How to “semi-childproof” the toilet while potty training? Talk amongst yourselves.

Amazon: Mayfair 83EC 000 NextStep Built-in Potty Toilet Seat with Easy Clean and Change Feature, Round, WhiteChristina's got a potty-training, water playing toddler and is in a bind as to how to childproof the toilet:

Looking for a hack as an alternative to a toilet lock. Our 18-month-old has been (passively) potty learning and now is putting things in the toilet and playing with the water… We've tried keeping the bathroom door closed, but we don't want her to feel like she can never go in there (once she's ready to sit on the potty consistently).

I'm hoping someone's got a good idea for Christina because I was never able to solve that problem when my son was a toddler. Some kids are just driven to investigate and experiment. He couldn't resist throwing stuff into the toilet, and he took our stern directions to STOP as curious-but-irrelevant suggestions (another example of his temperament that persists to this day).

In the end it was one of those phases that drove us nuts for the few months it lasted, but he grew out of it soon enough and we moved on.

How do you make the toilet accessible for a toddler to use while potty training but not for water play?

Related: Pop-up facial tissues keep potty training toddlers from unrolling the toilet paper

More: Potty training hacks

More: Childproofing hacks

Christina posted her question on the Parent Hacks Facebook page — a great resource if you're looking for quick help with a parenting problem. Other options: Twitter (I often retweet peoples' questions so the whole community can respond) and good, old-fashioned email.


  1. Scott Metcalf says

    Here is a toilet paper hack. Having 3 boys I have seen how much they enjoy swiping the roll to watch it unwind on the floor. Put the roll on where the paper goes over the top and back instead of hotel style(over the top and forward). It makes it much harder for kids unwind the roll.

  2. chris says

    My kids are very close together in age which makes for a nightmare for older potty users at the same time as potty adventure seekers. Finally had to just lock all the doors. We put little cup hooks on the wall with the key thingy you poke in the hole. Adults and older kids knew how to use it, the preschooler couldn’t do it so we had to supervise her. It kept the baby out of the toilet until he was old enough to kind of forget about it. This was our last resort after several swimming incidents and several toys down the drain. The toilet guards are too hard for little kids to open on their own and annoying for everyone else. So since we had to help anyway, we just went with locked doors.

  3. Jen says

    I have to echo Chris- with one caveat. We put a small potty just inside our daughter’s bedroom, on the off chance she decided to use it w/o asking a grown ups help.

  4. Mary says

    We put a potty chair near the kitchen in the hallway. That way it was available when needed and I could get some work done in the kitchen while she got her “work” done nearby. We only used the toilet when I was available to closely supervise.

  5. Patti says

    ^^ you could also put a loop/hook latch on the outside of the door at a level where the bigger kids could reach but the babies can’t.
    How about a suction cup attached bungee cord around the lid, something the bigger kids could work but the littles couldn’t.

  6. Janice says

    We keep a little potty outside the bathroom for our toddler and keep the bathroom door closed. She is fine asking to wash hands or use the big potty.

  7. says

    My kids were minimal toilet players. I didn’t REALLY come up with a plan to disuade them, rather the plan hit me instead. I’m am one of THOSE women who tends to scream when I see something that scares me, upsets me or just surprises me. So when my kids were quiet I would go on the hunt. As you know, when kids are quiet they are getting in trouble. Needless to say comming around a corner and finding junior 1/2 way into the toilet with his lego. I inadvertently let out a rather high pitched horrified yelp. The child then startles, looks at me with one of those what the **** looks and then begins to cry. Believe me I never intentionally was out to scare the beggebies out of my kids. On the other hand I didn’t have disinfect the Lego more than once.

  8. Laura says

    We had a really cool toilet lock (I believe it was from Baby’s R Us) which had a swing arm you simply pushed away to lift the seat, and it would reset itself when you put down the lid. You could leave the lid up for company and they wouldn’t even know it was there!

    Then we had a potty chair in the bathroom, so if they used it, they could wash their hands in the bathroom too. The cost of the toilet lock is worth it (and we were able to sanitize it and sell it at a resale kid’s shop), considering the cost of possibly having to call a plumber (especially on a holiday like Easter Sunday, as my cousins had to do–and they were having us all over at their house when the toilet got clogged with a toy–yikes!).