I’ve rounded up the best potty training books because this aspect of parenting is hard enough. It’s so incredibly hard that I will state a truth that might just set you free: no single potty training book will work for every child. People who have potty trained multiple children will tell you that a foolproof method for one kid might be entirely useless for another. One child might be ready to give up diapers literally years before their sibling. The act of potty training is anything but a science.
For this reason, I’ve tried to avoid books that promise “completely potty trained in one day!” I don’t have proof that those never work, but I know none of those methods worked in my house. Trying, of course, led to a guilt and shame spiral about my inability to parent even with a manual. Luckily, years have passed and I’ve realized that it really is a process of trial and error.
Most of my picks are books for children, and this is on purpose. The best books for potty training are ones that help children become comfortable with understanding their bodies, the stuff that comes out of them, and where it needs to end up. Hopefully, you’ll find something below to support your potty training journey, whatever that looks like for you!
Everyone Poops by Taro Gomi
This is a classic for a reason. Excellent as an introduction to the idea of potty training in general, Everyone Poops plays out exactly like its title suggests. Pictures of animals, humans, and poop lay the groundwork for conversations about toilets and what goes in them. Taro Gomi’s illustrations never fail to make me smile.
We Poop on the Potty! by Jim Harbison & Nicole Sulgit
Definitely inspired by the book above, We Poop on the Potty follows a similar journey, pointing out that all creatures, real and imagined, have to poop. The message that increases in this version is that humans have to use the potty. An update to one of the best!
A Potty for Me by Karen Katz
Katz is famous for her nostalgic illustrations and relatable stories for toddlers. The lift-the-flap action and child’s point of view make this a huge hit for kiddos who are dealing with the “do I really want to do this?” stage of potty training. Tuck this one in a basket in the bathroom!
Where Do You Poop? By Agnese Baruzzi
Interactive and engaging, Where Do You Poop uses pull tabs to show the reader where different animals poop. I love the simple rhyming text, especially the page about where kids poop. The book reminds the reader that there are signals from your body when you need to go to the bathroom, which is a great access point to potty training for some kids.
Super Pooper and Whizz Kid: Potty Power! Sabrina Moyle and Eunice Moyle
This book is too cute. Where so many potty training books look similar, with primary colors and basic imagery, I was obsessed with this pick for aesthetics alone. Cheerful, animated characters and enthusiastic text take the reader through the entire process, from realizing the toilet is needed, to scrubbing hands at the end. I’d highly recommend this title for kiddos who might be later to the process, and might find other books a little too babyish for their taste.
Potty by Leslie Patricelli
In my parental opinion, this is the best potty training book. Can I tell you why? No. I just know that my kids adored the sweet illustrations and silly text. I have fond memories of tiny voices chorusing “tinkle, tinkle, toot!” Patricelli is the queen of the concept book for a good reason.
The First-Time Parent’s Guide to Potty Training: How to Ditch Diapers Fast (and for Good!) by Jazmine McCoy, PsyD
I think any book promising to solve a parenting issue should be approached with caution. There are just too many ways to be a person, and too many ways to raise a person, to be comfortable calling anything The Way. That being said, parenting books can be helpful if you approach them as fact-gathering-missions, as opposed to bibles. This book, written by a licensed psychologist, has tons of information, a plan you can try, and many warm reviews.
Ready, Set, Go!: A Gentle Parenting Guide to Calmer, Quicker Potty Training by Sarah Ockwell-Smith
In contrast to the last potty training book for adults on this list, Ready, Set, Go goes hard on troubleshooting and advice, as opposed to providing a step-by-step guide. Gentle parenting is something a lot of people embrace, and having a specific aspect of parenting laid out in this way can be really encouraging. If a looser plan appeals more to you, this book might be the one.
Looking for more help for those tricky parenting quandaries? Check out these parenting books for people who hate parenting books. Happy reading!