timeout given for potty accident - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 01-28-2013, 11:02 AM - Thread Starter
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Please excuse typos! On my phone. So my son started at an AMI certified Montessori preschool last fall. My son is now 3 1/2 years and he attends from 8 am-12. This is his first experience being separated from me and being around other kids. He has done very well and seems to enjoy school.When we interviewed and toured the school, we asked about discipline and we were told they use redirection. And we were ok with that and assumed that meant they didn't do timeouts. In our home we use love and reason and avoid punishments and we do not do timeouts. But his teacher has put him in timeout a few times for hitting/pushing. We have been on the fence about this but understand that a room full of rowdy little boys and girls may need timeouts?. But today when I picked him up, his teacher told me that he had a poop/pea accident and went in his pants. And he was put in timeout for this. I was shocked but didn' t express my disapproval right there. She was trying to get the fullday kids in their cots and so we just left. But the more I think abou it the more I am troubled. You see we did elimination communication with him and he has been diaper free since before his 2nd birthday. We have had a few pee accidents but he hasn't ever pooped his pants. I am very concerned about this and am thinking we aren't going back to that school. But then I also don't want to disrupt his life and routine without a good reason. He usually is in good spirits when I pick him up and drop him off. Even today he seemed fine but he did say today that he doesn't want to go to school any more that he just wants to stay home with me. My husband and I plan on speaking with the teacher about this if we decide to send him back but right now I am just thinking we aren't. We have some time to think about it since we are leaving for vacation for the rest of the week. I don't want to make a rash decision. Any thoughts or opinions to offer?
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#2 of 6 Old 01-28-2013, 11:43 AM
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Poor kiddo. 


I would talk to the directress to find out about the timeouts. I would want to know whether they are being used in a punitive sense or as a tactic to help a child get some breathing room from a stressful situation.


If a child has been hitting/pushing, he may be overwhelmed and using physical force to express himself. He may benefit from a few minutes to collect himself. A little space from the other children, along with some gentle intervention from a teacher can help. That's different from a lengthy timeout used as a punishment. 


In the case of the accident, he may have needed a few minutes to get clean and regain his composure in front of the other children, again hopefully with some gentle intervention from a teacher. If the timeout was punishment for the accident, well, then, the directress needs to hear that that is not acceptable. If that's the case, you are entitled to be upset and to confront them about mishandling the situation. 


Even if you decide it isn't the right situation for him and you aren't going to send him back to this school, I would speak with the directress. I would want to know more about how the accident happened since it's unusual. Was it a simple delay in getting to the bathroom on time? Could it be a new food he's tried? Is he ill? Is it stress-related? The directress may have some insights. I'd also want more information about how they handled it. 

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#3 of 6 Old 01-28-2013, 11:54 AM
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This is tough.


We did EC with DS too.  He's had some accidents at his new dayhome (which I am puzzled by as it's never been an issue at home) and I would NOT be ok with our dayhome provider giving him a time out for it (we also don't believe in timeouts, but an accident IMO shouldn't be "punished").


Before you decide I would talk to the director about the event and express your concern and displeasure.  It would have been very shaming to be put in a time out because of an accident, and I think that's wrong.  I'm sure your DS was already embarrased enough by it.  If you feel the director can't understand why you are concerned and won't agree to take a different course of action that is acceptable to you if this happens in the future, then I'd consider pulling him out.  The tricky thing is that you can't control how others interact with your child at all times (like when they are in formal school if you don't home school, or in extra-curricilar activities) but I think that at such an early age and this being a first experience away from you it is even more important that it be positive.

N, wife to my goofball K partners.gif and mamma to my EC grad D (July 2010) and my new little love S (May 2013).  Exploring the uncharted territory of tandem nursing with my two boys.

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#4 of 6 Old 01-28-2013, 12:17 PM - Thread Starter
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I am hoping the timeout was done to help give hiim some time to recompose himself and not in a punitive way. As best as I can understand he was just sitting on a bench and the teacher called him over but noticed he was sitting strangely and that is when she noticed his pants were wet.

It just stinks because I don't know really what happened for sure. I can tell that my son was embarassed and when I asked him to tell me what happened he said it wss a long story. I asked him if the teacher was mad at him and he said she was but then I asked if she wss nice to him, he said she was nice when she was cleaning him. The accident is perplexing, he's not sick , nothing has changed, no new foods, he had a good night sleep, I just don' t know? I guess since this is the first and only time it hss happened I will try to not get to worried about it. But we will talk to the teacher when we get back next week rather than just withdrawing him. Thanks for the opinions and comments!
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#5 of 6 Old 02-08-2013, 10:07 PM
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I agree 100% with PPs and would talk to them and be on the lookout for other similar behaviors.

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#6 of 6 Old 04-15-2013, 11:05 PM
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If they did give a timeout, this is not normal and I'd be having some serious words with the directress. Did she use the actual words 'time out' when you picked your LO up?

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