5 Minutes for Books: Potty Animals

by Guest Contributor

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.

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{ 53 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Ivy May 17, 2010 at 12:14 am

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 sleeplessnights04 May 17, 2010 at 12:51 am

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 Casondra Clement May 17, 2010 at 7:15 am

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 Naomi May 17, 2010 at 7:34 am

Jasper is just about ready for this!


5 Peggy Gorman May 17, 2010 at 8:38 am

So sweet!! Potty training will never be the same! Thanks for the chance


6 Kathleen May 17, 2010 at 8:55 am

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


7 Amanda Daybyday May 17, 2010 at 8:56 am

Oh how I’d love to win this book, since I’m having such a hard time training my youngest.


8 DebbieKL May 17, 2010 at 10:16 am

Looks like a cute book! We’ve been potty training for awhile now – can’t wait to be done!


9 LT May 17, 2010 at 10:36 am

This sounds very helpful and cute too! Thanks for the chance to win it!


10 Doing the Mom Thing May 17, 2010 at 10:59 am

As a former preschool teacher and mom about to venture into the world of potty training, I absolutely can not wait to read this book. Thanks for the chance to win it! :)


11 Jennifer C May 17, 2010 at 11:21 am

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!


12 Sky May 17, 2010 at 11:46 am

Looks like a super cute book! Definitely something that my 2 year old would enjoy!


13 Nicole May 17, 2010 at 3:00 pm

Getting ready to potty train my 3rd son…definitely looks like something we could use!


14 Nancy May 17, 2010 at 4:14 pm

This sounds so cute! My boys are out of diapers but can always use a reminder about pretty much all of it.


15 Karen Rorison May 17, 2010 at 5:46 pm

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.


16 Annette W May 17, 2010 at 6:08 pm

I would love this for in 6-12 months when it’s time to potty train my son. I love that it’s a different type of potty book!


17 Amanda Crocker May 17, 2010 at 6:37 pm

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!


18 Jen May 17, 2010 at 6:43 pm

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.


19 Alison S. May 17, 2010 at 6:55 pm

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.


20 Anne May 17, 2010 at 7:50 pm

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!


21 Jessica May 17, 2010 at 8:56 pm

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!


22 AZ May 18, 2010 at 2:27 am

Thanks for the chance to win!

zenzart at hotmail dot com


23 Michelle B May 18, 2010 at 9:04 am

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


24 Shannon May 18, 2010 at 11:34 am

just starting potty training…this would be prefect!


25 Some Lucky Dog May 18, 2010 at 12:19 pm

This would be great for sharing with a couple of our younger grandsons. And having raised boys….maybe it would even be good for some “older” ones :)


26 katklaw777 May 18, 2010 at 1:36 pm

This would be a great book for helping my niece along the potty path, lol thanks.


27 Staci A May 18, 2010 at 1:54 pm

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!


28 LaVonne May 18, 2010 at 3:20 pm

This book sounds so cute. Thanks for offering it!


29 Tennille May 18, 2010 at 3:41 pm

Oooh we are nearing potty training time at my house-this could be helpful.


30 Tracey May 18, 2010 at 8:50 pm

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


31 Lynn May 19, 2010 at 8:21 am

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! :-)


32 Julie May 19, 2010 at 9:50 am

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!


33 Krista May 19, 2010 at 11:43 am

I have a 2-year old. Enough said.


34 Andrea May 20, 2010 at 9:54 am

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?


35 Teri May 20, 2010 at 4:38 pm

We are getting ready to broach the potty training days! We’ll have to find a copy of this book as a resource.


36 Kirsten T. May 21, 2010 at 4:04 pm

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!


37 Nicole Roberts May 22, 2010 at 10:01 am

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


38 Deb May 23, 2010 at 12:14 am

Sounds like a book our daughter would love.


39 Michele May 24, 2010 at 2:26 am

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


40 Upstatemomof3 May 24, 2010 at 9:48 pm

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.


41 Mozi Esmes Mom May 26, 2010 at 1:27 am

We posted about this giveaway at Winning Readings: http://winningreadings.blogspot.com/2010/05/potty-animals.html

Janemaritz at yahoo dot com


42 riTa May 26, 2010 at 8:38 am

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


43 Kristie Koch May 26, 2010 at 8:39 am

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.


44 Heather May 27, 2010 at 3:35 pm

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


45 Ann Wilson May 27, 2010 at 4:10 pm

love it!


46 Jamie Clark May 27, 2010 at 4:20 pm

Looks adorable! Would be great for my 2 nephews and soon enough for my baby boy too.


47 Christie May 27, 2010 at 11:35 pm



48 Margaret May 28, 2010 at 9:37 am

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!


49 Brittany Fell May 28, 2010 at 3:48 pm

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!


50 Amanda A May 28, 2010 at 7:43 pm

This sounds great! We are having problems with our three year old and accidents!


51 angie May 29, 2010 at 9:08 am

sounds like a very cute book


52 Hattie May 29, 2010 at 8:01 pm

This book would be perfect for my little granddaughter. Hoping I’m the lucky on!


53 Katrina May 31, 2010 at 4:39 pm

thanks for the giveaway


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