An iPad and a Potty – What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

A potty with an iPad attached? Really?

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The iPotty for iPad potty training device is see on display at the Consumer Electronics Show, Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013, in Las Vegas. No app is available to go with the trainer, but the idea is to keep the child on the toilet for as long as necessary by keeping them digitally entertained.

The Christmas gift-giving season tends to produce some of the sillier products for sale. Whether it's an unnecessary new electronics item or some “hot” new toy (which will often never be as fascinating to the toddler giftee as the box the fashionable new toy came in), corporate America is continually inventive in coming up with useless stuff to buy.

But really, a potty-training seat with an iPad attached?

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Behold the 2-in-1 iPotty with Activity Seat for iPad. This is not a fake product from The Onion. This is horribly real. The device is a toilet-training seat for very young children, along with an iPad screen for – what, live-chatting with friends about the latest Barney episode? As if we do not have enough problems keeping children focused on the task at hand, we have a chance to purchase a device sure to start ADD troubles early. According to the official product description:

Parents can give children a comfortable and fun place to learn to use the potty with the child-friendly iPotty from CTA Digital. This potty training seat features a special stand to securely hold the iPad and safely entertain kids while they play with apps. The adjustable stand can be rotated 360° to switch between horizontal and vertical views and also includes a removable touchscreen cover to guard against messy accidents and smudges. Parents will be pleased with how simple it is to keep the iPotty clean and minimize messes, with its removable inner potty bowl, potty seat, and splashguard. A clip-on seat cover can be attached to convert the potty to a child activity seat, so they can safely play apps, read and watch videos on the iPad at any time.

What an appetizing thought: A baby, not yet adept at the delicate task of staying clean while using the toilet, now can handle an iPad while making said mess.

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The manufacturer would have us believe that this is all about training kids to use the potty. In fact, that's not the motive here at all. It's about training them to bring iPads and other digital devices with them into the bathroom as they get older.

One of the things that keep the paper versions of magazines and newspapers alive is that people like to bring something with them to read in the bathroom. While there are, tragically, people who think it's perfectly OK to talk to someone on their cell phones while using a public bathroom (something many of us wish was banned by local ordinances), you don't really see people bring Kindles or iPads into a bathroom stall. The “yuck” factor, gratefully, is still at play. But if kids are taught, even before they can speak, to bring electronic devices into the bathroom to read – well, that's a pretty clever way to create a whole new market by making paper-reading obsolete.

Let's just hope they don't try to replace the toilet paper, as well.

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