Title:
Potty trainer liner with colored radiating material
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A disposal liner for a toddler potty trainer seat having an elongated member adapted to wick moisture and change color as it becomes moist. The visual effect of a firework is created which captures the toddler's attention and creates an interesting visual effect.



Inventors:
Sharp, Michelle E. (McKinney, TX, US)
Application Number:
11/642254
Publication Date:
07/19/2007
Filing Date:
12/19/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47K11/06
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
LOEPPKE, JANIE MEREDITH
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
JACKSON WALKER LLP (DALLAS, TX, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A disposable liner, comprising: a member comprised of a liquid absorbent material and adapted to be received in and line a children potty trainer, the member including a surface including a visible motif; and the member further comprising an elongated material disposed on the member surface proximate the visible motif and configured to change colors when moistened, the elongated material extending outwardly from the motif and having a higher absorption property than the member surface proximate the elongated material.

2. The disposable liner as specified in claim 1 wherein the elongated member is adapted to wick moisture from proximate the motif.

3. The disposable liner as specified in claim 2 wherein the member has a base and sidewall, wherein the motif is disposed on the base, and the elongated member extends from the base to the sidewall.

4. The disposable liner as specified in claim 3 wherein the elongated member comprises at last one thread.

5. The disposable liner as specified in claim 4 wherein the motif and elongated member visually appear as a firework design when moist.

6. The disposable liner as specified in claim 3 wherein the elongated member is integrated into the member material.

Description:

CLAIM OF PRIORITY

This application is a Continuation in Part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/859,419 filed Jun. 1, 2004 entitled “TODDLER TOILET TRAINER AND METHOD”, now issued as U.S. Pat. No. 7,150,050 which claims priority under 35 U.S.C. Section 119(e) to U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/548,442, Sharp, filed Feb. 27, 2004, entitled “Liner For Toddler Potty Trainer Seats”, the entire teachings of which are incorporated herein by this reference.

BACKGROUND

Toilet training for toddlers typically involves the use of a waste receiving seat construction. In a conventional training seat, there is provided a base which is received and supported on an underlying surface. The base is provided with a guide which receives and positions a waste receiving container. The seat is removably supportable on the base and is provided with a waste directing aperture which is aligned with the waste receiving container.

Using the toddler potty trainer seat, the toddler is trained to “go to the bathroom” on the seat. When the activity is completed the seat is disengaged from the base and the waste receiving container is utilized to transport the waste to a conventional toilet for disposal. Thereafter it is necessary to carefully clean the waste receiving container prior to reuse.

SUMMARY

A disposal liner for a toddler potty trainer seat having an elongated member adapted to wick moisture and change color as it becomes moist. The visual effect of a firework is created which captures the toddler's attention and creates an interesting visual effect.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Advantages of the present invention and the specific embodiments will be understood by those of ordinary skill in the art by reference to the following detailed description of the present invention taken in conjunction with the drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is an exploded view illustrating the use of the liner of the present invention for waste containers of toddler potty trainer seats;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a first embodiment of the liner of the present invention in which certain parts have been broken away more clearly to illustrate certain features of the invention;

FIG. 3 is an illustration of the first embodiment of the liner of the present invention following use and secured for disposal;

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a second embodiment of the liner of the present invention with the elastic upper edge folded over;

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a second embodiment of the liner of the present invention as placed in waste receiving container, showing a star motif on the interior of the liner;

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a second embodiment of the liner of the present invention with the elastic upper edge unfolded;

FIG. 7 is an illustration of the second embodiment liner of the present invention following use and secured for disposal; and

FIG. 8 is a perspective cutaway view of another embodiment of the present invention including an elongated member adapted to wick moisture from a motif to another motif and change color when moistened.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The numerous innovative teachings of the present invention will be described with particular reference to the preferred embodiments disclosed herein. However, it should be understood that the embodiments described provide only a few examples of the many advantageous uses and innovative teachings herein. In general, statements made in the specification of the present application do not necessarily delimit any of the various claimed inventions. Moreover, some statements may apply to some inventive features, but not to others.

Referring to the drawings, and particularly to FIG. 1 thereof, there is shown a typical toddler potty trainer seat 100. The toddler potty trainer seat 100 includes a base 101 which may be weighted to prevent tipping. The base 101 includes a guide 102 adapted to receive and position a waste receiving container 104. To this end the guide 102 is provided with a positioning detent 103.

The toddler potty trainer seat 100 further includes a waste receiving container 104 having an upper edge or lip 105. The waste receiving container 104 is received in the guide 102 and is provided with a projection 106 which is received in the detent 103 of the guide 102 to assure the proper positioning of the container 104. The container 104 may be provided with a pouring spout 107. A handle 108 may be provided for use in manipulating the waste receiving container 104.

A seat 109 completes the construction of the toddler potty trainer seat 100. The seat 109 includes a back 110, arms 111, and a platform 112 which is removably secured on the base 101. The platform 112 is provided with a waste directing aperture 113 which is aligned with the waste receiving container 104 when the container 104 is positioned in the guide 102 of the base 101 and the seat 109 is engaged with the base 101.

As is well known to those skilled in the art, waste resulting from use of the toddler potty trainer seat 100 may be received directly in the waste receiving container 104. In such instances the container 104 is utilized to transport the waste to a conventional toilet for disposal. Thereafter, the waste receiving container 104 must be thoroughly washed prior to reuse.

In accordance with the present invention there is provided a liner 200 for use in conjunction with the waste receiving container 104 of the toddler potty trainer seat 100. Referring particularly to FIG. 2, a first embodiment of the liner 200 comprises a liquid impervious outer shell 201 which may be formed from a suitable plastic film material. The exterior dimensions of the shell 201 are closely matched to the interior dimensions of the waste receiving container in which the liner 200 will be utilized. An elastic band 202 is provided at the upper edge of the liquid impervious outer shell 201. The stretchable elastic band 202 receives the upper edge or lip 105 of the container 104 to secure the liner 200 in engagement with the container 104.

The liner 200 is provided with a liquid absorbent retaining layer 203. The liquid retaining layer 203 may be formed from a foam material, or from a fibrous material depending upon the requirements of particular applications of the invention. The thickness of the absorbent liquid retaining layer 203 may be greater in the region of the bottom of the liner 102 as compared with the thickness of the layer 203 in the side walls of the liner 200. The liner 200 further comprises an inner layer 204 formed from a material that allows liquid to pass directly there-through into the liquid retaining layer 203. Preferably the layer 204 is constructed so as to provide an indicia when the liner has received liquid. For example, the layer 204 may be decorated in an appropriate motif, such as cartoon characters or designs, if desired. The motif may be slightly visible or invisible, or have a first color, when the liner has not had a liquid incident thereon. However, the motif may darken, become visible, or change to a second color, when a liquid is flows through layer 204 and is incident on layer 203. In this manner, one can view the interior of liner 200 and determine whether liner 200 requires replacement. A slit 205 may be formed through the layers comprising the liner 202 for receiving the handle 108 of the waste receiving container 104. A retaining tab 206 is secured to the exterior of the liquid impervious outer shell 201 of the liner 200.

As illustrated in FIG. 3, the retaining tab 206 is adapted to secure the liner 200 in a closed configuration following the receipt of waste therein. In this manner disposal of the liner 200 with waste retained therein is facilitated. The retaining tab may have coupled thereto a hook and loop fastening mechanism or single or double sided reusable tape or adhesive.

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a second embodiment of the liner 400 of the present invention with the elastic upper edge 401 folded over. As seen therein, instead of a slit through which the handle 108 is inserted, a pair of tabs, 402 and 403, having a fastening mechanism coupled thereto, such as an adhesive or single or double sided tape, which may have a binding characteristic making it reusable, on one tab aposition the other tab, or a hook mechanism on one tab aposition a loop mechanism on the other tab (e.g., Velcro(r)), are provided. In this manner, the tabs, 402, 403, when apart, are disposed under the handle of the waste container, then overlap with each other, allowing the tabs to be coupled thereunder to each other in one embodiment, and, in a further embodiment, to the outer wall of the waste container. For example, one or both of the tabs 402, 403 may have a fastening mechanism aposition the outer wall of the waste container. If the fastening mechanism is an adhesive or reusable tape, then no specific coupling mechanism is needed on the outer wall of the waste container. However, the outer wall of waste container may be treated so as to allow the adhesive or tape to be easily removed therefrom. The tabs can be coupled to each other and then to the outer wall of the waste container, or each can be individually coupled to the outer wall of the waste container. The foregoing fastening mechanism is adapted to provide a more secure fit of the liner 400 to the waste container in combination with the elastic edge 401 of liner 400 around the lip 105 of waste container 104. A further coupling mechanism, such as adhesive portion 404, can be placed on the opposing side of each tab aposition the waste container wall, to facilitate the leak proof securing of the liner 400 after it has been used, as seen in FIG. 7. As seen therein, the tape or adhesive 404 is on the inside of the liner 400 when the edge 401 is in the unfolded position. The tape of adhesive 404 is on the outside of the liner 400 when the edge is folded over, as seen in FIG. 4.

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a second embodiment of the liner of the present invention as placed in waste receiving container 104, showing a star motif 501 on the interior of the liner 400. As previously discussed, the motif may be slightly visible or substantially invisible, or a certain color, when the liner has not had a liquid incident thereon. However, the motif may darken, become visible, or change to a second color, when a liquid is incident on the liner 400. This mechanism can be implemented using a substantially opaque liquid absorbent layer 204 over the absorbent layer 203. The layer 204 or absorbent layer 203 has imprinted therein, the figures of the motif. When a liquid is incident on the liquid absorbent layer 204, the substantially opaque surface may become substantially translucent or transparent. Alternatively, an ink can be used on either layer 204 or 203 that is adapted to change colors or darken in a chemical reaction when a liquid of a certain composition is incident thereon. In this manner, one can view the interior of the liner and, depending on the status of the motif, determine whether the liner requires replacement. The use of a motif that is appealing to a toddler can also be used to provide positive reinforcement to the child. In order to view the motif, the child must first use the training seat. As further seen in FIG. 5, tabs 402, 403 are disposed under handle 502 of waste container 104 and coupled to each other.

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a second embodiment of the liner 400 of the present invention with the elastic upper edge 401 unfolded to show adhesive tape portions 601, 602 on tabs 403, 402, respectively.

FIG. 7 is an illustration of the second embodiment of the liner 400 of the present invention having been secured for disposal. As seen therein, adhesive portions 404 on tabs 402, 403, after being removed from the waste container 104, can be used to secure the liner 400 for no-leak disposal.

Referring now to FIG. 8, there is shown generally at 800 a liner according to yet another preferred embodiment of the present invention. Liner 800 is seen to be similar to the liner 200 shown in FIG. 2, and includes the additional feature of an elongated member 802 extending from at least one motif, such as the center motif 804 or other motifs 501, and change color when moistened. For instance, the elongated member 802 may comprise of one or more threads impregnated with a dye, such as stitching, or comprise of another material adapted to change color when moistened. Member 802 extends proximate the center motif 804 such that when a child wettens the bottom portion of the liner 800, the wetness will be wicked by member 802 radially outward, and also upwardly up the sidewall to other motifs 501, as shown. This creates the visual effect of a firework, whereby the member 802 changes color as it is wettened to create a changing effect of color as it becomes wet in the radial direction. In contrast to liners that may have a visual motif, a child will become more interested in focusing his attention into the liner with the expectation of the visual effect creating a colored pattern that moves/radiates over time as moisture wicks along the member 802.

A preferred embodiment for member 802 comprises a thread, or stitching, but also may comprise of the liner surface being treated along an elongated portion from motif 804 to change color when moisture is wicked therealong. For instance, the elongated member 802 may have a higher rate of liquid absorption than the liner proximate thereof such that moisture can wick radially outward at a faster rate than it can along the liner itself.

Also shown in FIG. 8 are additional portions 806 that are disposed along the length of the elongated member 802, which members have a larger surface area than the elongated members 802 to accelerate the wicking of moisture from motif 804, and to the motif 501. This accelerated moisture wicking will accumulate at member 806, and then further extend along the member 802 to the sidewall motifs 501, as shown.

The invention achieves technical advantages by both dynamically changing color when wettened, and further by radially wicking moisture along a member which changes colors, in contrast to the liner disposed proximate the elongated member 802. The visual appearance of a radially extending visual design holds the attention of a child who otherwise may become less focused on getting the job done right.

The use of the disclosed embodiments of the liner of the present invention is advantageous in that it facilitates utilization of a toddler potty trainer seat in locations which are remote from a conventional toilet. The use of the liner of the present invention is further advantageous in that it eliminates the need to thoroughly wash the waste receiving container of a toddler potty trainer seat following each use thereof. The use of the present invention provides positive reinforcement to the toddler, which lessens the time and effort necessary to toilet train the toddler. The use of the liner of the present invention decreases or eliminates the need to continually clean the waste container, improves the sanitary condition of the waste container and areas proximate thereto

Although preferred embodiments of the present invention are illustrated in the accompanied drawings and described in the foregoing detailed description, it will be understood that the invention is not limited to the embodiments disclosed but is capable of numerous rearrangements, modifications and substitutions in parts and elements without departing from the spirit of the invention. For example, any number of fastening mechanisms on the tabs of the liner can be used to accomplish the objectives of restraining the liner to the waste container, and thereafter can be used to secure the liner for disposal. Further, any number of motifs, such as cartoon characters or appealing designs, in the liner can be used to serve to motivate use of the trainer by the toddler and serve as an indicia that the liner needs to be replaced.