Monday 16 April 2018

Potty Training - The Little Budgie way... Children's Book Review

Little Budgie is the star of the first children's book by journalist and ex-teacher Simon Harris. While going through the joys of potty training with his son, he created the Budgie family and found it really helped encourage his little boy, so he turned his tale into a book.

Little Budgie's Done A Fudgie is colour 30 page story book with a soft wipe-clean cover. It does give away the ending in it's own title, but that doesn't spoil the tale, or the message of the book. Written in simple rhyme and with full page illustrations throughout, the storyline is not War And Peace, but it has the same level of anticipation and a little more success.

Little Budgie wants to throw away the nappies and move on to pants - he has a setback or two, but nothing too major and by the end of the book he's ready for the toilet itself. It'll be very familiar to anyone with children over the age of 3. I have never in my life previously referred to a poo as a 'fudgie', but I admit I laughed at the title. The more I thought about this book, the more I realised it actually captures the real spirit of toilet training and the advice I would always give any parent - keep it light-hearted.

My youngest is now 8 and my eldest is 24. Luckily they are both toilet-trained. In fact all of my children were clean and dry well before age three (two before two). I attribute most of this success to a calm attitude, or complete laziness, it amounts to the same thing. Small children have control over very little in their lives and they will wield that power given chance. Potty training is one thing they can turn into a huge battle, and they will always win. You are best to refuse to take part in an all-out-war and take a complete disinterest to anything other than a potty or toilet containing gifts.

Stress makes everything harder, so stressing about your child going to the grown up toilet or potty is not helpful. Only ask if they want to go once a decent amount of time has elapsed (I bet you don't pee every 20 minutes) or when they are showing signs they might need a wee - random dancing, hopping or jiggling are the best cues. Completely pause whatever you are doing while they run off and do their business, so they don't miss the cliffhanger on Paw Patrol or lose out on getting the best toy car to play with.

Taking a book to the toilet for extended trips is traditional and very calming, and Little Budgie's Done A Fudgie is is an ideal read for your toddler while they pay a visit. Like a lot of children's picture books, it can be read in 3 minutes, or stared at for hours. The message is simple and very easy for young children to understand - if he can, you can too!

Author Simon Harris is also the guy responsible for one of my favourite websites and pretty much half of the spoof news stories on Facebook, where he likes to remind us of just how daft or petty we can all be. I was offered an interview and it wasn't a chance I wanted to pass up on, so I sent him over a set of questions to answer... I didn't make them hard because he and his missus have just had a baby and have probably only had 13 minutes sleep since last Tuesday...

1. Will we see more books in the Little Budgie series? 

I may have exhausted the rhyming possibilties with 'fudgie,' but never say never. He might choose a career in riverbed maintenance and have a future adventure with some 'sludgie.' He could write a book about pub fruities ('nudgie') or just abandon rhyming altogether.

2. Now that you are a famous author. do you get recognised in the street? 

Funnily enough I only get recognised when people spot my 19-month-old daughter Emma because in my other life (Southend News Network) she ended up with her face in The Sun when I managed to convince them that she had been kicked out of a vegan's birthday party for wearing a cow onesie. (You can see that SNN story here..). Emma is my middle child. The book was written for my oldest child Luke (3 1/2). We also have a three-week old called James.

3. Should dungarees be banned for children 2-4?

I don't think so. When used safely they are a classy tribute to a bygone age of classy dressing. Also, when Luke wears a pair I sit back with a long, cool drink and imagine that he is Gordon Gekko.

4. Are you in discussions yet over a film deal, and who will play Mum and Dad Budgie? 

The story may need some plot development first, but I have a contact with an aviary who should be able to help me in that department. Failing that, I feel that the thespian qualities of the book would appeal to Benedict Cumberbatch and Sir Ian McKellen, or failing that the Chuckle Brothers.

Barry Chuckle as Mr Budgie

5. What is playing on your car stereo?

Blippi. Always Blippi. May God have mercy on my soul if I stick Radio 5 Live on to get the football results.

6. Who is your favourite author? 

Julia Donaldson. Hairy Maclary was the first book that Luke ever learnt off by heart and it ignited his passion for reading and being read to. We usually have to repeat the bit where Scarface Claw comes out ten to fifteen times.

7. What should everyone do at least once in their life? 

Write a book for kids, get rejected by a heap of publishers and then just do it yourself and stick it on Amazon anyway. Alternatively, take a finished jar of Nutella, fill it with hot milk, stir, drink, and then wonder why on Earth you hadn't already thought of that.

8. What's the name of that soup kitchen you support? 

One Love Soup Kitchen in Southend. They are an amazing group of people from all political backgrounds who just get on with the vitally important job in hand - everything from providing hot meals to offering showers and laundry facilities to providing support and advice wherever possible.

Not the One Love Soup Kitchen, it's my youngest at Madame Tussauds in Blackpool, but it'll do.

9. Is it okay if the last question is ridiculously obvious? I've tried really hard, but I can't not say it.

Of course.

10. U OK hun? 

No. Fummin but carnt talk about it hear too many snakes but you no who you are. PM me hun will explain on their.

Huge thanks to Simon for his time and frank answers to those less-than-probing questions - and congratulations to you all on the safe arrival of young James. 

Little Budgie's Done A Fudgie is available now priced £5.99 in softcover from Amazon (affiliate link), or £2.99 on Kindle. Good throneside reading for any youngster embarking on their underpant journey. 

I was sent my copy of Little Budgie's Done A Fudgie for review. It costs merely £5.99 and I am not so easily bought, so my opinion is genuine. Amazon links are affiliate, which means you don't pay any more, but I become a millionaire if you spend £20,000,000,000 through my link.  


  1. I won't comment on here because of snakes and other such Fudgies... I'll just buy the book for the new addition to our family ... loved this interview!

    1. :D It's my favourite ever interview so far in 5 years - out of both of them that I've done.

  2. The title of the book is hilarious but I can totally see it helping younger children. It's true about stressing out about toilet training, children will pick up on this! Sim x

    1. Totally :D And they want to make you happy, so they'll try hard and fail, which means ever more stress!


Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment. I read every one and try my best to reply!