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This might seem like a strange blog topic, but not for parents of infants and toddlers! It seems like half the day revolves around diapers and/or making sure your child uses the potty. These routines don’t just stop because you are flying. The good news is most needs for younger children can be taken care of in the air, eliminating unplanned stops. In this guide I’ll break down how to best handle diapers and kids who have to go potty while flying in general aviation aircraft. I’ll be sharing our routines and my must have products that get us through our flights with ease.
There must be a “cabin” bag packed with all your toileting essentials, that is easily accessible during the flight. This is not unlike your normal diaper bag that you would use day to day. Here is my list for my own children, and depending on the age of your own child(ren) this might include:
- Pull Ups
- Pop Top Wipes Pack
- Change of Clothes
- Gallon Zip Lock Bags
- Scented Diaper Sacks
- Concentrated Room Spray
- Compact Fully Wipeable Diaper Pad
- Travel Potty
- Travel Potty Disposable Bags
Of course you want to start the flight with a fresh diaper, and/or have your child use the bathroom right before getting on the plane. On longer flights we try to take a break from drinking up to an hour prior to take off. This way they can hopefully get through the first 45 minutes without having to go. I put the disposable bag on the travel potty and fold back up. This way if it’s needed, when I do pull it out it’s completely ready to go. By the time my daughter gets around to telling me she has to go, it’s usually that moment.
Babies & Toddlers in Diapers
If possible take off with a fresh diaper, and a layer of barrier cream like Aquafor on any rash prone areas. This way if you can’t change a diaper as soon as you would normally like to, there’s that barrier cream to help ward off irritation. If your household uses a different diaper for overnight use, I would also opt to use that same diaper for flying. I reserve in-air diaper changes mostly just for poopy diapers, and use the diaper pad on the floor. Click here to see the thin, compact, and completely wipeable pad I use for travel. The dirty diaper first goes into a scented diaper sack. I then take a gallon Ziploc bag and spray one spritz of concentrated room spray inside. I transfer the dirty diaper sack to the now scented Ziploc and seal. Because concentrated spray tends to be strong initially, spraying it into the bag does two things. First it gives a boost of scent protection around the diaper. It then also releases just enough scent into the cabin. It would likely be overwhelming if you sprayed right into the small cabin. I use this vanilla patchouli from Bath and Body Works. It comes in a mini bottle the length of my hand. For us it’s a very tolerable scent that does really well covering dirty diaper odors.
Toddlers in Pull Ups & Potty Training
During potty training, the airplane was always a time we would default to pull-ups. This seemed like the easiest way to deal with travel, prevent accidents, and it didn’t disrupt potty training because it was consistent. So this is an easy way to start. However, there came a point when the only time during the day that a pull up was ever used, was when we flew. I knew this had to change to get us completely to the other side of this phase, so I decided to bring potty use to the air. We then switched to regular underpants while flying. If there was an oops, we knew we had the ziploc bags and the spare set of clothing. Our car seat also has a completely removable car seat cover that is machine washable, so it wasn’t to be the end of the world. Adding a travel potty to our travels made the process more successful for everyone. Continue reading below for which potty to use.
Yes, let’s talk about that travel potty. One of the most essential items anytime we fly is the OXO 2-in-1 Go Potty. There are a variety of travel potties on the market and I chose this one for many reasons. It folds flat, is extremely light, and comes with a wipeable travel bag. There’s no bulky bucket to drag along, and instead uses only disposable potty bags. This standalone potty seat also doubles as a kids potty seat cover for regular toilets, and that’s something I need to use at hotels while traveling. I used to pack a full cushioned kids potty seat to bring to hotels, so this has been a total space saver! This potty comes with absorbent leak-proof bags that fit over the seat, and hang down in the opening. The potty gets used on almost every single flight we take, and prevents unplanned stops. We have available floor space in our 6 place configuration, and it can be used on an empty seat if necessary.
Alternatives for older kids and parents
If you think your child is capable, then these cute designs might encourage use over the adult versions. This may be somewhat of a suitable alternative if you don’t have space for a travel potty.
These emergency urinals come in two character designs fitted for boys and girls. I do not have personal experience with these, but check out the reviews to decide for yourself!
We also might as well talk about options to pee on a small airplane for parents! If you already fly frequently I am sure you are familiar with these products.
Travel John urinals come in handy for in air bathroom emergencies. I frequently stock up on these on Amazon. These are resealable leak-proof urinals, where up to 28 oz of fluid instantly turns to gel. The top portion is unisex in design. The Travel John has never failed us on our flights, and have proven to be mess free. They are simple to dispose of upon landing, and to move on with your day without extra cleaning.
If you are looking to use something more than once, then a plastic unisex urinal may be a good choice. Bring on board for a leak-proof bottle that holds up to 34 ounces. Empty in a bathroom after landing, and sanitize fully once home.
I hope this post has given you things to consider when tackling diapers and bathroom breaks on your small plane. I sure know the younger the child, the more items you have to bring along. Half the battle is discovering and using products that make life easier. My goal is to always pack the least I can while still being prepared for all the little situations specific to tiny kids. One thing for sure is that sometime shortly after take off I’ll hear, “Mommy I have to go potty!”.