If you are preparing to toilet train your child in the near future, you've probably been looking at potty training chairs.

You have a lot of choices, don't you?

Fancy, plain, one piece, handpainted, multi-use, gender specific, and portable just for starters.

Since you've probably ruled out buying one of each, how do you decide on the one or two that will work best for your child.

That's a great question. Let's take a look at several types of potty chairs and see what are the main benefits of using each.

- Potty training chair or potty seat.

First things first; you'll need to decide if you want to go with a potty chair (a child-sized toilet that sits firmly on the floor) or a potty seat (a child sized toilet seat which fits on top of an adult-sized toilet).

A potty seat means never having to clean out the bowl from the potty chair (that sounds good), but you need to know that lots of toddlers are not comfortable climbing up on the adult sized toilet from the get-go.

Multi-use potties refer to potty chairs that can come apart and be potty seats, too. Pretty clever, huh? Some of these also can be flipped over for a step stool. Just be sure and look for a tight fit for the potty seat when it's on the adult toilet and no sharp edges when the potty chair comes apart.

- Gender specific - or not.

Most potty chairs will work just fine for either boys or girls but a few are designed specifically to be used by only one gender.

Frankly, while these potties work okay, if you plan on having more than one child you run the risk of needing a different potty the next time around. Things to watch for are splash guards that are high enough to do their job for little boys but easy to straddle for both boys and girls. Some splash guards are removable for girls, but watch for sharp edges when the guard comes off.

- One piece or removable bowl.

The simplest potty chairs are one piece, easy-to-clean marvels. They are sleek and rounded - no edges to pinch little thighs.

However, lots of parents, myself included, prefer a removable potty bowl. That means there's a little more to the potty chair to clean but it's well worth it when you're dumping out the potty several times a day for months.

Look for a bowl that's easy to remove, too. If you can do it one-handed, all the better. Eventually you're going to want your child to do this task for himself, so you don't want anything complicated or easy to spill.

- Travel and portable potties.

After potty training four children of my own, I can tell you, you'll want to at least consider getting a travel or portable potty training chair to go in your car.

Then no matter how grungy the public restroom is (or if it's not available at all), potty training keeps moving forward. You can get potty chairs that fold up, have disposable liners or even the entire potty chair is disposable.

You can also get foldable potty seats to fit on top of public adult toilets to help your toddler feel safe and comfy.

- Specialty potties.

These are the fun potty chairs. You can get musical potties (some make music when a sensor detects wetness, others simply have a button your child can push to play a song), character potties and handpainted potty chairs that become beautiful rocking chairs when your preschooler is done potty training.

- Summing up.

When shopping for potty training chairs, keep in mind how you want to train plus your child's own personality. Remember you're going to clean this thing A LOT and your child needs to feel comfortable and motivated while using it.

There are no wrong or right choices between these potty chairs. You may find you need one in each of your home bathrooms and one in your car. Or you may decide that a simple potty seat that can tag along everywhere you go is the best choice for your family.

That's all good. The main point is to keep potty training positive and upbeat as you and your child navigate this important growing up milestone together.