"Wear trunks or bikini bottoms"

Pottying in the Pool and at the Beach

What should your child wear to the swimming pool if you ec?

In Summary

  • If you have ANY doubt about whether your child might poo in the pool, use a swim nappy.
  • If your child doesn’t have solid poo, use a swim nappy.
  • If your lesson stipulates a swim nappy, use a swim nappy.

Function over fashion | 5 tips | Travel potties | The beach! | Potty sign

Function Over Fashion

If you’re 99% sure they won’t poo, use a pair of swimmers with tight fitting legs i.e. trunks or bikini bottoms. If you want shorts for fashion / sun protection wear them over the top.

In a British indoor pool, you don’t need shorts. Anything that drags your child down or hampers their movement isn’t worth the fashion statement – in my opinion.

Let them wear skimpy swimmers and enjoy freedom of movement!

5 Tips for Less Stress When Pottying At The Pool

1. Dress for easy access.

Bikini bottoms or trunks are a LOT easier to get on and off a wet toddler than a swimsuit or a sun suit.

You’re not going to get much warning as it is.

Then you need to get out of the pool and to the toilets without falling over, while juggling armbands and possibly another child or two. Always assume the floor will be disgusting and try not to take anything off completely because you won’t have enough hands to hold it all. Armbands can stay on if you use trunks, bikini bottoms or two piece sun suits.

2. It’s all about the leg elastic.

Swim nappies don’t really contain wee, but they do contain poo (for long enough for you to deal with it) and so do tight fitting swimmers. Hence the recommendations for skimpy trunks or bikini bottoms.

3. Play it safe.

Poo in the pool is far more than a social faux pas. If your child poos their pants at the park, it’s embarrassing but ultimately it’s a mess just for you. If your child poos in the pool it will close for half a day.

I’ve had days at theme parks and campsites thrown out completely because some little shit has shat in the pool. I’ve seen kids do it, too – drop their pants and crouch in the shallows – as a lifeguard and as a parent. It’s a surprisingly common event.

Watch your children (because, you know, drowning hazards) and if they look even slightly like they might poo, channel Usain Bolt on the starting blocks!

If you spot other children about to get the pool shut down, be swift in your response there too. A poo on poolside can be dealt with. A poo in the water is worth preventing even if it means you have to have an awkward conversation with their parents.

4. Don’t panic.

There is already wee in the pool. I was a lifeguard at a leisure pool from the age of 16. We had wave machines, slides and long long queues. You wouldn’t believe the number of kids I saw wee in the pool. And on the stairs. And in the slide runouts.

Clearly, you need to try to get your child to the toilet, but if they wee in the pool it’s not the end of the world. Get them to the toilet to finish off (because it isn’t a habit you want to encourage) and don’t draw attention to yourself (because not everyone realises they’re already swimming in wee and they might freak out… :-/ ).

If your child has created a puddle, clean up after yourself by slooshing it into the swimming pool drains. If you’re a long way from a drain, get a lifeguard to help out. They have buckets and squeegees and they’ve seen it all before (from children a whole lot older than your toddler).

5. Anticipate!

Save yourself the mad scramble by taking your child to the loo before the last second.

If you usually use timing in your ec-ing, shorten the gaps between toilet visits while you’re in the pool. Something about being in all that water – even if your child isn’t actively drinking it – fills their bladders pretty quickly.

Always visit the loos on the way from the changing rooms to poolside (especially when you have more than one child) and always stop off again on your way out – otherwise you’ll be holding your child over the drain in your tiny cubicle and that’s best avoided!

If it takes you a while to get changed (again, multiple children will have a big impact here) stop off at the loos again when you’re dressed before heading off home. I like to mix it up a bit by visiting the dry-side toilets near reception on the way out. Just for variety 😉

It might seem excessive, but if your child has been guzzling water for the last hour, this is by far the best way to have a pleasant journey home.

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Travel Potties

For tiddlers, your lock & lock box or bottle can save you trips to the toilets – especially at holiday pools where the grounds are extensive and you have some privacy.

The potette plus with bags or reusable silicon liner or a takeaway container underneath also works well. You can always line your liner with a muslin or something absorbent and then bag that for washing later.

And for those with enough space in their kit bags the my carry potty is like home from home – but with an airtight lid.

To be on the safe side, tuck a few small plastic bags into your pocket (or bumbag for trend setters such as myself 😉 ). I like the kind that you put fruit and veg in at the greengrocer (they don’t have holes like the supermarket ones). With an absorbent cloth and a plastic bag there’s not much that you can’t handle. Be brave!

Hitting The Beach!

It’s holiday season (hooraaaaay!) and pottying on the beach is quite straight forward.

Take off your child’s nappy and give them a taste of the freedoms to come! (Unless you’re in the milkfed poo stages and think things will get messy.)

For easy access, use top-and-bottom sunsuits rather than all in ones. If you try that and your kids get two inches of bare back exposed to the sun when they dig in the sand, either tuck their top into their shorts, lather on the suncream or switch to an all-in-one and handle the inconvenience.

They’re going to be weeing on the sand or directly into the sea anyway so you might not bother stripping them first – in which case all-in-ones make no odds.

I wouldn’t let my kids poo on the beach, but I know those who do (discretely!) and then bag and bin it. They’re usually dog owners who bag and bin beach poo all the time. I don’t have a dog and prefer to imagine the sand that touches my feet is pristine and unsullied, so in a pinch we’d poo straight onto a bag – or venture to the toilets <shudder>


If you’re using a wetsuit, it’s easier to let your tot wee while wearing it than try to strip it off – that’s how the surfers warm themselves up so they’ll be in good company 😉

If you think you might get a rogue poo, use a swim nappy. (Stripping off a poo smeared wetsuit while trying to stop my children from eating sand and licking railings would be enough to tip me over the edge. I’d never venture further than my local park again :-/ )

The Potty Sign

The potty sign worked better for us in the pool, than anywhere else. We went to Center Parcs last weekend and still used it loads, despite the youngest being three and almost as big a chatterbox as her sisters.

For some reason, our toddlers gave very clear and deliberate communication when swimming. Maybe because there wasn’t that much distraction – the water was their entertainment – or maybe because we were always right there, or maybe because they had more practice in a 1 hour swim than a whole afternoon at the park.

A clear sign made it easy for our youngsters to get our attention and helped the adults communicate across crowded pools filled with shouting children. Excellent for splash zones too because even toddlers are sometimes a little way away from you.

Happy Pottying in the Summer Sunshine!

Born Ready Jenn.

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