The Potty Caddy
By Rachel Gordon with pamphlet by William Spivak, M.D., illus. by Sarah Bergmann
Workman Publishing Co., $14.95
Kit; ISBN-13: 978-0761149729
Review by Amy Brozio-Andrews
Potty training is one of those things there's no getting around; if you have kids, you'll have to get 'em using the toilet. And every now and again, someone needs to come along and reinvent the wheel. Cue The Potty Caddy, new from Workman Publishing.
It includes a small hardcover book, The Potty Caddy Book by Rachel Gordon and illustrated by Sarah Bergmann, that's a how-to for young kids. Plus, there's a roll of toilet paper, two sheets of stickers (one of flowers, the other of "poop police") and a sticker chart, four faux kiddie magazines (Rolling Stroller? Or maybe you'd prefer Vanity Fairy or BQ), 100 toilet targets, and a brief parents' guide written by William Spivak, M.D. All of these things come in a cute kid-sized carry-all.
The Potty Caddy Book does a pretty standard job of explaining the how-to part of using the toilet. It's mostly factual and gets the point across in simple terms that kids can understand. It's definitely geared toward young children and aims for a bit of whimsy and fun, however I'm not so convinced that toilet training, already potentially fraught with drama and resistance, is helped by talking about the poop police who come out and give tickets to grownups who sing "the Potty Song" poorly or sewer hippos who come out when the toilet gets clogged with too much toilet paper.
The toddler magazines are adorable and little kids will certainly feel like they're reading grown up magazines. The questions inside each are great for passing the time with kids who are sitting on the toilet; for example, in Tots Illustrated, there's a picture of a boy in front of a tennis net with a racket and tennis balls all around and the reader is asked to count them up.
The toilet targets could be fun, but your kids are at all like mine, you'll definitely run out of stickers before your kid is finished. The doctor's pamphlet is practical advice for parents new to potty training their kids, however if you're potty training a second or third kid, you'll probably find that these recommendations are familiar.
The Potty Caddy is most definitely well-intentioned but it gets a little over the top with the poop police, the pink elephants, the aliens who might want to borrow the potty (you're not supposed to let them because their poop is super stinky), and the poop boats (folding toilet paper and dropping it in…. ah, never mind, I'm sure you can guess). The author offers kids two short songs and then recommends that the kid ask mom or dad to come up with the tune (anything is fine, she says; sure, no pressure). If none of this will faze you then go for it. (Those little faux magazines are pretty cute…)
The one thing I learned while potty training my own kids is that no matter what kind of fun and new things you bring out to make it "fun" they simply aren't going to do it until they are ready, no matter what. The Potty Caddy certainly has everything you need to get started to teach and encourage your child save for the potty seat or chair but it's no magic bullet; there isn't anything here that's so new or groundbreaking that you can't live without it. If you think The Potty Caddy will make the whole experience more enjoyable for you then go for it.
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