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Potties, Poo and Soggy Beds

Toilet training is, in my opinion, one of the worst stages of parenting so books to help with it are very welcome. However, some of the books about potties show children playing with them in ways it seems sensible not to encourage. One even shows one being used as mixing bowl by a pretend cook! The potty books we've picked for review all emphasise what it's really for. We've also found a book for bed wetters and a funny one to take the embarrassment out of poo.

Liam Goes Poo in the Toilet
by Jane Whelan Banks
(Jessica Kingsley Publishers)
This small square picture book is one of six titles in ‘The Lovable Liam series’ each of which looks at learning a basic social skill. Subtitled ‘A Story about Trouble with Toilet Training’ this straightforward book, essentially an instruction guide, takes us and Liam through the processes of eating and excreting, showing the relationship between the two. The child-like nature of the line drawings and the simplicity of the brief narrative provide just enough information for sharing with those children who, for whatever reason, find learning to use the toilet a particular challenge.
(reviewed by Jill Bennett)
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Dippy's Sleepover
by Jane Clarke, illustrated by Mary McQuillan
(Red Fox)
Dippy has been invited to spend Friday night with his friend Spike and he's very excited. But there's one problem - he doesn't want Spike to know he wets the bed. Mrs Diplodocus does her best to reassure him but Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights go by and despite his determination, still Dippy isn't dry. The two friends enjoy tea and television together on Friday evening and finally it's time for bed, then disaster strikes. On Saturday morning both little dinosaurs blushingly face one another but Mrs Triceratops calmly tells them, "You'll soon grow out of it". Sure enough she's absolutely right as Dippy proves the very next night.
   A tricky problem for some children sensitively handled in a non-threatening way.
(reviewed by Jill Bennett)
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I want my Potty
by Tony Ross
(Andersen Press)
When the Little Princess decides that nappies are YUUECH, it's time for royal potty training to begin. Although she fights the idea at first and does try putting it on her head, she eventually learns what it's all about and decides the potty is fun. The only problem is she doesn't always get there on time. This simple story with delightfully funny illustrations is a great way to get small children interested in toilet training. The board book version is a slightly shorter than the original picture book but is sturdy enough for toddlers to look at alone and ideal for looking at on the potty.
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The Pop-up Potty Book
by Marianne Borghardt and Maxie Chambliss
(Orion Children's Books)
A simple straight forward look at potties and their use. The child in the pictures is sufficently unisex for both boys and girls to identify with and the only silly activity - putting the potty on your head - is clearly shown as wrong. Lift up flaps and pull tabs enable young readers to make something move on every page, including pulling down the main character's trousers, pulling down the toilet paper and emptying the potty in the toilet. A useful book to look at with your child but not sufficently robust for toddlers to look at by themselves.
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On your Potty!
by Virginia Miller
(Walker)
Bartholomew, the delightful toddler bear who always says "Nah", is learning to use his potty but he doesn't find it easy. First he doesn't want to sit on it. Then he finds that, even when he does, he can't do anything in it. But finally, he realises when he needs it and succeeds. A simple, reassuring story for any child but especially suitable for committed Bartholomew fans.
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Do Little Mermaids wet their Beds?
by Jeanne Willis and Penelope Jossen
Four year old Cecilia is very grown up in many ways but she still wets her bed. She worries about this enormously until she dreams she visits a mermaid whose bed is always wet so puddles don't matter. This gentle book looks reassuringly at an embarrassing topic but in a way that is very geared to girls. It would be lovely to see a similar book for boys who wet the bed, many of whom are older than four.
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The Story of the Little Mole who knew it was none of his Business.
by Werner Holzwarth and Wolf Erlbruch
(David Bennet Books)
When the little mole pops his head out of the ground, somebody poos on it. The indignant mole visits animal after animal to ask if it was them but they all assure him that it wasn't and, in proof, show him what their poo looks like. Finally some flies identify the culprit - a a large sleeping dog - so the mole gets his revenge by doing a tiny mole poo on the dog's head. A highly unusual and very funny book that allows children to talk about things that are not normally discussed.
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