The 10 Best Potties
This wiki has been updated 32 times since it was first published in June of 2015. When it's time for toilet training, the equipment you choose can play a huge role in how efficient the process will be, not to mention how easily your child will take to it. All of the chair-style potties we've selected have passed the test with finicky children and tidy-minded parents, and many offer clever encouragements, like stickers and fun sounds, to help keep toddlers interested. When users buy our independently chosen editorial choices, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
July 13, 2019:
When you start to notice your toddler going for longer stretches of between needed diaper changes, it might be time to think about toilet training. Those gaps mean she is gaining control of her bladder and can hold it for longer. The training task might be easier with one of these cute potties designed to encourage even stubborn kids.
We limited our selections to potty chairs, though some of them also offer a seat-reducer or adapter so that your child can use the grownup toilet without having to perch unsteadily on the edge. The potties in our ranking are portable and easy for short bodies to sit on, and most of them are easy to clean. If you have boys, you'll want to make sure the potty has a splash guard to reduce messes and spills.
In this update, we went with models that have solid reputations among users and that offer valuable features at a good price. Removed two items due to concerns about their availability and added the Heeta Non-Slip in one of our top slots. We like its backrest and the fact that it won't slide on hard floors.
A Brief History Potty Training
Today, daytime control isn’t expected until age three, and kids as old as five and six are expected to still experience some nighttime issues.
Potty training can be a controversial topic, and it can put a lot of pressure on new parents to get it right, lest they permanently alter the psychology of their infant for the worse. But it wasn’t always like this. In fact, potty training hasn’t had much of a reputation in the public consciousness until the last century or so.
For much of human history, there was simply no potty to train for. Nomadic tribes certainly didn’t have anything akin to a toilet, and at a certain point in a child’s development, they’d be shown how to pee in a bush or bury their leavings. As humans settled down into an agrarian culture, leaving behind their nomadic ways, the outhouse was born, as people needed a deep hole to drop their dailies in without creating a public health hazard. Some civilizations boasted relatively complex indoor plumbing, but again, there was no sense of training toward the use of such a device.
As the 19th century rolled along, however, people started getting ideas about how kids should be trained to relieve themselves, though much of this training was more concerned with the timing of a bowel movement and less concerned with where it took place. Parents wanted children who reliably went to the bathroom at certain points in the day, and that desire sparked a decades-long push toward the use of suppositories, enemas, and laxatives in the name of regularity.
As the use of such interventions curtailed over the first half of the 20th century, a more psychologically consequential method took hold: negative reinforcement. When a child failed to relieve themselves properly, they were hit, yelled at, or otherwise punished. Despite any emotional scarring this may have caused, it was unarguably an effective means of training. Kids in those days generally had daytime dryness under control by age two, and nighttime urination was usually conquered by age three. Today, daytime control isn’t expected until age three, and kids as old as five and six are expected to still experience some nighttime issues.
Today’s methods may be a little more scientific, but many have also come to place the emotional well-being of a child at the forefront. There are extremes of this coddling, of course, that could do as much harm in the long run as the severe methods of the past did. The best approach is often a happy medium between the two.
Training Your Kids For Success
One of the first things most parents want to know when a new baby’s been at home for a while is when they can start potty training. There’s a certain point at which those diaper changes go from being cute to being routine, and eventually becoming an agonizing chore that you can’t ever imagine having to do again. Unfortunately, this is not a good enough reason to start potty training, and if you think you’re getting a head start, keep in mind that most kids end up potty trained at about the same point in their young lives regardless of how early they start, so jumping the gun will only make the process take longer.
Most kids have some fear of falling into the toilet, and that can cause anxiety that can interfere with their training progress.
The best time to start potty training your little one is when they’re physically large enough to handle a potty, and when they start to show interest in relieving themselves in the bathroom instead of their diaper.
When it comes to urination, boys may have an easier time learning the ropes, as they have a built-in aiming device. The whole of the gender spectrum will still benefit from a potty before heading to the adult toilet, however. Most kids have some fear of falling into the toilet, and that can cause anxiety that can interfere with their training progress.
Making the experience personal for your child is as important as anything else. When you get your potty, try to find ways to let them personalize it, and don’t let anyone else ever use it. Letting their big sibling show them how it's done will only dilute the child’s sense of ownership over the potty, which is one of the things they need to relax into the training.
You should take a similar approach to the underwear that comes after diapers. There are great training garments that can serve as stepping stones toward regular underwear, and you can alternate the use of these with diapers as your schedule mandates. If you’re going to be around a lot, you can try going cold turkey, but that’s awfully dangerous. Whatever route you take, get them excited about graduating to big kid underpants, and even let them pick out designs that excite them.
Choosing A Potty For Your Little One
As we mentioned above, giving your child a sense of ownership over their potty training is a great way to get them on board with the process. To that end, it might be a good idea to have them in the room as you go over the options on our list, and help guide them toward a model that they'll love, and that also works for how you want to train them.
Finally, there’s the point of style, and having your child’s input here can be a boon to the process.
One of the most important things to ask yourself is whether you want a unit that sits on top of the toilet, or one that sits on the ground. Some models may have removable collection trays that allow them to be used in either setup. On-the-toilet designs are usually better for slightly older children who will have an easier time climbing up and who will have less fear of falling into the water.
Beyond that, you can ask yourself whether you want a model that’s exclusively for the home or one that has some portability to it. You’ll want to exclusively use the potty in a bathroom, but taking one on a family trip can ensure that your child’s training goes uninterrupted.
Finally, there’s the point of style, and having your child’s input here can be a boon to the process. There are models out there with recognizable characters on them, as well as those with bright, exciting colors, and even those that mimic the build and function of adult toilets, which might help your kids eventually transition to the real thing.