With hundreds of potty training books and programs on the market, which ones are right for your toddler?
As soon as you announce to the world that you’re going to potty train your toddler, everyone will give you advice on the matter. Some parents will tell you that their way is the best way because little Susie was trained in two days flat.
Others will tell you horror stories that make you wonder if you should just let your child wear diapers until they go off to college. And some, well, some will just be realistic. Potty training is different for every child, they’ll say, and they’re right.
Your Potty Training Journey
I have had the utmost pleasure of potty training two girls. Girls are easier, I’m told. This was not the case for my first, who fought me tooth and nail. She knew very well what to do – she just didn’t want to do it when I told her to try.
For example, if we were going on a four-hour road trip, I required that she visit the loo before we left. She refused. It didn’t matter if she hadn’t used the bathroom in hours – she just wasn’t doing it.
She acquired her stubbornness from me, so we hunkered down and waited until she was willing to go. This usually resulted in a puddle on the floor, a frustrated mama, and an unhappy toddler who had to clean up her mess.
Before this, I tried everything. In fact, we had started the potty training journey when she was just a few weeks old by implementing infant potty training, which worked like a charm until she reached toddlerhood.
That’s when the stubborn refusal began. I knew that she knew what to do, so my stubbornness kicked in. I just wanted her to be out of diapers, so we tried the 3-day potty training method, but that was a bust.
I researched and tried numerous other tactics, and I admit that I even tried using rewards – first stickers, then M&Ms – but she seemed to think these lackluster prizes weren’t worth losing her sense of control.
“A sticker just seems like a really lame reward for a big poop,” says Jamie Glowacki, the author of Oh Crap! Potty Training.
My daughter completely agreed.
Back to the Drawing Board
I went back to square one and decided to give her total control over the situation. No nagging, no fussing, nothing. Well, that didn’t work either. So back to diapers we finally went.
That is until my mother came to visit. She knew that I was struggling with potty training, and so she bought my daughter the book No More Diapers For Ducky.
After lunch, she sat down and read my daughter the book. I saw a small smile forming on her face. “Read it again, grandma!” So she did. Again, and again, and again. “I wanna be like ducky, grandma!”
Finally, we were getting somewhere.
None of the previous books we had read on the subject had quite the impact that this book had, and within a few weeks, major progress was made. We read that book hundreds of times over the course of her potty training experience, and it was so, so worth it.
When my second daughter’s turn came along, I was much more prepared. I (mostly) skipped infant potty training. I made sure she was actually ready. We still had the Ducky book, and I had many more books in my stockpile to get her in the right mindset.
What a difference it made. She was also a lot less stubborn (at least with potty training) than her sister, which helped immensely.
Without further ado, here is my list of tried-and-true books that worked for us. Mileage may vary for you because one thing’s for sure: when it comes to potty training, every kid is different, and you may have to spend a lot of time and energy to find the right combination of tricks that work for you.
My Favorite Books for Potty Training Toddlers
No More Diapers For Ducky by Bernadette Ford
This story encourages your toddler to let go of diapers for good, reminding them that diapers feel “cold” and “wet.”
The simplistic text will have your toddler reciting the book along with you and the sweet animals will motivate them to be big kids, just like ducky and piggy.
Everyone Poops by Taro Gomi
For resistant toddlers (especially those who do not want to poop on the potty) this book may just be the ticket to success.
This is another story with simple text and illustrations, explaining the natural process in little kid terms. “All living things eat, so everyone poops.” This book is simple and to-the-point, and not at all preachy.
Daniel Goes To The Potty by Maggie Testa
Aside from No More Diapers For Ducky, Daniel Tiger was king in our household during potty training times. Not only did we read this book, but we also watched the potty training episode when it was still available on Netflix.
On repeat. All. The. Time. And while I completely recommend the episode (which can be found on Amazon Prime), I will warn you: the potty song will be forever burned into your brain.
Potty Animals by Hope Vestergaard
Oh, my. I adore this book. Not only does the author write about little tykes who may be struggling with potty training, she writes about the myriad of ways in which they may have troubles!
From Freddie who is afraid to flush to Wilma who waits too long, this book is yet another must-read for your toddler.
It Hurts When I Poop! by Howard J. Bennett, M.D.
Written by a doctor, It Hurts When I Poop! is a must-have for any toddler struggling with potty training or pooping in general.
Many describe this book as a “true miracle” for their children, and others say that they couldn’t have trained their toddler without this book in their arsenal.
There you have it. The list of books that worked for my family. I hope they work for yours, too.
Other recommendations from The Toddle staff: