Potty training is one of childhood's major rites of passage. And it's a particularly tough one to get through. Both you and your kid need epic amounts of patience to work out the kinks, resilience to bounce back from setbacks, and consistency to set good habits. But even all that isn't going to be enough: You also need a decent amount of potty-training gear. That includes everything from portable potties and disposable seat covers to "big potty" seats and toilet training toys.
Most people don't associate using the toilet with fun, but that's one approach that may make it a lot easier for your toddler — and something that a lot of potty training product manufacturers have taken into consideration. If your little one feels like potty training is a chore, they're not going to be so motivated. But if instead it's a chance to play with a favorite toy or to sit on a colorful little pot that's just for them, they might, just maybe, look forward to it.
And remember: the process of potty training may be even worse than the years of diaper changes, but there is a beautiful, diaper-free light at the end of the tunnel, if you can just hang in there...
1Summer Infant Lil Loo Potty
This mini loo is functional and inexpensive, and, because of its plain white color, it won't draw unnecessary attention to itself in your bathroom. Lucie's List gave it high ratings, and with its non-skid bottom and BPA-free materials, it's easy to see why. The inner pot is a cinch to remove and clean, and the high splash guard helps prevent messes. And with a high, supportive back, your toddler will be comfortable sitting there for as long as it takes.
2Kushies Taffeta Waterproof Training Pant
When your toddler is in that intermediate stage between diapers and underwear, Kushies are a good option for both training and aesthetics. They come in a range of colors and patterns, so they can be fun for playing dress-up, or even as a reward just for big kids who are learning to use the potty. They're absorbent and have a waterproof cover, but still let your toddler feel the wetness, giving them that extra encouragement to use the toilet instead of their undies.
3Jerrybox Foldable Travel Potty Seat
The main attraction of this travel potty seat is that it folds up super small. And that's key, since most other travel potties will require a lot of space, even when folded flat. So you'll reduce the amount of stuff you're lugging around, you'll avoid having to hold your kid over a public toilet seat, and you won't have to worry quite as much about germs in public restrooms. I think that's what they call a win-win-win.
Nighttime is one of the most fraught parts of potty training, which is why God invented pull-ups. These Huggies have stretchy waistbands so they can be pulled up and down like "big kid" underwear, but in the event of an accident, you can tear them open on the sides for a quick change.
7Mayfair NextStep Toilet Seat
It's not the cheapest piece of kit out there, but it has to be one of the most practical. With three colors and two shapes to choose from, it integrates nicely into your bathroom without the garish hues and cartoons that announce that a toddler runs your house now. And once your kid outgrows the toddler-size seat, you can just unclip that part and keep using the rest as a regular toilet seat.
5BabyBjörn Toilet Trainer
Calling it an "'Old Faithful' product," Lucie's List recommends the BabyBjörn toilet trainer for its convenience. Using a knob on the back, you can adjust the fit so it stays put on your toilet seat. And it's easy to take on and off, with a hanging hook to keep it off the floor and easily reachable. It comes in four different colors so you can find the perfect match for your powder room.
8Sesame Street Potty Training Rewards Kit
When I was a kid, sticker charts were a huge motivator for me. If your child gets similarly excited about tracking their progress with tiny bits of adhesive paper, try this Sesame Street-themed reward kit. With such a big kid incentive to look forward to, your toddler might get equally excited about using the big kid potty.
4Disney Sofia the First Potty Topper
...because even princesses need to go potty. These aren't the most economical option for toilet seat covers, but they may just do the trick when your little one needs some extra encouragement — like if they're faced with using a public restroom of dubious cleanliness.
9IKEA Lockig Children's Potty
10BabyBjörn Smart Potty
With an ergonomic design, easily removable and cleanable inner potty, built-in splash guard, and non-slip rubber base, the Smart Potty works well in your bathroom. But it's also useful to keep in the car for emergency pit stops. And because it's quite small, it can work well for multiples. Since it comes in a range of colors, everyone can choose their favorite.
11Primo 4-In-1 Soft Seat Toilet Trainer
This toilet trainer functions as a standalone potty, a toddler-sized seat for the big toilet (which can also be brought along on trips), and a step stool to reach the toilet or sink. Since it's a bit bigger than similar products, it's a particularly good option for older or bigger kids. It also comes with stickers to reward a job well done.
12Melissa & Doug Drink and Wet Doll
For kids who want their very own potty training pal, there are "drink-and-wet" baby dolls. The Melissa & Doug Mine to Love Annie doll drinks her bottle and then pees, either in her diaper or on her own little potty.
The options for boy dolls are more limited and more expensive, such as the Corolle Mon Grand Poupon Paul Drink-and-Wet Bath Baby Toy Doll for $70 at Amazon. But for the extra cash you do get some additional features: The doll waits to pee until you squeeze its belly, and it's safe to bring in the bath. And it's made of "Corolle vanilla-scented vinyl," if that's your thing.
15Kandoo Wipes Travel Pack
For those times when you're on the go, or when dry toilet paper just isn't going to cut it, there are flushable wipes. Lucie's List recommended these as "a great transitional product," and they get a 4.5 star rating from over a thousand reviewers on Walmart.com, so for $2 a pop they are definitely worth a try.
14Den Haven Potty Toilet Seat with Step Stool Ladder
If you're moving on from a standalone training potty to the big boy/big girl potty, this combination step stool and potty seat will make that transition easier. It's colorful and inviting, and the handles enable your kid to get to the seat all on their own.
16Dinosaur Toilet Targets
As someone who is biologically female, I don't think I will ever understand the thrill of urinating on a target. But I'm assured by a reliable source that the enjoyment is real (and endures well into adulthood). So if your little boy would benefit from the incentive of target practice, try these dinosaur-shaped ones.
182-in-1 Potette Plus
In addition to having a name that's weirdly fun to say, this new version of the Potette functions as both a portable potty and, when folded flat, a toilet trainer seat. Because it uses disposable liners (or, in a pinch, plastic grocery bags, as Lucie's List recommended) in its portable form, you don't even have to worry about cleaning it in between uses. And there are several bright color combinations to choose from.
19Summer Infant Three-Stage Potty Trainer
This combo unit does it all: First, it's a standalone potty. Then, it has a removable seat that can go on a real toilet. Finally, when the lid is down, it functions as a step-stool for getting onto said toilet. Add in the little storage unit for wipes and the toilet roll holder, and you can't ask for much more.
21Silverflye Piddle Pad Car Seat Protector
This car seat protector will greatly reduce the frequency with which you have to confront the surprisingly epic hassle of washing your car seat cover. More importantly, it meets and exceeds all National Highway Traffic Safety Administration regulations, so you can rest easy when it comes to safety standards. And it's compatible with a wide range of car seat makes and models.
Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.