Inside: Children's books about the human body that help with potty training.
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With both my kids, there's one time when I consistently get their best, focused attention.
It’s not when I’m standing in the living room reminding them we have 10 minutes before leaving for swim class.
It’s not when they’ve just returned home from school, tired, and hungry for a snack.
Nope, it’s always the same time everyday.
Bedtime. Our bedtime always includes reading books snuggled together in bed. That hasn't changed over the years, even though so much else has changed since they were little babes.
Now they’re in school.
Now there are bigger questions asked of me (oh and where do babies come from?).
Now we’ve had more life stuff to face together (their beloved great-grandmother dying).
What has stayed consistent is it’s easiest to have a chat with my kids with the support of a good book.
When we’re reading bedtime books, my kids are calm. We’re on the same level (laying together on my daughter’s bed). They’re settled in to hear me read, looking at all the illustrations, pointing out their observations.
Our bedtime reading routine is the perfect time to reconnect and have a small chat.
Whether it’s big life questions or anxieties around potty training (so many toddlers go through fears around these new sensations in their body), a children’s book on the human body is a good place to start.
Here are books to help spark chats on the human body, poop, and all these new sensations your diaper-free toddler is feeling.
Helping your toddler understand about the human body — and what happens with their body — it's a good idea if you're thinking about starting potty training soon.
Helping your toddler understand about the human body when they're FREAKING OUT and having anxiety around using the potty, peeing in the potty, pooping in the potty — that's a good idea too (get on that soon).
Giving your toddler visuals, talking through things in simple language..children's books help normalize what's happening. And that can help with the anxiety.
It sounds seemingly simple. Talk to your toddler.
Read to your toddler about what's happening in their body.
But it's something that often is overlooked....until there is an issue with potty training.
Because let's think on what's happening from a toddler's perspective.
They are NOT born understanding where pee comes from, why it's healthy to take care of your body and pee when you FEEL the pee...that's all learned. And when a toddler goes diaper-free, they are first learning what it FEELS like to release their pee outside of a diaper. Different sensation, right?
And remember toddlers don't like NEW.
And then there's the poop.
Do you have a name for the part of the body where poop comes out? Because especially if your child is having any trouble around pooping in the potty, you want to give that part of the body a name (that you and your family feel comfortable with) to normalize it, make it all feel less scary.
Think on what's happening. This new sensation of releasing a poop in the potty versus the poop-smushed-in-diaper feeling that has been your child's pattern through life until now.
Where does the poop come out?
Well, the anus to be straightforward — that's the human anatomy. So whether you use that word..butthole, whatever you feel comfortable with, you're starting to explain to your toddler about their body, where poop comes out.
Knowing what to expect helps a lot with toddler anxiety. It also helps to explain the timing of WHEN you go potty to poop (BEFORE poop comes out of your bum.)
And timing is everything with poop!
Understanding what the anus is and where poop comes out also helps with wiping. Because just saying wipe your...butt...tushie..bum to a toddler leads some kids to literally wipe their butt cheeks. Which of course leads to more poop track marks in the undies, especially if your toddler is in preschool or daycare and you're not around to help wipe.
By knowing what the body part is — and by putting a name to it — you can start to explain to your child WHERE to wipe. And that helps a lot in the long run.
In all parts of potty training, there is one simple fact that holds true.
The more you normalize the process, the easier it goes.
So let's talk children's books on the human body that are helpful!
There are a lot of good ones out there that not only help YOU with the language and guiding those chats, but these books also give visuals — which always helps with young kids.
Here are a few favorite children's books on the human body:
This book explains all systems of the human body — so it goes way beyond peeing and pooping. But I especially like the page that talks about pee and how pee is made in the body.
This is a helpful book for a child who's holding back on releasing their pee. The visuals help sparks chats with your toddler about taking care of your body and going pee BEFORE you have the peepee dance.
The wiggly pee dance means you've held it too long.
I guarantee your toddler will love shining a light (even the phone will do) behind the pages to SEE the baby growing in the mama's belly and see the X-ray of bones. (So it's also a book that's helpful if you're expecting another child and want to start those chats with your toddler about your growing belly.)
2. Amazing You
This book by Dr. Gail Saltz is a helpful guide for preschoolers to learn about the private parts of the human body and how you and your parts grow up. There are even illustrations showing what a boy and girl look like from baby to kid to grownup. This book is also helpful if you're expecting, as it talks about how a baby grows inside the mom.
I especially like that it brings up some of the more sensitive topics that parents have asked me about (that often come up with potty training). Things like..
What do you do if your child is playing with their private parts in front of you?
(There's a page in the book that talks about how it's natural to be curious about your private parts but you want to do that in a private place.)
So this book is mostly a super funny book on the farts. It's one of Jamie's favorites. The Gas We Pass helps keep the mood light which is a good thing (giggles help those sphincter muscles release pee or poop). But I also love this book for its illustration of the human body. The diagram even points out the anus.
So it's a mix of learning and laughs, which is always a win for kids.
I talk about this book from Usborne Books in-depth here, but I have it on this list too, because it's one of my all-time favorite potty books. Less about the human body but more about explaining what poop is — your toddler literally learns what's in poop.
Blood, germs and water...yuck!
And that helps in explaining why it is NOT okay for poop to go on the floor.
Related: Feel like you're seeing intense emotion around the poop? Or you've seen a lot of poops on the floor? Then you may be looking at a poop issue.
Whatever time in the day is your best time to connect with your child, it's never a bad idea to pick up some books and start talking about the human body.
Start to normalize what's happening with your child's body. Show some visuals that help connect the dots (especially with the poop.)
And prepare for the funny questions and remarks your toddler will likely add into the conversation, too.
Illustration: Citrus and Mint Designs