Monday, September 13, 2010

Review: Too Big for Diapers

Find at
Find at
Title: Too Big For Diapers
Author: Sesame Street
Photographer: John E. Barrett
Publisher: Random House
Year: 2000
ISBN: 978-0375810459
Format: Board Book
Pages: 12
Age Range: Toddler
Kid Love Factor: 3/5
Adult Sanity Factor: 2.5/5

We’re gearing up for Potty Training 2010 (or maybe 2011, we’ll see) in the Sam and Boo household. Thus we’ve begun collecting potty books to start gauging interest and comprehension in the concept. Boo’s not quite ready yet, often still defeated by the technical difficulty of pant removal and not particularly caring whether he’s wet and/or stinky. But he is starting to show much more interest in toilets, provided they’re not Evil Restaurant Toilets of Loud Whooshing Scaritude. 

As Boo, due to daycare, has already become indoctrinated exposed familiar with the Sesame Street characters, Ernie being Too Big for Diapers seemed an ideal starting point. The illustrations are photographed sets of Baby Muppets with Baby Muppet accoutrements. They’re clear and cute and lovable as only Baby Muppets can be.

As for the plot, it seems that only babies use diapers. As a Big Kid, Ernie receives a potty as a present. When he has to use the potty, he stops playing, goes to the bathroom, unsnaps his pants, sits on the potty, and ‘goes’. Once he’s done, he wipes himself, washes his hands, and returns to playing. I presume he also does his pants back up, or at least gets a Muppet parental unit to do so for him, though it's not actually mentioned.

Yay for Ernie!

The idea seems to be that familiar characters and very simple text will make the experience more comprehensible and less scary for the pre-trained toddler set. Boo enjoys the book; it’s not one of his favourites, but he does bring it over to me frequently enough that I know he doesn’t dislike it. I don’t dislike it either, but I question its usefulness in spots.  Plus side: at 12 pages, it's not long enough to drive me nuts, hence the reasonable Adult Sanity Factor even with the stilted text.

It does have two other things “going” for it: it mentions not using too much toilet paper and it also reminds Ernie to wash his hands.  Most other potty books I've read leave out both.

Autism Spectrum Bonus: Too Big for Diapers is probably a good potty book to introduce the potty in a cute and non-threatening way, especially if your kid-in-training has a Special Interest in Sesame Street or puppets. On the other hand, the text is vague at best. Ernie “goes”. He doesn’t pee, poop, tinkle, crap, urinate, defecate, or any other verb (I have a few other favourites I don't recommend saying intentionally in front of your toddler) that might offend parental sensibilities yet be meaningful to literal little toddler minds, especially literal little autistic toddler minds. However, by adding some appropriate words and clarifying the steps Ernie leaves out, I think the book can still be useful. 

Bottom Line:
Too Big for Diapers is a Big Kid book.  If you have a Big Kid, they could learn to go as Ernie does.  Way to go, Ernie! 

Huh.  It's physically painful for me to write in that style.  Almost worth lowering the ASF just for the trauma of having to mimic it, but I'll resist.


Too Big for Diapers at

Too Big for Diapers at


  1. We've been trying to start potty training here, too. It hasn't been going well at all. My son is just too stubborn and refuses to go near the toilet. We have a Kermit potty book he likes, I Can Go Potty.

    As far as those "Evil Restaurant Toilets of Loud Whooshing Scaritude," I always keep a pad of sticky notes in my purse and put one over the automatic sensors so that the potty doesn't scare my kids.

  2. I started a new label category for potty books as I'm sure we'll go through a bunch in the process. I'll keep an eye out for I Can Go Potty.

    Great idea with the sticky notes. The problem for Boo isn't so much the unexpectedness of the toilet flushing as the sound itself. Most public toilets sound like a jet engine taking off in an enclosed space, and Boo has some auditory sensory issues. So I'm left with either consoling him the whole time we're in the bathroom about the future toilet flush or the toilet flush that just occured, or I can not flush it and become very unpopular with everyone else.

    And don't get me started on the bloody XLerator hand dryers, which I'm pretty sure actually are adapted jet engines.

  3. I bought every potty book known to man including this one. This one didn't stick for Audrey. Her favorite was the Karen Katz (?) one with the lift-the-flaps. She definitely needed the literalness. I was told to get "Everybody Poops" but luckily she nailed #2 before I had to buy it.

  4. Good luck! We only own the Karen Katz one. My son has only recently stopped saying that he'll go in the potty "when he's 30," and now says when he's 3. He's been telling us when he needs to poop for a good year now. But he has no intention of making the transition any time soon. He sobs if he put him on there. Incidentally, potty books are the only book that I refuse to take out of the library (eww germs).

  5. Hmm, seems we have a consensus on trying the Karen Katz one. I'll have to look into it.

    @Lynn - any other tips and tricks that worked for Audrey that I should consider? "Everybody Poops" sounds like, uh, a thrill a minute...

    @Infant Bibliophile - we haven't taken any potty books out from the library yet (well, except for one on toilet training people with autism that turned out to be beyond utterly useless) but I hadn't considered the extra germ potential. Eww. Perhaps we'll stick to scoping them out in bookstores and then buying the decent ones. Thanks for that. ;)


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