Q: Should my child use a potty chair before transitioning to a real toilet?
A: Unless your child is begging to use the big potty (which often happens with younger siblings), it's actually best to start with a potty chair. For many children, the toilet can be scary: There's loud flushing and whirling water escaping to "the unknown," and your child may feel unsteady sitting up high. With a little potty, her feet are on the floor, making her feel physically grounded and relaxed. Also, being able to get to the potty without your help will let her feel more in control -- and cut down on accidents. Down the road, switching to the big toilet (with or without an insert) shouldn't really be a big deal, since she'll probably already use one outside the house. --Nancy Rones
Copyright 2007. Used with permission from the November 2007 issue of Parents magazine. Updated 2009