Yep, pants. That’s what I’m dealing with this week and probably for at least a few weeks after that. We’ve reached the glorious stage of potty training with H (we started yesterday) and I’m therefore up to my ears in pants, potties and packets of loo roll. With the foolhardy confidence of being only one day in I’d like to say that he isn’t doing too badly, though if he’s anything like C it’ll get worse before it gets better.
Anyway, I usually look to books to help me through any tricky situations and potty training is no different. We bought two books to share with C for this purpose and they worked pretty well, but they’re proving even more of a hit with H. Obviously they’ve been hanging around at home for nearly two years now since C knocked nappies on the head and both boys have periodically picked them up at storytime (because clearly, nothing says ‘snuggly family bonding moment’ like pictures of knickers and a good old poo rhyme) for us to read with them.
However, once H started showing in interest in all issues toilet-related (in case it’s in any way helpful, I used this article from Babycentre as a rough guide to readiness) we ensured the books became a regular part of our reading activity and he has absolutely fallen in love with them. From about Christmas onwards he’s been keen to read them at least every other night and it was pretty amazing watching him today as he clicked that what he’d been reading about for all this time was now actually happening to him. The experience has been a pretty persuasive argument (not that I needed one) in favour of the power of books and reading.
So, without further ado, here are the books we’re using.
N.B. The equivalent girls’ book can be found here.
N.B. The equivalent girls’ book can be found here.
Both books have novelty features that have captured the attention of both C and H. ‘Boys’ potty time’ has a front cover that looks like an actual 3D loo seat and ‘Pirate Pete’s Potty’ has a button you can press that cheers (you can use this at the appropriate point in the book as well for every success your child with the actual potty training process).
I have posted before about my feelings towards books that have a lot of bells and whistles, but in both these cases they do actually work brilliantly. The books also work well in tandem – ‘Pirate Pete’s Potty’ is written in prose and features cute, colourful illustrations, whereas ‘Boys’ potty time’ is written in rhyme and is accompanied by photographs (although obviously not of anything inappropriate).
‘Pirate Pete’s Potty’ encourages more interaction in that the reader is asked to ‘help’ Pirate Pete choose his potty, pants, etc. but ‘Boys’ Potty Time’ is more easily linked to the scenes the children themselves will actually be facing. Having said that, there is one spread in Pirate Pete where Pete himself is encountering a potty and wondering what it’s used for (a hat, a boat? Who knows!) which up until today H has found hilarious. However, after a day of using the potty himself (or at least attempting to), at last night’s reading he very seriously shook his head at Pete’s suggestions and mimed / told me how it should really be used. If nothing else, the little man has a future playing ‘Charades’.
One thing that did occur to me when reading these books was the gender specific packaging of them. Now, despite the fact that in all other forums I would argue against the need for gender stereotyping and marketing things differently to children of opposite sexes, in this case I can see why a decision was made to have separate books for girls and boys. However, obviously the gender division was built up yet further with the colours and images used and I don’t think that was necessary. I haven’t seen either of the equivalent girls’ books (having two sons) but from searching tonight to find the links I can see that they’re both very pink and that Pirate Pete’s partner in crime is ‘Princess’ Polly. Hmmmm.
I can’t personally criticise the images chosen for boys as both C and H love the range of vehicles printed on the loo seat of ‘Boys’ potty time’, in particular. I also understand that the purpose of these books is to be a useful tool for parents and children alike; something that’s easily located amongst other books in times of emergency (C liked to hear Pirate Pete cheering him EVERY time he used the potty) and that simply and non-frighteningly explains this huge milestone that the child is reaching. They’re not aspiring to be great works of children’s literature (though both will be forever remembered in our house) and I can understand why the concepts were chosen. I suppose it would just be nice to think that one day boys would be associated with more than just blue things and heavy duty vehicles and similarly that girls could be linked with more than just pink things, flowers and princesses.
All that said, I don’t think this sort of book would necessarily be the place for publishers to start pushing boundaries and I think both these books do an amazing job – I would recommend them to anyone. We haven’t used any other potty training advice books (aimed at either adults or children) If you’ve read the girls’ versions and would like to share your thoughts on those, I’d love to hear from you.
TTFN (and apologies if the next few posts are heavily perfumed – I’m going a little OTT on the cologne in an attempt to protect my nose from a daily battering 😉 )