Updated July 2018
Here’s a look at our favorite potty training gear —
Potty Seat vs. Potty Chair
A Potty Chair is a little training potty that sits by itself on the floor. Most of them have a removable basin that you can dump and clean.
Unless you’re dealing with a kid over the age of three, I feel that the potty chair is less intimidating for little ones who are dwarfed by the size of an adult potty.
The big downside? It can be really gross to clean poop out of the bowl – perhaps even slightly grosser than changing diapers.
*Tip: Keep a little water in the bowl to make cleaning #2’s easier.
The Potty Seat (below), on the other hand, is a seat that reduces the size of the adult seat to a smaller size such that your kiddo won’t fall into the potty.
If you can get your little one to sit on the real potty, score! No transfer of waste is required, and it’s so much less cleanup. Just keep in mind, your toddler might be intimidated by the sheer height of the potty. You’ll also need a kid’s step stool, unless your toilet happens to be really low to the ground. Or you live at a preschool.
Which kind to get?
In my experience, toddlers less than two or 2 ¼ prefer a potty chair and kids over 2 ¼ or 2 ½ seem to be okay with going on the big potty. At the end of the day, try both and let him decide which is more comfortable.
Generally speaking, a potty chair is the safest bet, but most people end up getting a potty seat (sometimes called a seat reducer) later on when the child becomes a little bigger and more confident.
Best Potty Chairs
BabyBjorn Potty Chair ~ $29
BABYBJORN makes a couple of different potties, the larger of which is the BabyBjorn Potty Chair (below), which has an ergonomic design with a high backrest. Because the chair sits a little higher off the ground, I find it’s easier for kids to “center” themselves and sit on.
They also make a smaller potty called the Smart Potty (~$20), which is a perfect portable potty. Many moms keep the Smart Potty in the car for emergency pit stops and such. The smaller footprint makes the Smart Potty great for multiples.
For small spaces, check out the…
Get all of the components you need in one unit: a stand-alone potty, a soft toilet seat reducer (which later goes on the big potty), and a step stool. The handles provide extra security for getting up and down. Perfect for small bathrooms where you don’t have the space for multiple components.
Summer Infant My Size Potty ~ $25 – Editor’s Pick
Look, it’s a tiny little version of an adult potty — and kids love this thing! It’s the closest thing to “cute” in the world of tiny potties.
This potty has a handle that features a “flushhhhh” sound to reward a job well done. A built-in wipe compartment keeps everything together and for little boys, a splash guard helps with the peepee. Note that the wipe container won’t fit regular disposable wipes but should fit flushable wipes (Charmin or what have you), which you should be using anyway.
*now available in pink!
If you have a boy who is ready to try peeing while standing up, this hilarious frog pee trainer is here to help him learn how to aim.
Best Potty Seats (“seat reducers”)
Again, if you can get your kid to sit on the big potty, you’re sitting pretty! No transferring of waste makes everyone happy.
Here are the best potty seats ~
BabyBjorn Toilet Trainer ~ $56
Another “Old Faithful” product, many prefer the BabyBjorn potty seat because it has a knob you can adjust (on the back) to get the perfect fit on your toilet seat. The last thing you want is for the seat to be sliding around. Also, if you plan on taking the seat on and off (in a shared bathroom and whatnot), you’ll appreciate the hanging hook (you don’t want it sitting around on the floor, right?).
Mayfair NextStep Potty Training Seat ~ $40 – Editor’s Pick
By far my favorite, Mayfair makes an awesome mini seat/big seat combo that blends in beautifully in any bathroom without screaming “kids!!!” This toddler toilet seat replaces your existing toilet seat — and you can remove the mini seat by unclipping it once your kids have outgrown it.
*Get the “SLOW CLOSING” version — it won’t pinch little fingers!
This combo ladder/toddler seat does away with the need for a step stool for your toilet (though you will probably still need one in front of your sink). Its handles will help your kiddo get up on the seat all by himself.
Stay away from cheap character seats that you see at the drugstore and such. The problem is they aren’t secure and will slip and slide all over the place and cause falls. Trust me, the fastest way to scare your child away from potty training is by having him fall off the potty!
Whether getting up to the big potty or getting up to the sink for hand washing, you’re gonna need some step stools. You can use the same one for both if you don’t mind moving it around. I have step stools all around my house, such as in the kitchen and bedroom closet, so the kids can get things for themselves. Very handy. Note: If your child is pretty small (or your sink is rather tall), you may need one of the taller stools for hand washing.
For a smaller stool… did I mention it’s $5? It’s not particularly tall, but good for those who need a little boost.
…and for a taller stool, check out the BOLMEN (below) for $6. I have two in my house. Love ’em. Update: I have had these stools in my house for years now and they hold up wonderfully! My kids now use them in the kitchen to “help” cook.
Bumbo Step Stool ~ $15
This is a nice potty stool for little ones because it’s wider and taller (than most) and very sturdy.
*Did you know Bumbo does really great non-profit work?
BabyBjorn Step Stool ~ $18
Cute and very sturdy with anti-slip material on the bottom and top, another crowd pleaser from BabyBjorn. Anti-slip is so very important because hand-washing stools get wet easily by messy kids. Note: this one is not particularly tall.
This two-step stool offers a bit more height and has anti-slip material on both steps for little feet.
Pottery Barn Kids Step Stools ~ $45 – $59
PB Kids makes cute wood stools that look great in any bathroom: a one-step and a two-stepper. The two-stepper will give a small child more height at tall sinks. Add your kid’s name for a little flair (this is mandatory if you are Southern…).
Aqueduck Faucet Extender ~ $10
For anyone who’s ever had to hold their child in midair so he can wash his hands… I bring you the Aqueduck Faucet Extender. Give your back a break.
Last but not least… you may find it hard to go from nice, wet baby wipes to dry toilet paper overnight (we looove getting that butt really clean, no?). Since we’re moving toward everything being flushable now, it’s time to transition your wipes too —
Eventually, there will come a time when you stop using these, but for now… it’s a great transitional product.
Portable Potty Seats — On the Go!
So, you’ve just potty trained your kid (you think), and now it’s time to go to the park. Or the beach. And — WAIT — what if she has to go?? (And you KNOW she will, lol.) Because you don’t want to confuse her by putting a diaper back on, a travel potty seat will get you through those first few weeks and months of potty training when time is of the essence.
*Don’t worry, in time, they learn to “hold it” much better.
Potette Plus 2-in-1 ~ $15+
The Pottete Plus 2-in-1 is the new version of the Potette. The Pottete Plus is a portable potty and trainer seat all in one — it can fold flat into a trainer seat. It comes in a small, drawstring bag. Toss it in your diaper bag or in the back seat of your car. Includes three disposable liners. You can buy the refills — or, in a jam, use a plastic grocery bag.
OXO Travel Seat ~ $20
Another great travel option is the OXO Travel Seat. This seat is very easy to fold into a flat or standing position (some would say easier than the Potette) for use on a regular toilet or as a stand-alone potty. This one has a splash guard for boys and comes with a drawstring bag for storage. You can also buy OXO leak-proof bag refills with absorbent liners.
The main appeal of the Jerrybox Travel Potty Seat is that it folds up really small so you can easily store it in your bag until you need it. This is a handy option, since most travel potties will take up quite a lot of room in your diaper bag or purse, even when folded flat.
For the germaphobes out there who for some reason don’t like the idea of their kid touching a public toilet seat (probably most of us!), the ZigZag Travel Potty Seat has a cover that makes contact with the toilet so your toddler doesn’t have to. When you’re done using it, you can fold it up into a tote bag. Machine washable.
If you hate washing your car seat cover as much as I do, protect it from accidents with this piddle pad from Summer Infant.
Silverflye Piddle Pad ~ $17
This highly rated piddle pad will protect your car seat from accidents, including the seat buckles.
That’s it for our favorite gear — happy pottying!