Three Potty Books for Little Girls

Of three books about potty training, I found one unacceptable because of the inclusion of nonstandard English.

When my grand-daughter was at the potty-training age, I had a look at what was on the shelves of the local Barnes and Nobles and found the following three books:

Capucilli, Alyssa Satin. The Potty Book for girls. Illustrations by Dorothy Scott. Barrons, 2000.Cole, Joanna. My Big Girl Potty. Illustrations by Maxie Chambliss.

HarperCollinsPublishers, 2000.Frankel, Alona (writer and illustrator). Once Upon a Potty (A boy’s version is also available.). Firefly Books, 2007.

All three books are similar in that they present a female child making the transition from diapers to a potty. In each book the child is shown as having a helper.

In the Capucilli and Cole books, the “helpers” are stuffed animals. In the Frankel book the helper is the child’s mother.

All three books cheerfully present the subject in a matter-of-fact way. In two of the books the little girl goes shopping for underwear once she has succeeded in learning to use the potty.

The Potty Book for girls and My Big Girl Potty are very similar as to story and illustrations. In both the child carries a stuffed animal while learning. Both show the child having accidents, and in both the child is taken shopping for underwear.

Cole’s little girl is told that she will still wear a diaper at night. Capucilli uses the terms “pee” and “poop.” Cole uses both “pee” and “pee-pee” and “poop.”

Up to a point, I had a difficult time choosing between the two. I was a little bothered by the unconventional spelling “woops” for “whoops” in Capucilli’s book, but kept reading. After all, the word is an expletive and some people may not pronounce the “h” sound. But then I came to a really glaring error of grammar and for me that spelled NO SALE! The little girl, proud of her accomplishment, looks out at the reader and says

Want to know a secret?
You can do it too.
Just march off to the potty
Like me and Teddy do.

Children hear enough bad grammar on television without having it read to them by their parents.

The third book, Once Upon a Potty, is the one I bought. I chose it over the Cole book for purely personal reasons of taste.

I like the simple illustrations that look like paper cutouts. I like the elegant language, and I like the matter-of-fact way the girl’s naked body is presented to introduce the subject.

In this book the terms used are “wee-wee” and “poo-poo.” If your family uses different terms, it is easy enough to substitute them when reading to the child. The potty in the Cole book is a plastic type familiar to Americans. The potty in the Frankel book is an old-fashioned chamber pot.Frankel book

Another reason I went for the Frankel book is the page that shows that learning to use the potty involves waiting. The text begins “She sat” and goes on with

and sat and sat and sat and sat

for 19 lines! What great practice for the beginning reader!

Another note on substituting words: At two-and-a-half, my grand-daughter wore a type of diaper called “pull ups.” In reading the book to her we had to substitute “pull ups” for “diapers” because she didn’t think of herself as wearing diapers.

Either My Big Girl Potty or Once Upon a Potty is a good choice for the two- to three-year-old in your life.

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One Response

  1. Carys was upset when she realized that she left the book at your house. She kept telling her Dad that she ‘left her potty book’. 😀

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