How to Potty Train if You Don't Have a Potty Seat

By Shelley Frost
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A potty chair puts the task of using the toilet at your tot's level, but it is possible to potty train without a potty chair. Carrying around a potty seat everywhere you go is impractical, so your child will end up using a regular toilet, anyway, when you're away from home. A few strategies can make an adult toilet less scary for a small child and will help her keep her bottom on the seat.

Readiness Is Key

If your tot isn't ready, then potty training is a waste of time, and you'll frustrate yourself and your toddler if you force him to start too young. Typically, toddlers show an interest in potty training anywhere from 18 to 24 months, but some toddlers aren't ready until they're age 2 1/2 or older, according to, the official website of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Signs of readiness include wanting to use the toilet, telling you when he has to go to the bathroom, following basic directions, pulling his pants up and down and showing interest in wearing underwear. If your tot seems afraid of the toilet, especially if you don't plan to buy a separate potty chair, then wait until he is ready.

Using a Step Stool Is Important

If you use the toilet as your method of choice, you will see that your tot's feet are dangling and have no place to rest. Find a step stool to place near the toilet that's is tall enough for her to reach with her feet while she is sitting. The firm spot for her feet may make her feel more secure while sitting on a tall toilet. The step stool also gives her a place to push down if necessary to help her have a bowel movement.

Safety Concerns

If your toddler doesn't balance carefully, he can slip into the toilet bowl, where he will be in dirty toilet water. If you don't have a potty seat for the toilet, provide physical support for your child each time he uses the bathroom. Help him sit far enough back to hit the toilet but not so far that he loses his balance and falls in. Let him hold onto your arms for balance so that he doesn't have to touch the toilet seat for support.

Sitting Backwards on the Toilet

An alternative option to train your toddler without a potty chair or toilet seat insert is to have your toddler sit on the toilet backwards. The Ask Dr. Sears website points out that some kids feel more secure in this position because they are able to straddle the back of the toilet and hold onto the tank. The tank provides the perfect spot for to place a couple of toys to distract your child while he is using the toilet. This method works best at home where you know the toilet is clean and public restrooms often lack a conventional tank. You so have to be careful about cleanliness, though, because sitting backwards puts your child into contact with potentially dirty or germ-covered surfaces that exist on the back of the toilet.

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