I have to admit I approached potty training with a certain amount of dread. Actually, make that a huge amount of dread! All I could see ahead was weeks of mess and mountains of extra laundry. Plus our sanity-saving trips out of the house looked set to become an even bigger logistical nightmare than they already were with a feisty toddler and small baby in tow.
As you may have already read, potty training Little Miss, once we really put our minds to it, actually went surprisingly well. But using the potty or toilet at home is only one part of the process and, if you’re anything like us, any more than two days stuck inside the house is enough to drive everyone crazy. So by day three we had to get out.
Now I haven’t written many reviews on this site to date. I’m still waiting for all those lovely PR opportunities and perks that all honest parent bloggers dream of to come flooding my way – and yes, in case anyone was wondering, I am totally up for a few of these! But this is one review I felt compelled to write off my own steam. This particular product, the Potette Plus 2-in travel potty, has proved so useful I had share it here. It’s become an essential item that comes everywhere with us and I’m sure will be used for many years to come with it being handed on to Little Mister when the time comes (sob!) for him to also leave nappies behind.
All hail ‘the original folding potty’
I bought our Potette Plus back in September for about £14 – this seems to be the average price, although at the moment you can pick them up online for a bit cheaper. Prior to purchase I’d spent several hours pouring over the various travel potty options on Amazon – oh the glamour of parenthood! This one seemed popular and, while not the cheapest option, customer ratings were generally very good. And since it is both a travel potty and a toilet seat, hence the 2-in-1, you’re effectively getting two products for your money. Pennies well spent I’d say (sorry, I really couldn’t resist the pun).
It’s described as ‘the original folding potty’ and boasts a string of awards from various parenting publications. The original Potette was, apparently, invented by a grandad who couldn’t believe the amount of paraphernalia his daughter had to take with her when going out with her little one.
What a cool grandad? And yes, like his daughter, the sheer amount of stuff that leaves the house with us these days meant I was desperate to find the smallest option possible. I’ve seen parents cart a full-size potty in a carrier bag around the park but it’s not a look I wanted to go for.
Small but perfectly formed
When it arrived, I was quite amazed by how compact and lightweight the Potette Plus looked and felt. It really does fold down very small, as you can see from the picture, but at the same time it doesn’t feel at all flimsy. The plastic is satisfyingly solid and there are rubberised grips on the legs to hold it steady when in use.
It is fantastically portable and so easy to discreetly stash under the buggy – we have a fairly compact Babyjogger City Mini – without hogging all the space for our other gubbins. I usually leave it under there and can actually fold the buggy with it still in situ, meaning it never gets forgotten.
So how does it work?
call panic of nature comes the legs unfold and click into place to make a surprisingly sturdy little potty which you use with an absorbent, disposable liner, AKA a really posh bin bag, to collect whatever your little darling has been brewing. The beauty is that once they’re done you can just tie the bag up and go! It’s just like getting rid of a dirty nappy. Everything is nicely clean and hygienically contained, no yucky used potty to sort out or stash somehow.
The liners cost around £10 for 30, which may be a bit pricey for some but I’m willing to pay for the convenience. And since we try to encourage Little Miss to use the toilet wherever possible we’re still only on our second pack of bags.They have an absorbent, fragranced pad that turns liquid to gel. It’s claimed the bags, which do feel thicker than your standard plastic bag, are leak-proof and I’ve yet to have proof to the contrary. Apparently they also make good travel sickness bags should you need them! And they are biodegradable so they are not as bad for the environment as you might think.
‘Get the frogs wet’
Perhaps the most important thing about the liners is the frog holding an umbrella print! We use this as encouragement… Little Miss loves to ‘get the frogs wet’! Overall she has never once complained about using the Potette Plus so I’m, assuming it’s fairly comfortable – she’s used it for plenty of alfresco wee wees! Thankfully the girl has had the good manners to have never needed to poo on it! But in general it’s been a really useful thing to have, especially for trips to the park and long car journeys.
One thing I would say is that in the early days, when the toddler is new to toilet training and you’re still getting to grips with how the Potette Plus works, it’s easiest to have the potty set up ready to go before it’s actually needed. That way you’re not having to fiddle around unfolding it and sorting the liner at the crucial moment.
The big bonus with the Potette Plus is that it can also be used as a toddler toilet seat, which is how we’ve used it most. It’s made the transition to using ‘big’ loos out very easy. Little Miss feels secure and the sides make a handle of sorts giving her something to hold on to. It does also mean that if the loos look a bit dubious she barely has to touch anything other than her own seat, which feels more pleasant to me.
The only negatives, and these are little niggles that aren’t enough to diminish my love for it, have been that the ‘travel carry bag’ that came with it lasted only a couple of months before splitting. It was, essentially, just a thick, plastic draw-stringed carrier bag. Ours is now fashionably stowed in an M&S carrier! Not a big deal but something more durable would have been better.
And I would say there is a knack to clicking the legs in and out that some people pick up quicker than others. Annoyingly, my husband got it straight away. I found it a bit of a fiddle to start with and some of the less favourable reviews I’ve read were because of this. I will admit there have been a few occasions when I’ve cursed the legs for not immediately complying as I’d like but we’re talking a few seconds of faff and the pros of the potty far outweigh any momentary strops I might have with it!
I do also wonder if bigger children might find it a tad on the small side. Little Miss is quite petite so this hasn’t been an issue for us but we’ll see with Little Mister as he will definitely be much taller and more sturdy when he reaches her age – he’s on the 91st percentile for weight and 98th for height.
But so far the Potette Plus 2-in-1 travel potty gets a firm thumbs up from us. It’s proved a very sound investment, if toddler toilet gadgets can be described as such! I would definitely recommend it. It certainly made getting out and about during those earliest nappy-free days feel far less stressful than it could have been.
For those who like to co-ordinate, it’s available in several different colour combos: light blue/dark blue (we have this one), pink/purple, green/blue, white/light blue.
You can find out more and watch a video of how it works on the Potette website.
For more on how potty training went in our house the following posts might be of interest:
A relieved mum’s top 10 potty training essentials…
A tale of two potty triumphs!
Fanfare for a poo!