Nov 30, 2015 | By Benedict

A 37-year-old woman from Dalton, Great Britain has invented a 3D printed pop up potty tent after noting her son’s reluctance to go to the toilet in public. The 3D printed bowl is surrounded by a foldable pop up tent, which acts as a miniature private Portaloo for shy children.

Being a toddler is difficult. You’re still learning how to use your body, and you’re constantly finding yourself “caught out” as your toilet habits slowly evolve. What’s worse, you’re constantly caught between the equal horrors of two oft-conflicting urges: to relieve yourself at all costs, and to avoid the ultimate shame and embarassment of doing so in public. Alison Toole, a British hairdresser, realized that her two-year-old son Romeo was too embarrassed to use his potty in public. After numerous attempts to potty train him, she finally caught him using the plastic bowl of his own accord—but only when hidden in his sister’s play den. This discovery inspired Toole to create a portable, fully private potty, which could be used both indoors and outdoors.

The portable potty, named "PETIT En SUITE", comes packaged in a neat backpack, which folds out to its full 42” diameter in just a few seconds. Potty liners are attached inside the bag, so contents can be safely stored until a disposal opportunity arises. “It’s great to use while at places like festivals and beaches but also in people’s homes," Toole explained. “I got the idea in 2009 at the time of potty training my son. He was not in the slightest interested in any potty activity, despite all my attempts. But one day my daughter Ebony made a den in the living room and suddenly we realized that he had taken the opportunity to drag his potty out of sight in there and used it for the first time. My daughter brought down a Little Tykes tent and from then on he used this space as his private bathroom.”

At first, the mother of two was content just to see Romeo using the potty, but she soon realized that there was greater potential in the idea. “It wasn’t until his friends came over and used it that I realised the impact it was having,” Toole recalled. “After doing some research on potty privacy I found embarrassment was common among even children as young as two. I think the design encourages children to use a potty and establishes a routine for them which they keep up when out or at a relative’s house.”

After initially trying to build the foldable device herself, Toole eventually heard about Innovate, a company which helps inventor mothers to realize their creations. “They advised me on where to get further advice and I found out how to register the design in the UK and abroad,” said the creative parent. “I was having difficulties trying to design the right potty but contacted the University of Huddersfield to see if they could help me.”

Dr Ertu Unver, the university’s principal enterprise fellow in 3D and product design, immediately saw potential in Toole’s idea. Shortly thereafter, the mother was given a Kirklees Innovation voucher of £2,500 which she used to get the new design 3D printed at the Buckley Innovation Centre near the university. “A group of business students were then arranged to work on my project and with a £25,000 Government business loan I put my first batch into production,” Toole explained. “It’s quite scary but it’s a very exciting experience and I’d like to thank the university for their support. I couldn’t have wished for anything better.”

The PETIT En SUITE is available to buy from for a special price of £39.99, excluding shipping. The project shows how 3D printing can offer an affordable way for young businesses to produce a convincing prototypes. We hope the Petite Ensuite is as successful as it is clever.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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Madlene wrote at 12/1/2015 4:39:56 PM:

This is sooo cool, really makes your life easier. Bit too late though, we're don the potty training with the Concisework potty training a long ago.

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