Potty Training & Swimming Pools

Many parents choose to potty train during the summer because there are fewer clothes to remove and less concern about getting cold if using the naked toilet training method. However, this also creates concerns when going swimming in pools. Infants and toddlers naturally will urinate and sometimes defecate when placed in water, as many parents quickly learn at bath time. This creates a health hazard in pools.

Swim Diapers

Most parents use swim diapers for swimming. Regular diapers soak up several pounds of water, making them impractical and even dangerous when swimming. Swim diapers do not soak up any liquids. This does mean they also fail to catch any urine, but they will trap large pieces of fecal matter. Although swim diapers protect others from seeing the poop, it does not protect others in the pool from the germs, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 1. The CDC states: “Swim diapers can delay diarrhea-causing germs like, Cryptosporidium, from leaking into the water for a few minutes, but swim diapers do not keep these germs from contaminating the water.”

Public Pools

Most public pools have strict rules for kids that are not fully potty trained. They usually required that infants and toddlers not fully potty trained wear swim diapers at all times in the pool. Some have individual swim diapers for sale if you forget to bring one with you.

Prevent Problems

The best way to handle swimming in pools while potty training is to prevent problems. Before your child goes into the pool and then about every one to two hours after, have him use the potty. If you are potty training an infant or young toddler, this doesn’t usually pose a problem as they are less resistant to sitting on the toilet. However, for older potty trainers who are too excited about swimming, they may refuse. Using rewards and telling them they can’t go into the pool until they use the potty can help encourage potty use while swimming.


If your child has diarrhea, do not allow him to go swimming in a pool. You can't expect your sick child to avoid an accident in the pool. Such an accident can too easily make others in the pool sick as well.