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  • Updated Potty Reviews

    About a year ago, I reviewed the Fisher-Price Royal Potty and the Fisher-Price Royal Potty Step Stool. At the time, I liked both potties quite a bit. But since then, we have disposed of the original Royal Potty after realizing that the shield didn’t work that well and urine frequently leaked out onto the floor (note: this probably wouldn’t be a problem with a girl).

    In the last year, the Royal Potty Step Stool has worked well. Urine doesn’t leak out of this version, and it’s fairly easy to clean. You can also use it as a step stool for boys when they pee in the toilet while standing up. One caveat: we found that the fanfare function never worked right (and didn’t make much difference to Alex) so we simply turned it off.

    The second potty in our house now is the Safety 1st Comfy Cushy 3-in-1 Potty. My chief complaint about the Safety 1st potty is the lid that comes with it. It looks from the picture like they might have altered it a little so the lid is flatter, but the lid that came with the one we have has deep sides. A child can’t lean back on it, and it nearly doubles the potty’s footprint when it’s up. Our solution to the problems created by the lid was simply to remove it. Removing the lid does eliminate the option of using the potty as a step stool, but we keep a small IKEA stool in our bathroom for Alex to stand on when he pees.

    The Safety 1st stool has a rubber ring to sit on, which is fairly easy to clean and seems comfortable to sit on. However, the ring will discolor and crack if not thoroughly dried before being replaced on the potty. The potty bucket is easy to remove and clean.

    Overall, the Fisher-Price Royal Potty Step Stool and Safety 1st Comfy Cushy 3-in-1 Potty have served our needs well. However, I can’t help but wonder if we could have chosen better. If you have used a potty that you (and your child) absolutely loved, please let me know in the comments!

    Potty Training Tips

    Alex started potty training a couple of months before he turned two – right after Tyler was born. We didn’t do anything to suggest that he start, having read that a time of major upheaval – like the arrival of a sibling – is a bad time to start potty training. But Alex expressed interest and we weren’t going to stop him. Or more precisely, Marc wasn’t going to stop him. For Tyler’s first months in this world, Alex spent the vast majority of his time at home with Marc, while I took care of Tyler. I carved out an hour here and there to spend alone with Alex but with Tyler nursing every two to three hours, my time with Alex was scarce.

    A friend whose daughter is now 20 months recently asked me for some potty training help and I was a little dumbfounded. After all, Marc and Alex’s daycare teachers did most of the work. However, after thinking about it for a while, I’ve come up with some tips:

    1. For boys, Daddy’s participation can really speed things along. From our own experience as well as speaking with my friends who have boys, it seems that having Daddy’s example really makes a huge difference. The boys whose dads consider bathroom time their “private time” seem to lag the most when it comes to potty training. (Not that Daddy’s participation is absolutely necessary. I’m just saying that it seems to speed things along.)
    2. When a child shows an interest in using the potty, make potty training a priority. There seems to be a period around a child’s second birthday when the child gets interested in the potty. But with your first child, this period can catch you off-guard. By the time you figure out a good potty training routine, the child’s interest has waned, making potty training that much harder. It’s easier the second time around, since you already have the potty training equipment and are more prepared to rush to the bathroom. The best way to prepare for the first child’s interest period is to talk to parents who have already been through potty training and find out what worked for them.
    3. Utilize peer pressure. If your child goes to daycare or has exposure to older kids, seeing others use the potty can spark her interest in potty training. If that happens, take advantage of it. Ask the daycare teachers to take your child to the bathroom with the other kids, even he or she is younger than the others.
    4. Don’t treat potty training differently from other activities. There is a natural fear of traumatizing a child by forcing him to use the potty. But once it’s clear that the child is capable of using the bathroom regularly, treat the child’s refusal to go like any other disobedience. It took us a while to realize that Alex was fully potty trained and simply refusing to go to the bathroom before leaving the house because, well, he’s a headstrong toddler. We have since had success in treating bathroom time like any other activity, such as taking a toy away (or threatening to do so) when he refuses to cooperate.
    5. Use rewards. We used a sticker chart with Alex, although I think he might have been too young to fully understand it. I’m not a big fan of using food as a reward, but one of my friends had great success using yellow and brown M&Ms. Her son got a yellow M&M when he peed in the potty, and a brown M&M when he pooped.
    6. Let your child read on the potty. This can be a little tricky, since a child who loves to read might not tell you that he is done simply because he’d rather keep reading. But giving your child an activity to do while on the potty will help him be patient, particularly when he’s learning to poop on the potty.
    7. Be matter of fact. Like many people, I have a strong aversion to public bathrooms. But I’ve had to quash my distaste to facilitate Alex’s potty training so that he doesn’t pick up on it and become reluctant to use the bathroom in public places.
    8. Have the right equipment. Your child may prefer sitting on the big toilet, but most kids I know seem to prefer a child-size potty that allows them to keep their feet on the floor. (These also have a handy shield in front for boys to keep the urine in the potty.) I’ve found that the flushable wipes, which I thought were silly before Alex started potty training, are actually fabulous. It’s surprisingly hard to wipe a little kid’s butt when he’s standing, and the flushable wipes make it easier to get in there. Plus I don’t worry about stretching skin the way I do with toilet paper.
    9. Finally, I liked this tip over at Parent Hacks: Line the potty with toilet paper for easy cleanup.

    So those are my tips. What are your best potty training tips?

    Potty Training Tip: Buy different kinds of underwear for home and school

    I need time to catch up on my feed reader, so there won’t be a reading list today. But I did want to share a tip for potty training, since Alex is pretty much there now. At home, we keep a close eye on him when he’s in the bathroom, but it’s harder for his preschool teachers, who have to make sure all 12 children in his class are okay. So he frequently gets some urine on his underwear and pants, and of course, I bring them home to wash. I know which clothes I’ve designated as “school clothes,” so it’s easy to take them back.

    But I had a hard time remembering how much underwear he needed for school (I keep about six there) until I decided that his Go Diego Go underwear would be for school and his Elmo ones would be for home. Now when I do laundry, I separate the Diego and Elmo underwear and put the Diego ones in the pile of things to take to school on Monday.

    Product Review: Fisher-Price Royal Potty & Fisher-Price Royal Potty Step Stool

    In just the last few weeks, potty training has really taken off in our house. We are now the proud owners of not one, but two potties. We started off with the Fisher-Price Royal Potty. That has been in the boys’ bathroom for about six months now. It’s supposed to give off a fanfare to reward proper use but that’s never worked properly. I think the light sensor just isn’t sensitive enough. The only time we seem to get fanfare is when we bump into the potty. I like this potty, however, because it’s very easy to clean – the bowl just slides right out. It’s also a good size for Alex.

    Because we’re using the potty so much, we acquired a second one for the downstairs bathroom. I would have gotten the exact same one but they didn’t have any at the Target nearest our house and I want to check out another store or wait for shipping. So I picked up the Fisher-Price Royal Potty Step Stool, which turned out to be more different than I expected. For one thing, the shield that keeps urine in the bowl when used by boys can be folded down – something Alex enjoys doing while we sit there. Instead of sliding the bowl out, you have to lift up the seat and then lift up the bowl, so it’s not quite as easy to clean. But on the other hand, there’s no risk of Alex pulling the bowl out while he’s sitting on the potty. The step stool version has the added benefit of a built-in trainer seat for the big toilet and, like the name implies, it folds up to be a step stool. Finally, the sensor on this version is a little different and produces fanfare at appropriate times; however, it also produces fanfare even when nothing happened and so is a little misleading.

    The final verdict: I like both potties but if I could only have one, I think I’d go with the step stool version because of the versatility.

    Potty Training Basics

    Marc and I have been thinking about potty training for a while now. We’ve talked about it with friends who have older kids, purchased the Elmo and Potty Power DVDs, installed the Fisher Price Royal Potty, allowed Alex to accompany us to the bathroom, and asked if he wants to sit on his potty at opportune moments (such as before bath time or after his nap). Above all, we try to encourage Alex to use the potty, praise him enthusiastically when he does so, and don’t pressure him if he’s not so inclined.

    Because we’ve severely limited TV watching for the last month or so (that’s another post in itself), the DVDs have been of limited use to us. But we do have a friend whose daughter loved the Potty Power DVD, watched it countless times, sang the songs, and was pretty well trained at 2 1/2 or so.

    I like the Fisher Price Royal Potty, though the fanfare doesn’t work as described. It is supposed to go on to reward proper use of the potty, but instead it only goes on when someone bumps into it. However, I like it because it seems to be a good size for Alex and is very easy to clean.

    Although I’m normally a book person, I haven’t read much about potty training. There are numerous articles available on the topic, but I haven’t felt the need or had the time to read any of them. A friend did give me a book called Potty Training in One Day, which she used to train her younger daughter in, well, one day. I am planning to pull it out if Alex or Tyler isn’t trained when they are about 3.

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