Before I became a parent, I had no idea how much time I’d spend thinking about, talking about, reading about and worrying about another human’s bodily functions. Spoiler alert: it’s a lot.
While the diaper stage is certainly no joke, nothing will consume your every waking (and sleeping) moment quite like the thrill of the potty training process. If you and your kid are ready to take the plunge into the world of big kid potty pooping, stocking up on some tried-and-true potty training gear is a great place to start.
What gear do you need for potty training?
There are a few logistics to consider when you’re ready to start potty training. Once you hammer out these details, you’ll be better equipped to know what gear to stock up on.
Essentially, you’re going to want to nail down four things:
- the potty they’ll be using
- gear to prevent accidents (and clean up the ones you can’t avoid)
- ways to promote good bathroom hygiene
- reinforcements you might need to motivate your kiddo to use the potty (like a reward system)
First Things First: the Potty
Once you’ve decided that your kiddo is ready to ditch the diaper, you’ve gotta figure out where they’re actually going to do their business. Are they using a regular toilet or a training toilet? Which stand-alone potties are the best to use? What will your child do when you’re not at home? You might be surprised to discover that your little cherub gets pretty particular about which toilet they’re willing to trust to get the job done. Here are a few good options to check out.
1. OXO Tot Potty Chair
Sometimes, you just can’t beat the beauty of simplicity. OXO’s portable potty chair is simple, effective, and comes at a great price. The non-slip grip keeps the potty in place, and the high back and seamless design provide comfort for a quick sit or a longer stay. Pop the inner bowl out with the side handles to clean, and tuck it away until its next use. You can find it on Amazon and at Target.
2. Summer Infant My Size Potty
Some kids are a little hesitant to use a regular toilet when they’re first starting potty training. They can be kinda loud (especially the ones in public restrooms), they’re a little clumsy to climb onto, and then there’s the danger of slipping into the toilet bowl. Summer Infant’s My Size Potty looks like the real deal, but comes in a kid friendly size. The toilet handle makes a flushing sound, and it’s got a built-in dispenser for baby wipes. The removable bowl and built-in splash guard help to make cleaning a breeze. You can find it on Amazon and at Target.
This 2-in-1 go potty solves the question of what the heck to do when you’re travelling with a toddler in potty training mode. The Potette Plus fits over your toilet seat for use at home and can be folded up to bring along when you’re on the go. A reusable liner is included for at-home use, and disposable liners (also included) make cleaning up elsewhere easy pee-sy. You can find it on Amazon.
4. Munchkin Sturdy Potty Training Seat
If your kiddo is training on a regular toilet with a seat that’s a little too wide for their tush, you’ll want to use a potty training seat. The Munchkin Sturdy Potty Training Seat fits most standard toilets, stays put thanks to its non-skid edge, and comes with a built-in splash guard to ward off any wayward pee. The seat comes with built-in feet for storage, or you can grab yourself a little storage hook that hangs off of your toilet tank, keeping the training seat out of the way, but always in reach. Get the training seat on Amazon and at Target.
This genius little potty seat comes with high ratings on Amazon for many reasons. The built-in, adjustable step stool allows kids to use a regular toilet on their own, and the ladder step doubles as a resting spot for their feet while they’re sitting. The seat is sturdy, comfortable, and easy to both set up and fold away when it’s not in use. You can find it on Amazon.
Gear for Wiping and Washing
Getting your kiddo to use the toilet is half the battle of potty training. The other is building good bathroom hygiene habits, like wiping, flushing, and hand-washing. Here are a few items you may want to stock up on to help make it happen.
1. Wipes or toilet paper
If you’re trying to get “real world” experience, there’s no harm in starting out with toilet paper right out of the gate. Wipes are another option because they tend to do a better job with cleaning, and it’s something your child is likely used to. For the record, no wipes are flushable – any reliable plumber will tell you that they can end up causing issues for your drain pipes down the road. I like Rascal + Friends Sensitive Wipes because they tell you right on the package not to flush them (and they are completely fragrance free). You can find them at Walmart.
2. Munchkin Faucet Extender
Even with a step stool, your faucet might still be just out of reach for little hands. This faucet extender will add a little extra length to help make sure hand washing happens. It’s also great for filling cups! You can find it on Amazon and at Target.
If you want your kid to wash their hands, they’re gonna need to be able to actually reach the sink. There are plenty of step stools available on the market. This one from Ikea has been a staple in every bathroom in our home because it costs five bucks and gets the job done. If you’d rather not head to the store, grab it online at IKEA. (4. Check out the Bolmen from if you need something taller.)
Next, Cleanup Gear
Once you’ve sorted out all the logistics of potties and hand-washing, you’re going to need to be prepared for cleanup, because accidents are pretty much a guarantee. Here’s some gear that’ll make life a little easier for everyone during potty training season.
1. Disposable Training Pants
There’s nothing more exhilarating than scrubbing your kid’s soiled underwear, but if you’d rather not have to deal with washing wayward turds, these disposable CoComelon training pants from Rascal + Friends are feather soft, free from nasties and have easy tear away sides. You can find them at Walmart.
Try putting undies underneath training pants. This lets them feel their body’s signals and helps them realize and respond when they need to use the potty, with the training pants providing a safety net preventing the big clean up for you.
2. Cloth Potty Training Pants
Your Coco Melon-obsessed toddler will be psyched to wear these cloth training pants that make the perfect bridge between diapers and underwear. The polyester mesh lining helps your child to feel small leaks, encouraging more consistent use of the potty. The pack also comes with a potty training chart and stickers to track your kiddo’s progress. You can find them on Amazon and at Target.
3. Wet Bag
Wet bags will be your best friend any time you’ve got to figure out how to get something damp or nasty back home to your washing machine without touching any of your other belongings. Whether you’re going swimming and need a receptacle for wet suits and towels or want something to keep your kid’s pee pee undies separate from the Bear Paws in your diaper bag, you’re gonna want a wet bag, or maybe two or three. You can find these wet bags from Bumpkins on Amazon.
4. Disposable Liners
If the thought of emptying and cleaning a training potty is giving you the ick, disposable potty liners are about to change your world. Have one of these bad boys ready to go in the potty, pull the drawstring and throw it away after use, and you’re donezo. You can find them on Amazon.
5. Waterproof Mattress Cover
When you’ve got kids, no matter what age they are, a waterproof mattress cover is a lifesaver. It’ll save you from having to set up a makeshift bed in the middle of the night when your kid pees, poops, barfs, or spills the cup of water that they balanced on their pillow even though you told them eight thousand times to set on their dresser. Keep it on until they move out of the house. You can find this one on Amazon and at Target.
Layer multiple sets of waterproof mattress pads and sheets to save yourself time in the middle of the night with those inevitable nighttime accidents. Sort of like a Princess and the Pea sort of thing but less pea and more pee.
Gear to Get Them Going
You’ve probably started to ask anyone willing to discuss the topic just how exactly one goes about getting a toddler to take their biz from diaperland to toilet town.
Are you using a reward system like stickers or treats? Are you stocking your bathroom with toys and books so your kid can sit on their throne until the magic happens? Are you letting them loose butt naked with a limitless supply of juice boxes? Whatever you decide, here are some supplies that might help.
1. Potty-Themed Books for Kids
Sharing stories about using the potty is a great way to familiarise your kiddo with the concept, and creates a great opportunity to ask and answer questions that might be holding them back. Some favorites in our house were Once Upon A Potty, The New Potty, and Potty. Parents also love We Poop On The Potty!, P is for Potty!, and Daniel Tiger’s Potty Time.
2. We Poop On The Potty! Activity Book
This activity book is a companion to the We Poop On The Potty! book mentioned above. It comes with over 150 stickers and a reward chart to support building good bathroom habits. You can find it on Amazon and at Target.
3. The Who Pooped Game
This hilarious memory matching game will give you something fun to do while you’re waiting for your kid’s next trip to the potty. You’ll be poo-identifying experts in no time! You can find it on Amazon.
How long does potty training really take?
It may feel like a hundred years, but training typically takes between 3 and 6 months to nail down, but the truth is, it varies for every child.
Different factors will play in, including readiness to get started, changes in life circumstances (like the arrival of a new baby sibling or going on vacation), motivation and gender (girls tend to train more quickly than boys). Some kiddos will figure out daytime training but continue to have night time accidents. Many will have regressions after you think they’ve mastered potty training, and this is totally normal. As with all things kid-related, if you have concerns, the best person to go to for reassurance or troubleshooting is your doctor.
Potty training is one of many milestones you’ll get to experience as a parent. When you’re in the trenches, it can feel never-ending, but having the right gear to set you up for success can make the process a little easier.
Deciding what kind of potty your child will train on and how to support them with good bathroom hygiene is a great place to start. Next, stock up on supplies to help prevent and clean up accidents, because there will be many. Finally, find ways to make potty training fun, whether it’s by playing games, reading books, or finding rewards to get your little excited about the process.
Be generous with your praise and enthusiasm, and don’t worry if things don’t always go as expected. If nothing else, you’ll have some great stories to tell when you come out on the other side. Good luck!
Also check out: How Do You Know If Your Child is Ready for Training Pants?