Originally Posted by swd12422
I spoke to the teacher about Friday's events (she had left a bit early and missed out on all the fun), and she was shocked that he'd wet his pants again. She couldn't figure out when he could have had the opportunity to do it, b/c she'd sent him to the bathroom 30 minutes before pickup. So in that half hour, he managed to do it again. Then she asked what I want her to do about it. I didn't know what to say. If I tell her more frequent potty breaks, it not only disrupts the rest of the class, but it creates a power struggle. And clearly, he's just going to hold it in when they make him go anyway. You can lead a horse to water and all that. So then what? Leave her with having to clean him up every time? Is that even acceptable? He doesn't have "accidents" anywhere else. Not home, out with Daddy, at friends' houses (although that's the most likely place for it to happen besides school), at any of his other activities/sports.... What should I tell the teacher to "do?" Remind him that cleanup takes more time than using the bathroom? What else? Or just say nothing, change him and send him on his way? We're all stumped over here, apparently.
"Calm down" is definitely much easier said than done. I'm sure you must be tired of hearing us say that. Unfortunately, it is true.
As for what to have the teacher do?
For starters, I'd request that the teachers not say "It's okay" any more to my child whenever this happens. It's one thing to try to calm and comfort an upset child who is upset that he/she has had an accident. But that's not what you seem to have. It's another matter altogether to make it sound like the teacher is condoning this. It seems like it should not be unreasonable to have the teacher respond to this kind of thing by saying something neutral, instead of downright positive. The teacher is probably saying that it's okay as an automatic response because that's what she needs to say to all of the other children. She probably does it without thinking. So I think I'd ask her to be more mindful/aware about the first thing she says to your son when she discovers the wet crotch. (And the teacher should feel free to say it's okay to all of the other children, just not to your son.) I think I'd even offer her suggestions of what she should say to your son instead. I just can't think of anything at the moment. Maybe, "Well, let's clean this up now."?
The other thing that you can ask your teacher is that when she sends your son to the toilet, like she did 30 minutes before your little incident, she should make sure that he really empties his bladder. No doubt your child is just sitting on the toilet for just a token few seconds so that he can get right back to doing whatever fun he's been doing.
Scenario #1: Child's butt touches the toilet (or in the case of a boy, stands in front of the toilet) for a mere tenth of a second, nothing comes out during that very brief interval, and child decides that this means that he does not have to go. The teacher should first of all have the child sit on or stand in front of the toilet longer, like more than one second. :D I'd suggest to the teacher that on those occasions that nothing comes out that the teacher have him try again after the last child in the group finishes, but before the entire group of children leave the bathroom, because sometimes the urine decides to come out after all a minute or so later.
Scenario #2: Child stands in front of the toilet, a little bit of urine comes out, just enough to relieve the sense of urgency, but in his eagerness to return to whatever fun activity he interrupted, he leaves plenty of urine left in the bladder. That would explain the incident occurring a mere thirty minutes later. So teacher should also make sure that child is concentrating hard on emptying his bladder. Your child might let out a little bit of pee, but if he's busy thinking about other things or distracted by who knows what while sitting on the toilet, then he's not going to get it all out. (Counting how many seconds he stands in front of the toilet will distract the child from actually thinking about emptying his bladder, I think.) So she should remind him, during the time that he is sitting on the toilet, to "concentrate on generating urine", or whatever it is that preschool teachers say that. A few days of this might be enough.
Maybe the teacher should also make the child help clean up the rug, or whatever gets wet as well? Maybe at home you could teach the child a little about how to do laundry or fold laundry? These are natural consequences, not punitive punishments.
I do tell my dd that it is never good manners to intentionally create extra work for other people to do, or to create extra work that could otherwise have been easily avoided. (Doubly so if if the extra work is work that falls onto mama's shoulders. :D)
Do your child's pants have buttons and/or zippers that present an obstacle to undo? Elastic waist pants that just need to be pulled down were wonderful at age 3 years old.
I can't offer any advice about how to get calm, because I'm just naturally calm (and most probably because I got lucky in the unusually obedient temperament of my dd), but I do have one suggestion that may or may not work. Based on what your child said about not having to stop playing, I thought that he was pretty clever and articulate for a three year old, so I think that this might possibly work for you too. If I found myself repeating myself to the point of getting annoyed, I would simply have my daughter say the words herself. I'd let her do all the talking. For example, if my dd didn't hang up her coat everytime she got home like she is supposed to, I might have said to her, "What am I about to tell you that you were supposed to do?" or "What were you supposed to do?" or "Why am I not pleased?" This got my dd to get in the habit of stopping to think and review her actions to remember what she had/had not just done. Then she would say, "Oh, I was supposed to hang my coat." Eventually, this helped her automatically remember what she was supposed to do. It also saves me from getting annoyed at having to actually say the instruction for the hundredth time. :D No idea whether this would actually work for you. Your child may very well respond differently.
On an entirely different vein, I feel that some of the previous posts unfairly attribute these annoying habits to preschool. I recognize that these posts were well-intentioned and only trying to help the OP. Mind you, I'm certain that my perceived slight was completely unintentional on the pp's part, but I gently ask the homeschooling mamas to keep in mind that it makes it far more difficult for a mother who sends her child to preschool to be open to hear the EXCELLENT suggestions that follow a phrase like: I am SO glad that I homeschool and don't send my child to pre-school so that I don't have to deal with this. (A statement like that is enough to make ME feel defensive, and I don't even have a stake in this!)
So in the interest in presenting an opposing viewpoint, let me say this: My dd went to preschool (actually, full time daycare also, starting from age 6 months), and she never picked up any bad habits. A small part of it might be that she is a girl, but many (if not all) of the boys that she went to preschool with didn't have spitting/peeing issues like that either. So although, as all of the pp's state, the behavior is entirely age appropriate and normal, I would guess that many homeschoolers are also struggle with the same problem as the OP.
Edited by emilysmama - 11/3/11 at 7:52pm