How to Choose a Potty Chair

Reviewed by Poonam Sachdev on April 07, 2022

If your toddler is showing signs they’re ready to potty train, it’s time to get a potty chair. But with so many options, how do you choose? There are a few things to consider when choosing a potty chair that works for both you and your child. 

First, Know Your Potty Types

There are lots of different potty chairs available and choosing the right one depends on what you need. Each potty comes in many styles, colors, and decorations, which can be overwhelming. To start, get familiar with the potty types. Then figure out what fits best with your house and child.

Potty chair. A potty chair is a small training potty that sits on the floor by itself. The chair has an opening in the center and a container underneath that you dump and clean after every use. It acts as your toddler’s basic toilet and is a great first step to using the toilet. They’re the perfect size for a toddler and easy to use without help. 

Potty training seat. Also called a seat reducer, a training seat sits on top of the toilet. It’s a smaller child’s seat that helps them fit more securely without the fear of falling in. You can use these to train your toddler on an adult toilet from the start and avoid a transition from potty chair to toilet. Make sure to get a stool so they can climb up on their own and have something to push against when they have a bowel movement.  

Potty seat with stepsAs the name suggests, this type is a seat reducer that fits on top of the toilet but has handy steps attached. They come down the front of the toilet and make it easy for your child to use a regular toilet without too much help. 

Travel potty chair or seat. These are smaller options that fit in your bag or trunk and make training easier on the go. There are foldable travel seats and collapsible chairs with a disposable liner for easy clean-up. 

Once you know your options, consider what your family needs, your home, and your toddler. You can find many styles from a high or low back style, lids or open potty, and ones that look like toilets. Some sing or talk and have flushing sounds to mimic real toilets. 

Potty seats also come with options like a cushioned seat, low back, or handles. The color and style don’t matter much as long it’s comfortable for your child. While the bells and whistles might be fun and motivating, a singing potty isn’t necessary. 

Plan for Price and Multipurpose

Think about your budget and how much you want to spend. For some people, this might be the most important factor in choosing a potty chair. Potty seats are often a more affordable option, but you’ll also need to buy a stool, too. 

If you travel a lot and are on a budget, invest in a foldable seat that you can use both at home and while you’re out. But you might find it easier to buy two seats or a travel potty and a home potty, so you always have an option in emergencies. Some people also keep a seat in every bathroom at home. 

If you decide on a potty chair, look for one that folds into a stool they can use to wash their hands. That way, you’ll get more use from your purchase. 

Consider the Yuck Factor

Potty training is messy, and accidents are unavoidable. You’re likely unfazed by the mess after years of changing diapers, but think about how easily you get grossed out. Potty training should be a positive experience, so it’s best if you don’t make a fuss about their natural habits. 

If the thought of cleaning out a potty makes you queasy or you’re likely to make a scene, go for the potty seat and stool instead. You’ll still have to deal with accidents, but there might be less mess and less stress for your child. A potty seat can also help your toddler quickly get used to adult toilets and build confidence. 

If you’re potty training a boy, choose a chair or a seat with a splash guard. It’s best to train boys sitting down and a splash guard can cut down on spray cleanup. It should be high enough to stop any splashes, but not too high that they struggle to sit down.

Consider How Easy It Is to Use

Whatever training seat or chair you use, it should be easy for both you and your child to access and use. If you decide on a potty chair, opt for one where you remove the basin from the top instead of the back. The back type isn’t as user-friendly and might lead to spills. The chair or seat also shouldn’t slide around and your toddler should feel safe and secure.

Let Your Child Guide You

There is more than one way to potty train, so let your child’s personality guide you. If being grown-up like parents or older siblings motivates your child, you might start with a potty seat on the toilet right away. 

Include your child in the planning, too. Make potty shopping a special event and let them choose their seat or chair. This will encourage their sense of accomplishment and ownership. If you have a certain style in mind, pick two or three options off the shelf and let them choose one. 

When you get it home, let them play with it, set it up, and bring their toys around it. They can sit on it in their clothes and diaper for a few days before you encourage bare-bottom use. Use lots of praise to link it with a positive experience and help them feel proud. 

So, Which Is the Best Potty Chair?

Choosing the best potty chair depends on lots of factors. There are no right or wrong answers, only what works for you. If you decide on a potty seat, get a stool or one with steps so they can rest their feet and help their bowels relax. Once you decide on the style, look for a couple of options in your budget and let your toddler pick it out. Making the experience exciting and positive will help with training. 

Show Sources


American Academy of Pediatrics “Choosing a Potty.”

C.S Mott Children’s Hospital: “Potty Training.”

National Health Service: “How to potty train.”

Nationwide Children’s Hospital: “6 Things Every Parent Should Know About Toilet Training.”

Nemours Children’s Health: “Toilet Training.”

Seattle Children’s Hospital: “Potty Training Your Child.”

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