So you think your toddler is ready to ditch the diapers (or maybe you’re just sick of cleaning up the mess), and have decided to embark on the journey that is potty training. We’re not going to sugarcoat it for you—toilet training takes a lot of patience and rarely goes exactly as planned. One thing that can help, erm, move things along? If both you and your tot arrive at the party thoroughly prepared. With that in mind, here are our top picks for potty-training books that will guide both student and teacher through every step of the process. Godspeed.
11 Potty-Training Books to Help Make the Process as Painless as Possible
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1. oh Crap! Potty Training By Jamie Glowacki
Written by the potty training pro and “pied piper of poo” Jamie Glowacki, Oh Crap! Potty Training is an incredibly effective book that lays out a clear and actionable plan for parents who are ready to go all in when it comes to getting a toddler (between the ages of 20 and 30 months) on board with using the toilet. It’s also a highly entertaining read, thanks to Glowacki’s hilariously irreverent and refreshingly honest style. Simply put, if the thought of devoting your (limited) free time to reading a potty training guide makes you groan, this one will be a pleasant surprise.
2. potty Training In Three Days By Brandi Brucks
The promise is right there in the title, and glowing reviews suggest that the method outlined in this book actually delivers on it. Best of all, Brucks takes the guesswork out of potty training by providing parents with a concise step-by-step plan, as well as compassionate and useful advice on how to keep one’s cool when things don’t go according to plan. That said, all potty-training methods tend to align with a particular parenting philosophy and, depending where you stand, you might find some of the advice in this one objectionable. (Think: Using sugary drinks and treats for encouragement.)
3. everyone Poops By Taro Gomi
It’s an odd thing to consider, but at the start of potty training, kids really don’t have much experience with poop at all. (You know, because you’ve been dealing with the messy situation for them since birth.) In fact, depending on your kid’s temperament, the experience of encountering their own poop in a new way can be a little, well, upsetting at first. As such, we suggest you prep your kid with this beloved picture book by Taro Gomi, which relies on colorful illustrations and simple text to communicate a truly comforting message: Everybody poops.
4. the First Time Parent’s Guide To Potty Training By Jazmine Mccoy
Attention, first-time parents: Your toddler can smell your fear, which is precisely why it’s wise to make sure you’ve got nerves of steel and an expert in your corner—in this case, Jazmine McCoy, clinical psychologist and fellow mom you’ll soon have a crush on— before you start the potty-training process. Fortunately, this informative book was written by someone who gets it and knows how to get it done, so you can rest assured that the practical tips and oh-so empathetic three-day process it describes will provide you with both the confidence boost and the know-how you need to proceed.
5. potty Time With Elmo By Sesame Street
You need to start potty training and Elmo is here to help. Yep, this beloved Sesame Street character has been winning the trust and charming the pants off of kids (so to speak) for decades, so it should come as no surprise that his book on the subject is a winner. Filled with interactive features and sound effects, this one does an excellent job of engaging the intended audience whilst piquing their curiosity in the potty-training process.
6. stress-free Potty Training By Sara Au
Unfortunately, potty-training books often feature a one-size-fits-all strategy that simply doesn’t fit all. This compassionate book, on the other hand, provides parents with a detailed and effective method that can be adapted to the unique needs and temperament of their child. Ultimately, it’s a sensitive approach that delivers on its promise to remove the worry from potty training—and that’s a very good thing for all parties involved.
7. potty By Leslie Patricelli
This light-hearted and humorous board book will delight parents and toddlers alike with its chronicling of an oh-so charming baby’s journey from diapers to potty. Overall, this is a mighty entertaining read with positive messages about independence and—spoiler alert—a triumphant ending that’s sure to motivate even a wary toddler.
8. big Girl Panties By Fran Manushkin
Here, an upbeat, motivational book written with toddler girls in mind. With catchy rhymes and colorful pictures, this story perfectly conveys the excitement and sense of accomplishment that comes when a kid masters potty training and gets their graduation day gift: new, big kid underwear.
9. toilet Training In Less Than A Day By Nathan Azrin
Featuring supply lists, reminder sheets, frequently asked questions and pages of step-by-step guidance, this one is a veritable potty training goldmine. Plus, the “less than a day” bit is mighty appealing—just keep in mind that, although this method is certainly efficient, many kids won’t master the new skill quite that fast. That said, folks do report that Azrin’s approach is quick, effective and, perhaps most importantly, wholly positive for parents and children alike.
10. the Potty Book: For Boys By Alyssa Satin Capucilli
Boy moms will be pleased with this sweet story about a boy who receives a potty for a present and then (you guessed it) has to learn how to use it. The illustrations are charming and the narrative—yes, there actually is one—unfolds with simple, songlike verses and features just a dose of humor. Overall, this is a feel-good read that’s sure to resonate with little boys who could benefit from a little encouragement.
11. once Upon A Potty By Alona Frankel
Once Upon a Potty has been helping introduce kids to bodies and potties since 1975—and there’s a reason it has stood the test of time. The bold, anatomically-correct illustrations in this one will catch the eye of any toddler, while serving an educational purpose, to boot. As for the text, it’s basically a thorough breakdown of the entire process, communicated with simple language so as not to overwhelm the toddler crowd. Bonus: There’s both a boy and girl version of this one, so you can be sure the reading experience is relatable.