A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Once Upon a Potty: Boy is a storybook app that goes through the stages of potty training for kids. It starts at the beginning from when a baby is born, to where kids are done with diapers entirely. There are three options for reading the story: Read To Me, Read It Myself, and Autoplay. Read to Me reads the story to kids, highlighting words as it goes. Kids can also play with each scene before turning the page themselves. Read It Myself will not automatically read the words to kids, but will if they are tapped. Kids also turn pages themselves. Autoplay both reads the story and turns the pages. On each page, when kids can tap on the illustrations, the part tapped are identified out loud by a child's voice. The app also has an option to listen to The Potty Song or do a sing along. The Potty Song plays the song, highlighting the lyrics as it goes. If you select the sing along option, the background music to the song plays along with some backup vocals and highlighted lyrics, allowing kids to supply the main vocals. The publisher also makes a version of this app for girls.
Is it any good?
ONCE UPON A POTTY: BOY only offers slightly more functionality than the printed book itself. Tapping on a word doesn't individually highlight and read it; the tapping causes the passage to be re-read in its entirety. Tapping on images on the pages identifies the images out loud, but no corresponding written word appears so that kids can connect them. On Autoplay or Read to Me, words are highlighted as they are very slowly read, but the way the app highlights more than one word at once can be confusing to new readers. The book may be less helpful for kids whose families use different terms for the relevant body parts and bodily functions.
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