My little girl is about 2 1/2 years old now, and she's been doing bare bottom potty usage for the past two months or so with good success (not including poop because she's upset to go poop at all so we're tackling that problem alongside potty learning). I don't mind letting her go bare butt when we're home, but when I want to leave the house at all she thinks of any panties or cloth training pants as her cloth diapers, even if I use her princess panties and say "these are panties, so we don't pee on them. You have to tell me when you need to pee". I would love to ditch the diapers entirely, but how am I supposed to take her shopping with me without soaking her car seat, pants, the shopping cart, and anything else she pees on while wearing her panties?
Let her wet herself a few times. Take lots of spare panties and trousers with you, and a bag for putting wet ones in.
It takes a while, and she'll understand that when she wets herself it's no fun for anyone, and will gradually learn to control it and tell you when she needs to go to the toilet. Fair warning from my experience, for the first couple of months she may not give you more than ten seconds worth of notice, so you may not make it to the public toilets on time. Grin and bear it is the only advice here, it gets better.
For the car seat, we just had a towel folded over four times, which would soak everything up and could be easily washed.
Potty training was the top source of laundry for us for a while, and then they got it, and started going by themselves.
My daughter is 2 years and 4 months and completely dry even at night.
Couple of things we did
- Lots of praise when she uses the potty.
- Ensure she's comfortable whenever she's going to the potty. We found this really really important. For example we sometimes left the room, talk to her about other things or got her a small book.
- Don't dwell on the accidents.
- Talk to her and ensure see knows what to do i.e. Tell mum and dad.
- Start with absorbent panties. These are panties with a cloth lining that are extra absorbent. They will mostly absorb wees and contain poos. If you have used cloth nappies these are an obvious next step after nappies.
- Lots of bare bottom time.
- Prompt/ask often.
- Show her what to do i.e. keep the bathroom door open when you on the toilet. Whilst there answer any questions honestly or tell her what you're doing.
- When at home keep a potty close by, you may need potties in multiple rooms.
- You can get collapsible potties that have attachable disposable bags. These are very portable and (the one we have) can be placed on an adult toilet.
Have you tried letting her "go commando" (wear no panties under her clothes)? This worked well with my son when we did bare bottom potty with him. We also made a point of finding the bathroom in every store and using it as soon as we got there and then again right before we left, with lots of praise for doing so well outside the home.