Potty training is one of those childhood development stages that make you wonder why human beings aren’t born with the ability to use a toilet from birth. After all, a baby gazelle can run hours after it’s born, why can’t a baby person instinctively poop in a hole?
Unfortunately, every parent has to go through this shitty exercise, so why not try spelling out the finer points of pee and poo to your kid with these 11 books that will get the potty started right. (And, hopefully, the potty started quickly.)
I Use The Potty
Who doesn’t feel a sense of pride after a healthy deuce? The latest installment from Dutch author Maria van Lieshout’s “Big Kid Power” series, this book really puts the hard sell on kids who can’t wait to start strutting around in their underoos. But, as everyone knows, before the undies go on the body, they first must be worn on the head while running around screaming — to appease the potty gods.
Ages: 2 – 5
I Use The Potty by Maria Van Lieshout ($10)
Big Girl Panties
In this story made especially for your daughter, a girl gets a ton of new underwear — and she’s actually excited by it. There are panties for each day of the week. Panties with rainbows and panties with ducks. All of which encourages her to ditch the diaper and move on to bigger girl things. Hey, remember when you used to be excited by things?
Big Girl Panties by Fran Manushkin ($8)
How To Pee: Potty Training For Boys
Even you have trouble with your aim, Deadeye Dick. How about giving your son a better primer on where to piss, so you’re not spending most of your time wiping up after him? In How To Pee, Dr. Todd Spencer lays out scenarios for your kid to follow, from “fireman style” (whip out the hose, put out the fire) to “mommy style” (aka sitting and asking who left the toilet seat up).
Ages: 1 – 4
How To Pee: Potty Training For Boys by Todd Spector
In this Japanese import, learning to use the bathroom is definitely not a lesson in modesty. Author Taro Gomi presents pooping and everything that does it: From animals that do it in the wild to fathers who do it while smoking a pipe and reading the newspaper. Which bring up the fact that maybe all your potty training needs is a subscription to the Wall Street Journal.
Everyone Poops by Taro Gomi ($17)
The Gas We Pass: The Story Of Farts
Where do farts come from? Yes, of course it’s always the dog, but why not explain to your kid the science behind flatulence before you start laughing uncontrollably at the unexpected poot. The Gas We Pass is the companion piece to Everyone Poops, and a necessary one if your kid can’t tell the difference between that and a wet fart.
The Gas We Pass: The Story Of Farts by Shinto Cho (Available used)
Potty is about the internal struggle all babies go through when facing their diaper demons: “Do I use this new chair sitting in the bathroom, or do I crap my pants?” The baby has no help from the dog and cat, who poop where they please. It takes a minute, but he ends up making the grown up choice to sit and not get off the pot.
Ages: 1 – 3
Potty by Leslie Patricelli ($5)
It Hurts When I Poop
Finally, a book that you and your kid can both relate to — although your reasons for fecal distress are different from theirs. (Really? Ghost pepper fries?) For a lot of kids — especially those with ASD, pooping is a scary proposition, and if they’re withholding, it can lead to bigger problems. Just tell your kid that you’ll get through it together. Now, grab ahold of something and give that turd hell.
Ages: 3 – 6
It Hurts When I Poop by Dr. Howard J. Bennet ($10)
In a sweeping 6-page epic, one little dude goes from potty zero to potty hero. Kids love superheroes, so let them enjoy this time they think that taking a piss is akin to saving the world. This book may also raise more questions than it answers for your kid, like, “How does Iron Man use the bathroom?”
Potty Superhero by Parragon Books ($9)
Where’s The Poop?
This is a lift-the-flap book that shows your toddler just where everything goes to the bathroom, from tigers to kangaroos to monkeys (who would probably just fling it if given the chance). Of course, the book ends with teach your human child that they poop in a toilet. Although, the more realistic ending would have been it would have been the tub right as you’re about to take them out.
Ages: 4 – 8
Where’s The Poop by Julie Markes ($11)
Once Upon A Potty
This potty book cuts all the shit and gets down to anatomically correct language and fact-driven analysis of the defecation process for parents who want to stop using words like hoo-ha and wee wee with their kids. You have to teach them the fact first, and then they can devolve into giggling idiots during puberty.
Ages: 2 – 4
Once Upon A Potty by Alona Frankel ($7)
There are a few historical notes that have to be addressed at the top: First, pirates probably never used a potty. Second, if they did, it would certainly be the least disgusting part of piracy. But since your toddler loves Jake and the Neverland Pirates, you’d do well to get a book that shows them what’s happening when that kid isn’t collecting gold coins. (Grab ‘em and go, indeed.)
Ages: 2 – 4
Pirate Potty by Samantha Berger ($6)