Toilet training begins with the introduction to the potty seat or the toilet itself. As a beginner, your child can use either a potty seat (essentially a small chamber pot with a lid) or a specially designed ring that fits over the toilet seat and narrows its opening, making it the perfect size for toddler tushies. (There's also a transition seat that combines the two—first fitting over the potty and then sitting on top of the toilet.) Each has its advantages.
The potty seat is:
- less intimidating in size and easier for your child to use than the toilet;
- less frightening because it doesn't flush away the waste (some kids fear they'll be the next to go); and
- much more portable around the house than the toilet ring, which must of course stay on the toilet.
The toilet ring, however, is:
- much easier for you to clean up, because your child's waste is already in the toilet, where you can easily flush it away;
- often much more portable on the road than a potty seat, because many models fold into quarters and can thus fit in a large purse or diaper bag; and
- an immediate transition to the toilet, which your child will eventually need to use anyway.
If you choose the toilet ring, you'll also need to put a sturdy step stool next to the toilet to make it more accessible to your toddler. If you choose the potty seat, buy one that is relatively comfortable and solid enough to avoid tipping over no matter how much your child squirms around while waiting for some results.