Time to Step-Up to the Big Chair!
Successful potty training requires three items: (1) a potty chair to introduce your child to the toilet in an unimposing way (you can find our top picks reviewed HERE); (2) a travel potty seat to allow for consistent training away from home (reviewed HERE); and (3) a potty training seat for when your child is comfortable and big enough to use the "big potty." Read below for our top potty training seat picks (also called seat reducers by some manufacturers) . . .
- The sturdiest seat in our comparison, this unit is made of high quality (to the touch) BPA-fee plastic and has a dial adjuster to help with fit. It is not a great choice for round toilet seats and is on the pricier side, but if you have an elongated seat its worth the extra spend.
- Made of BPA-free plastic by a well-respected manufacturer of baby products.
- Adjustable to fit a variety of elongated toilet sizes.
- Large hook for easy storage (although this can get in the way of a proper fit with smaller toilet seats, which tend to be round).
- The priciest unit in our comparison.
- Doesn't work well with many round toilets.
- Comparatively difficult to clean due to dial adjust located underneath unit.
- This unit is inexpensive and one of the few we could find on the market that works well with round toilet seats. The plastic doesn't feel particularly high quality, but if you have a round toilet you want something that fits and this likely will.
- The only unit in our comparison that works well with round toilet seats.
- Lowest list price in our comparison (well under $15 at the time of our writing; we've seen under $10 when on sale).
- Kids love the handles.
- Doesn't work well with elongated toilets (an in depth explanation on the difference between round and elongated seats can be found in the next section).
- Plastic doesn't feel as high quality as that in the model by BabyBjorn.
- This unit fits securely on elongated seats and has a simple, easy to clean design (there are no adjuster gears underneath like the model by BabyBjorn). The "pee guard" is a bit short and the plastic doesn't feel particularly high quality, but this unit is a solid choice for those with elongated seats.
- Simple, easy-to-clean design.
- Inexpensive (list price under $15 at the time of our comparison).
- Fits securely onto elongated seats.
- Plastic feels cheap compared to the model by BabyBjorn.
- Doesn't fit well on many rounded seats.
- The contour of the seat doesn't appear as comfortable for children as our top picks.
- A great option for those looking for a more permanent solution. We personally prefer the other "sit on top" models because they are easier to clean as well as remove and allow you to keep you existing seat. If the aesthetics work for you, however, this unit is a great choice.
- Built-in functionality eliminates need to take a standalone training seat on-and-off the toilet.
- Comes with a three year warranty (you won't likely need it much beyond that).
- Has options for round and elongated toilets—make sure you select the right one at checkout!
- The design either works with your existing bathroom and toilet or it doesn't.
- Some assembly is required and you'll want to change back to a standard seat once your child is big enough.
- You cannot throw it in the car for trips to grandma's house.
How We Chose
Seat Fit and Build Quality
When evaluating the potty seats in today's comparison, we focused on two key attributes: (1) seat fit (i.e. sturdiness) and (2) build quality. You might think that these two attributes are one and the same, however, they are not. A unit with great build quality that you can run over with a tank, will slip and slid all over the place if the seat fit is not right. As we discovered during the course of this review, seat fit in turn depends upon whether you have a round or elongated toilet seat and the positioning of the seat hinge (more on this in the next section).
We choose the model by BabyBjörn because it has great seat fit with most elongated toilet seats, is built of high quality plastic and is made by a well respected manufacturer of baby products. This model also has an adjuster dial on its underside to help grip different sized seats. Importantly, we also love that the plastic meets safety standards in the U.S. and Europe and is even certified safe for food. Just keep in mind that this model won't work well with many round toilets.
We chose the model by Munchkin as our runner up because it competitively priced and has great seat fit with a wide range of round toilet seats. This unit missed our top spot because the build quality isn't great (i.e. the plastic is flimsier than our top pick) but the seat fit is so solid that it this isn't particularly noticeable. There aren't many attractive, quality units on the market for round toilet bowls and this one pretty much takes the cake.
The model by Jool works well with elongated toilet bowl seats but lacks the build quality of the model by BabyBjörn. Still, its inexpensive and the seat fit is solid with most elongated toilet seats. We do suspect this is a generic seat purchased in bulk off of a platform like Alibaba, so keep this in mind when making your purchase decision (this is a reason we generally like to go with well known brands like our top two picks).
The TineyHiney seat by Topseat missed our top spots because we prefer "sit on top" models that aren't quite as permanent and can be moved between toilets. Still, this seat comes in versions that work with elongated as well as round toilets and is a great choice if you don't mind the extra installation and the look works with your bathroom.
Elongated vs. Round
Toilet Seats Explained
By this point in today's review, you've heard us mention again and again that you need to select a seat that works with your toilet. Specifically, there are two primary types of toilet seats in U.S. households: round and elongated. As a general matter, toilets in older homes as well as those installed in compact spaces tend to be round. Toilets in most newer homes tend to be elongated.
Round toilet seats are easy to identify—they are round when viewed from the top. Round toilet bowls are approximately 16.5 inches from the middle of the seat bolts to the outside edge of the front of the bowl. The model by Munchkin works great with most seats on round toilets.
Elongated toilet seats are also relatively easy to identify—they look like an oval or teardrop when viewed from the top. In generally, they are approximately 2 inches longer than a round bowl, measuring approximately 18.5 inches from the middle of the seat bolts to the outside edge of the front of the bowl. The models by BabyBjorn and Jool work well with this type of toilet seat.
One last factor to keep in mind when selecting your training seat is the type of hinge used on your toilet seat. For example, if you do not have a solid hinge that runs the length between the seat bolts, then it is very possible the models by BabyBjorn and Jool work with your seat, even it it is round. Many round models on the market, however, have larger "slow close" hinges that interfere with the hooks placed at the ends of these two models and which prevent proper seat fit (elongated seats do not have this issue because of their additional length).
The Four Best Method
What We Do . . .
We started Four Best on the premise that a great deal of the information required to properly evaluate a given product is already right in front of your (and our) eyes. In fact there is too much information! A crucial skill necessary to picking the best products is instead the ability to cull through the available information, focusing on what should really drive a purchase decision.
To make those crucial determinations as to what matters and what doesn’t, we begin by thinking through what really matters to us when we use a particular product. We then use the that type of product to further refine the features we care about and that we think you will care about too. Next we search the web, looking to manufacturer’s websites, product specifications, consumer reports, expert blogs, research reports and the like to obtain crucial insights and the facts.
Finally, we distill the results of our research and combine it with our own experiences as consumers, professionals, techies, mothers, fathers, hobbyists, designers, software engineers, attorneys (sorry) and more. Ultimately, this process results in the reviews we present to you. We hope you enjoy!
- Photo of baby boy on potty training chair from iStock.
*Images have been cropped and/or resized.