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Toilet training products – which ones do you really need?

Little girl sitting on a potty during toilet trainingThere are many products out there promising to make toilet training easier.

But, like everything, there are some that are essential and some you don’t really need. Plus there are items that will suit one family and their situation while another will find them completely unnecessary.

So how do you decide what YOU will need for toilet training?

Here some common toilet training products and some tips to help you decide whether you’ll need them …

Toilet training products – which ones do you really need?


You will need to buy your child some underwear. You’ll need lots – especially for the first stage of toilet training, before it all starts to click.

Don’t spend a lot of money – look for cheap bulk packs. Maybe take your child shopping to help pick some out, it might help get them excited about the change.

Disposable toilet training pants

These are less-absorbent, pull-up nappies marketed as a transition between actual nappies and underwear. They are made to allow your child to ‘feel’ that they are wet but there won’t be a mess on your floor (or someone else’s) to clean up.

Some mothers love them (especially for night use) while others will say it is cheaper and more effective to go straight to underwear.

READ: Check out our ultimate guide to toilet training for more information on how to start

Training pants

These are generally made from terry cloth and are slightly bigger and more absorbent than regular underwear. They will absorb some of the mess before it puddles on your floor – which can save some cleaning. They don’t feel like nappies but, again, they are more expensive than underwear and may slow down the ‘training’ process.

A potty

Potties can be useful. They are portable, so you can move them around the house with you (or take them to someone else’s house or on holiday), they are easy to get on and off, and they are a ‘second toilet’ if you are a one-toilet household (you can guarantee your child will ‘need’ to go as soon as someone else is using the toilet!).

The downside is that you can’t just ‘flush’ it all away – potties require a bit of clean-up – and that some children might become attached to the potty and be hesitant to use the big toilet (which can be an issue when you’re out). No need to buy a fancy one, just look for a sturdy one with a bit of a higher back and front (to make sure the pee goes in).

Toilet seat insert

If you’d prefer to go straight to the toilet you can buy a toilet seat insert to help your child sit more comfortably on the toilet. Once they do get used to it, though, you’ll be surprised how quickly and easily they learn to ‘perch’ themselves there without one. Still, it can go a long way to help them feel more comfortable on the toilet in those early weeks when they may be scared of falling in.

It is another thing to clean, however, and it will take up space in your bathroom.

READ: More about the pros and cons of potty versus toilet during toilet training

Bathroom step

It isn’t easy to climb up on to a toilet unaided when you’re two years old so a small step can help at first. It will also be useful for reaching the taps when washing their hands. Look for something sturdy with non-slip padding on the bottom.

Don’t just look in the baby section either, we found the perfect step in a hardware store and now that the kids are older they use it for other purposes (like to sneak food out of the top of the pantry …)

You can also buy toilet seats that come with their own little steps built on. A bit more bulky but usually they fold up so you can put them beside the toilet when adults are using it.

Other things you’ll need …

  • Wet wipes (toilet paper is fine when they are trained but I kept a box of normal nappy wipes in the toilet too just to help while training – especially when you’re cleaning up accidents). You can’t flush these though – you’ll have to dispose of them the same way you always have. Even if the wipes are labelled as ‘flushable’ they will not break down as well as toilet paper and could easily clog up your toilet or pipes.
  • Something to clean up any messes. I found terry cloth flat nappies perfect for mopping up toilet training accidents. Or you could just rip a few old towels in half. Have some disinfectant on hand should any No2s make it onto your floors or furniture.
  • Waterproof mattress protectors. You probably have these already but they will be useful now especially if you’re toilet training for night time as well. You can also buy specific toilet training sheets that go over the top sheet so you don’t have to change all the sheets if your child wets the bed.
  • Ways to make it fun. Find some toilet training books for kids at the library or search for some fun toilet training apps. Just something to make the process seem exciting.
  • Reward charts. It helps to make a big deal out of their achievement so we’ve create these free toilet training rewards charts for you to print out
  • Patience. See if you can order some by the truck load … you’ll likely need it!


For parents’ opinions on what to buy check out our toilet training products review section. Or head to our directory to find shops and online stores selling toilet training products.

Image credit: lianna2013/123RF Stock Photo

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2 comments so far -

  1. We had a “potty” we kept in the car boot in case of an emergency. It was used a couple of times when one of the kids needed to go to the toilet but nobody was home. Issue was one of the kids flatly refused to use the toilet in a shopping centre so one of us had to run back to the car to get the “potty”. There was a few discussions and explanations from both us and their parents before we took them shopping with us again.

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