Potty training is not always easy. In fact it’s often a source of serious stress for parents and kids. One of the best resources you have other than a lot of role playing and praise are books. These books are all wonderful ways to help your child make the transition from diapers to underwear and become independent in the bathroom. While I often reassure families that no child has gone to college in Buzz Lightyear pull ups, I know all too well the feeling of worrying that they just might be the first. Use books as a way to break the ice, ease up on the pressure, and even make it fun!
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It Hurts When I Poop! a Story for Children Who Are Scared to Use the Potty by Howard J. Bennet was a life saver for us. Many kids start holing their poop after one painful one, and that happened here and we went from no issues to fussing, fighting the potty and finally he admitted he was scared it will hurt. Of course holding it made that worse but try to explain that to a frightened toddler. This book was amazing. The story is long, I skipped some text with my son , but read it all for myself since it’s packed with awesome information for parents too! The book explains digestion, why it hurts and how to make it better on a kids level as well as in more detail for parents. I can’t recommend this more for parents who’s children have hit this very common but very distressing problem.
The Potty Book for Girls by Alyssa Satin Capucilli is a favorite of my son. He loved this book, and when I got it back out of the library to write this post he immediately wanted me to read it. The text rhymes, the pictures are sweet and honest . I think what my son loves so much is that it shows the challenges, she wets herself, she pees on the floor and her parents are encouraging and positive. There is also a companion book The Potty Book – For Boys which interestingly my son had no interest in reading.
Oh No, Gotta Go #2! by Susan Middleton Elya was an instant hit with my 3 year old. He relates perfectly to the little girl who is off to the park with her parents to have a picnic and ride her trike when all of a sudden she feels it… she needs to poop! Whether you are in the middle of potty training or at the stage where times like these still occur your child will probably love this book. My son needs little help in the potty these days but absolutely gets that panicked look when he knows he needs to go but isn’t sure where or if there is a potty. Parents will giggle at the her parent’s reaction of grabbing her off her trike, running, throwing keys to each other and their panic. Also this book is bilingual, with Spanish words threaded into a mostly English text. Don’t worry if you don’t read Spanish there is a quick pronunciation guide at the start of the book.
Everybody Poops by Taro Gomi is a classic potty training book and while some parents may see it as gross it is actually a really useful book. This book lets children see what is expected with poop. Animals poop outside, sometimes on the go, but kids poop on the potty. It’s simplicity is genius and kids love it.
A Potty for Me!: A Lift-the-Flap Instruction Manual by Karen Katz is a great introduction to potty training. If your toddler is showing interest but neither you nor they are ready to go head first into underwear yet this lift-the-flap book is a great way to play with the idea and concepts of using a potty.
Have You Seen My Potty? Mij Kelly is such a cute book. A little girl on a farm has lost her potty and goes looking for it , asking all the animals if they have seen it. They don’t know what a potty is but have discovered this awesome poo pot that is keeping their farm so much cleaner since figuring out how to use it. My son laughed hysterically through the funny rhyming text and so did I . Making the potty a fun thing is really beneficial and this book does just that!
Big Girl Panties by Fran Manushkin is a great board book for little girls making the transition to undies. The rhyming text helps our readers see that they are big girls now and one of the best things about being big is getting to wear panties. The fun illustrations help make this a fun low pressure book about potty training for girls.
Zoo Poo: A First Toilet Training Book (Barron’s Educational Series)
by Richard Morgan is another book that encourages kids to use the potty because that’s just what humans do. Readers get to see all kinds of animals poop and then the little child who of course uses they potty. My daughter LOVED this book. I think she likes anything with babies in it and the child in this book looks very much like a baby. This is a good book for the starting stages of potty training.
I Have To Go! (Classic Munsch) by Robert Munsch isn’t just a fun potty training book it’s a fun anytime book. The story is about a little boy who says he doesn’t need to go until whatever activity is underway and then he does and it’s a huge emergency! The book pokes fun at meddling grandparents and at the frustration parents feel too. It’s a funny book with Munsch’s special brand of absurdity that kids adore.
Dinosaur vs. the Potty by Bob Shea is the reason my voice has been hoarse for days. My kids love, no ADORE this book. My son who is 5 is in stitches every time we read it and my daughter who is 2 reaches for it time and time again. The thing about this book is you must read it with gusto for it to reach it’s full potential because it’s story isn’t deep it’s really just about a destructive dinosaur who doesn’t go pee when he should. Sound familiar? Kind of like little kids who dump toys, bang and stomp and deny that they have to use the potty until the very last minute. It struck a chord at our house and I have a hunch it may at yours too.
Even Firefighters Go to the Potty: A Potty Training Lift-the-Flap Story by Wendy and Naomi Wax is another favorite of my son but I wasn’t as impressed. It’s hard my son loved it and since he loves Firefighters, Policemen etc.. knowing they use the potty too was great motivation for him. My concern was that there were very few women in this book. I think it’s important to show women being astronauts , police officers, and construction workers. The text was funny, the flaps were fun to reveal but I am on the fence, even though my son loved it. * Edited for 2015 My daughter also liked this book but I again noticed the lack of diversity. So it gets to votes from the kids and none from me.
Time to Pee!
by Mo Willems is a rad potty training book that any Mo Willems fan will love. You don’t have to be a fan of this author illustrator to like this book that focuses mostly on what kids need to do when they get that full bladder feeling. This is important because kids can stay dry with help but making the choice to stop playing and going to pee is a whole other issue with potty training. Through unique humor the book encourages kids to be independent and listen to their bodies when it’s time to pee.