Children's books and book reviews - reading resource for kids, teachers, librarians, parents

*Ian's New Potty* by Pauline Oud
Also by Pauline Oud:

Little Billy-Bob Gives Kisses

Little Billy-Bob

Sarah's Birthday

Going to the Beach with Lily and Milo

Going to the Zoo with Lily and Milo
Ian's New Potty
by Pauline Oud
Ages 1-3 32 pages Clavis Publishing November 2011 Hardcover    

It goes without saying that any new book about potty training written for two-year-olds and their potty trainers in the United States will be measured against Alona Frankel’s Once Upon a Potty, the gold—or should I say porcelain—standard of potty training books. This book, originally published in 1975, has sold copies in the millions and helped to potty train millions of kids.

I used the separate boy and girl versions of Once Upon a Potty to potty train my three kids, most recently in mid-2011. My youngest child carried the book around with him for about two weeks, even sleeping with it, and became close friends with Joshua, the protagonist, who was learning to go on the potty. Whether it was because of his obsession with the book or its slightly taboo content, the book seemed to have an effect on him, and his potty training was successful in a fairly short period of time.

Kids are fascinated by talk of the potty and various body parts, something that moms and dads do not often talk about, so more books about potty training can only be a good thing. Ian's New Potty is a nice addition to the body of potty training literature—large and colorful, with exciting, bright pictures of all different sizes, shapes, and colors of potties in the insets on the front and back covers. My two-year-old loved all of the different potties, especially the pink one with the pull handle.

Ian is given colorful, big-boy underwear decorated with cars and a bright red potty to try out. Like Joshua in Once Upon a Potty, his first efforts involve sitting on the potty and waiting and waiting for something to come out. After nothing happens, he plays with his blocks, gets distracted and has an accident, which is treated as a normal incident. He simply gets a new pair of underpants to try out.

He eats a big-boy sandwich for lunch and drinks juice from a green cup in contrast to his baby sister’s lunch of milk from a bottle. After lunch, while he is playing and building a big boy tent, Ian has a funny, tickling feeling in his belly. He runs to the bathroom and successfully makes it on the potty in time to both pee and potty.

His mother is excited for him, and the illustration shows a full potty. Even more exciting is that Ian gets to flush everything away. Bye-bye, pee and potty. Finally each fun step of getting to the sink to wash his hands is described: moving the stool, smelling the sweet soap, rinsing his hands.

One major difference between the two books is that Once Upon a Potty is much more graphic, illustrating and describing the private areas of boys and girls, which is why there are separate books for each sex. Although I am not an expert in potty training or child psychology, I think that explaining and illustrating the private areas and where everything comes out is healthy and fascinating for toddlers. Anything that makes the trainees think and keeps them interested is an asset. Ian's New Potty does not cover these concepts in as much depth, although its illustrations are lively and vibrant.

In addition, Once Upon a Potty makes sure to cover the notion of continuing to use the potty after first success, showing Joshua still sitting on his potty, where he “likes his potty and uses it every time.” Ian's New Potty focuses more on the tickling feeling that lets one know to get to the potty, and on the theme that learning to use the potty is part of becoming a big boy.

My two-year-old enjoyed this book even after he was potty trained (repetition and reminding are fine and necessary parts of this process) and carried this book around for a week or so. It held his interest and he identified with Ian.

Ian's New Potty is a wonderful addition for those who are leading up to or actively involved in potty training their kids. You cannot have too many potty training books.

click here to browse children's board book reviews
click here to browse children's picture book reviews
click here to browse young readers book reviews
click here to browse young readers book reviews
click here to browse young adult book reviews
click here to browse parenting book reviews
web reviews
  Tricia Dewey/2012 for curled up with a good kid's book  

For grown-up fiction, nonfiction and speculative fiction book reviews,
visit our sister site Curled Up With a Good Book (