Potty training is both dreadful and exciting.
When Emberly was a bebe she exhibited "signs of readiness" for months prior to us training her shortly after she turned two. She frequently woke from naps and night time completely dry and could tell us when she wanted to be changed. The actual switch to underwear was rather effortless. However, I found a potty trained toddler to be exponentially more inconvenient. There's no more changing a diaper at your earliest convenience; but panicked rushes to the restroom when "I have to potty" is uttered. You do actually need a change of clothes (or a few) in the car and diaper bag. It seemed like long trips away from home just kind of sucked.
I was prepared for my son to not train until close to three. Because people say boys take longer and he never woke dry and rarely complained about a dirty diaper. But he trained just barely later than his older sister. First, he started refusing to keep his clothes (diaper included) on at home and wanted to use the potty. Which was novel, but anytime he had clothing on it seemed he was no longer aware of his body's signals. I asked people for suggestions and finally concluded that it wasn't worth the headache and I'd continue to let him be naked and use the toilet at home and just put a diaper on him any time he needed to be clothed.
Then came the week that we left the kids with Nana and Auntie for our trip to Costa Rica. I'm not sure if he wanted to impress them, if they worked some magic, or he was just coincidentally "ready" during their visit, but when we returned, he was now asking to use the toilet AND wearing underwear.
So I really had to do this. I had to leave the house with my two year old in underwear. Often with my 5yo who sometimes still waits until she's got seconds to make it to the toilet to mention that she needs to go.
I must say: I don't know why I found it so frustrating the first time. I can only figure that I was less logical and patient at 25. Instead of waiting for my toddler to tell me he has to potty and frantically seeking the bathroom, I simply take him to the bathroom as soon as we arrive anywhere, before I get a cart or anything. I also have the 5yo make an attempt too. If they have to go again during the trip, it's way less likely that it's urgent.
The gym. When Emberly was first potty trained, I didn't think she would tell the playroom employees that she needed to go and so I would make her wear plastic pants over her panties and keep my gym time under an hour. I'm not sure that Bauer would either, but I just take him potty when I arrive. If he goes, great; I'll often be gone up to two hours and we haven't had a problem. If he doesn't, I just come back in 45 min and take him again. And during long runs, forced potty breaks are actually oh-so-welcome!
We have not had a single accident in public *knocks on wood*
But Bauer is challenging in a different way.
He's more independent and doesn't want help until he's in way over his head. Let's just say that his attempts to clean his own behind when he's supposedly napping have made for some... crime scenes... in their bathroom.
And, apparently, one of the trade-offs for a good sleeper is longer night training completion. From the moment we put Emberly in undies, she woke from naps and night sleep to potty and never needed a night diaper or pull-up. My theory is that she was a crap sleeper and thus never in a deep enough sleep to be unaware of her body's signals. Bauer though, he's a pretty good sleeper. If he has to potty prior to midnight, he wakes up and goes just fine. After midnight though, he's discombobulated. He either doesn't wake up until he's crying and cold from having peed in the bed, or he confusedly wanders toward the bathroom, peeing as he goes. And then crying. So after a few nights of that, and discussions with other parents, it seemed that he needed more time to grow into that ability and in the meantime, pull-ups and full nights of sleep would be better. The night-time pull-up has been thankfully irrelevant to his daytime and nap-time toilet use and that was my main worry.
The last thing I want to throw out there is underwear problems. I've never found any underwear smaller than "2T/3T" yet I know my children cannot be the only 2yo that were (are) small for their age. Having to roll the waistband of underwear makes independent toilet use more difficult and I find that so irritating. Hanes does make a boxer brief that stay up on Bauer without rigging, but I would love for any readers that know of a smaller underwear manufacturer to please speak up!