The best baby potty has

  • An easy-to-clean design. Look for a model made of hard, wipeable plastic and few nooks and crannies that may allow messes to fester. Potty chairs should have a removable bowl to make cleanup easier.
  • A comfortable, stable seat. Potty training can be a long process, and it's hard to keep kids motivated if their potty pinches, squeezes, wobbles or skids. Potty chairs should be big enough to accommodate taller kids but small enough for early learners; potty seats should be adjustable to fit most adult toilets.
  • A splashguard to keep messes in their place. Splashguards help funnel messes into the proper place -- this is especially important for little boys who may not remember to aim.

Know before you go

Is your child easily distracted? Some kids are motivated by lights, sounds or other built-in features. For others, these bells and whistles simply take their attention off the task at hand. If your child falls into the latter group, look for a simple, no-frills model -- you can always use other tactics like stickers or candy to boost their interest in the process.

How much space do you have in your bathroom? Potty chairs will take up some real estate. Potty seats don't take up any floor space while they're in use, and most can be easily stored when they're not needed.

Are you frequently on the go? Some families take their normal potty seat or chair while they're traveling, but others appreciate the go-anywhere qualities of a travel potty. Travel potties collapse for easy portability -- some may even fit in stroller baskets or diaper bags.

Do you care how the potty looks? Minimalist parents will be happy to discover that not all potties are festooned with cartoon characters or primary colors. However, consider whether a more exuberant design or a few bells and whistles will appeal to your child, who may need the extra motivation.

What's to come

Potty training? There's an app for that, of course. Several apps are designed to motivate reluctant potty-training toddlers, and they range from interactive stories to reward charts to songs. But the fun doesn't stop there: If you have a true pint-size techie, the iPotty (*Est. $40) -- a potty chair with an attached iPad stand -- has arrived. If the thought of entrusting your iPad to a potty-training toddler sounds more than a little icky, fear not -- a clear touch screen protects the device while your child does his business (and plays "Angry Birds").

After your child's potty-training days are over, the potty converts to a regular seat for prime iPad viewing. As even the youngest kids learn to use technology at a startling pace, it's a product with an obvious niche, but experts are divided over whether the iPotty is a good idea from a developmental perspective.

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