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Should You Potty Train with a Toilet Insert or a Potty Chair?

Should You Potty Train with a Toilet Insert or a Potty Chair?

Potty training can be a fraught time for both kids and parents. The former are excited about being independent and "grown up," and the latter are thrilled about the prospect of losing the mess and cost of diapers. But despite great intentions on both sides, potty training hardly ever goes as planned. One way to make it easier on your child is to decide ahead of time whether you want him or her to learn on a toddler potty or a toilet insert, rather than experimenting as you go along. This will prevent confusion and take one variable out of play. But which option should you choose? Here, Circle of Moms members weigh in on the pros and cons of each.

Pros and Cons of Toilet Inserts

The fear factor is the most common complaint against the insert. Corina's son was terrified of sitting on the big potty at first, but she stuck with it. She held him on the seat for awhile each time until he got his bearings, and soon she got him a step stool and he was readily climbing up all by himself. Sara's daughter was afraid of the big potty, and for good reason — she once fell in!

Tiave much prefers cleaning the insert over cleaning a whole potty, however small. The insert doesn't really get dirty at all, unless there's an accident, while the toddler potty must be cleaned after each use. 


We have both in my house, and my son always chooses the potty chair (unless he decides to wing it on the big toilet, no insert). He seems to find the insert awkward and not very stable. "It's wobbly," he says. I will admit that I would prefer not to clean it every time, and it's been tricky to avoid cross-contamination with the sink, but it's worth it to me for him to get his first choice and have a successful experience. 

And while the insert is removable, it's more unwieldy than the toddler potty, so not as portable. Vicki's family likes to go camping, and the insert wouldn't really work for these trips, whereas the potty chair is an easy thing to transport, and the "bathroom" can be wherever your child wants it to be.

September is a proponent of the insert, as it removes one transition her child will have to make. Her thinking is that the move from big potty with insert to regular potty without is easier than going from toddler potty to big potty.


Pros and Cons of Toddler Potties

Angie's daughter ruled out the potty insert early on, so they chose a potty chair to start. The biggest advantage of these is their easy portability. Some moms question whether the toddler potty makes it more difficult for kids to transition to the big potty, with or without insert, later. Angie's daughter had no trouble transitioning to the big potty before age three.

If you go with the potty chair, there are two basic models to consider: the low-to-the-ground, single-piece potty and the two piece chair (larger) with a removable insert. Our babysitter mentioned early on that the two-piece potty often sticks to the child's bottom, especially in hot weather. For this reason, we got the one-piece, and it's worked out perfectly (and is more portable). But my child is small; a large kid might have trouble sitting on the one-piece.

Jackie has both in her household, and her son prefers the little potty for poop and the big potty, with insert, for pee. 

Final Thoughts

For my son, the best potty of all is the low, but grown-up style potties they have at his preschool. He can pee standing up or sit comfortably on it (even get comfy enough to read). But, obviously, this is not an option at home. If your child shows an interest in one or the other, run with it. Sometimes, kids just simply have ideas about where they want to do their business. If your child doesn't express a preference, then go with the qualities that are most important to you. The big breakdown tends to be ease of cleaning (toilet insert) versus portability (potty chair).

Image Source: Jessica Merz via flickr/creative commons

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.

Join The Conversation
LovingMom52024 LovingMom52024 5 years
My son used both simultanesously without any problem. We started off on the potty, but at the same time I also made him sit on the big toilet with a step and a ring, so he can get used to the higher and bigger toilet. He would use either one until he decided the potty is too low and he's now a 'big' boy who can use the big toilet! The first time he sat on the potty was to poo and I was so excited (we were playing cricket outside and he ran for it himself, with me in tow!) it didn't even cross my mind that he will pee as well, needless to say we both went for a shower afterwards! When we went out, I just held him on the big toilet when on the odd ocassion it was necessary to go (fortunately he didn't like using unfamiliar toilets, so it didn't happen that often).
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