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toddler essentials…(part 2)

Toddler Essentials

Toddler Essentials

Since putting together my first list of toddler essentials last year, I wanted to share a little update of 10 things I've found helpful in the past year for the 2 to 3-year-old set.

Toddler Essentials

01. Nap mat by Little Bean -  Ruby starts preschool in a couple months, and I've been searching high and low for a nap mat/toddler sleeping blanket with simple (not too kiddy) patterns. It's been really tough to find ones I like until these came out recently. They are a little more expensive than other mats, but they are all organic which I love. 

02. Honest sunscreen stick – We've been hitting the beach regularly this summer, and this stick is super convienent for applying sunscreen to Ruby's face especially when she's in the middle of playing and needs a new layer of coverage quickly.

03. Water Wow books by Melissa & Doug – My friend, Naomi, gave one of these to Ruby, and she loves it. It's perfect for keeping her busy at restaurants or on a long flight.

04. Little Looster potty stool – This might not look like anything special, but I love that it wraps around the base of any toilet making it so much easier for a potty-trained toddler to reach the toilet and to rest their feet (which is super helpful when potty training).

05. Melissa & Doug child-safe scissors – Ruby is obsessed with cutting paper right now, and I love that it helps develop her fine motor skills while giving her a crafty activity to work on.

06. Pons Avarcas sandals – These are pretty much Ruby's go-to shoes. They're cute, comfy, have great grip for sandals, and hold up well in sand or on the beach.

07. Juice-in-the-Box drink cup – One of my recent missions in life has been to find a non-leaking sip cup. This one is the best I've found so far and is easy for a toddler to open and close on their own.

08. Primo folding potty – When they're little butts are too small to fit on a real potty, these are super helpful when using public restrooms. I keep one in my bag wherever we go.

And not shown:

09. Magic Bumpers for a toddler bed – Since Ruby's big girl bed isn't against a wall, we added these bumpers underneath her sheets and they're perfect for preventing her from falling off.

10. Custom trail mix – For a high-protein snack with lots of good fats, I love making my own trail mix for Ruby filled with nuts, dried fruit, and Greek yogurt chips.

What are some of your toddler must-haves?

{Top photo by Bob Cho}


  1. So you use that folding potty on public toilets? What kind of bag do you throw that in? The super germophobe in me really wants to know. How could I sanitize something like that?

  2. Sunscreen sticks are the best. Compact and spill-proof. I always have a couple in the bottom of my purse just in case. And I’m always looking for all-natural ones, so thanks for the tip!

  3. I don’t have a little of my own, but I do have a five-year-old sister and she certainly has go through her array of likes and dislikes. I always find that when I have her over my own house, I always have little crafts on hand, or I ask her to draw me a picture of something specific. I find that if I give her an idea of what to draw, then she runs with it and makes me more creative and beautiful than I ever would myself.

  4. Haha ~ As a fellow germophobe, I can totally relate to these questions. When the folding potty was looming in our near future, I spent a couple of anxiety-ridden days thinking about this issue (and grossing myself out). Solution: I buy those oversize kids toilet seat covers before putting the folding potty down. After my 3yo is finished, while she washes her hands, I throw out the cover and wipe the folding potty with an antibacterial wipe. The potty goes into a Ziplock bag (or a plastic produce bag in a pinch) which is changed out after the weekend (we don’t use it much, if ever, during the week). Overkill, perhaps yes. Not very earth friendly? Definitely. But my peace of mind is worth it. On the other hand, my husband and sister-in-law get a good laugh from my daughter when they take her to public restrooms because the first thing she says when they walk in is, “Now don’t touch anything, okay?”

  5. Have you tried the Life Factory straw bottle? It’s glass, which I prefer for my kids, and it’s the only one I have that doesn’t leak into my purse!

  6. So…like Emily said The magic bumpers are ok but WAY pricier then the greatest alternative of all time. We use a large Pool Noodle with a towel wrapped around it so it won’t slip around. It worked great for us.

  7. As always, love your guides! Thanks for sharing info about the Pons Avarcas — had recently seen a picture of Ruby wearing these and wondered where I could get a pair for own little one. Also, the Primo folding potty is awesome. For the germophobes, I fold it up and put it in a Sassy Diaper Sack after use in a public restroom and sanitize like crazy when we return home.

  8. We also love paint with water books! Color is already in the paper you just have to dip the brush in water to paint. LOVE your essentials guide as my LO is 6 months younger than Ruby. Thanks for the great tips! xo Ls at

  9. Has Ruby seen Frozen yet? My daughter (same age) is OBSESSED. She could watch it twice a day, everyday if I let her. So when I think of toddler essentials, only one thing comes to mind. FROZEN!
    A scooter is pretty nice, too. 🙂

  10. Ha! We let her watch it for the first time on the plane yesterday but she only wanted to watch the part with Let it Go! ;P

  11. This is so great. I live by your lists. My favorite non leaking sip cup is the Contigo for kids. You should check it out!

  12. Can definitely pass these useful list of essentials to friends and family (especially my sis-in-law with a baby on the way). Thanks again for this!

  13. Hi Sherisa,
    Usually, I try and wipe it with a wet wipe after every use and keep it in a zippered bag. Anytime I dont get to wipe it down, I always clean it when we get home. But it stays in a zippered bag whenever its not used and when in my bag! 😉

  14. Oh my gosh, the potty cover is brilliant as is the juice in a box. I just had a girl and I’ve been worried about how the potty training is going to work in public restrooms. It’s so much easier with boys! Thank you for this exceptional list!

  15. Wait Joy! You’re missing the potty Potette-in my opinion it is better than that folding potty (although may be slightly bigger- not sure)- it fits on any normal sized toilet to make sure toddler bums don’t fall in…AND it is it’s own complete potty if you ever need to pull over and have them go on the side of the road! It folds into a potty and you simply put one of their plastic bags around it, your kid goes in the bag, you tie up the mess (kind of like you’d throw a diaper into a plastic bag to keep it contained) and you’re on your way again. It is AMAZING and all of my friends swear by it bc it allows your kid to go anywhere! Behind a bush or sitting in the trunk if need be…and sometimes if we’re on the road and can make it to a gas station I would still prefer using this thing in my car bc I can avoid the nasty public toilet (germaphobes rejoice). Seriously give it a try! We have two, one in each car! And it does fold nicely and fit into my tote bag.

  16. love your to-get lists,you’re always able to find the cool stuff from non-mainstream places.
    OT, i bought those zara espadrilles for my boy last wk!

  17. Hi Joy – I also purchased the nap mat from Little Bean and am wondering whether you’ve also experienced a problem with the filling getting all clumpy after washing and drying it? The filling should really be sewn in to make sure it stays where it should be. Any thoughts? Thanks!

  18. Hi Amanda,
    I did have that problem too. I checked their site and it says that the organic cotton does do that but I would email them to double check!


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