safely from potty training accidents with these tips and products. 

Potty training is a lot of work and a lot of stress. You can make it less stressful in the car by planning ahead and packing intentionally. Just remember to avoid any aftermarket car seat products like car seat liners or vehicle seat covers. They’re not approved by the manufacturer and should never be used . . . even if the alternative is a mess. Safety always comes first! For more vehicle and car seat safety tips, head to the Safe in the Seat blog!

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