August 16, 2019

Potty-Humor-Themed Sign Language Story Time Lesson Plan

Hello Readers!

It’s time for me to share a lesson plan for a potty-themed sign language story time. Why?

#1 Because I’ve written many books and many blog posts that incorporate sign language.

#2 Because I have two new books coming out this fall that are full of potty humor (Where Does a Pirate Go Potty? and Where Does a Cowgirl Go Potty?).

As a result, I have started gathering potty-themed story time lesson plans and related resources to support these new books.

But … I have yet to merge the sign language and potty themes together! This post is the maiden voyage for this merger. It’s a mash-up of many different activities you could incorporate into your own potty-themed story time or event. It’s unlikely you will be able to fit all of these activities into any one event, but this way you’ll have lots of ideas to choose from in one handy place.

So let’s get rollin’ (pardon the pun) on this lesson plan:

Potty-Themed Sign Language Story Time:

Welcome Participants, Introduce the Theme, & Introduce the Signs in Preparation for Song #1

Potty/Toilet: (The “T” handshape wiggles)
Dance: (First two fingers dance on palm)

NOTE: The sign for potty/toilet (the noun) and the sign for to use the potty/toilet (the verb) are the same. 

Sing and Sign Song #1:

Invite all participants to sign potty and dance each time these words repeat in the song, OR break the group in half, and have one side of the room sign potty and the other side of the room sign dance each time these words repeat in the song.

Song #1: The Potty Dance (Sung to the Tune of The Hokey Pokey) by Dawn Babb Prochovnic (inspired by songs from Tinkle, Tinkle, Little Tot by Bruce Lansky and Catherine Blake)

You hold your bladder (belly) left.
You hold your bladder (belly) right.
You wrap your arms like this, and you hold on super tight.
You need to find a potty or you’re gonna wet your pants.
You’re doing the potty dance.

You cross your right foot left.
You cross your left foot right.
You squeeze your knees like this, and you hold on super tight.
You need to find a potty or you’re gonna wet your pants.
You’re doing the potty dance.

You search in this place left.
You search in this place right.
You hoot and hop like this, and you hold on super tight.
You need to find a potty or you’re gonna wet your pants.
You’re doing the potty dance.

Introduce/Review Signs in Preparation for Story #1:

Where: (Pointer finger looks/searches)
Pirate: (Boat + Eye Patch)
Potty/Toilet: (The “T” handshape wiggles)

Read: Where Does a Pirate Go Potty?

Invite all participants to sign wherepotty, and pirate each time these words appear in the story, OR break the group into thirds, and assign one section of the room to sign where, potty, and pirate respectively, each time these words appear in the story.

Invite all participants to make the sounds that appear on every other page of the book.

Introduce/Review Signs in Preparation for Song #2:

Poop: (Poop drops down)
Potty/Toilet: (The “T” handshape wiggles)
Where: (Pointer finger looks/searches)
Hooray/Applause: (Hands celebrate)
Flush: / (Flushing gesture)
Wash: (Washing gesture)
Done/Finished: (Palms in, palms away)

Sing and Sign Song #2:

Invite all participants to sign as many of the words they can (poop, toilet, where, hooray, flush and wash) as they appear in the song. Note: If adding all of the noted signs feels overwhelming to you/your participants, just choose a few of the signs to incorporate.

Song #2: I Can Poop in the Toilet (Sung to the Tune of Take Me Out to the Ballgame)
by Dawn Babb Prochovnic (inspired by songs from Tinkle, Tinkle, Little Tot by Bruce Lansky and Catherine Blake)

I can poop in the toilet.
I can poop in the pot.
Just need to find it, I hope it’s near.
Where is that toilet? Hooray, it’s here!

Ahhhhhhhh. (or farting sound)

So I’ll flush, flush, flush, when I’m finished.
Wash up with soap when I’m done.
I pooped once, twice, three times today.
It was so much fun!

Introduce/Review Signs in Preparation for Story #2:

Where: (Pointer finger looks/searches)
Cowboy (can be used in place of cowgirl): (Think of a gunslinger)
Cowgirl (fingerspelled):
Potty/Toilet: (The “T” handshape wiggles)

Read: Where Does a Cowgirl Go Potty?

Invite all participants to sign where, potty, and cowgirl each time these words appear in the story, OR break the group into thirds, and assign one section of the room to sign where, potty, and cowgirl respectively, each time these words appear in the story.

Invite all participants to make the sounds that appear on every other page of the book.

Let ‘er Loose with a Potty Party (or a Bathroom Boogie)

Turn on some music and dance.

My personal favorites (Full disclosure: I'm definitely biased!)

Book trailer / animated video that goes along with Where Does a Pirate Go Potty?, written by Dawn Babb Prochovnic, composed and performed by AnnieBirdd Music, LLC, animated by Jacob Souva

Book trailer / animated video that goes along with Where Does a Cowgirl Potty? , co-written by Dawn Babb Prochovnic, co-written, composed and performed by singer/songwriter/performer, Marshall Mitchell, animated by Jacob Souva

More fun options:

The Poop Song, by Lori Henriques
It’s Potty Time Theme Song, by Two Little Hands Productions, the makers of Signing Time
The Potty Dance Song, by Two Little Hands Productions, the makers of Signing Time
Spin Again (sample), by Jim Gill
Tinkle, Tinkle, Little Tot (a variety of songs) by Bruce Lansky and Catherine Blake
Skip to My Loo (incorporate action words like jump/hop/walk/run in addition to Skip to my Loo--the Loo is the bathroom, after all)

If you’re looking for a collection of potty-training related songs, you’ll find a bunch, here and here

Finish with a Flush or a Fart: invite participants to use iPads, Computers, or cell phones to:

Make a Toilet Flushing Sound:
Play the Burp and Fart Piano:

Extension Activities (Some of Which Can Be Self-Directed/Open-Ended)

TP Tower Challenge**

Supplies: A couple dozen rolls of toilet paper (if you use toilet paper with the wrapper still intact, it will last for multiple events, or it can be donated to a local charity after the event).

Option #1: Use one set of TP. Take turns seeing who can make the highest stack before the TP tower falls.

Option #2: Use two sets of TP. Two participants play at a time. Have a volunteer time participants to see who can stack all the rolls the fastest without the TP Tower falling.

Option #3: Stack the rolls of TP into a pyramid shape. Place an object such as a stuffed animal or stuffed poo emoji on top of the pyramid. Participants take turns tossing a bean bag or similar object toward the tower. Object is to dislodge the stuffed animal/poo emoji without knocking down any of the rolls of TP.

Option #4: Allow free play “block building” with the rolls of TP.

An Enthusiastic "TP Tower" Participant at a 2019 Event at the West Slope Library 

Undie Fling**

Supplies/Prep: Several pairs of (unworn!) tighty-whitey underwear; Two small baskets or bowls--one to hold the underwear that is going to be “flung,” and one positioned across the room for the target to fling/snap the undies into; Colored tape put on the floor to mark the location for the basket that’s the target and several other pieces of tape at increasing distances to mark the places from which the flinging/snapping should take place--the closest line should be about 4’ away from the target, and each subsequent line should be about 2’ additional feet away.

Activity: Participants take turns flinging/snapping undies into the basket.

Turd Toss** (Yes, that IS a gross name...this is a potty-humor post)

Supplies: Use colored tape to mark the floor to indicate where tossing to and from should take place. For “turds” use brown bean bags, stuffed poo emoji’s, or create your own. To create your own, scrunch up newspaper, cover it with wrinkled brown construction paper, and wrap with packing tape--the end result is durable, but squishy (ewww!). These can be created ahead of time, or participants create as an activity. For “toilets” go simple and just use baskets or bowls similar to the activity above, or go all out and create a toilet contraption using a round waste basket, toilet seat, white duct tape, and poster paper or white laundry basket, foam core, white poster paper, and duct tape.  If you go the “all out” route, creating the toilet(s) could be an activity, or “toilets” could be made ahead of time. Here are links to some examples.

Option #1: Participants take turns tossing “turds” into “toilet” from a specified line. Try five tosses, before your turn ends.

Option #2: Two or more participants race to see who can get all of their “turds” into the “toilet” first (or who can get the most “turds” into the “toilet” before a timer rings.

**These fun activities were inspired by a Captain Underpants event hosted by the Moline County Library. You can find additional info (including photos) about their event here.

Pin the Poo on the Potty

Supplies: Draw a toilet on white poster board. Make or buy poo emojis or poo emoji stickers. Use bandanas (which ties in to cowgirl story’s them) or double pirate patches (which ties into pirate story’s theme) for blindfolds.

Activity: Participants take turns being blind-folded and pinning (actually taping or sticking) the poo on the potty. An example is here.

TP Roll Race

Supplies: Rolls of toilet paper. Tape to mark starting point and finish line.

Activity: Participants get on their hands and knees and race by pushing their TP roll with their nose from the starting point to the finish line. An example is here.

TP Bowling

Supplies: 15 rolls of TP and one ball for every bowling alley.

Activity: Set up TP as a pyramid shape (vs. standard bowling pin set up), with five rolls of TP as the base. Take turns rolling the ball and knocking down the TP. The player who last rolled the ball resets the TP pyramid for the next participant.

Pirate, Pirate, Potty! (Played like Duck, Duck, Goose!)

Activity: All but one player (the “pirate” who is “It”) sit in a circle. The “pirate” goes around the circle and gently taps each player on the shoulder saying “Pirate” each time, until he or she decides to say “Potty!” The person who is tapped for “Potty” must get up and try to tag the “pirate” before the pirate steals their seat. The game continues with a new “pirate” as long as interest holds. (Note: The game can likewise be played with a “cowgirl” who is “It”)

Hot Pototty (Played like Hot Potato) 

Supplies: A selection of music (see above for potty-themed songs) and a small object such as a poo emoji stuffed toy or a roll of toilet paper.

Activity: Participants sit in a circle and the leader turns on the music. Participants pass the small object while the music plays. Whoever is holding the small object when the music stops is out. Play continues until there is only one participant left.

Potty Walk (Organized like a Cake Walk)

Supplies/Prep: Tape numbered pieces of paper in a circle on the floor. To stick with the theme, each piece of paper could be deemed a “toilet paper square” OR decorated with the shape of a toilet seat or poo emoji. Ideally, there will be approximately the same number of pieces of paper as there are participants for each round of play. Fill a basket or bowl (or toilet-shaped prop!) with slips of paper that match the numbers on the floor.

Activity: Participants each stand on a numbered “toilet paper square.” The leader starts the music, and participants proceed around the circle. When the leader stops the music, everyone must be standing on a square. The leader then draws a number from the bowl. The participant who is standing on that number wins a prize. Play continues as long as interest holds (or prizes last). Some ideas for silly prizes that tie into the potty theme can be found here

Make (and/or Play With) Poo Play Dough***

Supplies: ½ cup of Nutella and ½ cup plus one tablespoon of powdered sugar per “serving.” Mix until a dough forms, then finish mixing by hand.

This play dough is technically edible, but use your judgement as to whether or not you want to encourage this!

NOTE: Per the manufacturer’s website, Nutella does not contain peanuts or peanut ingredients and is not manufactured in a facility that is at risk for peanut cross contamination.

***Recipe originally discovered here.

Potty-Humor Props

I have gone a little nutty finding different props that could be used for a potty-themed event. You can find all the fun on my Pinterest page.

Hands down, my favorite potty-humor prop is a game called Toilet Trouble.

The flushing sound it makes is amazing. You can use it as a real game, filling the bowl with water, and having participants take turns flushing the toilet to see if they will get sprayed with water, but I enjoy using it without any water in it, just for the flushing sound. You can even fill the bowl with little potty treats like this.

More Signs for You Over-Achievers:

Need Signs for More Words That Relate To This Theme? Here goes:
Toilet Paper:
TP:  /

Need Signs for Words that the Diaper-Changing Crowd Might Want? Gotcha Covered:
Change: /

*Don’t feel compelled to introduce every possible potty-related word/sign you can think of. Start with a few general words that fit with the theme and are relevant for your group.

*If you plan to introduce several signs at once, it’s more fun (and easier to learn) if you introduce the signs by singing vs. simply showing the signs and asking participants to sign along/practice with you. You can sing a song such as “This is the way we sign for potty/flush/wash/all done, etc” to the tune of “Here We Go ‘Round the Mulberry Bush,” or any other familiar tune that allows for plenty of repetition.

If you’re looking for more potty-themed books, you’ll find a robust list here.

You can find more potty-themed (and cowgirl and pirate-themed) lesson plans and resources here.

Fun fact: Dawn loves to travel, so get in touch if you’d like her to personally present a story time program of this nature (pardon the pun) in your learning community.

Now GO! and have yourself a real good time!

..oh, one more thing… if you share photos of and/or blog about your story time / event, be sure to tag me so I can share in the fun. Even better if it’s something I can link to in my round-up of resources for my readers!

Instagram: @DawnProchovnic
Twitter: @DawnProchovnic
Facebook: @DawnProchovnicAuthor

August 5, 2019

Birth Stories for Books: You are My Friend: The Story of Mister Rogers and His Neighborhood, by Aimee Reid

Gather 'round friends. It's time for another Birth Stories for Books post. Today's guest is Aimee Reid, author of  MAMA'S DAY WITH LITTLE GRAY and her most recent book, YOU ARE MY FRIEND: THE STORY OF MISTER ROGERS AND HIS NEIGHBORHOOD (illustrated by Matt Phelan, Abrams Books for Young Readers, August, 2019).

by Aimee Reid and Matt Phelan

The Story Behind My Stories
by Aimee Reid

My first book was born from a bedtime conversation with my eldest child. When I was tucking her in one night, she asked—as was her custom—what our plans were for the next day. I shared what I thought we might do together, and she wiggled in anticipation. Then she said words that sparked my imagination: “When I grow up and you grow down . . . .” She continued to chat about what we would do if our roles were reversed. Her ideal day would be a gentle one—filled with simple activities we shared together.

by Aimee Reid and Laura J. Bryant

Mama’s Day with Little Gray (Random House) is the book that grew out of that conversation. It’s the story of a small elephant who—like my daughter—dreams of growing big enough to take care of his mama just as she has cared for him. Each time Little Gray puts into words his hopes for the future, his mama affirms his character. When Little Gray says that he’d pick the tastiest leaves and share them with her, Mama replies: “You would be big! And very kind.”

It’s been a joy to hear from caregivers about their family’s delight in the book and the time they’ve spent nestled together making their own special memories.

The passing on of affirmations is also the theme for my newest book, You Are My Friend: The Story of Mister Rogers and His Neighborhood (releasing from Abrams Books on August 6th, 2019).

I didn’t discover Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood until I was a young mom. Right about the time that Rachel’s words gave me the idea for Mama’s Day with Little Gray, we began to watch Mister Rogers on television. That half hour became a special time for us. We sang the opening and closing songs together and enjoyed watching Fred Rogers interact with his guests and television neighbors in his kind, consistent way.

I began to read about Rogers’ life and was even more inspired. I learned that Freddie Rogers was a shy child who suffered from many childhood illnesses. One day, Freddie’s Grandfather McFeely shared some affirming words with his grandson: “You’ve made this day a special day, by just your being you. There’s no person in the whole world like you, and I like you just the way you are.”

Illustration from You Are My Friend by Aimee Reid and Matt Phelan

That message sank deep into young Fred’s mind, and he began to believe it. Eventually, Fred grew up to be known as Mister Rogers of the Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood television program. During every episode, Fred passed on the words of acceptance that his grandfather had shared with him.

It’s been a privilege and joy to honor Mister Rogers’ legacy by writing You Are My Friend. I hope that as children nestle in laps and gather in classrooms and bookstores and libraries to listen to the words of this book that they, too, will hear his time-honored message and know that they are important and enough just as they are.

Thank you for sharing the tender beginnings to these tender stories, Aimee. Mr. Rogers is such an iconic part of childhood, and he has been a steadfast ambassador for kindness. I can't wait to read your book! 

Readers: Aimee is offering a kindness-infused giveaway! Find all the details (including how to enter) here. The giveaway closes at 12:00 PM EST on August 13, 2019, and Aimee will contact the winners.

When Aimee Reid was young, she wanted to be two things: a teacher and a mom. She didn’t even realize that she could grow up to be an author! She always loved books and has a wonderful memory of being taken to her school’s big library after she’d read all of the books in her classroom.
Aimee grew up to be a teacher and then she became a mom. After her first child was born, she started writing books for kids. Her first book is called Mama’s Day with Little Gray (Random House, 2014), and her newest one is a picture book biography called You Are My Friend: The Story of Mister Rogers and His Neighborhood that comes into the world on August 6, 2019.

Connect with Aimee:
Twitter: @aimeereidbooks
Instagram: @aimeereidbooks
Facebook: AimeeReidbooks


Birth Stories for Books is an occasional feature of Dawn Babb Prochovnic's blog. Dawn is the author of multiple picture books including Where Does a Cowgirl Go Potty?, Where Does a Pirate Go Potty? (forthcoming, 2019), and 16 books in the Story Time With Signs & Rhymes series. Dawn is a contributing author to Oregon Reads Aloud and a frequent presenter at schools, libraries, and educational conferences. Contact Dawn using the form at the left, or learn more at