July 7, 2006

DT Bizarre Book Contest: Potty Training Special

too_big_for_diapers.JPG potty_book_girls.jpg

Title: Too Big for Diapers
Photographer: John E. Barrett; Stylist: Danielle Obinger; Art Director: Laurent Linn

Title: The Potty Book - for girls
Author/Illustrator: Alyssa Satin Capucilli, Dorothy Stott
Reviewed by: Jason (a.k.a. daddy in a strange land a.k.a. Rice Daddies Jason)

Okay, I understand the need for books that familiarize a pre-potty-trained toddler with what she (and her parents) are about to be put through. But there's something slightly unsettling about these books. Maybe it's the 3-D puppet photography in Too Big for Diapers, with baby Ernie frozen forever mid-squat pulling his pants down, then celebrating by t.p.-ing himself (tellingly, you can't quite see if his pants are all the way back up or not because of the toilet paper). Maybe it's the beautifully illustrated page in The Potty Book-for girls that, before my babygirl cared if I actually read the words as printed on the page or not, I paraphrased as, "Oops! I peed on the floor!" Yeah, that must be it.

[ed. note: the whole potty training experience is bizarre enough without muppet babies. Remember Elmo asking kids to join in his suicide pact in his potty book?]


My wife got The Potty Book for Girls out of the library for my daughter. She likes the book ("Hannah!"). The two pages that stand out to me are the one where Hannah wets her pants, and her parents say, "That's okay, Hannah" but continue to sit there on the couch eating cookies while Hannah stands there with wet pants.

The other page I hate is the last page, where they rhyme "me" with "me".

Oh, yeah, I forgot to mention ... thanks to this book, my daughter, when she sits on the "potty", she now sits for 5 seconds, stands up to look in the potty, sits for 5 seconds, stands up to look in the potty, etc...

We have both of these, and while bizarre, they aren't nearly as bizarre as the potty training videos. Check out "It's Potty Time," where a clown hired for the day takes the kids to the potty, and where a strange little man keeps appearing on the screen to discuss the urge to go. Or try "No More Diapers," where the bear's love for diapers gets so much screen time you'd think that it was a pro-diaper video.

Dora's Potty Book (Dora the Explorer) (Board book)
by Melissa Torres ,A&J Studios


Everyone Poops (My Body Science Series) (Paperback)
by Taro Gomi ,Amanda Mayer Stinchecum (Illustrator)


Potty books are, by nature, bizarre because it's hard to describe something that everyone does but no one actually wants to verbalize. Here are the two potty books that Roo has. Neither has really given her more than a passing interest in using the potty, although the computer sound chip in the Dora book has gotten her excited about flushing. You would think that the Poop book would be more bizarre but it's very straightforward. What is truly bizarre is how Dora refers to her baby brother and sister only as that... never by name. And there are just innocuous references to what exactly goes on in the potty, apparently it's mostly a sartorial difference, something to do with switching from diapers to big girl underpants. I prefer the blunt approach of "everyone eats, so everyone poops."

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