There are a variety of articles on the web about potty chairs and seats. You can read about the basic parts of the potty chairs as well as general info about what to look for in a potty. You can also read about folks who skipped the potty chair and went right for the seat, then immediately made sure it was a slow-close lid.
But based on my own recent experience, it is good to start with a little chair that is more their size, so here are the Nitpicky Consumer's rules to pick the perfect potty.
Rule 1: Never pay full price for a Potty
Seriously. A potty is a stylized plastic pot in which your child will (try to) deposit his pee and poo. This is not a family heirloom you are buying. The going range for new potty chairs seems to be $12-$100, (although I can't really fathom anyone paying $100 for such a thing), but you shouldn't pay anything more than $0-$10. Borrow a potty from a friend or co-worker, go to a yardsale, go to a consignment sale, check Craig's List. Do anything besides pay full price.
Rule 2: Have LOTS of Pottys
You can take all that money you saved by not buying new potty chairs and get MORE of them. Especially if your house has more than one floor, you're going to want more than one potty. (We had one on each level of our townhouse, and also in the family room area in front of the TV.) This way, when the little one needs to go, distance to the potty is never an obstacle
Rule 3: The more complex the Potty, the HARDER to CLEAN
Beware of grooves, designs, and cracks. Look at a Potty and say to yourself, "If toxic ooze got poured all over this entire Potty, how many crevices would be hard to clean?" If it seems overwhelming, move on and look for another Potty.
Rule 4: Go for the multi-tasking Potty
Some potty chairs are nothing more than a potty chair. But some are a little bit more. Here's what I was looking for:
- A potty with a seat lid makes it double as a stool
- A potty chair with a built-in removable potty seat allows you to have both pieces in one, and you can instantly rearrange the setup to suit the current whim of your child
- A potty chair with handles can be easily carried around, so it doubles as both your in-house and your portable version
Here is the one that we considered our 'Perfect Potty': the Graco Soft Seat Potty Trainer (Model 812K). It is clearly older: it seems to be out of stock or discontinued on most websites, and it is Made in the USA. When you can find it, it runs $19-$27 new. (So hopefully you can find it second-hand!)
- It was a clean-line design. Not many crevices
- I bought it for $7 at a consignment shop
- It had a lid, so he could use it as a stool or to prop his feet when he was sitting on the 'big toilet'
- It had a cushy removable potty seat that he used for a while to sit on the big toilet
- It didn't have carrying handles, but the world isn't perfect.