5 Minutes for Books: Potty Animals

As the mother to three children, you could most definitely say that potty talk is big in my life. No, not the potty talk that would get you to tsk tsk me, but the actual talking about the pottying experience, of course! Having read just about every picture book that introduces the concept of ditching the diapers and becoming a Big Boy or Girl, I can honestly say that the new book by Hope Vestergaard, Potty Animals: What to Know When You’ve Gotta Go!, stands unique in the crowd.

A cast of characters who have all mastered the act of using the potty is introduced, but each young animal has a certain challenge in the bathroom arena. Among them there’s Wilbur who tries to skip out on the hand-washing, Freddie who’s not too keen on the flushing part, Georgie who often forgoes the wiping step, and my personal favorite, Arnold:

Though Arnold has outstanding aim,
to point and kick and throw,
he isn’t always accurate,
when it’s time to go.
He hits the floor, he hits the lid, he hits the toilet seat.
Not much goes in the toilet bowl,
which isn’t very neat.”

Now I gotta tell you as a former preschool teacher responsible for cleaning up after eighteen four-year-olds, this page with its illustration of a sheepish looking alligator standing next to a potty flanked by small puddles on the floor is as realistic as it gets!

Each young animal gets a reminder of the more appropriate behaviors- from washing hands, to closing the door, to knocking before entering, and much more, and the tone is never harshly reprimanding at all. The cartoonish illustrations are colorful and cute, but the messages are as true to life as can be. If I make it back into a preschool classroom in the coming years, this book will most definitely be coming with me.

You can also read a fun Q & A with the author, Hope Vestergaard, and even download a poster to display for your own potty animals!

Announcing a giveaway for Potty Animals: What to Know When You’ve Gotta Go! makes me so happy that I could burst! (Sorry, I couldn’t resist… don’t worry, I won’t be like Wilma and wait until the last minute!):

Sterling Books is generously offering three copies of this adorable and very useful book, along with bottles of hand sanitizers featuring some key reminders and characters from the story. Please leave one comment here to be entered, U.S. and Canada residents only, please.

We’ll announce the winners in this column on May 31.

Our giveaway for two beautiful and colorful picture books is still open now. The winner of a wonderful novel previously featured, The Threadbare Heart, is #24 Trish at Autism Interrupted.

Check out our current giveaways at 5 Minutes for Books. Subscribe to our 5 Minutes for Books feed. Follow us @5M4B on Twitter.

The adventures of Dawn’s three potty animals take center stage at her blog, my thoughts exactly. She also writes book reviews at 5 Minutes for Books. Thanks to the publisher for a review copy of the book.


  1. Ivy says

    What a cute book! My little one is out of diapers but still needs help wiping and reminders to wash her hands. Would love to read this with her as she prepares for preschool this fall… and then I could hand the book down to my stepdaughter who is expecting her first.

  2. says

    I am currently going through potty training with my daughter, hopefully in time for preschool in September. I am on a number of books – and this one says it all. It is so cute – Arnold sounds just like my son – who is now five and still misses once in a while. :oP I could use a book like this too encourage M to use the potty all the time, hopefully.

  3. says

    We are currently potty training our 2 year old. She’s by far being the most resistant to the concept. I beginning to think I got lucky with it with my first two, because they both caught on easily, and wanted to be ‘Big Girls’ and use the potty.

    Arnold sounds like my 8 year old step-son who still ‘misses’ AT LEAST half of the time still.

  4. Kathleen says

    I’m *trying* to potty train a two and half year old and not having much success. I need this book!

  5. Jennifer C says

    I am in the middle of the horrible experience of attempting to potty train 3 year old twins. we could use any help we can get!

  6. says

    I am the proud grandmother of 2 grandsons both of whom need this book. I would love to sit and read it to them together and separately as I am lucky to be able to spend time with them.

  7. Amanda Crocker says

    I teach Inclusion Preschool and am constantly potty training!! I have a collection of books I keep in the bathroom to help my students (developmentally delayed AND typically developing) foster independence and build confidence by mastering toileting. This book is adorable and I would love it for my collection!

  8. says

    I’ve got 2 kids potty trained and an infant…I HATE potty training but obviously I’m not done doing it. Any help out there is appreciated.

  9. Alison S. says

    I have a little one to potty train soon and I’m not really looking forward to it. This book looks like it could be fun to have.

  10. says

    Sounds way cuter than anything we tried when my oldest was potty training – I’d love to win it for my youngest! I love that the humor of the mistakes or bad habits is coupled with the better behavior choice!

  11. Jessica says

    This book looks GREAT! I love having good stories to teach my children, and I haven’t found any really great ones in the potty area. This sounds perfect, especially since we just trained Hunter on Saturday. Here’s hoping I can win!

  12. Michelle B says

    This book would be a great tool when i begin to potty train my lil daughter which will not be far away

  13. says

    This sounds like such a cute book! My son is a little older, but after reading the quote you shared, I can definitely say, this book could teach him a thing or two!

  14. Tracey says

    This book looks perfect for my potty-training toddler. She relates to animals so well. Thanks for the chance to win!

  15. says

    My husband and I are about to embark on the potty training adventure with our daughter….this looks like it would be a great addition to our night time reading routine! :-)

  16. says

    I’m going through the potty training boot camp with my son and though he is doing well at home we struggle with the aiming part as well. That and telling me when he has to go when we are out of the house. He loves animals and may be more apt to listen to them than boring old mom!

  17. Andrea says

    My 2.5 year old daughter is fully potty trained, but she keeps missing the finer finishing point of washing her hands… maybe this book would help?

  18. Kirsten T. says

    Kid number 1 is potty trained, but its such a fight to get ehr to wash her hands after (unless its after bedtime, then she welcomes the procrastination tool). Thanks!

  19. Nicole Roberts says

    What an adorable book! My little buddy is just starting, but he could use all the positivity he can get!

  20. Michele says

    We are in potty training mode now and I am always looking for a good book to help my little man along.

  21. says

    Seeing as how my older daughter is just mastering the potty and my younger daughter will be learning in the not too distant future I would love to add this book to our collection.

  22. says

    One more grandbaby to be potty trained.
    The time’s coming up before ya’ know it.
    This would be very helpful and delightful!

  23. Kristie Koch says

    Thanks for the book suggestion. This sounds like a great potty training book; I love that the animals having different “issues” dealing with potty training- like Wilma who would wait too long. Very cute and relate-able to little ones.

  24. Heather says

    This would be great! I plan on potty training as soon as I can! My first ones were easy and I am hoping for another great experience

  25. Margaret says

    I adore this! It’s right on time, too. My grandson is beginning potty training right now. He loves books, so this would be wonderful!

  26. Brittany Fell says

    How perfect! My kindergartener just had a little accident at school this week (the LAST week of school and she “bursts”) and my 3-year-old just wet herself last night!?! We love books! This sounds like a great one!

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