A Look Inside a 3-Year-Old’s Bathroom

The bathroom is a home’s perfect storm for usability issues for toddlers. With my daughter turning 3-years-old next month, here is a riveting rundown of products in our washroom.

Photo of my toilet with arrows pointing to several items that are described in the caption that follows.

Behold my commode with its integrated toddler seat, plus a step stool, freestanding tissue holder, motivational wall calendar and jumbo arrow stickers that defy the laws of physics.

The Toilet

Built-in Toddler Potty Seat—This is a toddler seat that resides compactly between an adult seat and the toilet lid. Forget removable seats that you hang on the wall. This sucker is always there and its built-in nature makes a kid feel more like Mom and Dad. Source: Dr. Merry’s PottyPal at Amazon.

Freestanding Toilet Paper Holder — Most bathrooms have the toilet paper positioned directly to the side of the seated individual. In our room it’s located behind and to the right, which is fine, unless you’re a toddler with short arms. Obtaining some TP would require my daughter to stand up, step down, take two steps to the wall and position herself at an angle to pull the tissue, while, uh, dripping. A freestanding roll holder perfectly resolves the issue. She loves not having to ask us for help, adding one more bit of autonomy to her life. Source: Chrome Free-Standing Toilet Paper Dispenser at K-Mart.

Potty Step — We went through three step stools before finding the right one for our daughter. The first came with her portable potty seat, had two steps and consumed too much room. The second was a Potty Pal Step Stool we bought with our integrated potty seat, but it was thin and concerned us as a tipping hazard. Our third is wide with rubber feet and an anti-slip topside, and seems untippable. Source: FÖRSIKTIG from IKEA.

Potty Chair — We no longer use a standalone potty chair, but ‘back in the day‘ we used a Safety 1st Potty ‘N Step Stool bought at a brick ‘n’ mortar Target. It worked fine. Half of the unit converts into a stepping stool once your child graduates to an adult toilet. We found the step stool too large for our daughter’s small bathroom, so we keep it in our second, larger bathroom.

Wipe-Off Calendar — We have a laminated undated write-on wipe-off wall calendar next to the toilet to chart our daughter’s potty, teeth brushing and nap triumphs. It’s a reusable reward system. In truth, she has outgrown it, having not used it in several weeks, but it should make a good addition to her bedroom to teach her about time.

Bath Tub

Hard Plastic Ducks — Our plastic nesting ducks are an alternative to rubber ducks that trap water and get yucky. Source: Ambi Toys Family Duck at an independent toy store. Also sold at Amazon.

Plastic cup — There’s nothing more fun than filling a cup with water and pouring it over yourself.

Non-slip Stickers — Duck-shaped non-slip appliqués line our bath tub to provide foot traction. Source: Mommy’s Helper Tub-Water Temps at Babies R Us brick ‘n’ mortar store. Also sold at One Step Ahead, but look for a coupon code first.

Portable Shower Head Holder — My daughter doesn’t take baths. A movable shower head holder brings the shower down to toddler level. Source: Shuc Shower Head Holder at Shuc.com.

Shower visor — A visor is a must when moving from a bath to a shower to keep eyes clear when rinsing hair. Source: Baby King visor at a brick ‘n’ mortar dollar store.


Over-the-Door Coat Rack — We hang her bath robe and towel here to dry. Source: Are you kidding? Look in any home products store.

The Sink

Photo of the sink in my bathroom with five arrows pointing to items that are listed in the caption that follows.

In reverse counter-clockwise chronological order from the back row: a step stool, towel ring, soap pump dispenser, motion activated night light and a reflected over-the-door coat hanger.

Wooden Storage Step Stool — A kid’s got to reach the sink to wash her hands. The lid lifts to reveal a storage compartment where we stash her hair accessories, not a perfect solution, but workable for now. Source: Brick ‘n’ mortar Target store. A similar stool by KidKraft can be found on Amazon.

Towel Ring — We installed a towel ring on the wall next to the sink. It’s positioned to be within reach while my daughter is standing on her step stool. Source: Brick ‘n’ mortar Target store.

Two knob faucet — Our faucet has separate knobs for hot and cold, an impossible interface for a toddler to handle. Our cold water is too cold for much of the year and she’s not yet able to mix in hot water appropriately. Until I install a single-lever faucet, my daughter will need help washing her hands.

Motion Sensor Night Light — During a late night potty break, my daughter will cry and cover her eyes if I flip the light switch. However, a night light doesn’t bother her. The light remains on for 60 seconds and a hand wave will resurrect it. The light doesn’t activate during the day. Source: Jasco Motion Activated Night Light from a local hardware store. Also sold on Amazon.

Liquid Soap Pump Dispenser — I place the dispenser near the sink edge so that it’s reachable. Buy one that has a wide base and keep it filled. The weight of the soap will help prevent it from being knocked over  Psst. Here’s a secret. Kids tend to over-soap their hands, so preschools often water down liquid soap to conserve. It also makes rinsing the soap off much easier.

Cup with toothbrush, flossing bar and toothpaste — There’s nothing interesting here. I broke down and bought a Winnie the Pooh toothbrush. When facing my tired and cranky toddler, I tell her Pooh wants to brush her teeth, and that’s all she needs to hear to open her mouth.

So, those are the highlights of our bathroom. I’d love to hear what solutions you’ve found, especially any alternatives to the ones I mentioned.


8 Responses to “A Look Inside a 3-Year-Old’s Bathroom”

  1. Judy says:

    This bathroom is tricked out in a perfect way for a kid. The only thing I’d add is a little basket of books for her to look next the the potty–to entice her to enjoy hanging out there!

    May 18th, 2007 at 4:23 am

  2. cary says:

    Two thumbs up for motion activated night light. We have them in every bathroom.

    You did not mention the tub of wet wipes. We’ve found those to be pretty useful for our big kid too.

    3 more things: Our chosen bath toy of the moment is a watering can from the kiddie gardening aisle. And hanging on our door hook is a beach towel. Big towels for little bodies. And a foamy soap dispenser in the tub. To refill, use 10-20% any liquid soap or body wash, and the rest water.

    You mentioned a flossing bar. Any chance of an upcoming tutorial on getting her to let you use it?

    May 18th, 2007 at 4:27 am

  3. td says:

    Our son is 15 months old, and we have a rather enormous bath mat in the tub from One Step Ahead- it’s the largest one we could find, and nice and soft. We’re currently renting, and the bathtub has a textured bottom- so smaller mats or stick-ons don’t work. This bath mat is large enough that it reaches all four edges, where the tub is smooth and can stick. Best of all, it’s nice and soft and cushy- for when he tries to stand and we make him sit down!

    May 18th, 2007 at 7:34 am

  4. Corey says:

    cool post! Now I need to look into finding a chart like that for my girly! :)

    May 18th, 2007 at 10:12 am

  5. Adrienne says:

    Thanks for the tip on the stool, AJ! It looks like a perfect fit. (We’re making our pilgrimage to the only Midwestern Ikea soon, so your post is well-timed.)

    May 24th, 2007 at 7:01 am

  6. Desiree says:

    Some great ideas you’ve listed here. I have almost all of them implemented for my almost 4 year old. I am so there with you on the non-squeaking duckies. Stops the noise and the mold.

    The messy, thick hand soap was always a big annoyance for me. I didn’t think of diluting it (wish I had!) but found an even better solution… Dial Foaming Handwash (find it on Amazon)! It has a self foaming pump so all the work is done for your little one and it rinses off quickly. No more soapy, sticky, half rinsed hands!

    Some other suggested additions would be:

    - A small hand mirror (with legs to stand on it’s own) next to the sink for the independent ones (like my daughter) who insist on flossing themselves.

    - A slow closing toilet seat. This would work better with older kids who no longer need the potty chair, but haven’t quite figured out how to not slam the toilet lid down.

    I’m still looking for the ideal solution to the tidal wave that hits the bathroom floor at bath time!

    October 10th, 2007 at 12:07 pm

  7. Maaaammaaaaa Wiiiiiiiiiipe Meeeeeeeeeeeee! says:

    Ok, I didn’t get the tripped out toilet seat and we have the big clunky one that resides in the back corner of my bathroom. Any suggestions on how to hang it up without ruining the walls? We are renting. It’s one of those big thick potty seats with Diego on it. Thanks!

    November 26th, 2007 at 11:29 am

  8. A. T.Williard says:

    I would use a 3-M removable large hook. It sticks to the wall but comes off cleanly when you are ready to move out of the rental. Turn the potty seat so cushy part is facing the wall and it should hang on the hook.

    October 2nd, 2009 at 2:07 pm