Aaron McGILL: Inventor of YaryKidz potty trainer

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  • Tell us something about yourself, your background

I am Aaron McGill, born in West Africa (Liberia) and moved to Switzerland about 24 years ago due to one of Africa’s gravest Civil wars. Settling in a small country with a very diverse culture, speaking four languages in a population of little over eight million with all four languages being foreign to me wasn’t the only challenge. However, it had almost no historical connection to  Africa in terms of the colonialism on the continent (Africa) making me even more alien in the country. But to every challenge comes an opportunity, so all the above were assets that I used to be where I am today. Speaking languages that I wouldn’t have had the chance to speak, new skills, and seeing the beauty of living in a harmonious multicultural society.

  • Tell us about the product you invented with a brief explanation:

YaryKidz potty trainer: Makes any existing toilet family-friendly in seconds without a tool.

  • How/Why did you start inventing. What set you off?

I am not the classical inventor/ product developer who had this talent as a child fixing things or in the family; nor would I consider myself a passionate product developer at this time. I don’t have a formal background in this industry, neither do I have anyone in my family or around me as an example. I developed Yarykidz based on sheer NECESSITY and a MOTIVE.

I needed a potty trainer for my child not only with the process of potty training but to develop her independence at this early age, secure, saving me time, and without changing my present toilet seat. And of all that the market had, one of which I bought was good, but that isn’t enough for me. The problem here is that you have to always put on the adult toilet when the child is ready and remove otherwise, the adults can’t use the bathroom or close the toilet lid. So it means that you will have to help the child as long she/ he is in the process because they aren’t able to fix the potty trainer themselves.

Next, you need storage in the bathroom. So this was not the best option for me. The next option is the Adult toilet seat with the integrated potty seat. Again good product, BUT with this product, you will have to change your existing toilet seat. Also, this is unimaginable for me. 1) Not environmentally friendly and 2) Not flexible. You can’t remove the potty trainer, and if you did, it doesn’t fit on a different adult seat. So my child has comfort at home but not on holidays. That’s why I developed this product that combines the positive elements of the two above products into one to create an almost perfect product, the Yarykidz potty trainer. You don’t always have to remove it, don’t have to change your present toilet and removable for holidays.

  • How did you get from idea to finished product?

Based on my background, one can imagine how the development was set for a challenging journey, as mentioned earlier. When I got the idea and visualized what I wanted it to look like, I went online to search for what I have in my head. After exploring a few websites and couldn’t find what I was looking for, I got a piece of carton, made a prototype and tried it on my toilet.

I went online again and still couldn’t find anything similar to my prototype. A few weeks later, being afraid that someone would copy my perceived great idea, I contacted a patent firm to have the idea protected. There I was advised to do in-depth research by a patent lawyer to ensure that I will not infringe on someone’s product idea. An action that I took out of innocence and will not do again. So after a few weeks, the search validated my initial search that my idea never existed and thus have a good chance of getting a patent, which happened five years later.

After that, I moved to the development stage, not knowing all the available resources ( 3D and Co.). I contacted a factory to get a proper simple made. I still don’t have any interest in commercialization. All I want is to have this product done for myself. Well, after like six different trials, a usable product was made but was still not perfect. Only that by then, my child had almost gone through the process of potty training. The neighbours had taken notice and expressed interest, so I had a few hundred pieces produced. I give them out to child daycare centers for the validation of the system and the material durability.

With the mixed feedback, I tweaked the design and had another product done. By this time, I was now thinking about commercialization.

  • Let us know of useful resources that helped you i.e. Books, websites, software etc

I had never sought any help from all the above, not because of arrogance, but I just never knew about any at the time. Later in my journey, I read “One Simple Idea” by Stephen Key, Which helped me look at product developments from a very different perspective. Furthermore, I joined the InventRight program for a few months, and there again, during the IR program, I become a passionate product developer.

I outsource most of what I can’t do myself using Fiverr and some recommended companies and individuals.

  • Where are you with your product?

The product has long been in the market and can be purchased through my website. However, with a strong focus on B2B, yarykidz is listed in a few thousands of stores across Europe but is attracting interest globally.

--End of Interview--
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