And the TOADY goes to: The iPotty by CTA Digital


Josh Golin

The competition was stiff. The campaigning was fierce. Passions ran high. But in the end, one toy stood out as the worst of the worst: the 2-In-1 iPotty with Activity Seat for iPad by CTA Digital.

With 45% of the vote, the iPotty bested runner-up VIP Upgrade Membership by The Real Tooth Fairies (30%) to win the 2013 TOADY (Toys Oppressive and Destructive to Young children) Award. Monopoly Empire (11%) and PLAY-DOH Create ABCs App (10%) also had impressive showings while the Imaginext Mega Apatosaurus by Fisher-Price (3%) finished a distant last.

Michelle Salcedo of Greenville, SC eloquently explained her vote for the winner: “Toilet learning should be a time of positive interaction between child and caregiver. Also, children should be aware of the cues in their bodies as they learn. This toy takes this social/emotional focus out of the process and substitutes the hypnotism of a screen.” Added Alex Reynard of Royal Oak, MI, “It not only reinforces unhealthy overuse of digital media, it's aimed at toddlers. We should NOT be giving them the message that you shouldn't even take your eyes off a screen long enough to pee.”

Other nominees certainly had their “fans.” Voters were especially irked by The Real Tooth Fairies’ gender stereotypes and commercialization of a childhood icon. Amy Ludwig VanDerwater of Holland, NY wrote, “It’s a hijacking of one of children's most magical tiny creatures, a wee last tradition imagined differently by each child and family.” And Chris Morran at Consumerist blog sarcastically noted, “It’s a way to charge parents money to enforce gender, fashion, physical, cultural, and class stereotypes. Rad!”

Chris Edwards of Farmville, NC voted for Monopoly Empire “because of the sheer and shameless commercialism that appears to be the essence of this variation of the game.” David Barker commented on our website that the Play-Doh app was the worst because it takes “special pains to stifle all creativity and enforce conformity.” And David Sands, MD, of Fairfield, IA chose the Imaginext Mega Apatosaurus because it “teaches very young children—it's recommended for ages three to eight—that violence is the preferred approach to resolving conflict.”

In the end, though, the iPotty won. It’s clear that CCFC members are appalled by the escalating push to insinuate screens into every aspect of young children’s lives. It’s the third consecutive year that voters chose a screen-based toy for infants and toddlers as the TOADY winner. Last year, The Apptivity Monkey—a stuffed animal with an iPhone in its belly—took home the prize and the Vinci Touchscreen Mobile Learning Tablet won in 2011.

Thanks to everyone who voted and helped spread the word. Together, we’re shining a light on the toy industry’s most troubling trends—because children’s play is too important to surrender to marketers.





That's what I voted for. The iPotty is all wrong when it comes to literacy and potty training!

Worst toy of 2013 - ipad potty?

I continue to go back to a recent commercial marketing a video that proclaimed to teach reading to infants in which the happy parent proclaimed, "I just plug it (the video) in and I don't have to do anything!" That seems to be the goal nowadays - create so called toys and equipment to sell to parents to keep babies/children occupied so we can focus on other (more important?) things. What could be more important than spending quality time interacting with your child - even if they are just sitting on the potty?


When I first heard about this on a support group for parents of children born with a severe defect that causes most of them to to be incontinent to various degrees I thought it was a fantastic idea. Still do. Our son was given a twenty percent chance of being able to potty train. We beat those odds, happily. But it was very hard and he must take medication daily to keep clean. Other parents of children with this condition aren't so lucky and must use suppositories or enemas to keep their children clean which involves hours, sometimes, on the toilet. I think this device gives them more options to learn while, at the same time, offering them a chance to potty train. Walk a mile in our shoes before condemming something that could help our kids. Thank you.

Even a broken clock is right

Even a broken clock is right twice a day and even a lousy toy can have redeeming value for someone. But, for children NOT suffering from medical incontinence, this toy is a horrible idea seemingly designed to dehumanize even our most basic functions. Glad it works fro your son but that still isn't enough to save it from a TOADY.

I Potty

An aide for children or adults with a special need is one thing, marketing gadgets to prevent kids from interacting with their environment, and learning to "read" their own body signals is another. Is there evidence this could help your children? What is the cost, both financially and cognitively? Have any studies been done? I wish the best for you and other parents struggling with special needs, but don't buy the corporate nonsense. They want to make yet more money off our kids and grandkids, no matter what the outcome.



I am sorry your child struggles with a special circumstance, but there is no evidence that this gadget would help. If there was, it would be a different story. And it STILL would not be appropriate for kids without this issue.


When I first heard about the I-potty, I thought it was a joke.. Sadly, I was wrong, and it's a real product that is utterly ridiculous. I see that some children could be helped by this, but I know my own daughters have enough of a hard time not wanting to play with toys in the bathroom, and this just encourages the type of behavior that won't let them focus on the task at hand and unplug from something for long enough to pee! I'm glad this won for worst toy of the year because.. honestly, why is this necessary?!

Learning and the I-potty

Manufacturers try to justify spending more money on electronic toys by claiming that these toys will help the children to learn. They do not, however, mention the large number of studies that prove that children do not learn from electronics, they learn from people. I do not have a child with this medical condition, and my heart goes out to them and to their parents, but parking them in front of a screen isolates them even further - this is a time to talk, read books, sing, or even just hold hands and have contact. Remember Matel and the other companies are not your friend; they exist to make a profit, and if making parents feel as if they are failing their child will pull in more money, these companies will not hesitate to do so.


How I wish that smart companies would work with parents of special needs children to develop equipment that will truly help their children learn, and help ease struggles that are minor for other parents of children without special needs. The i-pad is a remarkable invention for children with special needs and has definitely opened doors for many. I agree that for parents without special needs children, the i-potty device is a loaded marketing device, But, if it works for some, it works. Potty time is a special time for children where they first learn how to control their bodies. Being there as a parent or caregiver to assist that process creates a feeling both of security and accomplishment.


This gadget is not at all good for children. Children should have very little if any screen time before age two and a very limited amount after that. This item should never have been allowed to be on the market at all. Hopefully parents will be smart enough to realize how much of an injustice they would be doing to their children by buying such a thing.


What a crazy design!!!


Of course this was a worst toy of this year because, the good parents won’t support this product. Basically parents always want their children playing with other children not with the electronics, especially this I-Potty. Even though some of other electronic products are really helpful for children. In above comments, some people said “this gadget would help for children learning” but my suggestion is, that this is not right time to learn.

this thing seems like a joke

This product seems like a joke some art student
came up with, but it's a real product O_o

How many parents would want to put an expensive device in something like this, not
to mention having to sterilize the screen after
it was used with this thing?

A whole lot of ick, and a whole lot of FAIL

I agree with you

I agree with you. I was born premature, and I have autism, anxiety, and hemiparesis. The left side of my body is weak. It's not weak to the point of paralysis (that would be hemiplegia), but seeing only with my left eye is uncomfortable, the coordination in my left arm is poor, and toe-walking on my left foot has made the muscles in my leg tight and it became difficult to walk properly (this resulted in Botox injections, casts, and a leg brace to ease the spasticity). Although I am capable of walking unaided, I feel off-balance at times, and a fascination with crutches (like an autistic obsession) has made me favor using the walking aid. However, the crutches are very helpful for when I get leg cramps (it's like when your foot is asleep but I also feel the tingling and numbness in my calf muscle).
Another problem I have is chronic constipation. I had developmental delays and I was not potty-trained until I was 7. Wetting my pants was a common occurrence, but poop was much worse. Due to my constipation, defecation was very painful, and there were several times when I'd need suppositories and enemas. It was very painful having something stuck up my butt, and I had to do things to distract myself for several minutes before it started working. And when it did, it was a long and uncomfortable process. There was one instance when I needed an enema (I was around 11), and I had to lay on a mat and cuddle a Blue's Clues toy to help distract me from the pain of the constipation and the enema itself. I've been on laxatives for as long as I can remember, and even now there are still days when I'm constipated, or I get runny stools that make a mess or actually get stuck even though they're loose. When this happens, I significantly lower or even skip a dose, which would just get me backed up again. Also I don't get why the laxative containers say not to use it for more than a week, but I've been using it for years.
I know that there are people who unfortunately are worse off, but hopefully this will let people with GI/developmental/incontinence issues know that they're not alone.

Special needs kids may benefit

"2 year olds"? I have autism and chronic constipation. I was not potty-trained until I was 7. I can still remember getting enemas, which took a long time to work and were quite painful. Having something to distract me has helped me feel slightly more comfortable amidst the pain of defecation.
My issues happened before the iPad really became a thing, but still I think there should be options such as this available for kids with special needs. Some kids use an iPad as a way to communicate because they can't talk. What if they need to tell their caregiver that they need help or are in pain?


 I have autism and chronic constipation. I was not potty-trained until I was 7. I can still remember getting enemas, which took a long time to work and were quite painful. Having something to distract me has helped me feel slightly more comfortable amidst the pain of defecation