Friday, March 31, 2023

DIY Potty with a Tray

I mentioned in my 9 month update that my baby was outgrowing the elimination communication hold and I'd started using an actual little potty for her and taking her to the bathroom with me.

That went great for about a month or two, and then she figured out how to climb off the potty independently and toileting became a frequent source of conflict between us. Sometimes she'd happily sit on the potty while I used the toilet, only getting up when I held out my hand for her. Sometimes she'd use the potty, finish faster than me and want to leave immediately while I'm frantically trying to slow her down and finish wiping myself. And sometimes she wouldn't even sit still long enough to use the potty.

That last issue was somewhat helped by offering two potties in a row. Because our cat's litterbox is in the bathroom at the office, the bathroom floor is kinda gross, and I habitually wash my feet in another room right after using the bathroom. That other room has also been my baby's change area since birth.

So, when I got a different potty for the bathroom, I put a potty in the change area. I also happen to have stored a bunch of hand-me-down child shoes from a friend there, and my baby loves playing with shoes, so if she's too restless to use the potty in the bathroom, she'll often use the potty in her changing area if I plop her on it while I'm washing my feet.

But that still leaves the problem of the fight to keep her from crawling on the bathroom floor - and as I mentioned, that floor is disgusting. The obvious solution I thought of was a potty she can't get off of. Unfortunately, while it apparently used to be commonplace to have potties with a tray like a high chair, it's really hard to find now. I found several in places like India and New Zealand, but they don't ship to Canada. The one potty I could find that ships to Canada was a handmade one on Etsy, which costs over a hundred for the item and about as much for the shipping. I wasn't about to spend $200+ dollars on one potty.

Instead, I decided to make my own. I ordered a selection of cheap feeding chairs - like high chairs but intended to be used on the floor or strapped to an adult chair. Then I picked one of them, the TCBunny Toddler Booster Seat, because a) the tray wasn't too much of a hassle to put on and remove, and b) the seat itself was cloth and I have a lot of experience working with cloth. I took the potty basin out of the potty she'd been using in the bathroom - the Happytime Travel Potty - and measured and cut an appropriately sized hole, then I stitched around the hole to reduce fraying, cut off the straps after a test where they fell into the potty, and here's the result:

Overall, I'm very pleased. I would rather have a plastic potty for sanitary reasons, but this one works. Most of the time she happily sits in it - in fact she seems more comfortable in it than she was on the Happytime potty - and when she doesn't, I just pull out the tray (which I store on the back of the toilet) and lock her in. She actually seems to like the tray, too - it makes a good drum for her. My only concern is that I feel like she might start climbing out in a few months, but for now, it works wonders!

And no, she's not miserable being trapped on the potty briefly. In fact, she was a lot more unhappy when I was trying to hold her on the potty myself and getting frustrated with her - and also more unhappy being left behind while I go to the bathroom. When I was looking for advice on finding my potty, several people expressed doubt whether a potty like that would be a good idea, but I can say unequivocally that it's been the right choice for both me and her.

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