THE BEST POTTY TRAINING SEATS OF 2019
The BabyBjörn toilet trainer is, like all BabyBjörn products, aesthetically sleek and well designed. The seat is adjustable, for example; which is rare in the world of training seats. You place the BabyBjörn onto your seat and there’s a little knob at the back that tightens it so that it’s more secure. This makes the seat especially stable and comfortable.
The design is minimal: there are no bright colors, handles or flourishes of any kind. The seat is a pleasing cream tone and has a thin turquoise piping around the edge (it’s also available with black or gray piping). It’s fairly small in profile and features only a slight curve at the edge. After use, it can easily be taken off and stored beside the toilet or in a drawer, or it can also be hung from the handle at the top of the seat.
My 3-year-old said she liked using it and that the seat was comfortable. While other seats tested elicited more of an excited response, there were no complaints about the BabyBjörn.
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The Summer Infant 2-in-1 potty trainer was easy to use, easy to clean, and was my child’s favorite because she said it made her feel “like a big kid.” Both an adult and a child seat, it stays attached to the toilet (you screw it on just like you would a regular toilet seat) so storage isn’t an issue. The seat’s lid flips up like a regular toilet cover revealing a toddler-size seat, which can then flip up for when an adult needs to use the toilet. And at just $15.69 (which we found at a few retailers), it’s a downright deal.
That said, the seat is lightweight plastic, and not necessarily sturdy enough for long-term adult use. But my husband said he would consider spending more for a higher-end 2-in-1 seat made by more traditional toilet seat makers such as Kohler or Delta. (Note: We did not test those kinds of seats for this guide.)
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How We Tested
Hi, I’m Georgia Kral. In my career as a journalist, I’ve reported on many topics, from restaurants and food to parenting and education. I live in Brooklyn with my husband and two kids. When we found out our second child was coming, my husband and I decided to start potty training our daughter right away—the idea of two kids in diapers was far from appealing! She was a few months shy of two when we first introduced her to the training toilet and after about eight months she was fully out of diapers (except overnight). So you can say I’ve had my fair share of experience!
I tested each of these toilet training seats for three days, which equals about 10 to 15 uses per seat depending on the day. We judged each based on the same set of questions like how intuitive was the seat? Was it adjustable? Was it comfortable? Did the seat feel stable? Was it easy to store when not in use? How did it look—both from the child’s and parent’s perspective? I took notes each time my child used a seat and wrote about her and my experiences after each test.
What to Consider When Buying a Toilet Training Seat
It’s important to consider your child’s personality, development and also how comfortable they are with potty training before choosing seats or potty chairs to try. We can tell you which product is best based on our scientific rankings, but some children may require a seat with handles to grip while another may only want to use a potty seat with their favorite cartoon character on it.
There are two kinds of potty trainers, as we mentioned in the introduction. The stand-alone potty chairs are completely separate from the adult toilet. They stay on the floor and are used by kids at the beginning of the toilet-training process. The second type is the potty seat that sits on your toilet. Depending on your child, they may move from the phase one seat to the phase two-seat in a few months, or it could take longer. The training seats that we tested are generally used for a longer period of time; they are useful until your child is big enough to fit on the adult seat. (And it should be noted, with the exception of the 2-in-1 trainers, all the seats are taken off the toilet when the child is done using it.)
Many parents wonder about how to clean the seats, and about general cleanliness—for good reason. When researching which to buy, keep in mind that potty seats are not gendered; there isn’t one that’s best for boys or girls. That said, some seats have a taller or bigger front piece, oftentimes called a splash guard. This is designed to assist boys from inadvertently spraying outside the seat. Seats with a larger splash guard require a little bit more cleaning. Overall, cleaning them is fairly easy and requires a quick wipe down with soapy water. Obviously, the seats that come with a ladder or handles require more attention.
Cost is another factor to consider. Most of the seats we tried are in approximately the same price range, but our number one product, the BabyBjörn, is also the most expensive. And as explained with the Summer Infant 2-in-1 trainer, a higher-end toilet seat may be more suited for long-term use by a family.
Most toilets these days are oval-shaped, and most potty training seats are that same shape. But the seats will, in general, also fit the round-style toilets. You just place it on the seat and adjust if possible. (Make sure you check the product descriptions before buying.) The toilet we have is oval, and we had no issues with any of the seats not fitting. There are no tools required for except I did need a flat-head screwdriver to remove my current toilet seat before installing the Summer Infant 2-in-1.
For more information on how to approach potty training with your kids, I recommend the book “Once Upon a Potty” by Alona Frankel. There is a version for both male and female children.
Other Potty Seats We Tested
The Jool Baby’s design is understated and like the BabyBjörn, it’s pleasant to look at for grownups. And it works well for kids.
While it’s not adjustable, it felt very sturdy when placed on the adult toilet seat due to the seat’s design, which included a non-slip grip material. The seat itself was also particularly comfortable owing to its contoured shape. It was also easy to store because it came with an adhesive hook that you could attach to the wall of your bathroom for easy hanging when the seat wasn’t in use.
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My child was attracted to the handles on this seat, which practically called out to her. For a parent in the midst of potty training, it’s a bonus when the kid actually wants to interact with the product. But the handles aren’t there to assist your child in getting onto the seat, only to provide stability while already using it. My daughter practically pulled the seat off the toilet.
The seat is sturdy and comfortable once your child is on it, and my daughter definitely liked having something to hold on to. But the handles also mean the whole package is a bit bulky. It’s probably not the best training seat for use in a tiny bathroom.
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This seat ranked in the middle-of-the-road after testing and received practically the same rating as the Prince Lionheart.
The Fisher-Price is the only other adjustable seat we tested, besides the BabyBjörn. At the back of the seat, there’s a U-shaped handle that is inserted after the seat is placed on the toilet that tightens the seat to better fit your toilet. An extra bonus is that the handle then also doubles as a makeshift backrest. My child really enjoyed being able to lean back a bit.
But the handle isn’t easy to remove, making storage difficult. The potty comes with a hook that you put into the back of the toilet where the water is stored, but the seat is so bulky that storing it that way wasn’t an option in our bathroom.
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The Munchkin seat feels stable after placing it on the toilet seat, but the size and reach of the front splash guard was slightly unwieldy. My child had some difficulty getting into a good position on it. The bright green color was also off-putting for me.
The best thing about this seat is it’s fairly narrow and was designed to stand up on its side. This is a major bonus because it means the seat sits neatly out of the way when not in use.
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This seat leaves much to be desired in terms of stability and comfort. There’s minimal padding on the seat, which is flat all around with no contouring. There are handles, which my daughter liked, but they didn’t seem to make the seat more secure.
That said, it was my child’s favorite seat because of the cartoon character pictured. (The brand makes seats with many different characters so if your little one prefers Elmo or the cast of “Paw Patrol,” you’re in luck.)
As every parent knows, when the kid is happy, they are 100% more likely to do something you want them to do. That includes using the potty.
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The Primo Freedom Trainer is, in theory, a great product. Giving a child autonomy to climb up a ladder to their potty seems like a great idea! But this particular product felt flimsy, unstable and even a bit scary. The seat also had to be placed right on the toilet bowl, not the seat, which made it feel particularly unsafe. It wobbled and slid across the porcelain.
But my daughter loved using it! There were little outlines of a child’s feet on the bottom rung, and she placed hers over them and smiled every time. There are other products on the market with ladders, which we did not test for this guide, that may do a better job than this trainer.