Toilet training on a sailing boat

Orbit getting used to sitting on the potty

Orbit getting used to sitting on the potty

The Skipper and I have decided to start Orbit on the journey of toilet training. We’ve waited until Orbit started to show the “signs” that he is ready and am grateful that he is showing the signs in summer rather than winter.

We would like Orbit to be confidently using the toilet on the boat (also known as the head) before we leave to go cruising. This will free up storage space as we won’t need carry nappies and we won’t need to worry about washing or disposing them. 

We opted to start Orbit on a potty to keep things simple. The plan is for him to move on to using the head once he has mastered the potty. We decided to put the potty in an area that is easily accessible for Orbit but out of the way – which is difficult on a sailing boat because most areas are used for multiple uses throughout the day. We put the potty near the v-berth which keeps it and Orbit out of the way when he is on the potty, allows for easy cleaning (when there are accidents) and easy access to baby wipes etc. 

Getting Orbit to sit on the potty was a bigger challenge than I expected, he just didn’t like it. So we introduced a number of distractions to get him to initially sit on and then lengthen the time he sits on the potty. These distractions including reading a stories, (such as ‘Pirate Potty’), playing on a musical toy (which is just the right height when he sits on the potty), playing with stickers or doing puzzles. He still isn’t a fan of the sitting potty but he knows what it is and will sit on it with some encouragement and distraction.

Orbit in his undies

Orbit in his undies

The next step (which we are at now) was to incorporate the potty into our daily routine. The Skipper and I are doing this to hopefully have more success with ‘catching’ wees and poos than previously. We are also hoping that Orbit will continue to make the connection between the feeling of having to do a wee or a poo and doing a wee or a poo. He is still fascinated when he does a wee or a poo in the potty and likes to point at his effort as we congratulate him on his achievement.

I am also putting Orbit in undies (when he’s not in bed) to aid the process of learning about doing a wee or a poo. Orbit is so proud of wearing his undies and so far he’s has only had one accident. But I think this has been more good luck than Orbit being able to control his bladder!

I am expecting Orbit’s journey of being able to use the head on his own to take a few months, maybe a longer, but we are just going to take our time. It will be interesting to see how he goes using the head when we are sailing – this can be challenging for adults, so we may need some nappies on board just in case!

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