Potty training stinks. It’s one of the hardest doodies of parenthood. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist. Potty humor isn’t my favorite, but it’s a solid #2.)
Before you have a pity party, know you’re not alone. Parents can make the business of potty training too serious. I think it’s important to lighten up the subject for you and your children, and picture books can add levity.
There are some great books out there to help you and your child get in the potty training spirit. My son and I read these books to get ready for potty learning! Here are some of his favorites.
5 Picture Books about Potty Training
1. Once Upon a Potty — Boy (1975) | Alona Frankel
An oldie, but a goodie, this classic follows a little boy named Joshua who learns to use his new potty chair. My son giggles when I read the page where Joshua is sitting on the potty waiting for a bowel movement – the text “…and sat and sat and sat and sat…” fills up the page. The book reminds little ones that Mom or another loved one will be with them, every step of the way from diapers to potties to undies. There’s a version for girls too. (Age Range: 1-3 years)
2. P is for Potty! (Sesame Street) (Lift-the-Flap) (2014) | Naomi Kleinberg
If your child enjoys Elmo on Sesame Street, this is the book for you. Elmo shows his little cousin, Albie, how to be a big boy and go potty. My son and I didn’t care much for the “one-ply toilet paper thin” storyline, but we were mesmerized by all the lift-the-flaps (thirty of them!) throughout the book, e.g. the toilet paper roll is on the spool, but under the flap the roll has unfurled to the bathroom floor. (Age Range: Preschool and up)
3. Dinosaur Vs. Potty (2010) | Bob Shea
Dinosaur’s having too much fun making lemonade, going through the sprinkler, drinking three juice boxes for lunch, and jumping through water puddles – there’s no time for the potty. He’s doing a victory dance – oh, wait a minute – it’s a potty pee-pee dance! Will he make it to the bathroom in time? (Age Range: 2-6 years)
4. Everyone Poops* (2001) | Taro Gomi
I credit this book as potty training my son. He was delighted looking at the pictures of poop made by different animals and self-identified with the unnamed boy racing to the bathroom. This book celebrates how every living thing eats and consequently poops. If an elephant and a mouse can poop, so can I. (Age Range: 5-6 years)
*I’m obsessed with how the British version, published by Frances Lincoln, is titled Everybody Poos.
We read this book long before potty training (thanks, Auntie!), and my son was attracted to the big, bright pictures and minimal text. He shrieked with glee whenever we came to the page where Duck missed the potty and pooped on the floor. The book is big fun for kids and parents alike. (Age Range: 2-4 years)
**I love this series (Hello Genius) for life skills/milestones, as well as teaching manners. We own Bear Says Thank You, Mouse Says Sorry, Penguin Says Please, Pony Brushes His Teeth, and of course Duck Goes Potty.
- Ian’s New Potty (2011) | Pauline Oud (Age Range: 2-3 years)
- Potty Animals: What to Know When You’ve Gotta Go! (2010) | Hope Vestergaard (Age Range: 4 years and up)
- P.J. & Puppy (1997) | Cathryn Falwell (Age Range: 2-3 years)
- Potty (2010) | Leslie Patricelli (Age Range: 2-3 years)
- You Can Go to the Potty (Sears Children Library) (2002) | William Sears, Martha Sears, Christie Watts Kelly (Age Range: 2-4 years)
- Boys’ Noisy Potty Book (2014) | DK (Age Range: 2-5 years): There’s one for girls too.
A Final Thought – From the Pillow
Let these authors introduce your child to potty training, in a light but informative way. Someone else can do the hard work.
So pour a glass of wine and read a good book yourself, preferably one that doesn’t have button-activated flushing sounds! You’ll be rewarding your child throughout the potty training process. Don’t you think you deserve a reward too?
What other picture books would you add to the list?