Samantha Brown's Easy Bathroom Hack For Road Tripping With Young Children

Before packing up and driving away on vacation, you'll want to make sure your kids have snacks handy on your road trip. Foods that are easy to nibble on and some drinks to stay hydrated are a must during long car rides. But, inevitably, those snacks and juice boxes will eventually have to go somewhere — and by that, we mean the toilet.

Potty breaks at rest stops can be time-consuming, and sometimes, little ones have to go even when no public restroom is around for miles. On top of that, crowded and noisy public bathrooms can be intimidating for small children, as travel expert Samantha Brown explained in a TikTok video. To avoid potty time struggles, the TV host offered a genius hack that eliminates public restrooms altogether.


Its Road trip season! My kids are 11 now but this still is one of my favorite road trip hacks for toddlers. #roadtrip #familytraveltips #vanlife

♬ original sound – Samantha Brown

If your child is still small enough to use a mini potty, bring the portable toilet with you on your road trip. Now for the super clever hack: Place a diaper inside the potty to absorb any liquid or waste. This makes clean-up a breeze and prevents drips and spills. Have your child use the potty in the car, in a concealed area at the gas station, or wherever else they feel comfortable.

Other things to bring for road trip potty breaks

When road-tripping with your toddler, extra toys, gadgets, and comfort items are a must, and you'll quickly find that this applies to on-the-go potty breaks, too. Besides a portable training toilet and diapers, Samantha Brown suggests bringing a few other items for when nature calls. First, make sure to have some zippered plastic bags on hand to store and dispose of the soiled diapers. As the experienced traveler shared in her TikTok clip, used diapers left out can attract flies and may disturb other travelers when tossed in a public trash bin.

Next, be sure to bring some antibacterial wet wipes to keep your hands clean, especially after handling any waste. These, too, can be thrown in the plastic bag along with the dirty diaper. Though Brown doesn't mention it in her video, you may also want to pack some tissues or rolls of toilet paper to keep your child fresh and dry.

Finally, don't forget your kid's usual bathroom companions when on the road. Brown recommends packing children's books for long poop breaks, though other toys and handheld games also work. If your little one is taking longer than usual on the potty, it could be from sitting too long in the car, so consider making stops to move around and get some light exercise.

If you plan to use public restrooms, come prepared

Public restrooms can be a scary place for small children, especially if they aren't accustomed to them. If you can't or don't want to rely on a training potty while traveling, make sure to get your child used to public restrooms early. Ahead of your road trip, visit public restrooms in grocery stores, gas stations, and shopping malls to help your little one practice.

If you find that your child is afraid or anxious in public bathrooms, try making adjustments to keep them comfortable. Pack a training seat to make the toilet appear less large and scary, particularly if your tot uses one at home. If they don't like the automatic flushers found on many toilets, bring sticky notes or tape to cover the sensors. If restroom noises are too overwhelming, offer your child earmuffs or noise-canceling headphones, and avoid using the hand dryers.

When possible, seek out calm and quiet restrooms where your child is more likely to feel at ease. That might mean skipping the highway rest stops and ducking into a restaurant, hotel, or other establishment. We suggest using this tool to find the nearest bathroom while traveling and planning restroom breaks in advance.