iPotty: Where to Draw the Line on High Tech Baby Gadgets?
Potty-training parents deserve all the help that they can get—but when is enough enough?
iPads make it easy to read an e-book, play games, and watch movies on the go—but could they also be the solution for your toddler’s potty training woes?
The makers of the iPotty training system think so. Unveiled at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show and already for sale online, the iPotty—essentially, a standard plastic potty with an attached iPad holder—promises to keep unruly toddlers distracted and seated until they are ready to go about their business.
“When you are potty training you have to keep them busy. This keeps them engaged and gives them rewards for the right kind of behavior,” says Lois Eiler of CTA Digital, the company behind the high tech potty.
In case you were wondering, the iPad holder adjusts and swivels, and there’s even a clear plastic protector to keep splashes and other messes off the screen of your $600 gadget (the iPotty itself retails for $39). A quick check also shows that a number of third party potty training apps and e-books are available and ready to go the next time your kid has to… well, you know.
Based on the media coverage, the response to the iPotty has so far been nothing short of buzzworthy (after all, when is the last time a tech news outlet like Mashable covered potty training?). But it also has some parents wondering where to draw the line when it comes to asking technology to shoulder some of the burden of raising kids.
As Lisa Hunt, a mom of a 24-month-old from Erie, Pennsylvania, sums up, “Since we started potty training, I’ve spent countless hours sitting on the edge of the tub reading Once Upon a Potty in hopes that 1) My son will get the message, and 2) He’ll sit still long enough to actually go potty. Do I want to be doing this? Not really. But it’s part of my job as a mom… I just can’t imagine leaving him alone in there with the iPad.”
Jenny Bryant of Wells, Maine, is concerned about what kind of message tech-centric products like this send to small children. “Have I whipped out the tablet on long rides? Yes. Do I want my kids to think they need to have some kind of technology present everywhere they go? No.”
Bryant is also concerned about the success of potty training when an iPad is in the mix, “Are you training a child to use the potty or use an iPad? I shudder to think about the moment when the mom tries to take the iPad away after the child has gone potty. I will say no thanks to that!”
But at least one parent can see the other side of the issue. “[Using an iPad in the bathroom] turns potty time into independent time, which is a step in the right direction, I think,” says David Hanson, a self-professed tech geek dad from Santa Fe, New Mexico.
“Isn’t the whole point of potty training to get them using the toilet all by themselves? If it takes knowing there’s an iPad in the bathroom to get them to go, than this still fits the ultimate goal: knowing that you go potty in a toilet, not your pants.”
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