Most younger children begin potty training with a free-standing seat on the floor. This is preferred because it can be easily moved to the room you spend the most time in, it is small so the kids can sit on it independently and it is less frightening than the big toilet seat.
After kids get used to using this little potty, there comes a time to transition to the regular toilet in the regular bathroom. Some seats, such as the 4-in-1 Soft Seat Toilet Trainer, come with a seat reducer that can be removed and used on the adult toilet. The bottom transitions to a step stool.
Seat reducers fit over the big toilet and make the seat smaller. They often have handles for little hands to securely hold on to. Portable seat reducers can be packed in the diaper bag and used when travelling. The toilet seat is less threatening when it is smaller and is more familiar.
A step stool or a little step ladder is useful for shorter children to climb up on the toilet by themselves. Having a step or stool for feet placement is essential when having children sit to have bowel movements.
Rewards vs. Bribes
Meaningful rewards are so different from child to child. You will have to decide what your child will value most. It could be something as silly as mommy or daddy doing a “silly potty dance”, receiving a big bear hug, or stickers on a chart. One little girl was rewarded by getting to wear her sparkly shoes in the house.
Reward completing the different steps, not just urine in the toilet. Rewards can be given for:
Telling parents she needs to go
Sitting on potty
Washing and drying hands
Pulling pants up and down
Urine or stool in potty can be an additional or special reward. Kids love praise from their parents so feel free to over-do it!
Potty Training During Travel
Leaving the house with a child who is just learning how to use the potty can be challenging. Have him or her use the potty before getting in the car.
If it will be an extended car trip, take the potty seat with you. If you get short notice, or are at a location without child-friendly toilets, you can put it on the ground and let them comfortably use it there. Some families have even opened up the back of the SUV and turned it into a private toileting area by using the potty seat. A disposable Travel John solidifies liquids instantly into an odorless spill-proof gel. These are handy to keep in the glove compartment for any age child (or even adult emergencies.)
Folding toilet seat reducers can be used at grandparents or even airports or shopping centers. They are cleaner than most public toilet seats and can be wiped off with a wet wipe before putting them away. Some children are frightened of the split seat that many public restrooms have. The toilet seat reducer can be positioned backwards to cover this split.
Automatic flushing toilets in public restrooms can be scary if they flush while your child is still sitting there. Covering the “eye” with a sticky note will prevent the toilet from flushing until you’re ready.