Reasons They're Great!

We often say the potty training industry is a bit like the Wild West, with tons of conflicting information, much of dubious value. This of course extends into the area of the equipment you’ll need for potty training and, in particular, whether to purchase a potty chair.

In fact, the potty chair is a surprisingly fraught topic in the world of potty training. Some practitioners swear by them, going so far as to recommend placing them in various locations around the house and even traveling with them, and others recommend skipping them altogether, saying children eventually need to learn to use the ‘big chair’ (of course with a seat reducer) and that the potty chair is a unnecessary crutch.

So what do we think? At One Proud Toddler we SAY YES to potty chairs for a number of reasons.

#1 - They're Approachable

Just think of yourself as a two year old and being told one day that not only will you no longer be wearing diapers, but that you’ll also be pooping on a hard porcelain chair that is chest-high and gurgles loudly. Your response may not be too enthusiastic!

Now imagine you’ve be told about the whole no diapers thing and that you’ve just been given your own, special and approachable potty chair. You’re going to likely be a lot more stoked and at a minimum you won’t be scared.

In short, potty chairs are a great way to make what can be a scary and unfamiliar process A LOT more approachable for children, which in turn increases your chances for success.

#2 - They're Safe

Younger children who are just starting to potty train are already unfamiliar with the ‘whole not going in your own diaper thing,’ not to mention the fact that toddlers tend to be clumsy in general. Add a plastic stool and an elevated porcelain toilet to the mix and you have the opportunity for some nasty bumps and bruises.  

Potty chairs, on the other hand, are just inches off the floor and sized to match your child’s body. We feel they’re much safer for newish potty trainees, especially if you start young like we recommend (for more on why early potty training is better potty training, check out our post HERE).

#3 - They're Great At Promoting Independence

The potty chair’s approachableness and safety also help to promote your child’s independence in the bathroom. Specifically, it's a whole lot easier to quickly pull down your pants and sit on a potty chair than to take everything off and clamber up a stool to sit on a grown-up sized toilet. What’s more, you’ll be more comfortable with your child using the potty chair unassisted given the reduced chance for accidental falls.

#4 - They're Awesome Teaching Tools

‘Prompting’ is the technique by which you (i.e. the caregiver) signal to your child that it’s ‘time to go.’ It’s one of the most important potty training skills you (i.e. the trainer) will need to master. What’s more, the proper way to prompt changes over time and this where potty chairs come in.

Specifically, early on in potty training, prompting is more akin to telling (i.e. “you are doing your pee pee dance, let’s go pee pee”). As your child gains more familiarity with his or her bodily signals and begins to experience some successes with ‘going on the pot,’ prompting will become more akin to a reminder. When you transition to this type of prompting the potty chair becomes an invaluable tool, allowing you to ask your child if he or she “would like to use the big potty or the potty chair?” This is great because it places the idea of ‘going’ in your child’s head but makes the decision theirs.

You can read all about prompting and how its done in our step-by-step training guide The Potty Proud Approach.

Some Parting Thoughts . . .

Potty chairs clearly have their merits. We do feel there can be overkill, though, if you place them in every room of the house or let your child play with them like a toy. Instead, we’d recommend introducing them when potty training starts (to avoid the risk of the item becoming a toy) and explaining that they are tools to be used in the bathroom. Try to go for a design that is easy to empty, has a non-slip liner on the base and doesn't look too much like a toy.

Lastly, some training programs voice a concern that children can become overly attached to potty chairs. We feel, however, that children naturally transition to and become more interested in the ‘big chair’ after they become acquainted with the mechanics of going to the bathroom. On the whole, we’d much prefer a child who is using a potty chair a bit longer than desired over one who’s having accidents and lives in fear of the toilet.

Long story short, potty chairs are great for a number of reasons and shouldn't be overlooked. Happy training!

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