What’s in Your Toddler Bag?

Once upon a time, an early twenties Courtney met a mother who rocked a cocktail dress, had an infant, and didn’t have a baby bag in sight. She carried a clutch that I learned was a “diaper clutch.” This single-serving interaction stuck in my mind for some reason, and almost a decade later when building my own baby registry, I knew I wanted to have a bag that didn’t look like the traditional diaper bag. As a first-time mom, I knew I’d need a laundry list of supplies, so I was overprepared for every situation and wanted to be able to keep my own personal items in there as well.   

Baby essentials can quickly go from basic needs to being ready to be stranded on a desert island, with your bag going from perfectly organized to a bottomless Mary Poppins bag. As with any experience, you live and learn. You figure out what your child needs and what you anticipate they might want (sometimes).

But what about when your baby becomes a toddler? They think they’re big kids but are really stuck somewhere in the middle. In a recent post, I mentioned that my son is in the “no, yes” phase. Now, he acknowledges that he says no and yes by saying, “I say no and yes” and laughing hysterically and then maybe crying in the next beat. The emotional cycle of a toddler reminds me of PMS or pregnancy hormones where you’re happy and then sad and then mad all in one conversation.

I still use my baby bag but have adjusted my toddler essentials to where I can keep them in my regular bag if needed. Here are some suggestions from real moms to keep your bag fully stocked for the toddler stage.


Never underestimate the power of a snack your toddler didn’t know they needed. I can’t count the times a baggie of blueberries or cereal saved me while at a restaurant waiting for our meals.

Handy toys

Matchbox cars, toy trains, a lovie, and crayons were the top suggested items to keep on hand. Personally, I don’t trust crayons on the go and have invested in many Color Wonder books. There are also these cool Water Wow coloring books that are mess free.


If you’re potty training, or even if your child is trained, extra socks, undies, and even an outfit can be rolled and stored in the bottom of a bag.


Thanks to the pandemic, I carry hand sanitizing wipes and regular disinfecting wipes but also have fruit wipes, baby wipes, and napkins in my bag (and car).

Portable toilet seat and covers

I am in the throes of potty training and haven’t had to take my child into a public restroom yet, but I’ve purchased toilet covers for when that happens and I’ve also upgraded our training seat to a compact portable toilet seat for when we are traveling or when he stays with family members who don’t have a potty training seat.


I carry at least one as a “just in case” backup for emergencies.

What are the staples in your toddler bag?

Courtney was raised a Navy brat, growing up in Washington, South Carolina, and Virginia before her family put their roots down in Florida. She studied at Loyola University New Orleans earning her degree in communications PR with a minor in English, and she earned her master's in marketing from SNHU. She moved to the Boston area in 2008, where she met and married her partner-in-crime, John. Mother of a 16-month-old, stepmom to two 12-year-olds (boy and girl), and dog mom to Abita and Riley, Courtney is raising her family with a love of the outdoors, scary movies, and lots of laughs. Courtney works in marketing/PR and events and lives on the South Shore. She has a passion for cooking and traveling. She volunteers her time as a Gold Award advisor for the Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts and serves on the friends board to her local library. She loves days that start with coffee and end with champagne.