You may be thinking about starting to potty train your Big Kid, or maybe your toddler is already on their journey. Either way, you’ll need one of the most important toilet tools ready: a potty training seat!
With so many different kinds available, and toddlers not always being the most agreeable, the task of picking the perfect potty training seat can be daunting.
By learning about the two types of potty training seats and checking out our expert tips below, you can help your child focus less on what they are sitting on and more on the task at hand.
The Two Types of Potty Training Seats
- Stand-Alone Potty Seats: These are just small chairs with a hole and a removable pot for cleaning.
- They are particularly good for children just starting out with potty training because they are extremely stable, are easy to use and don’t require any climbing or flushing.
- They’re very portable and can be moved between bathrooms or even taken to a relative’s house when visiting.
- On the negative side, they do have to be emptied and cleaned. Choices within this category include:
- Folding travel chairs with handles.
- Extra-stable chairs, some with seatbelts, for special needs children.
- Toilet Adapter Potty Seats: Also known as toilet seat reducers, these fit over the big toilet and make the seat smaller.
- These adapters help children transition to the big toilet, and waste can be flushed away immediately.
- They may be more difficult for children to use in the early stages of potty training and usually require a step stool to make the potty more accessible.
- Some interesting choices in this category include:
- Padded potty seats.
- Potty seats with handles for extra security.
- Flip-up seats that stay on the toilet.
- Seats with built-in steps.
“Eventually children have to make the transition to the big toilet,” says Dr. McVittie. “That may be easier if they start out there with some type of adapter. But regardless of what method you choose, your child will eventually make that transition. They’re not going to be going off to college with their potty chair.”
Expert Tips for Choosing the Right Potty Training Seat
- It’s all about independence. Experts say it’s important to help boost your child’s independence and create a casual attitude when they are using the bathroom.
- “Parents need to take a pretty casual attitude toward using the toilet, so the children take it for granted as well,” says Dr. Jody McVittie, mother, general practitioner and expert on potty seats. “That means providing them with something they can use by themselves, whether it attaches to the toilet or is a small chair that stands alone, showing them how to use it, then letting them use it without interfering too much.”
- There is no perfect or best potty training seat. In Dr. McVittie’s opinion, as both a mom and a potty seat expert, it doesn’t really matter what type of seat you choose as long as it keeps your child interested.
- “Eventually children have to make the transition to the big toilet,” says Dr. McVittie. “That may be easier if they start out there with some type of adapter. But regardless of what method you choose, your child will eventually make that transition. They’re not going to be going off to college with their potty chair.”
- Keep things stable. Stability is one of the top tips cited by both Dr. McVittie and Narmin Parpia, founder of Potty Training Concepts, particularly when a child is transitioning to the big toilet.
- A stool is a great thing to have around for this transition. It helps with climbing up, supports little feet when they’re sitting on the potty and can help your child reach the sink when they are done.
- The ultimate goal is to show your child how to go to the bathroom alone, so you don’t have to drop everything every time he or she announces, “I have to go!” The easier the potty chair or seat is to use, the more quickly that goal will be reached.
- Choose your potty training seat together! A child should have some input into what type of potty chair he or she uses; however, Parpia cautions a parent first must decide what works in their home and then can give options to find out what’s right for the child.
- For example, Parpia says, if you have several small children, a flip-up potty seat that stays attached to the toilet between the lid and seat is probably a good choice. This keeps the child (or mom/dad) from having to put the seat on the toilet every time it’s time to go. Or, if you have only one bathroom, you may be better off with a portable potty chair that can be used in an alternative location.
- Don’t be afraid to change potty seats if it isn’t working out. Remember, the goal is that you want your child to feel like they can do this all by themselves. If your child feels uncomfortable on the first seat you use, move on to something else.
- It’s better to switch to something that your toddler will feel safer on rather than pushing them through a more stressful potty seat experience.