Camping and hiking information
with tips for parents
Camping and hiking information
with tips for parents

Scary Toilets and Bathroom Issues

A pit toilet may seem like a perfectly normal thing to you, but your toddler may not agree. These toilets can smell pretty bad and it's easy to see why some children are afraid of falling in. When you tell your child about camping be sure to include information about the bathrooms.
Flush toilets can be loud and are not like the potty at home. If your child will still go on a potty chair you may want to bring one along - just in case.

Yucky Paper

Most camp bathrooms have industrial quality (sand paper) toilet paper. Your young bath roomer may refuse to use this stuff.
Some camps provide little squares of paper. A parent may be able to use this stuff but a young child might have some problems.
Many of the toilet paper dispensers make it quite difficult for you to get the paper off of the roll. This is actually intentional. The idea is that you will use less paper if it is really hard to get it off of the roll. As a former park employee this is the silliest thing I have ever seen. The bathrooms always end up with bits of paper all over the floor and people break these irritating dispensers all the time. Your child may not be able to get the paper off of these rolls at all.
The biggest problem of all is an empty dispenser. You will find these every busy weekend you camp. Bring your own toilet paper!

Showers and Bathing

Camp showers can be a test of your patience. The temperature may be hard to adjust (or impossible) and the water may run cold for some time before getting warm. Most camp showers require quarters - and I have run out of money in the middle of shampooing my hair as have most regular campers.
Children who normally take baths at home will not appreciate a camp shower.

Many camp grounds do not offer bathing facilities at all. If you plan on camping for any length of time you will have to adapt. Sun Showers (a large black bag with a shower head) are great for camping. You can use them at home a few times to allow your children to become used to the idea. We set up the sun shower and let our kids try it out in bathing suits to get the idea. Most kids just think of it as an interesting sprinkler if you offer it at home first as entertainment. Whatever you do, never call it a 'shower' - rather a tree sprinkler or such. Our first boy was so put off with it being a 'shower' he refused to use it no matter what - until we refused to ride in the car with him because of the stink.

Sponge baths can work quite well, especially if you are camping in cold weather. There are also products intended for people will severe allergies or who are invalids for bathing without rinsing at all - just check your local drug store.

Potty Training

Camping trips can be a real chance for breakthroughs in this area! My oldest son stubbornly refused to use the potty unless reminded every hour to do so. After he saw his father urinate on a tree a few times - all of our problems were over. He quickly learned to tell us when he needed to go. His aim is pretty now pretty darn good when vegitation is involved too!
After our success with our first son we tried it again with the second boy and he did just as well.
Camping trips are convenient for potty training. There are no 'accidents' on your rug or your furniture and a potty chair can simply be set up anywhere in your camp site so your child won't feel isolated while trying to go. You will have more time with your child when camping, and this can be the most help of all.

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