poos, wees and books : reading around potty training
Warning! This post may contain mention of poo and wee.
It seems that I am rarely able to parent Milo through big milestones, emotional changes and manners without the need for books. So having been thinking about potty training him for a few months, and thinking it might be a good idea to try over the Easter bank holiday (we weren’t going anywhere so could stay in the house for days on end!), I turned to books for help to prepare him. Not the instruction manuals for adults kind, though I am sure they are probably quite useful, it’s a bit of a tricky thing to master, but children’s books for Milo.
He’d shown no signs whatsoever of being interested in being trained. After doing a poo in his nappy, he would say “done a poo, up we go” but it was only because he knew that we always went upstairs to change him afterwards. Otherwise, he couldn’t have cared less! At 2 I felt it best to leave it until he was 2.5 when his language would be improved enough to express how he was feeling about things and this was definitely a good idea for him.
We had a special shopping trip out to choose undercrackers and a potty for him. Seriously hilarious as he tried out all the potties in the store for size – but settled on this Thomas potty seat (he’s a tall kid so didn’t actually fit on the smaller potties) and Thomas pants to match! We also bought a seat for the toilet and a travel potty.
We started on a day with at least five free days stretching ahead of us and put him straight into pants (except, naps and bedtime). We used stickers as a reward and these were kept in a little bag that I made for him that he knew were his special potty training stickers. Milo and made a sticker book together in case he wanted to keep them all somewhere. He didn’t, they are all over the house, stuck on random things. He loves both books and laughs at all the different style of pants in Aliens Love Underpants. Our first day went really, really well – only two accidents. Then from day two it was all a bit hit and miss. Literally.
Instead of thinking that maybe we should stop and try again another time, I opted for more books and I needed books with poo in, as weeing he was getting the hang of, but poos not so much/at all/in his nappy at odd times of night waking us all up. And the reward for doing a poo in the potty had increased to a level that would never be sustainable for long!
Everybody Poos by Taro Gomi, a Japanese children’s book illustrator and author is a fantastic book with bright, amusing illustrations and while I was pretty sure Milo understood the message we were drilling into him by reading it, the book in itself fascinated him.
It’s quite graphic and possibly not for the squeamish (my dad won’t go near it!) but it’s informative too – a small biology lesson really. Milo now knows that rabbits do small poos and elephants do big poos. He also likes to tell people this.
My parents bought Milo Pip and Posy: The Little Puddle by Axel Scheffler (Nosy Crow) for reading at their house.
He loves Axel Scheffler and so was instantly comfortable with the illustrations and has asked me to read it with him when we’ve both been at their house, several times. Library Mice has written a great review of this book and Pip and Posy: The Super Scooter, so head over there for a read. I agree very much with her that it is delightful to see Pip pop on one of Posy’s dresses without any hesitation after his little accident. Milo never comments at this, accepts it as absolutely normal, just as he sees no problem with wanting to put a little of mummy’s lip gloss on at times, or that his friend Samuel often wears his sister’s hairclips to music class.
The book though that I personally think really did the trick and resonated with Milo was Pirate Pete’s Potty by Andrea Pinnington (Ladybird).
Milo instantly liked Pete. The stages of potty training were really familiar for him (choosing pants, choosing a potty, trying to sit on the potty, managing to wee, not worrying about accidents etc…) but the most useful part of the book was that it took Pirate Pete a little longer to get to grips with poos. So this was a common problem it would seem, not just isolated to us and this I think helped to normalise it for Milo. And a couple of days after we first read it, he did a poo in his potty which, in his words, was “just like pirate Pete”. The cheer button on the book also really helped to engage him in the text.
Things have gone pretty well since then and to be honest, he lost interest in the sticker reward system very early on which is handy. We re-read all the books quite frequently, especially Pirate Pete. Milo has some pirate pants of his very own now courtesy of his eagle eyed Nana who spotted them while out shopping. There’s a version of the book for girls too Princess Polly’s Potty which also has great reviews on Amazon!
It’s making life a lot easier. We’re not sorted for naps and night-time yet, but I imagine that takes a little longer.
How about you? Do you have any children’s books that you’ve found invaluable for assisting with potty training?