Toddler Theme Day

Potty-o-rama Week


My youngest son was a month shy of turning three when I couldn’t take the diapers and his stubbornness anymore! I thought he’d be easier to train seeing as he was always emulating his big brother, but instead he didn’t care at all.  That’s when I thought I’d try the three day extreme potty training (no more diapers/only underwear) I used for my oldest son with an added Theme Day element to it. Long story short: after three days he was trained for pee but number two took much longer (9 days in fact).

I thought I’d include this Theme Day/Weekend/Week to be implemented however it suits your child.  Use it as a way to introduce the potty to your child so that when he/she is ready he/she knows what it’s all about, or use it as the final step in training.

Remember, this Theme Day may or may not work for your child as every child is different and every child is trained at different ages.  Please ask your paediatrician for advice on potty training. 

Print out the Family Theme Day Planner and decide which activities you’d like to do.



· Make sure you have lots of big kid underwear.  Lots.  (I’m not joking).

· To prepare for this theme I emptied out the basket the held my son’s diapers and put in as many little pair of underwear as we had. I made a big show about how we were going to give the diapers away to a baby friend of ours.

· Make sure you have lots of laundry detergent.  (Again, I’m not joking).

· Buy a potty or potty seat for a toilet and stool for your child’s bathroom.  If you have more than one bathroom or floor to your house you may want to purchase a second cheaper potty or potty seat for a toilet for that room.

· Buy some flushable wipes.

· Buy some “Pull Ups” for night-time and nap-time (if you are lucky enough to have a child who still naps).

· A notepad and pen to keep near the toilet to write down the times your child uses the potty.  This will help especially on day two or three when you can refer to what times the accidents occurred and try to encourage your child to use the toilet at those times.

· Reward stickers work well.

· Have some candy for rewards (M&M’s, jelly beans) as well if you want.

· Pick a date for the Potty-o-rama and put it on a calendar for your child to see.  Keep reminding him/her of the date.



Various Children’s programs have DVD’s/videos with potty themed songs on them.  Refer to the selections suggested for Audio Visual down below.




I had a hard time finding potty related colouring pages online, but I did find one with Blue’s Clues - or print out my Toilet Colouring Page.  Have your child decorate the potty however he/she likes (try crayons, markers, BINGO daubers, glitter glue, stickers…) and then display the  “art” in your bathroom.



Raid your child’s bookshelves to find any books on or about going to the Potty.


Go to the library on your own to find books about the Potty or Toilet Training to have already on hand for your theme day.  Many libraries allow you to go online and search for titles based on subject.  Reserve them if you can to save time.


Try some of these titles if you can find them:


· Once Upon a Potty (boy or girl), written and illustrated by Alona Frankel, Harper Festival, 1979 – An oldie but a goodie especially since it is not shy about teaching the body parts.  The simple illustrations are appealing and the humour of guessing what the potty is for creates a giggle for little ones.  One thing to note, your child (as mine did) may question why the potty looks very different from his/hers as the one in the book is an old fashioned pot.


· The Potty Book (for boys or for girls) , by Alyssa Satin Capucilli and illustrations by Dorothy Stott, Barron’s Educational series, Inc., 2000 – A cute rhyming book following young Henry or Hannah (depending on which book) receiving a new potty and learning to use it with teddy.


· My Big Boy/ My Big Girl Potty, by Joanna Cole and illustrated by Maxie Chambliss, Harper Collins Publishers, 2000 – A good little learning book following little Michael and his teddy or little Ashely and her bunny as he/she receives a new potty and learns to use it.


· Even Firefighters Go To the Potty: A Potty Training life-the-flap Story, by Wendy Wax and Namomi Wax, illustrated by Stephen Gilpin, Little Simon, 2008 - This was probably the funniest potty book I found with great illustrations of various adults using the potty (once you lifted the flap) like a firefighter, a baseball player, an astronaut, a pilot...


· P.J & Puppy, by Cathryn Falwell, Clarion Books, 1997 – This is a very simple book with little words showing the potty training of both P.J and his new puppy.


· Sam’s Potty, by Barbro Lindgren and illustrated by Eva Erikssson, Morrow Junior Books, 1986 – Another short book this one is about a boy named Sam trying to get his dog to use the potty.


· Max’s Potty, by Harriet Ziefert and illustrated by Emily Bolam, DK Publishing, 1999 – Different from the other potty books because it is a lift the flap book, this is a humorous one because it starts with animals trying to use the potty.


· Potty Time, by Guido Van Genechten, Simon And Schuster Books for young Readers, 2000 – Cute big illustrations highlight Joe and nine other animals as they each use the potty for their various bottoms.


· Potty!, by Mylo Freeman, Tricycle Press, 2002 – This book has funny pictures and tells the story of a potty in the jungle found with a note on it that says “Only the best bottom will fit on this potty” which prompts various animals to give it a try.


· No more Diapers for Ducky!, by Bernette Ford and Sam Williams, Boxer Books, 2006 – A gentler approach than the others, this one sees Ducky deciding for herself not to wear diapers when her friend Piggy tells her he is busy and cannot play because he is on the potty.  This has very cute illustrations as well.


· Potties!, by Stuart Trotter, Random House, 2007 – This book has bright appealing illustrations of some funny potty concepts (pirate potty, princess potty, sledding potty) and supposedly it comes with reusable stickers but our library copy did not.


· It Hurts When I Poop! A Story or Children who Are Scared to Use the Potty, by Howard J. Bennett, M.D. and illustrated by M.S. Weber, Magination Press, 2007 – This is a longer story and would be good for older children who are having trouble with bowel movements.




Materials: Two sheets of coloured paper (your child’s choice), print out of my “I DID IT!” Chart, crayons, markers, stickers, glitter glue etc. (anything to decorate and personalize  the chart), glue stick, face cloth for sticky fingers, tape.


Step 1: Glue the two sheets of coloured paper together to form one big sheet.

Step 2: Help your child glue the “I DID IT!” Chart to the coloured sheet of paper.

Step 3: Let your child personalize the chart by colouring with crayons or markers, adding stickers or adding glitter glue.

Step 4: When the chart is ready (and dry in the case of using glitter glue) tape it to the bathroom door.








As a reward for a job well done let your child help you bake a chocolate cake.  Search through your cookbooks, search online or buy a cake mix from the grocery store to cook up a chocolate reward.


OPTIONAL: To make ours extra special and to reinforce the potty theme we added a small plastic potty found in a Tiddly Winks Barrel Game, but you could have your child decorate it with his/her favourite candies or cake decorations like sprinkles.


NOTE: We made our chocolate cake as a reward for finally going number 2 on the potty – which took him 9 days.







Materials: Decorated “I DID IT” Chart from the Craft section above, reward stickers or markers or crayons.


· Step 1: Whenever your child has a “potty success” give him/her a sticker to put on the chart or a crayon to colour in the square.

· Step 2: If you need additional sheets for the next week, simply print out the “I DID IT!” Chart again but cut out the chart part and glue it over the previous weeks chart.  That way you can keep your child’s decorated sheet.


NOTE: If your child is new to potty training instead of rewarding a “potty success” try rewarding “I tried” to encourage sitting on the potty.





Play “Elmo’s Potty Time” game online from  which is a very simple game whereby your child listens to a cartoon skit of Elmo and friends and when one of them needs to use the potty your child simply presses any key.




Encourage your child’s favourite doll or teddy bear to have some potty time.



Sit with your child as he/she goes potty and play eye spy to encourage little bottoms to stay longer.



Sit with your child as he/she goes potty and sing songs to encourage little bottoms to stay longer. If you need some refreshers when it comes to children’s song lyrics try this site:



Many stores carry stickers or targets which might be a fun way to entice boys to use the toilet by standing up.



Search through your child’s DVD/ video collection (or visit your local library before hand or the Video Store) to find your child’s favourite shows with potty training as a theme.

Try these titles for some potty encouragement for your child:

· Bear In the Big Blue House: Potty Time With Bear, Jim Henson Home Entertainment, 1999A family favourite  of ours with catchy tunes, this puppet show has Bear talking gently to the audience and other characters about using the potty.

· I Gotta Go!, produced by Vickilew Inc., 2004 – A thirty minute program with only music videos, each a different potty or bathroom related (like washing hands, the fun of stickers) song using lots of kids of different ages and even a chimpanzee.  This one has a doctor come on at the end to address parents.

· Once Upon a Potty (for Him or for her), produced for Barron’s Educational Series, Inc., by Frappé, Inc, 1990 - A video version of the classic Alona Frankel book with a song that will stick in your head for a while that showcases playing babies. It also includes an end part for parents.

· The Potty Movie (for boys starring Henry or for girls starring Hannah), produced by Frappé, Inc., by Barron’s Educational Series Inc., 2007 – Based on the books by Dorothy Stott, this video expands on the book by including other “big boy” or “big girl” things that your child is learning to do like brushing teeth but still focuses mostly on using the potty.  This includes another catchy potty tune but this time the music portion has older toddlers instead of babies so that might appeal to older potty-trainers.  Also includes a parent portion.

· Potty Power: For boys and girls, Mozzarella Media, 2005 – An upbeat adult named Jessica and a computer animated roll of toilet paper walk kids through the stages of using the potty showing footage of real kids and their potties and big kid underwear.  She also tells the story “The Princess and the Potty” and the show includes a few songs.  The DVD has a feature directed at parents as well.

· Pocket Snails: Potty Adventure, Soaring Star Productions, 2007 – This odd little DVD takes a different approach by having three small snails talk about the steps involved in using the potty by helping their friend’s little sister.  Supposedly comes with a Potty Steps Map but our library copy did not have this.



Have your child phone Grandma and Grandpa, or a favourite Aunt, Uncle, Cousin or friend to brag about his/her potty success.



As a big reward take your child to a store to pick out some new underwear. (This is also a test as your child won’t have a diaper on!!!)



Photo: C Wright

Good Luck with the Potty Training!

Potty Training Chart

Reward your big boy or girl with a cake!

Toilet Colouring Page

My friend’s son likes to colour using BINGO daubers!

More “art” for your bathroom!