Title:
Toddler Toilet Training System
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A toilet system includes a toilet configured for use by a toddler. An enclosure substantially surrounds the toilet, the enclosure having a selectably closable first opening for use by the toddler to access the enclosure. The enclosure includes a second opening configured to permit access from exterior of the enclosure to assist the toddler. The access to assist the toddler can be provided from exterior of the enclosure while the first opening remains in a substantially closed position.



Inventors:
Heilman, Bradley D. (Dover, PA, US)
Application Number:
11/761420
Publication Date:
12/18/2008
Filing Date:
06/12/2007
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
4/449
International Classes:
A47K11/04; A47K11/02
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
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20090158513SINK DRAIN DEODORIZING DEVICE AND METHODJune, 2009Robles
20090144893Undermount Sink, Mounting Structure, And Method of AttachmentJune, 2009Cusimano
20030213055Drainage device for siphon action toiletNovember, 2003Yoneda et al.
20100058518PORTABLE URINALMarch, 2010Bourgeois et al.
20070094785Bathing assistance deviceMay, 2007Scorgie
20060207002Mobility aid for use with toilet bowl fixtureSeptember, 2006Bradshaw et al.
20050246830Flow-through bathtubNovember, 2005Galyean Jr. et al.
20040261170Method for providing therapeutic treatmentDecember, 2004Brunelle



Primary Examiner:
LOEPPKE, JANIE MEREDITH
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MCNEES WALLACE & NURICK LLC (HARRISBURG, PA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A toilet system comprising: a toilet configured for use by a toddler; and an enclosure substantially surrounding the toilet, the enclosure having a selectably closable first opening for use by the toddler to access the enclosure, the enclosure including a second opening configured to permit access from exterior of the enclosure to assist the toddler, wherein the access to assist the toddler can be provided from exterior of the enclosure while the first opening remains in a substantially closed position.

2. The toilet system of claim 1, wherein the enclosure is portable.

3. The toilet system of claim 1, wherein the enclosure comprises a plurality of interconnected panels.

4. The toilet system of claim 3, wherein the panels are interconnected without fasteners.

5. The toilet system of claim 1, wherein the enclosure is aesthetically pleasing.

6. The toilet system of claim 1, wherein the second opening is a removable portion of the enclosure.

7. The toilet system of claim 6, wherein the removable portion is a roof.

8. The toilet system of claim 7, wherein the roof is secured to the enclosure without fasteners.

9. The toilet system of claim 1, wherein the toilet can be accessed for cleaning from the second opening.

10. The toilet system of claim 1, wherein the toilet can be accessed for cleaning from a third opening formed in the enclosure.

11. A toilet system comprising: a toilet configured for use by a toddler; and an enclosure substantially surrounding the toilet, the enclosure comprising a plurality of interconnected panels having a selectably closable first opening for use by the toddler to access the enclosure, the enclosure including a second opening configured to permit access from exterior of the enclosure to assist the toddler, wherein the access to assist the toddler can be provided from exterior of the enclosure while the first opening remains in a substantially closed position.

12. The toilet system of claim 11, wherein the enclosure is portable.

13. The toilet system of claim 11, wherein the panels are interconnected without fasteners.

14. The toilet system of claim 11, wherein the enclosure is aesthetically pleasing.

15. The toilet system of claim 11, wherein the second opening is a removable portion of the enclosure.

16. The toilet system of claim 15, wherein the removable portion is a roof.

17. The toilet system of claim 16, wherein the roof is secured to the enclosure without fasteners.

18. The toilet system of claim 1, wherein the toilet can be accessed for cleaning from the second opening.

19. The toilet system of claim 1, wherein the toilet can be accessed for cleaning from a third opening formed in at least one of the panels.

20. A toilet system comprising: a toilet configured for use by a toddler; an enclosure substantially surrounding the toilet, the enclosure comprising a plurality of interconnected panels having a selectably closable first opening for use by the toddler to access the enclosure, the enclosure including a second opening configured to permit access from exterior of the enclosure to assist the toddler; a third opening for access of the toilet for cleaning; and wherein the access to assist the toddler can be provided from exterior of the enclosure while the first opening remains in a substantially closed position.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to a toilet system, and more particularly to a toddler toilet training system.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Toilet systems typically include enclosed structures that provide privacy for individuals needing to use the restroom, and are sized for use by adults. Toddlers learning toilet training face significant challenges. For example, toddlers have difficulty using such oversized facilities, and may be hesitant to use them. In addition, such toilet enclosures may not be sufficiently sized to accommodate a guardian to provide assistance to the toddler.

Thus, what is needed is a toilet system configured for toddlers that provides privacy, while permitting access from exterior of the toilet system so that assistance can be provided to the toddler during toilet training. What is also needed is a toilet system that is portable and collapsible for easy storage.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a toilet system including a toilet configured for use by a toddler. An enclosure substantially surrounds the toilet, the enclosure having a selectably closable first opening for use by the toddler to access the enclosure. The enclosure includes a second opening configured to permit access from exterior of the enclosure to assist the toddler. The access to assist the toddler can be provided from exterior of the enclosure while the first opening remains in a substantially closed position.

The present invention further relates to a toilet system including a toilet configured for use by a toddler. An enclosure substantially surrounds the toilet, the enclosure including a plurality of interconnected panels having a selectably closable first opening for use by the toddler to access the enclosure. The enclosure includes a second opening configured to permit access from exterior of the enclosure to assist the toddler. The access to assist the toddler can be provided from exterior of the enclosure while the first opening remains in a substantially closed position.

The present invention still further relates to a toilet system including a toilet configured for use by a toddler. An enclosure substantially surrounds the toilet. The enclosure includes a plurality of interconnected panels having a selectably closable first opening for use by the toddler to access the enclosure. The enclosure includes a second opening configured to permit access from exterior of the enclosure to assist the toddler. A third opening is provided for access of the toilet for cleaning. The access to assist the toddler can be provided from exterior of the enclosure while the first opening remains in a substantially closed position.

Other features and advantages of the present invention will be apparent from the following more detailed description of the preferred embodiment, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings which illustrate, by way of example, the principles of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a top perspective view of an embodiment of a toilet training system of the present disclosure.

FIG. 2 is an elevation view of an embodiment of a panel of the present disclosure.

FIG. 3 is a top perspective view of an embodiment of a horizontal portion of a toilet training system of the present disclosure.

FIG. 4 is a top perspective view of an embodiment of a corresponding portion for use with the horizontal portion of FIG. 3 of a toilet training system of the present disclosure.

FIG. 5 FIG. 1 is a top perspective view of another embodiment of a toilet training system of the present disclosure.

FIG. 6 is an embodiment of a roof for the enclosure of the toilet training system of FIG. 5 of the present disclosure.

FIG. 7 is an embodiment of a roof for the enclosure of the toilet training system of FIG. 1 of the present disclosure.

FIG. 8 is a top perspective view of an embodiment of a toilet training system including an enclosure having decorative features.

FIG. 9 is an enlarged partial elevation view of an embodiment having a slotted opening arrangement for a panel of the present disclosure.

FIG. 10 is an enlarged partial view of an embodiment of a collection receptacle used with the toilet training system of the present disclosure.

FIG. 11 is an elevation view of an embodiment of a panel of the present disclosure.

Wherever possible, the same reference numbers will be used throughout the drawings to refer to the same or like parts.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Referring now to the drawings, in FIG. 1, a toilet training system 10 includes an enclosure 11 having interconnected panels 12, 14, 16, 18. Panel 12 includes an opening 56 that permits a toddler, i.e., a young child, access to enclosure 11. A door 58 is selectably closable by the toddler for privacy while within enclosure 11. In addition, in another embodiment, door 58 may be sized smaller than opening 56 to permit an amount of illumination of the interior of enclosure 11 with door 58 in a closed position. In one embodiment, enclosure 11 is configured for a toddler. That is, the foot print or amount of area of floor 78 of enclosure 11 is configured with sufficient size for a toddler to enter and maneuver sufficiently to remove his clothing to use the restroom. In one embodiment, the height of the enclosure 11 is greater than the height of the toddler, or at least sufficiently high to substantially prevent viewing of the toddler from vantage points exterior of enclosure 11 along an eye level of an adult more than a few feet from enclosure 11. The toilet, which in one embodiment includes a toilet opening 70 formed in horizontal portion 62 of base 60 (see FIGS. 1 and 3), is configured for use by a toddler. As used herein, the term configured for use by a toddler is intended to mean that the item, e.g., toilet base 60, is proportionally sized and spaced from floor 78 so that the toddler's feet can comfortably touch the floor 78, or surface upon which enclosure 11 is constructed, although in one embodiment, enclosure 11 includes a floor panel.

In one embodiment, panels 12, 14, 16, 18 are formed of a water impermeable material, such as plastic, although other suitable materials having sufficient strength and structural stiffness can be used. In one embodiment, enclosure 11 is portable. One location for the toilet training system 10 of the present disclosure is adjacent a swimming pool, permitting the toddler to exit the pool and then immediately access enclosure 11, helping to prevent the toddler from using the restroom while in the pool.

As shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, panels 16, 18 are disposed between opposed panels 12, 14. In one embodiment, panels 16, 18 include latches 20 extending outwardly from opposed ends of panels 16, 18. In one embodiment, latch 20 includes an outwardly extending portion 22 that extends to a latching portion 24. As shown, latching portion 24 of panel 16 is directed through a corresponding slot 54 formed in panel 12. Once latch 20 is fully inserted through slot 54, panel 16 is directed vertically downward with respect to panel 12 so that the opposite surfaces of panel 12 are captured between surfaces 26, 28 of panel 16. Additionally, in such an embodiment, the weight of panel 16 helps to retain interlocking engagement with panel 12. It is appreciated by those skilled in the art that panel 16 forms an interlocking engagement with panel 14 in a similar manner as between panel 16 and panel 12, and that panel 18 also forms an interlocking engagement with panels 16, 18 in a similar manner. In such an embodiment, panels 12, 14, 16, 18 can be interconnected without fasteners. In other words, in such an embodiment, panels 12, 14, 16, 18 are each of unitary construction, not requiring separate fastening hardware, such as screws, pins, nuts and bolts that can be misplaced. Such a construction reduces the number of parts and simplifies fabrication, assembly and disassembly, and by virtue of their larger size and absence of sharp corner, minimizes the risk of injury to the toddler. In addition, this construction provides the ability to arrange disassembled panels in a stack for easy storage and/or for transportation.

As further shown in FIGS. 1-4, base 60 includes a toilet component having a horizontal portion 62 and vertical portion 64. Base 60 comprises the toilet portion of the toilet training system. In one embodiment, horizontal portion 62 has latches 66 at opposed ends that each extend to a latch portion 68. Latch portion 68 is directed through a corresponding slot 72 formed in panel 12 and in panel 14 (slot not shown), secured in a similar manner as panels 16, 18 as previously discussed. In one embodiment, as shown in FIG. 9, slot 72 includes at least one pair of opposed tabs 80 extending toward each other, providing several different vertical positions to receive latch 66 of horizontal portion 62, to accommodate and be configurable for toddlers of different heights. In a similar fashion as horizontal portion 62, vertical portion 64 has latches 74 at opposed ends that each extend to a latching portion 77. Latching portion 77 is directed through a corresponding slot 76 formed in panel 12 and in panel 14 (slot not shown), secured in a similar manner as panels 16, 18 as previously discussed. Vertical portion 64 provides additional structural support of enclosure 11 and also prevents toddler from inadvertently accessing the portion of the toilet (not shown in FIGS. 1-4) for collecting bodily waste introduced through opening 70 of horizontal portion by the toddler.

As shown in FIG. 10, horizontal portion 62 includes a pair of retainer features 82 disposed adjacent to opposite positions along the perimeter of opening 70 for engaging corresponding retainer features 84 extending outwardly from a receptacle for collecting bodily waste from the toddler. In one embodiment, access to receptacle 86 is provided from exterior of enclosure 11 via opening 30 formed in panel 16. In one embodiment, panel 16 is identical to panel 18, also including opening 30, which is sufficiently adjacent to floor 78 (see FIG. 1) so as not to interfere with the toddler's privacy. In one embodiment, a urinal could additionally or alternatively be provided (not shown).

Referring to FIGS. 1 and 7, roof 40 is selectably removable from enclosure 11. In one embodiment, surfaces 32, 34, 36, 38 of respective panels 12, 14, 16, 18 are substantially planar when assembled to form enclosure 11. In an installed position, surface 42 of roof 40 is directed into abutting contact with each of surfaces 32, 34, 36, 38. A retainer 44 extends outwardly from surface 42, with lateral surfaces 46, 48, 50, 52 of retainer 44 being directed in close proximity with corresponding surfaces of respective panels 12, 14, 16, 18 of enclosure 11. Roof 40 provides interconnecting engagement with enclosure 11 that can be maintained by virtue of the weight of roof 40. Roof 40 can resemble constructions other than a flat configuration. It is appreciated that retainer 44 can also define a plurality of protrusions extending outwardly from surface 42 of roof 40 that are disposed sufficiently proximate to the upper edges of corresponding panels to substantially prevent relative movement of roof 40 with respect to enclosure 11 when roof 40 is in an installed position. It is to be understood that other arrangements are contemplated that can secure roof 40 to enclosure 11.

Upon removal of roof 40, or by not installing roof 40, an opening 88 (FIG. 1) is provided in the top of enclosure 11 to permit access from exterior of the enclosure 11 to assist the toddler, wherein the access to assist the toddler can be provided from exterior of the enclosure 11 while door 58 to opening 56 remains in a substantially closed position. In other words, a guardian can access the toddler from exterior of enclosure 11 through opening 88 to assist the toddler remove clothing or provide other assistance so the toddler can use the restroom while door 58 remains closed, providing privacy for the toddler.

It is to be understood that it is not required for any of panels 12, 14, 16 18 to be of the same height, i.e., having coincident upper surfaces, nor that the enclosure has four panels, as any number and geometry of partitions can be used. In one embodiment, a frame from which a flexible material hangs is also contemplated, so long as the area inside the enclosure provides privacy to the toddler. Also, it is not necessary for a roof to be in interconnecting engagement with the enclosure.

FIG. 5 shows an embodiment of toilet training system 100 that is otherwise similar to toilet training system 10, except as shown. For example, enclosure 110 has a panel 112 including an upper surface 132 that is shorter than panels 14, 16, 18 and not coincident with surfaces 34, 36, 38 of panels 14, 16, 18.

Referring to FIG. 6, a roof 140 is selectably removable from enclosure 110. In one embodiment, surfaces 34, 36, 38 of respective panels 14, 16, 18 are disposed in a substantially planar arrangement when the panels are assembled to form enclosure 110. However, a flange 154 extends substantially perpendicular from a base 141 of roof 140, terminating at an end 156. In an installed position, surface 142 of roof 140 is directed into abutting contact with each of surfaces 34, 36, 38 of panels 14, 16, 18. End 156 of flange 154 is also brought into abutting contact with surface 132 of panel 112. A retainer 144 extends outwardly from surface 142, with lateral surfaces 146, 148, 150, 152 of retainer 144 being directed in close proximity with corresponding surfaces of respective panels 112, 14, 16, 18 of enclosure 110. Roof 140 provides interconnecting engagement with enclosure 110 that can be maintained by virtue of the weight of roof 40. It is appreciated that retainer 144 can also define a plurality of protrusions extending outwardly from surface 142 of roof 140 that are disposed sufficiently proximate to the upper edges of corresponding panels to substantially prevent relative movement of roof 140 with respect to enclosure 110 when roof 140 is in an installed position.

In one embodiment, a portion of flange 154 can be removed, providing access to assist the toddler by a guardian exterior of the enclosure 110, even when roof 140 is installed on enclosure 110. In another embodiment (not shown), openings may be formed in roof to provide access to assist the toddler by a guardian exterior of the enclosure, even when the roof is assembled with the enclosure.

In addition, in the embodiment of roof 140 on enclosure 110, upon removal of roof 140, by virtue of surface 132 being closer to floor 78 than corresponding surfaces 34, 36, 38 of panels 14, 16, 18, the toddler can be accessed from exterior of enclosure 110 through opening 88 by a guardian that is smaller in stature. It is to be understood that the upper surface of more than one panel can be closer to floor 78 than others, and that non-linear portion(s) 120 can be removed from one or more panels 116, 118 (see FIG. 11) to accommodate the upper torso of a guardian bending over one or more of the panels to provide assistance to the toddler from exterior of the enclosure. Similarly, the corresponding portion of the roof can have a corresponding profile to interconnect over the enclosure, so that the installed roof forms a contiguous enclosure with the panels.

As shown in FIG. 8, enclosure 210 of toilet training system 200 along with interconnectable roof 240 having design features that are decorative and may be aesthetically pleasing. That is, the shape defined by enclosure 210 can resemble a log cabin (shown in FIG. 8), castle, or any other enclosure that a child would perceive as being fun to play in.

While the invention has been described with reference to a preferred embodiment, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that various changes may be made and equivalents may be substituted for elements thereof without departing from the scope of the invention. In addition, many modifications may be made to adapt a particular situation or material to the teachings of the invention without departing from the essential scope thereof. Therefore, it is intended that the invention not be limited to the particular embodiment disclosed as the best mode contemplated for carrying out this invention, but that the invention will include all embodiments falling within the scope of the appended claims.