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12 Best Potty Training Books for Toddlers and Parents

From the classic to the quirky, these potty training books will inspire your little one to ditch the diapers for good.
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Updated June 28, 2023
Best Potty-training Books
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As any parent of a toddler knows, potty training is as intense as it is messy. Scientists have pondered the various approaches, and parents who’ve “been there, done that” can be pretty passionate about what works and what doesn’t. Whether you decide to take it slow or go all-out commando, one thing is for certain: Nothing will happen unless your child is interested and motivated. How best to do that? During story time, take out one (or two or three) of these picks for the best potty training books. With the help of engaging narratives and happy potty-using characters, you just may be freed from diapers soon enough! And if you’re feeling a little overwhelmed, don’t worry—we’ve included a few choices to help guide parents through the process too.

When Should I Start Potty Training My Child?

There really is no definitive answer to the question every parent asks when their child locks eyes with the toilet for the first time—is it time to think about potty training already? Every little one is different, so while some toddlers show signs that they’re ready to start learning how to use the toilet earlier (around the 2-year age mark), others are slower to start, not showing any readiness signs until they’re closer to 2-and-a-half or 3 years of age.

Ultimately, it’s all up to you and your soon-to-be titans of toiletry to decide when the time is right to commit to the commode, but if you need a reputable reference point, we’ve got you. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the average age that children start potty training in the US is between 2 and 3 years. However, the physiological and cognitive signs of readiness can present before and after those professionally-recognized benchmarks too, so you’ll just need to keep track of those cues and jump in when both you and your youngster can be all hands on deck. After all, flexibility, patience, support and consistency are key to navigating this grand experiment in elimination.

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Best Potty Training Books For Toddlers

When you’re narrowing down the choices, you’ll want to focus on a few content characteristics. For toddlers, it’s important for potty training books to provide both a positive and relatable rendering of what using the toilet looks like. Vibrant illustrations and simple language can help kiddos understand the process and promote their curiosity; likewise, books depicting diverse characters (humans and animals alike) relay that pooping and peeing are just a normal, every day part of life. And if you can find books that hype up the hygiene part—the wiping, the hand-washing, etc. of potty breaks—you’re looking at bonus points!

Classic potty training books for toddlers

At the end of the day, going potty is a universal practice—boys, girls, humans, animals and literally every living creature need to get rid of waste—so a book that just comes right out and says it is bound to be a classic. We love these simple, instructive and supportive storylines, and we’re confident they’ll be relevant for years and years to come. So whether you’re potty training your first or your last, you don’t have to worry about being out of date.

Classic potty training picture book

What We Love
  • Destigmatizes bodily functions so toddlers don’t feel shame when potty training
  • Simplistic language and vibrant illustrations make the concepts easy to understand for small children
Things To Consider
  • Doesn’t touch on topics like the transition to big kid underwear and understanding bodily cues
  • Instructive nature, like how boys and girls use the potty, how to wipe and how to wash hands is missing
  • Can be a bit too simple when potty training older kids

Okay, so this pick doesn’t have much of a plot compared to some other potty training books, but it does clearly explain that there’s no shame in going number two. The colorful pages and out-in-the-open illustrations will capture your toddler’s attention and also let them know that since every living creature eats, they’ll inevitably need to poop—some do it standing up, others do it sitting down, some go as they swim and some go as they prance, but grownups and children get to go on the potty (once they’ve moved on from the diaper days, of course). Embarrassment? Never heard of it!

Number of pages: 36 | Year published: 2020 (most recent edition)

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Potty training board book

*Once Upon a Potty* by Alona Frankel
Image: Bookshop
What We Love
  • Shows the realities of accidents and regressions happening
  • Exhibits positive reinforcement (a mother being proud of their child for overcoming obstacles and finally using the potty)
  • Discusses boy and girl bodies (each with mouths to eat and drink with and places where pee and poo “come out of”)
Things To Consider
  • Doesn’t speak to gendered or biological differences in how boys or girls go to/approach the bathroom
  • Art/visuals may skew a bit outdated

Originally written for a little boy (in his potty training era) by his mother, Once Upon a Potty has been a mainstay in the potty training canon since the 1970s. The latest editions (one for boys and one for girls) highlight Joshua and Prudence and their own potty training triumphs. What’s so great about this book, beyond its super simple text, is how it explains the life cycle of a potty training kiddo.

Number of pages: 24 | Year published: 2014 (most recent edition)

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First-person potty training book

*A Potty for Me!* by Karen Katz
Image: Target
What We Love
  • First-person/child narrator makes kids feel like they’re along for the ride
  • Bright and engaging, keeping toddler readers interested
Things To Consider
  • Child protagonist is androgynous, which can be inclusive but could potentially confuse toddlers learning to sit or stand to go to the bathroom
  • Though promoted as an interactive book, many parents say the flaps are hard for their children to lift up
  • Lack of consistency in training does disappoint some parents

Sure, it’s exciting to get a brand-new, just-for-you potty as a present, but not every child is ready to dive into the dirty work right away (when staying dry in a diaper during playtime is the alternative), and that’s precisely what prospective potty trainers see in this delightful little story. The best part? Even after the little one has gone through some totally normal ebbs and flows of potty training (the “whoopsy” pants, the “could-it-be” feelings that just lead to a lot of waiting and waiting, etc.), they still keep going—making the final “I really did it! And now I know I can,” so much sweeter.

Number of pages: 26 | Year published: 2005

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Best potty training boy books

A good potty training book is a good potty training book, regardless of the characters’ genders. That being said, there are certainly benefits to scooping up a book with a boy protagonist if you have a son who’s ready to start the potty training process. “Boy” books can provide targeted guidance and insights tailored to boys’ developmental needs and unique anatomy. They may offer practical advice on techniques like standing to pee, aiming and building good hygiene habits or, more simply, they may just give your little boy a peer to root for (and show him that he’s not alone!).

Potty training board book for boys

*Pottysaurus* by Brooke Vitale
Image: Amazon
Buying Options
Amazon|$8.99
What We Love
  • Soft-padded board book is easy for little hands to hold
  • Inner cover includes a bookplate for personalization (giving them a sense of pride over their own potty training journey)
  • Adorable rhyming words and whimsical illustrations
Things To Consider
  • Parents do say that the “big kid underwear” references feel a little outdated

Have a tiny T-rex who’s ready to pounce on their new potty, but feeling a little bit shy about it? This playful story following an adorably cute and friendly dinosaur named Pottysaurus might just be what they need to stomp out their trepidation. Through relatable and humorous illustrations, the book engages the attention and imagination of young boys and makes their potty training experience fun and exciting. Plus, "Pottysaurus" isn’t just a skilled (or should we say scaled?) entertainer, he also educates, teaching readers about the importance of listening to their bodies and scurrying to the bathroom when nature calls.

Number of pages: 24 | Year published: 2020

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Superhero-themed potty training book

*I’m A Potty Superhero* by Mabel Forsyth
Image: Amazon
What We Love
  • Colorful and creative illustrations ignite little boys’ imaginations
  • Great collection for families with a mix of potty training sons and daughters
Things To Consider
  • Superhero theme might not appeal to/resonate with every boy
  • Not all of the books are available at every retailer

If your little boy loves playing superheroes, then he might take a cue from the protagonist in this top pick among the best potty training books for boys. Short and sweet, it tells how even superheroes need to conquer some bathroom business on the potty before they can go about saving the world. If all goes well, your little one will take on the role of caped crusader, easily pressing pause on his crime-fighting pursuits (whatever that might mean for a toddler!) to handle pee and poop affairs first. It’s also well worth noting that there are four iterations of this book featuring heroes of different genders and skin tones.

Number of pages: 10 | Year published: 2021 (most recent edition)

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Pete the cat potty training book

*Potty Time With Pete the Kitty* by Kimberly and James Dean
Image: Walmart
What We Love
  • Simple, predictable cadence outlined for what potty-goers need to do in the bathroom (unroll and clean, pants up, press the lever, whoosh)
  • Pete the Cat’s popularity can make toddlers feel even closer to and engaged with the story and its lessons
Things To Consider
  • Familiarity with Pete the Cat may or may not be needed
  • Lift and flap books can be put through a lot of wear and tear with little ones

By the time your kiddo is in preschool and kindergarten, they’ll be getting to know Pete the Cat really well (he’s a beloved staple in every young reader’s curriculum). But before he was the cool, vintage high top-wearing, musically-inclined cat that he is today, he was a bright-eyed, red T-shirt-wearing kitty. And in this sweet and instructional board book, he learns all about potty training (no litter box in this tale). We adore this book not only for the interactive lift-the-flap interest, but for the step-by-step explanations Pete gives for what going to the potty entails—both for himself and for your training toddler. It’s not a long story, but the way it emphasizes routine and predictability—plus positive reinforcement from Pete’s mom and all the incentives—gives toddlers a great example to learn from.

Number of pages: 12 | Year published: 2022

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Best potty training girl books

“Girl” books can provide targeted guidance and insights tailored to girls’ developmental needs and unique anatomy. While the core principles of potty training are the same for boys and girls, there still are some gender-specific considerations and nuances that could be addressed in books that are gender-aligned. Girls may benefit from learning about proper wiping techniques or managing clothing differently than boys. Plus, seeing a character who they can relate to and feel familiar with can go a long way in reducing anxiety or apprehension over the course of potty training.

Relatable potty training book for girls

*The Potty Story: Girl’s Edition* by Agnes Green
Image: Walmart
What We Love
  • Incorporates adorable illustrations and a playful, engaging tempo
  • Emma’s character (first introduced in diapers, with her bunny lovey) is relatable for little girls
Things To Consider

Everything changes for Emma (the cutest little pigtail-wearing peanut) the day she receives a surprise in a big box from her mommy and daddy: a potty, of course. Throughout the story, Emma learns how to use her new present, pulling down her underwear, sitting, waiting, taking care of business, washing her hands and feeling proud! We especially love how the book brings the whole “waiting game” to life—because when you’re in the trenches with your toddler, there’s a lot of sitting, watching and waiting. But with reassurance from her mom not to worry, she sticks with it and eventually succeeds (with a big, proud smile on her face too).

Number of pages: 26 | Year published: 2022

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Superstar-themed potty training book for girls

*Superstar Potty Training Book for Girls* by Violet Giannone
Image: Walmart
What We Love
  • Walks little girls through what might precede(tummy rumbles) trips to the potty
  • Potty superstar song and praise can encourage confidence and pride in the process
Things To Consider
  • Not yet available at the larger mass book retailers

Written by a pediatric sleep and potty training consultant, this lovable look at potty training for toddler girls comes straight from a reliable and trustworthy source, and it’s overflowing with step-by-step instructions for little girls training for potty superstardom. What’s more, instead of lifting readers too much off the ground, the narrator speaks to your child one-on-one, asking questions like “you have your very own special potty…which does yours look like?” and explaining what every trip to the bathroom will look like (“your grown-up will help you take off your diaper and get on the potty like a superstar”). Oh, and the potty superstar song—for when your little legend becomes a seasoned potty star—is just perfect.

Number of pages: 48 | Year published: 2022

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Unicorn-themed potty training book for girls

*Unicorn Potty: Learn to Potty With Unicorn* by Laura Gates Galvin
Image: Amazon
Buying Options
Amazon|$7.99
What We Love
  • Playful rhymes make the instructive content very engaging
  • Chunky book pages are easy for kiddos to hold and flip through (and can endure wear and tear)
  • Short length and vibrant illustrations make the book age appropriate for toddlers
Things To Consider
  • Some parents say they have to read to their children multiple times a day, but that just speaks to its engaging content

Little girls and unicorns, what a magical pair! From the publishing houses that turned out Dino Potty, a truly [pre]historic potty training book for boys, comes the girl version, which features a pink-and-purple-clad, rainbow-maned main character. Like our former pick, this board book invites your child to come along with a new friend and colorful confidant as she goes to the potty (not too long ago, she too was going pee and poo in sparkly diapers). As independent and self-assured as the horned hero is, she still needs help when it comes to wiping and finishing up in the bathroom—but mom and dad are only a call away. When she has done her duty and gets all cleaned up, she feels like a queen. And really, who doesn’t after a successful potty break?

Number of pages: 18 | Year published: 2020

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Best potty training books for parents

There are several different schools of thought when it comes to modern potty training, but, sure enough, every method is on the same page about the importance of parents and toddlers working as a team. And sometimes, that’s a lot easier said than done; thankfully, potty training books—by a variety of industry leaders (psychologists, pediatricians, potty-training consultants and, most importantly, parents themselves)—can be a big help in offering step-by-step instructions, age-appropriate guidance and practical tips for navigating the process as successfully (and stress-free) as possible. These are some of our absolute favorites, and ones that have helped our own families here at The Bump get through the at-times tumultuous two-nado and threenage years.

Modern potty training guide for parents

What We Love
  • Emphasizes the importance of parental guidance and involvement during potty training
  • Relaxed and relatable storytelling approach allows parents to connect with the content and feel supported
  • Includes real-life examples and anecdotes that let parents know they’re not alone with the struggles they may encounter
Things To Consider
  • Jamie’s one-size-fits-all approach may be alienating to parents who want a more customizable potty training course
  • Additional resources may be necessary, especially if your child has specific setbacks or challenges that aren’t addressed in book

We really can’t cover toddler parenting books without also recommending potty training books for parents, and this iconic one by renowned parenting and potty training expert, Jamie Glowacki, always lands in our top three. While the incentive of not shelling out constant cash for diapers may be a reward for you, getting your toddler on board is a whole other ball game. This parenting book shows you how to get it done right the first time with a proven six-step process. And if you visit Jamie’s site, you can peep even more helpful resources.

Number of pages: 288 | Year published: 2015

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First-time guide to potty training for parents

*The First-Time Parent's Guide to Potty Training: How to Ditch Diapers Fast (and for Good!)* by Jazmine McCoy
Image: Amazon
What We Love
  • Provides an efficient three-day program
  • Lots of specific gender guidance
  • Troubleshooting advice is aplenty for when regressions strike
Things To Consider
  • Some parents say the book is overly repetitive
  • Other parents aren’t aligned with food as a first-line positive reinforcement/reward

Looking for a book that vibes with what’s going on in you and your kids’ lives? Enter: The First-Time Parent’s Guide to Potty Training, a well-rounded and instrumental manual for modern parents embarking on the potty training journey. Yes, it provides a step-by-step approach tailored to fit the busy schedules of today's parents, but it also focuses on understanding each child's unique needs, so you can master the diaper-to-potty transition. Our favorite part has to be the empathetic tone and relatable anecdotes, because they instill confidence and support in parents when you’re ready to flush all your progress down the toilet (after a particularly rough patch of potty adventuring). Also amazing? How the author leads with an extremely inclusive framework, addressing the needs of diverse family structures, providing strategies for potty training resistance and offering individualized guidance for parents of children with developmental delays or disabilities.

Number of pages: 176 | Year published: 2020

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Modern potty training manual for parents

*Success with Potty Training: No Potty Training Seat, No Pull Ups, No Training Underwear* by Beth Allen
Image: Amazon
Buying Options
Amazon|$14.99
What We Love
  • Comes with a progress chart and a bathroom steps chart with pictures that can be printed and taped up in the bathroom
  • Many parents say that the training principles can apply to tons of other areas of parenting
Things To Consider
  • For parents who want to get right into on-the-job training, the book might not be the best fit (encourages lots of pre-potty planning)

Monkey see, monkey do—how often do you hear that as a parent? The ideology is pretty on-point, and exactly what pediatric sleep and potty training consultant, Beth Allen, uses as the backbone for her 2022 modern potty training manual. In it, parents are encouraged to nix all the potty training crutches (like training seats, pull ups, training underwear) and instead learn how best to model appropriate behavior in the bathroom—because little ones can watch, learn and then mirror. What happens if parents aren’t present to roleplay? Well, caregiver transition guidance (for when mom or dad needs to go to work, for instance) gets an entire chapter. One Amazon reviewer describes the book as “practical advice given in a loving format,” and we’re here for it.

Number of pages: 117 | Year published: 2022

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How We Chose the Best Potty Training Books

We get it—potty training is a major milestone in any parent and child’s life, and it can make your head swirl with worries and frustration at times. To help you pick out the best potty training book(s) for you and your little ones, we browsed options from an array of online bookshops and trusted online retailers, so you don’t have to spend hours bookmarking the most helpful among them.

To get a better idea of how beneficial these potty training books were for real families in the midst of diaper-to-potty transitions, we read user reviews, and didn’t consider any titles with less than an average four-star rating. What’s more, we relied on our own experience as parents, and the potty training tales that helped get our own toddlers (and for that matter, ourselves as parents!) through the trenches.

Interested in learning more about our editorial process? Read about how our team develops and reviews all articles here.

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