by Anne Civardi
This picture book about a two-year-old learning to use the potty is going through its second round in my house. I read it a lot when my first daughter was young, and am reading it to my second child now. It has bright, simple pictures that show the little girl Millie at home with her family (big sister, younger brother) and how she learns to potty. She sees her big sister\’s example in the bathroom, and then her mom gives her a potty of her own. Her friend tells her what it\’s for, Mom helps her sit on it (even though nothing happens at first) and she gets out of diapers into \”big girl pants\” (which I read as \”special panties\” because that\’s what I call them with my daughter). Millie has several accidents but is always gently reminded to use the potty instead. She finds that it\’s okay to potty in different places- taking it along in the car, using it right before bedtime, even occasionally going in the bushes with help from dad when at a picnic. By the end of the book she\’s using the toilet with some help, and learns to wash her hands afterwards. Then she gets to be the example and tries to sit her baby brother on the potty!
I think it\’s cute, as well as being a good sample for a child of different activities and experiences that surround toilet training. I also like the home atmosphere in the books; the floors are strewn with toys (just like my house looks most days), the mom always looks gentle and helpful, the family is shown doing things together like making cookies, playing outside with a hose in hot weather, going out on errands. My child is really fond of this book, and was even before we started helping her use the potty in earnest.
When I read it aloud, I do change the euphanisms \”Number One\” and \”Number Two\” to the more straightforward \”pee pee\” and \”poo\” we use in our house. But the book itself makes that suggestion; there\’s a brief forward that reminds parents to use whatever terminology they already have in place with their own kids. I don\’t know why this book seems to have fallen out of favor; the amazon review is rather critical, and nobody else seems to have made notice of it. Maybe some dislike how the pictures show clearly activities surrounding toileting habits, while the text itself doesn\’t go into great detail. But I think that works just fine; kids don\’t always need a ton of detailed verbal explanations, whereas they can look at a picture and identify with it clearly. It works for us.
Rating: 4/5 …….. 24 pages, 1988