Wednesday, July 18th, 2007
Review: The Caboose Travel Potty
The Caboose by Bonaco is a travel potty with an interesting selling point.
A lot of potties collect and hold waste for you to save and deal with at home. (Yuck!) Some potties avoid the mess by using gallon freezer bags or proprietary plastic bags.
The Caboose uses the disposable diapersâ€”any sizeâ€”that you are already buying. Our family had reusable cloth diapers, but even we used disposables for travel.
The potty consists of two hard plastic clam shells that fit together to form a sort of bedpan. You open a diaper, place it through a specially designed hole in the top of the Caboose and wrap the diaper’s edges in a way that allows the diaper to lie open.
My wife was a pro from the get-go, but I required a few tries to get the hang of hanging the diaper. When positioned properly, the diaper is suspended midway down the bedpan lying snug in the hole.
Your toddler sits on the Caboose and does his business. You clean him with a sanitary wipe and deposit the wipe onto the open diaper. Then you loosen the diaper, fold each side of the diaper closed, remove the Caboose lid and wrap up the diaper into a ball for disposal.
This potty is tiny in its compact formâ€”an 8×10 inch oval footprint and 2.5 inches tall. For storage, the lid flips to be nested in the base for placement into a clear plastic carrying bag that handles more like a briefcase. It’s unfortunate that the case is clear, meaning anyone can see what you’re carrying, but frankly, only another Caboose owner will recognize it as a travel potty.
The Caboose was designed and is produced in America. If you’ve been following the flood of food and toy recalls traced back to China, and know that very few international products even get tested for US standards compliance, well, "Made in the USA" could position itself as the new Japan. To paraphrase Marty McFly, "What do you mean, Doc? All the best stuff is made in America."
I’ll pay a few bucks more for the quality assurance of a domestically manufactured product. But wait, the Caboose costs $19. That’s $6 cheaper than the travel potty my family currently uses which I assume is Asian-made because its country of manufacture isn’t specified.
Now, the potty’s usefulness may wane for parents of an only child who is potty trained (e.g., if you no longer buy diapers). But if you have multiple kids, the Caboose is a neat solution because you’re already packing diapersâ€”no need to remember plastic bags or some other secondary storage requirement.
I parked my 3-year-old daughter on the Caboose last night before bedtime and it successfully captured both pee and poo. I do wonder whether the prodigious bowels of a fully loaded 3- or 4-year-old would be contained without brushing up against the plastic walls of the Caboose, but those are kids on the tail end of not needing a travel potty. My daughter already prefers store restrooms and isn’t subject to emergencies.
This potty was provided to Thingamababy for review, so the defining question is: will I continue to use it? Yes, even though we already have a different travel potty. One thing I’ve hated about the other potty is its clear storage bag (image). Although the bag is easier to place on the potty than a diaper, just look at that bag link. Would you rather carry a Ziploc bag filled with urine and floaters to a public trash can, or a balled up diaper? Let me save you the suspense. You really can’t hide a clear bag with yellow fluid.
We own two cars and forgetting to move our toddler gear to the correct car is a problem. I’m confident the Caboose will suffice through the end of my 3-year-old’s travel potty needs (hey, finally a use for our leftover diapers), and should be spot-on for our next baby.