Potty training is no walk in the park. It can, in fact, be messy, frustrating and anxiety-inducing for many kids. Especially difficult for boys, who need to learn how to guide their pee into the potty, the whole process is enough to scare off any parent.
Though technological advances mean there are hundreds of videos and online activities related to potty training, nothing beats a good old fashioned book. They’re cheap, can go with you everywhere, and won’t run out of battery!
With so many different potty training manuals on the market, finding one that’s suitable for you can prove tricky. It needs to be age-appropriate, catered to boys or unisex, and draw your kid in with colorful pictures. We’ve got five of those right here!
If you need further convincing on the usefulness of a book in potty training your child, have a look at our concise, yet thoroughly researched Buyer’s Guide. We also point out some other tips to bear in mind when deciding which book to opt for.
Should that not be enough for you, there’s even a set of Frequently Asked Questions right at the end. Your worry or inquiry might align with one of the most common inquiries from fellow customers, to which we’ve provided all the answers.
Got To Get A Guide ASAP? Here’s Our Top Pick:
OUR TOP PICK
For toddlers just about to start potty training, what better than a book that reveals they are a superhero? With beautiful illustrations from Mabel Forsyth, Potty Superhero takes your little one all the way to wearing big boy pants.
Appropriate at age 18 months and above, you can begin to encourage an interest in the toilet at a young age, thanks to the fun, colorful artwork and unique superhero plotline. It’s an excellent, positive approach to pottying for all caregivers.
The thick, good quality board pages are ideal for little hands and excellent for wiping away spillages. Take this guide wherever you go; it’s pintsize and won’t take up much room at all in your bag, for consistent use on a regular basis.
Promoting language development, problem solving and knowledge about the world, it’s a wonderful tool that any boy will love. Explaining exactly how to use the potty, in words they’ll easily understand, it’s a terrific investment for all parents.
- Hardcover and thick board pages - perfect for small fingers
- Creative illustrations make the potty fun and exciting
- Suitable for children aged 18 months +
- Rejects dependence on diapers, promoting transition to underwear
- Simplistic - could have added more detail
Set in the familiar world of Daniel Tiger, this wonderful board book joins him on his potty training adventure and is ideal for fans of his Neighborhood. As an interactive button book, it’s far more engaging than a regular page-turner!
Picture icons throughout the book prompt readers to push buttons for sound effects. Featuring scenarios and music from the top-rated PBS Kids series, it’s a part of the Early Bird Sound Books collection from reputable publisher Cottage Door Press.
Ten beautifully illustrated full-color pages provide plenty of exciting education on the world of potty training. Catchy key words and phrases are repeated throughout, encouraging your child to memorize and follow their directions.
Thanks to a take-along plastic handle and sturdy board pages, it’s ideal for little ones to carry around with them, even when using the potty in public. It’s also small enough to carry in a kid-size bag, to read no matter where you are.
- Features PBS Kids favorite Daniel Tiger
- Interactive with button pushing and sounds
- Carry handle perfectly fits little hands
- Works well from infancy up to four years old
- Will eventually require replacement batteries
Another book featuring beloved children's characters, this time we’re at Sesame Street with Elmo and Albie! Helping kids from one to three years old figure out how to use the potty, it’s a great unisex option that parents and kids alike adore.
More than thirty flaps to lift and discover offer the ideal mix of fun and learning, which can be enjoyed whilst practicing sitting on the potty! Sturdy and solid, this book can withstand the rough and tumble use expected from younger readers.
Though recommended for younger readers, it’s slightly more complex, with longer sentences than some of the other books we’ve chosen. However, as long as you’re there to talk them through it, it’s easy enough to bring the story alive for your kids.
Small enough to stow away in a bag, the pages may be made from thick, but those flaps are thinner and slightly more fragile. That said, as long as children are taught to use books respectfully, there’s no reason it won’t last for years to come.
- Elmo is an iconic figure that kids will instantly recognize
- Small and easy to carry around
- Plenty of flaps to lift and discover - more than a five-minute flick through
- Thick card pages that are tear-resistant
- More complex dialogue
Dinosaur fans will love this roarsome book from Rainstorm Publishing, packed full of vibrant cartoons and easy rhymes that outline each step of going to the potty. From sitting properly to washing your hands after, it covers everything there is to know!
Clear, simple text in short sentences allows easy reading - those just starting at preschool may even be able to start sounding things out themselves! Durable board pages are resistant to tearing and ideal for smaller hands to hold onto. (Want to know how to teach your child to read by sounding out words? Read our review on Children Learning Reading)
With eighteen bright, bold pages, offering one by one instructions, your dino-loving kid will adore learning to go to the potty with this jolly green guy. Even reluctant children can be excited about using the toilet all by themselves.
Though it’s advertised as suitable for 2-4 year olds, there’s no reason you couldn’t pick this up for a younger kid, say 18 months, and start a little early. The language is simple and engaging enough that it won’t prove too challenging.
- Rhymed step by step guide really helps explain how the potty works
- Impressively adorable character design
- Petite book that fits easily in your bag
- Solid, sturdy board pages
- Not a patented character - your child might prefer a figure they know
Taking a local hero your kid will recognize, like a firefighter, and putting them on the potty is a genius idea. From zookeeper to doctor and baseball player, there’s an authority figure your child respects in here somewhere, and they all have to pee too!
From Wendy Wax, author of many children’s books, comes another clever story: each scenario takes place over two pages, with a devoted flap to open. Every figure is hiding behind a restroom door, and your child will love finding out who’s inside!
Bright, glossy cartoon drawings have adorable little features that adults and children can both appreciate, helping to relieve anxiety and tension. A silly, yet well explained potty guide, this is a less tedious book that you won’t mind reading a million times.
Laminated for easy cleaning, the pages are able to withstand tearing, and the lift-flaps are of high quality. Don’t worry about it getting damaged whilst you’re on the move: it’s perfect to throw in your bag and grab when you need it.
- Ideal for kids with an interest in public figures like doctors/firefighters
- High quality, glossy images and laminated pages
- Witty and interactive, with robust flaps
- Teaches children that ‘everybody goes to the potty!’
- Reviews suggest there only seem to be males represented, with people of color being given stereotypical roles as athletes and service people, which is disappointingly biased!
Why Use A Book For Potty Training?
- Giving your child something to focus on, with bold, bright illustrations that pique their interest and encourage their imagination, makes holding their attention much easier than offering verbal instruction
- Unlike techniques dependent on access to the internet, a book will never lose connection or run out of power (unless, of course, it’s battery-powered with fun buttons, like our Daniel Tiger option)
- Reading together, even if it’s just a book about going to the potty, can be an excellent opportunity for bonding between you and your child. Wide reading across a variety of subjects is encouraged!
- Books that feature recognizable characters, like the Sesame Street lift-the-flap choice in our list, can comfort children who get anxious about the potty, and serve as reassurance that this unusual activity is actually safe
What Makes A Good Potty Guide? Features To Think About:
Much like you as an adult would not finish a book you found dull, kids aren’t going to want to read a potty book if it doesn’t have creative, colorful characters and an interesting storyline to follow along with.
Bonus points if you find a book that fits in with their favorite tv show or movie! This correlation between the characters they know and love with learning something new helps make going to the potty a much less overwhelming experience.
Most kids will be ready for potty training at any random age between eighteen and twenty four months, with shyer, more reluctant children succeeding at more like three years old. Choosing a book suitable for their level of understanding is essential!
Simple, easy to understand vocabulary is a must. Catchier ways to refer to urine and feces can be useful, but try not to baby them too much. Learning to say pee and poop is no more difficult than saying it twice over!
If it’s going to be coming in and out of the bathroom and traveling with you in public, you’ll want a hardcover book. This means any accidents are far less likely to have an impact on your potty guide, as well as making it wipe-clean for quick disinfection.
This isn’t really that big of a deal, but it means you’ll be less likely to have to replace it in the long run, nor will it succumb to the ickiness of sticky hands. Hardcover books are just better for toddlers in general, if you ask us!
Again, this isn’t a necessity, and most potty training guides for kids won’t be longer than ten or twenty pages anyway. However, if the book is compact enough to slip into your bag, you’ll be able to carry it wherever you go, and it won’t be a nuisance.
Repetition is key when it comes to successful training, so being able to whip out the special potty book for a refresher lesson wherever you are will only be beneficial. If there’s a Kindle version you can get as well, that’s even better!
Frequently Asked Questions
Should you use a reward system during potty training?
The answer to this question depends on who you ask! Some parents recommend implementing a reward at first then gradually decreasing, whilst others suggest steering clear of positive reinforcement through treats altogether.
It’s important to remember that all kids will come to potty training when they are ready, and you can’t force them. As a parent, you’ll know whether or not a treat for successful pottying is a good idea or not for your child: follow your gut!
Are there any free potty training guides available?
Yes! It’s perfectly possible to find plenty of resources for free online, though most of these will be targeted towards adults instead of children. That said, a simple Google should pull up all of the resources you’re looking for.
There are plenty of apps for on the go parents who can only spare ten minutes at a time, which are usually free or only cost a couple of dollars to initially purchase.
Plus, hundreds of videos on YouTube, which is another place worth checking.
Should I get an adult and a child’s potty training book?
If you feel like you want to learn more about the elements of potty training, whether that’s biological, psychological or something more niche, a book could certainly be helpful. There are a tonne out there for new parents, and lots of advice!
You don’t necessarily need a grown up version to go alongside the one you choose for your child, though, as they are separate learning aids. You’ll absolutely have a thorough understanding from every possible perspective if you do, though!