As far as potty-training kidlit goes, I’ve found that the clearer and more direct the book — both in terms of the text and illustrations — the better, since it’s important for kids to understand and relate to it. Bonus points for cute illustrations and some, um, toilet humour.
The littlest potty-trainees (1–3-year-olds) will enjoy Leslie Patricelli’s Potty, which has the most adorable and determined bare-butt tot who manages to pee in the potty for the first time. I also like that the book celebrates the child’s progression from wearing diapers to undies.
Pair this with Julie Markes and Susan Kathleen Hartung’s Where’s the Poop?, which gets kids to look under flaps for the poop of various baby animals, and ends with a little boy proudly telling his mom that he has pooped in the toilet bowl; the last flap in particular is genius, as it introduces the concept of toilet privacy in a lighthearted way.
For 2-4-year-olds who are learning to use the toilet independently, Mo Willems’s Time to Pee! is THE book to read. Written in a clear, concise and reassuring manner, this is a how-to book that guides kids through the entire process: from the moment they “get that funny feeling” to the pride they will feel when they exit the bathroom “because you are done!”. It empowers kids with all the information and steps to take, so that going to the bathroom by themselves becomes a much less intimidating prospect.
Taro Gomi’s Everyone Poops is not exactly a potty-training book, but it reassures kids that, well, everyone poops! Of course, kids also love it because of the great illustrations and all that poop talk!
And there you have it: four great books that can help to smooth the way for successful potty-training. Good luck!