Pros: * Emphasizes how big kids don't wear diapers
* Interactive quiz
* Catchy songs
Cons: * Some may find songs obnoxiously annoying
Any parent that has had to potty train a child can probably relate to the need for additional guidance. After a couple months of just reading books to my 22 month old daughter, I decided to see what the various potty training DVDs had to offer to this experience. A quick scan of my library's on-line website catalog led to this DVD. It's the best one of the 4 potty training DVDs I've seen so far.
About the DVD
Paige and Parker Panda, animated twin brother and sister pandas, are the main characters in this 20 minute DVD that tries to teach toddlers how to use a potty chair. Rather than focus on a traditional narrative, this DVD has a series of vignettes that all fit under the main theme of potty training. Interspersed between the animated segments is footage of real children, so I think this will still appeal to toddlers who like seeing kids their own age (and older!) on TV.
Rhyming text and songs in the various segments illustrate how different animals use the potty, how big kids don't wear diapers anymore, and how to wash your hands after using the potty. There is also an attempt to get viewers to answer questions, so it's more than just a lecture format.
At first, Paige and Parker introduce the idea of what big kids do: they climb trees, swing on swings by themselves, jump on a trampoline, wear underwear, and sit on potty chairs. From that point on, Paige and Parker appear as the "hosts" in some segments, but not others. There is a female narrator (whose voice sounds exactly the same as the narrator from Potty Power) who also sings.
There are several songs, including the title song "Go, Potty, Go" which plays twice, once in the beginning and once at the end of the 20 minute DVD. Frankly, it's a bit too perky/chirpy/upbeat for me to watch everyday, but my daughter has really enjoyed the songs and now asks for this DVD by name. I think we've seen it about 8 times over the past week since picking it up from my library's Bookmobile.
In terms of the rest of the DVD, after the first song, there is an animated montage of animals going potty, which reminds me of the book, "Everybody Poops." Paige and Parker explain that everyone goes to pee and poop and then you see the following animals and the narrator explains how/where they each go potty:
Duck in its nest
Sheep behind a red barn
Moose by a tree in the forest
Penguin behind igloo
Elephant hide underneath leaves on the jungle floor
Grizzly bear by bushes
Camel in sand
Fish behind coral structure
Big boy on a toilet reading a book
After this cartoon vignette of animals going potty, there are two songs about how babies wear diapers but big kids wear underwear and use a potty chair. Both songs are accompanied by footage of real babies and big kids. It compares the activities of big kids versus little kids: showing little toddlers in diapers, a younger baby lying in his crib, sitting in high chairs, and a toddler who cannot go up stairs, while the big kids are climbing trees, swinging high, and wearing big kid underwear before using the potty chair. One of the lyrics is:
Babies wear diapers and thats ok, but I'd rather be a big kid and do things the big kid way. Big kids dont wear diapers, they wear underwear. When they need to go potty, they use a potty chair.
In addition to the songs, cartoons, and real-kid footage, there is also a segment where Paige and Parker Panda "quiz" the viewers, making it more interactive. For example, Parker asks, "Whats a potty chair?" and shows consecutive animated pictures of wagon, bike, beach pail, potty chair, and a toilet seat insert (which they also call a potty chair but only show once during the entire show).
Paige and Parker also explain that while waiting on potty chair, a toddler can use a coloring book, but cant play with a kickball. Then they ask what do you do after a poop? The answer is to wipe your bottom from front to back and then to wash your hands. This then leads to the next song about proper handwashing (scrub in between fingers, back of hand, front of hands) and wiping with toilet paper.
I like how the songs and rhyming text not only impart a general message (Diapers are for babies and big kids wear underwear and use a potty chair), but also specifically address issues like proper handwashing, wiping from front to back, and knowing to use the potty chair when you get the feeling in your tummy.
Its also a relief that it is only 20 minutes long, as I find the longer DVDs often lose my daughters attention. She often asks for this DVD to be repeated, so that's 40 minutes of TV right there! Still, that's better than an hour, as the other potty training DVDs we have are 30 minutes long.
My few complaints are minor and bearable. The chorus lines of many of these songs are like commercial jingles that just dont fade away. Late at night, when I cant sleep, the tune that I cant get out of my head is the slightly whiny female voice singing Potty chair, underwear, Im a big kid now. Potty chair, underwear, Im a big kid now.
Yes, the songs are a bit too catchy but I dont find that really obnoxious. Still, opinions may vary widely. My husband cannot stand this DVD, insisting I turn off immediately the first time I played it. Thus, now when our daughter asks for it, he grabs his iPod and listens to something else.
Thus, buyer beware. I strongly advise that you borrow this from your local librarys DVD collection first to see if you can stand listening to it repeatedly.
On a side note, I have never borrowed anything but books before, but was inspired by Laurashrti to see what my local library might have. Imagine my shock to realize that the collection includes not just documentaries and educational videos but also recent releases and potty training cartoons! Visit your library today and check out what they have!
This is my first DVD entry in Laurashrti's National Library Week Write-Off 2008.