We love using books to prepare the girls for change and other big life moments and milestones. Remember the reading list we complied to prepare Eliana and Lia for baby number 3? Now that Ava’s started showing an interest in potty training it’s time for a new list… All about Potty Training!
Living in the southern hemisphere makes December the perfect time to potty train. 2 Reasons why; our warm weather and also the fact that most parents enjoy a longer break over Christmas. Letting your toddler play outside without a nappy in their underpants can be very helpful. This gives them the opportunity to “see” and “feel” when it’s time to go. Being patient and relaxed and giving them all the time needed to master this new skill, without adding pressure and negativity is also key.
Remember, potty training is a major developmental milestone where your child is developing the ability to control their bladder and bowel movements and like with all development this should not be forced or rushed.
For most littles, the ideal time is around 24 months but a lot of kids tend to show an interest much earlier, around 18 months.
Instead of jumping at the opportunity to potty train (and taking longer) we decided to wait until after the girls turned 2. In the meantime, we still wanted to keep their interest alive and prepare them for what was to come. The selection of storybooks below proved valuable in making potty training a fun, stress-free and positive experience for all of us and I’m sure Ava will enjoy them too. I even credit our easy potty training track record to this early prepping and exploration of the subject.
5 Stories we love:
- Ready to Go! Toilet Time. A training Kit for Girls (There is also one available for boys) – Dr Janet Hall (Hardback)
- Tatta, doeke – Martie Kruger (Paperback)
- Die Storie van die Molletjie wat wou weet wie op sy kop gedinges het – Werner Holzwarth, Wolf Erlbruch (Paperback)
- Mag ek in jou doek loer? – Guido van Genechten (Hardcover) *Also available in English “Peek-a-Poo What’s in Your Diaper?”
- Op die potjie Gou! – Sally Lloyd Jones (Paperback)
A humorous 1st introduction:
I do warn parents, this book might not be in everyone’s taste but, Die Storie van die Molletjie wat wou weet wie op sy kop gedinges het is a favourite amongst our girls and all of their friends. It’s definitely an “age things” and most mamas can attest to the “toilet humour” toddlers thrive on. It’s a phase where “bum” and “poo” jokes are all the rage and although we don’t encourage this behaviour using it to our advantage has proven successful.
The story kicks off with Mole. Someone has had an “accident” on his head and he sets out to find out who! Page after page he visits all the animals on the farm, having a look at their poo until he finds the guilty culprit. It might sound like a strange topic and even a little gross but it serves as a fantastic conversation starter getting the girls to realise how “normal” this next phase of life is. The illustrations are pretty and we have had many laughs while reading this story. I highly recommend giving it a go.
Let’s talk diapers and the potty!
Next, we introduced the girls to the “how to’s”. The way we would go about potty training. Mag ek in jou doek loer? is perfect for this.
We follow the inquisitive mind of a little mouse interested in seeing what’s inside the diapers of all his farm animal friends. I know, more “toilet humour” but this book, with it’s “lift the flap” feature is actually very cute. Your little one gets to “open” every diaper discovering what’s inside.
As a grand finale, all the animals want to see what in mouse’s diaper. The surprise… NOTHING! Mouse is potty training and doesn’t need a diaper anymore. He prefers going to the potty and motivates all his friends (and your little) to do the same.
The reality of Potty Training:
Now that we have established a dialogue regarding potty training we move onto more realistic literature. Tatta, doeke!
Christiaan notices a foul smell in the home. Could it be a lion or an elephant? He sets out to find what could possibly be the cause, only to discover it’s coming from his baby sister’s room. It’s her dirty diaper! Upon realising how “gross” diapers are Christiaan decides he is big enough to start using his potty and wearing “big boy underwear”.
It shows how Christiaan waits patiently on his potty, wipes himself and proudly puts on his 1st pair of undies. It also promotes an independent approach lead by Christiaan, encouraging your little one that they can also do this!
Now get your little one involved!
Book 4 is new to our collection and actually Ava’s number 1! It is such an adorable story. Bunny needs to use the restroom but he’s not alone…
Cat, kangaroo, puppy, dodo, frog, the 3 little pigs, a dancing elephant, chicken, and dinosaur all have to go too. They all make it to their potties in time and it’s a POTTY PARTY! Now, with the turn of the last page Bunny asks; “But where is everyone? We still have one potty open…” A potty for YOU!
A positive reward system:
The last book we had fun using; Ready to Go! Toilet Time. A training Kit for Girls. (There is also a version available for boys). Developed by child psychologist, Janet Hall, this is yet another story about a little girl and how she goes about potty training. You are taken through the potty training experience step-by-step and the idea of a positive reward chart is introduced.
Eliana and Lia both enjoyed this book but for different reasons. Eliana never used a potty and was completely grossed out by the idea since day one, preferring to use a step ladder and child-sized toilet seat cover (just like the girl in the story). Lia, however, loved the Baby Throne (definitely our number 1 choice in potties seeing as it’s so comfy and really encouraged Lia to use it effectively every time she sat down) and the sticker reward chart was a HUGE hit, keeping accidents to a minimum!
After using the potty/toilet we needed to wipe properly, wash our hand thoroughly, dry them and only then could a sticker be stuck onto the reward chart. Lia loved seeing the same reward chart as the one used in the story on our bathroom wall. (Considered making copies of the chart before placing any stickers onto it, you may want to use it for future kids or even need an extra – these things take time.)
These books set the mood and helped us, potty train Eliana and Lia. Never letting them feel shy or embarrassed about “needing to go” or having an “accident”. They are great tools to set the foundations for successful, easy potty training, explaining this new phase to toddlers in a way they understand and can relate to. Now we are using them again to help Ava too.
You can find these books at your closest bookstore or online at Takealot.com.
Other tips while potty training:
- Have everything ready. Books, a potty or toddler toilet seat, cute underwear, handwash, and a stepping stool to reach the bathroom sink.
- Be excited with your little one!
- Ensure consistency by making sure all family members and caregivers know when you decide to potty train and also make sure everyone knows “how you have decided to go about potty training”.
- Know that potty training takes time and differs for every child.
- Dress your child in clothes that they can easily pull down themselves.
- Don’t restrict your child’s fluid intake during the day, rather remind them to visit the bathroom every 2 hours.
- Opening a tap might help get those “shy” bladders going.
- Always stay calm when accidents happen.
- Remember’ “dry nights” only come much later. It can take up to a year after potty training for your child’s bladder to mature to this point. Always let them wee before bedtime and keep an eye out for a period when he/she wakes up dry most mornings. After about a month of “dry mornings,” we felt confident to let go of night time nappies.
- Have a nightlight handy in the bathroom for nighttime toilet visits.
Do you have any favourite “potty time books” you read to your little ones or tips to share? Please leave a comment below telling us more.
Good luck mamas and remember to have fun with this next step!
PHOTO CREDIT | Selected photos by Anje-Ilana van Dalen from Madison & West Lifestyle Division.