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No matter how much you adore your kids (and no matter how ready you are to stop forking over the big bucks for diapers), almost no parent looks forward to the potty training process.
It’s a daunting task. Pee and poo end up in places they shouldn’t (like, really shouldn’t), the laundry is endless, the carpet will never be the same, and everyone’s patience will be pushed to the limit.
However, toilet training is a big milestone in any toddler’s life, and will be well worth all of the effort you are putting in. As one pro mom told me when I was despairing of potty training my (very stubborn) son, “he won’t go to college in diapers!”
Having the right equipment can make a big difference in how the potty training process goes for your family. Just imagine approaching a toilet that is higher than your belly button, and you may be able to sympathize with how your toddler feels about the toilets of the grown-up world.
Then there’s the loud flushing noises, and the sight of things just being whisked away to who-knows-where (does that thing swallow kids, or just toilet paper? They’re not so sure yet).
A potty seat or chair sized just for them can give your toddler a big confidence boost as they tackle the process of ditching diapers for underwear.
You’ve got this, and we’re here to help. So take a deep breath (or grab a big drink), and read on for our top recommendations in toddler potty chairs and seats!
While many of us would prefer to minimize the baby gear, a toddler potty seat or chair is a very worthwhile investment. One accidental tumble into the toilet may be all it takes to scare your toddler away from the porcelain throne for a good long time. (And who can blame them?!)
In addition to making your child feel more secure, a toddler-proportioned potty can help with the ergonomics of “the go.” Having their legs at a 90-degree angle (or even slightly squatted), feet flat on the floor or a footstool, and sitting securely will help your child move their bowels more easily.
Plus, sitting way up high with legs dangling and hanging on for dear life just isn’t comfortable, especially for a newbie.
While children don’t have bowel and bladder control until after the age of 18 months, you can begin exposing them to “their potty” at any age. Depending on your potty training approach, it may help some children to become familiar with their very own potty seat or chair ahead of time.
When your child starts showing signs of toilet training readiness, you can start incorporating “sitting on the potty” into their daily routine. Equipped with lots of patience, some books, and cups of their favorite beverage, you will see them start to understand the sensation of “going” in the potty.
Not to mention, many toddlers feel a sense of pride in having their very own potty, or love getting to copy their parents by sitting on the “big potty” (complete with toddler seat, of course).
A toddler toilet seat is a removable seat that sits right on top of your regular toilet seat. It is sized for a toddler’s bum, and may have features such as handles or a splash guard to provide added security for your little one.
A toilet seat option is much easier when it comes to clean-up, since you can flush waste away as opposed to potty chairs, which will have a bowl that needs to be dumped and wiped out — amazingly, cleaning a bowl of toddler poo might actually be worse than changing diapers.
A potty chair is a freestanding small potty of some sort. It may resemble a bowl or an actual tiny toilet. This option may feel much less intimidating for your child than climbing a step stool to sit up on a full-size toilet.
As a general rule of thumb, toddlers under the age of 2 or 2 1/2 years often seem to prefer potty chairs, while toddlers who are 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 years old seem to prefer using the “grown-up potty.” But just as each child is ready to train at a different age, each child may have their own preference for a seat or chair.
The most important features are safety, security, and “kid appeal.” If your child feels safe using their toilet (chair or seat) and thinks it’s fun and exciting, you’ve already won half the battle.
Additionally, it may be helpful to take your toddler with you to pick out his or her “special potty.” They might feel proud of choosing and using their particular potty or toilet seat, which will only make your job easier.
If you have a toddler who especially wants to be just like mom and dad, or observes older siblings, you may lean towards a toilet seat with an accompanying step stool. It really is a personal decision based on your bathroom setup, your individual child, and your own preferences.
We interviewed parents, read reviews, and tested some products with our own kids (don’t worry, no toddlers or parents were harmed in the testing of these toilets) to bring you our list of top picks for toddler toilet training seats and chairs.
- $ = under $10
- $$ = $10–$30
- $$$ = over $30
This simple seat wins best overall for ease of use, toddler comfort, storage options, and affordability. (How many baby gear items can you find for less than $10?!)
The Munchkin seat features a contoured shape, a nonskid base, handles for your kiddo to hold on to, a built-in splash guard, and a hook to allow the seat to hang on the side of your toilet for easy storage. Lightweight and simple, we found that toddlers enjoyed putting this on the potty “all by themselves.”
Worth noting: A few parents reported that, on certain toilet shapes, this seat may still move around a bit.
This little toilet looks exactly like the real thing, complete with a handle and flushing sound effects. Toddlers love that it looks so grown-up (and get the idea of what it’s for pretty quickly), while parents appreciate that it’s easy to clean and easy for little people to climb on and off independently.
It features a contoured seat with removable splash guard, an easy-clean removable bowl, and a compartment in the toilet “tank” to store wipes or extra underwear. The only complaint we got was that the splash guard falls off easily if bumped, which kind of defeats the purpose.
This ingenious potty from OXO gets rave reviews from parents — including Parenthood editor and mom of three Saralyn! With quick-fold legs, easily wipeable surfaces, disposable bags (instead of a bowl), and a sanitary travel storage bag, this potty is beyond easy to transport.
And while it’s especially well suited for use on-the-go, many parents prefer this as their only potty training seat. You can use it as a seat on any toilet, or pop out the legs and attach a waste bag for a freestanding potty chair that can be used anywhere — including the side of the road.
While refill bags have to be purchased separately, the convenience of this toilet is impossible to beat.
Another fantastic choice for travel is this budget-friendly potty seat from Gimars. It folds up to a compact 6 inches by 7 inches, comes with its own little travel bag, features nonslip grips, and has a colorful owl design that appeals to kids.
Adults can’t argue with the low cost and the convenience of a foldable seat that can be easily stashed in your diaper bag (because potty training moments happen everywhere!).
Like the Summer My Size, this potty chair is very realistic, which is a big hit with many toddlers. It looks like a grown-up toilet and features a nonskid base, removable bowl, and a built-in splash guard. (It also comes with a removable, larger splash guard, which will be especially appreciated by parents of boys.)
It also has a handle with flushing sounds, and a compartment for storing wipes. This potty does feature a full lid, so you can actually close the potty for sanitary purposes. A few parents felt that the various pieces made it a little harder to clean than simpler potty options, but overall it is very highly rated.
While you may choose to train your little one to urinate sitting down at first, or prefer to teach him to stand at his regular potty chair, some boy parents love using a training urinal to teach their little man to go standing up.
Coming in around $10, this hilarious urinal is almost worth it just for the entertainment value. It hangs on the wall via an included suction cup hook or adhesive strip (although some parents said they ended up using a Command hook, as the included adhesive was not strong enough), so you can choose the right height.
The interior bowl removes for easy cleanup, and the urinal walls help contain the splash. A little spinning target in the middle helps motivate your toddler to aim in the right spot, which many parents felt was the most valuable feature of this urinal.
This multifunctional potty is unique in that it can be used first as a stand-alone potty chair, then as a toilet seat plus step stool, and finally just as a toddler step stool. This is very helpful if you just want to purchase one piece of gear that will carry you through the potty training process.
Sure, we like the cute pink and purple design. But we also chose this potty for this category because girls sometimes move through the training process a little faster than boys, so this potty will grow with them no matter how quickly they graduate.
Most of the negative comments on this potty were from boy parents, who felt that the seat had too many compartments that got messy when their son peed. Parents training girls had no complaints for this multi-use potty, and all loved the way it converts to a step stool by the end.
While not as sleek as some of the potty chairs we reviewed, this adjustable potty is great if you are starting potty training early or have an extra tall toddler as you can adjust the seat to two different heights.
The adjustable height, as well as the armrests and supportive back, may make this seat more comfortable for your kiddo during the many hours they’ll spend learning how to take care of business. Affordable price and an easy-clean design make this a solid choice for your potty training needs.
This combo seat from Mayfair replaces your current toilet’s seat, and features both a regular adult toilet seat and a toddler sized potty seat built in. Parents rave about the ease of use and the invisible footprint in the bathroom.
This option is available in both a round and elongated shape and is available in three colors — linen, bone, and white — to best match your existing toilet. If you’re up for a little project, this could be a great solution for your family (although you may still want a portable potty seat for when you’re out and about).
Parenting can feel overwhelming, and seasons such as potty training can make it seem especially so. Fortunately, there are a lot of great options for toddler potties to help make the process smoother. And really, this could be fun — how many times in your life will you have to buy a miniature toilet?