By Beth S. Pollak
Potty training can be one of a parent’s hardest jobs! While some kids catch on quickly, others might take months. Investing the hours needed for toilet training requires patience, kindness, and encouragement.
Once your family decides to practice the potty, it’s important to have some positive motivation! To help inspire your little one, take a look at two new books in the Caribu app: Potty Superhero: Get Ready For Big Boy Pants! and Potty Superhero: Get Ready For Big Girl Pants! by Mabel Forsythe.
Written in memorable rhymes, the books tell the stories of a little boy and a little girl who are practicing using the potty. One day, the kids are wearing their superhero costumes and playing with their pets, when they realize their “tummy’s feeling funny” and it’s time to go to the bathroom! They both experience some potty mistakes and messes, but eventually try again. Using their “super potty powers” they “sit and count to ten” and succeed. At the end of the books they are diaper-free and proud.
Relatable Potty Tales
The stories capture the real-life feelings and frustrations that children might feel as they learn to potty train! Like the characters in the books, many kids experience different tummy sensations during the day. This can be confusing during playtime or family activities. It also can be tricky for toddlers to know how long to sit on their potties, and how to time their toilet trips accurately. Kids will make inevitable mistakes and experience some uncomfortable accidents.
By reading the stories of potty superheroes, kids can find relatable characters to encourage them not to give up!
“The focus of Potty Superhero is on the enthusiasm for being a big kid, overcoming fears and mistakes, and accomplishing a mission —not just the specifics of potty training,” said Melissa Tigges of Cottage Door Press, the book’s publisher. “The fun illustrations and cute superhero story with pet sidekicks offer a positive approach for parents.”
She added that portraying the characters as superheroes also makes them memorable for readers. “Children love superheroes because they give them an outlet to understand hard stuff with just enough magic to make it not scary. Children can identify with them and want to reflect their best traits and follow in their footsteps.”
In addition, the books show the kids making their decisions without the input of an adult. One key aspect of toilet training is helping kids recognize for themselves the internal signals that indicate it’s bathroom time, so they know to head to the toilet in response. Parents can’t monitor this for kids as they get older, and building independence around this skill is essential.
The kids in the story use their own initiative to think about stomach sensations and make their own decisions about using the bathroom. Although they have mixed results, they learn from their accidents and become successful. This demonstration of bathroom independence, perseverance, and growth makes these Potty Superheroes excellent role models for your child!
Toilet Training Strategies
According to the MayoClinic, most children will be ready to get started with potty training around two to three years old. Some milestones to look for:
- Can your child approach and sit on a potty or toilet alone?
- Can your child pull down his or her pants and pull them up again?
- Can your child stay dry for up to two hours?
- Can your child understand and follow basic directions?
- Can your child communicate when he or she needs to go?
- Does your child seem interested in using the toilet or wearing “big-kid” underwear?
The Mayo Clinic advises not to pressure kids to toilet train before they seem comfortable. Make sure that you or a caregiver have made space in your daily schedule to support kids’ potty pursuits consistently for a few months. Remember that accidents will happen to all kids! Mistakes and messes should not be punished or seen as signs of disobedience, stubbornness, or lack of intelligence.
When it’s time to potty train, some tips to keep in mind:
- Support your child with a comfortable potty chair in a kid-friendly location, and speak about it positively.
- Decide which words you will use to refer to bodily fluids, and avoid negative references.
- Schedule potty breaks for first thing in the morning, after naps, before bed, and at two-hour intervals throughout the day.
- While your child sits during a potty break, stay with them to talk, read, play, sing, and/or praise their efforts.
- Notice when your child is showing signs they need to use the bathroom, and help them get to the potty on time. Discuss the feelings that signal bathroom time, and help kids learn to recognize them.
- Dress your child in easy-to-remove clothing.
- Teach kids crucial hygiene habits, like how to wipe with toilet paper, and how to wash hands with soap and water after toilet use.
- Celebrate transitions from diapers to training pants or underwear.
Once you get started with toilet training, reading stories like the Potty Superhero books can support your little ones as they take on this tricky challenge! First, download the Caribu app. Then find the books in Caribu’s in-app library under “Summer Reading” or “New and Notable” categories. Read them with a loved one in a Caribu Video-Call, and enjoy a virtual playdate together. Share your own stories of funny bathroom tales, and remind your favorite superheroes that they are not alone in their toilet adventures.
Beth S. Pollak is a writer and educator based in California. In addition to working with Caribu, she consults with educational organizations and EdTech companies. Beth has worked as a teacher and journalist in Chicago, New York, and San Francisco. She holds degrees in journalism, bilingual education, and educational leadership. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, biking, picnics, and dance.