Once Upon a Potty

The Story of How Joshua and Prudence Got A New Potty and Learned  to Use it.

Once Upon a Potty - our likes and dislikes about this book by Alona Frankel. I personally like that it does not imply that diapers are for babies and only “big” boys and girls use the potty.

How It Began

The author, Alona Frankel, wrote an illustrated children’s book in 1975 for her son specifically to help him use the potty.  Some thirty years later, the Once Upon a Potty boys and girls books were born.

If numbers say anything about this title, these little gems have sold some four million copies around the world.  The story withstands the test of time, and offers beautiful images that people remember long after potty training is done.

The book comes in hard cover and soft cover as well as sound books for boys and girls. All the books retail for around $8.00 in new condition and are available from Amazon.com

Once Upon a Potty for girls - the story of Prudence. Once Upon a Potty for boys - the story of Joshua

The book is priced well within the range of comparable potty training stories.


  • I liked and appreciate the sweet pictures - bright and colorful. The only real criticism is that some of the images are terribly outdated, like using an actual pot for the potty but I find that kind of cute.
  • The simple, straightforward  language used on every page is highly appealing. For parents who uncertain about how to talk to their child about using the potty, the author’s story provides words for both success and the inevitable occasional “accident”.

Not So Great

  • If your household is very anatomically correct, you may not like the use of “pee pee’” or “wee wee” (but there’s no reason you couldn’t substitute your family’s terminology).
  • The tone of the book is somewhat guilt-driven (like Joshua’s mother constantly complaining about constantly changing diapers).
  • Also the father seems oddly absent in the training process, which is very different from most modern homes.

The book has a long history of success, and when you find other avenues not working it may well be worth trying something different. Take a peek inside the book at a store. Read a page to your child and see if it creates interest. Then make your choice as to whether it’s the right book for your home and training methods.

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