Marc Saltzman: App Dad


It's 'Potty Time' with New App for Toddlers

Sesame Street app has Elmo teach your toddlers about using the toilet

Your iPad seems to be capable of almost everything: video calling, GPS directions, instant messaging, multiplayer games and music creation.

Now, your tablet might even help your toddler go the potty.

Based on the best-selling children's book of the same name, Potty Time with Elmo includes the original story—but can be read or heard in various ways—along with many songs, puzzles, a sticker reward chat and other extras.

For under $3, this adorable app is well worth the price of admission for parents of young kids.

In case you never read the paper version of Publication International's Potty Time with Elmo, the story follows the beloved Sesame Street character and his doll, Baby David, who has to use the potty. Elmo helps him listen to his body when he has to go, puts him on the toilet and helps him be comfortable on the seat, followed by using toilet paper and flushing. Finally, Elmo explains to Baby David the importance of washing hands with soap. Now that Baby David is a big boy and can go potty, he gets to wear underwear instead of diapers.

The app version of the story—available for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch—can be read like a book, where the child or parent turns the pages. Alternatively, you can have the book read to you and you can follow along with the words and pictures. Or you can have it play from start to finish without any "page" turns necessary (for younger toddlers). Every few pages has a song you can listen to, as well, such as "I Am Waiting on the Potty" (to the tune of "I am Working on the Railroad") and "Boom Boom, Ain't it Great to be a Kid?" The app contains five songs, in all. Parents or children can jump to a specific song, if desired, or skip right to a particular part of the story.

While there aren't any interactive elements on the page like other digital kid's books offer—tapping on the toilet to hear a flush sound might’ve been a good idea—the camera zooms in on the images to give the illusion of animation, and the effect works well.

Along with the Potty Time with Elmo story, the app also includes a rewards chart with virtual stickers. This helps parents and kids monitor progress as the child can tap to place a checkmark when they've successfully performed each of the four main tasks: Go, Wipe, Flush and Wash. Coloured stars are used at the end of the row after all four "potty" tasks have been completed. As a reward, new icons are unlocked and can be used after kids have completed the chart. Therefore, instead of stars, you can use icons such as Elmo on a tire swing, a rubber ducky or Baby David flushing the toilet, to name a few.

The app also contains five jigsaw puzzles, each with just four pieces – therefore ideal for young kids.

Finally, you can tap the Information button to read parent tips, provided by education experts, on helping your child use the potty.

Potty Time with Elmo is an excellent book-to-app port as it retains the original story but adds multimedia, games and a rewards chart for parents and kids to monitor progress. If you're ready to potty, consider downloading this little gem at the App Store.