App Reviewed on: iPad 3
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Re-use / Replay Value Rating:
Potty Training: Learning with the Animals is a cute and utterly child-friendly app for iPad that makes learning to use the potty a delightful, interactive experience nicely giving families a choice of eight languages. A version of this app for iPhone is also available.
The memory of toilet training my 5.5 year old son has faded over the past few years, but I do remember trying to figure out how to express the sensation that he should be aware of, which is his body's way of saying that it is time to use the toilet. I love how this simple narrated app explains that boys and girls - as well as animals - will feel “butterflies” in their stomach when it is time to go to the potty - an apt way of explaining this sensation in a way that I think would be very effective for young children. It is then explained that the children and animals one sees are also experiencing butterflies in their stomachs, inviting young users to take these animals to the toilet with the tap of a finger.
This app opens up to a lovely animated farm landscape of a boy and girl as well as animal friends with warm, thoughtful narration that asks the user if he/she is growing up from being a baby to being a big boy or girl. After choosing an animal, each creature will charmingly pantomime the holding of themselves as animals who really need to use the toilet - which makes me smile, as these are lovingly accurate stances and expressions that children may take when they too need to use the potty.
A tap of each animal or child will release butterflies from their bellies, but relief is only obtained by tapping the potty marked with a green arrow; triggering the animal walking across the screen, sitting down, and presumably doing its business.
The narration of the app is excellent, sounding terrific as well as drawing in users by talking directly to them, asking for their help and hitting all the right notes. This app also keeps the needs of a modest family in mind as there are no sights or sounds of the bathroom activities that may be too much for some, including when the girl or boy character sits on the baby potty fully clothed to use the toilet.
Personally, I would have preferred the child, while remaining covered by the front of the toilet, to pull up or down clothing as a better explanation of how to use the toilet, but this app is more focused on acknowledging the “butterfly” sensation, which I think it does nicely. Adults will be smitten by the telltale signs of children and animals needing to empty themselves, and I think slightly older children may learn from this app the signs of a younger sibling needing to go as well.
This app is on the short side; with only five animals including a cat, dog, and horse as well as a boy and a girl. A few more characters would be a nice idea, but I think that for a two year-old child this app is just the right length. I would, however, very much like to see the boy in this app not bring his toy airplane into the bathroom and over by the potty because we have avoided any toys in the toilet by enforcing the absolute rule of no toys in the bathroom for any reason, at any time.
Although I appreciate how the scenes including the boy and girl characters include hand washing, but it would be nice if there was an option such as a back arrow to exit out of this page, allowing one to continue helping the characters from this app use the potty instead of starting over from the beginning of the application, as one can choose unlimited animals to help without this app coming to a specific end point.
Even with these notes, this bright and colorful app is charming and simple enough for all toddlers to enjoy as they start on their potty training journey.