Christian Homeschool Resources & Homeschooling Advice

Tales from the Toilet or ... Potty Training with a Twist

  • Terri Camp Home school author and mother
  • 2002 11 Oct
Tales from the Toilet or ... Potty Training with a Twist

A lot of interesting things have happened while sitting in the bathroom potty training children, or simply helping an older child who was afraid of the dark and scary closets.  As a mom of many children, there have even been times I've had to do "school" in the bathroom with one of the children simply because I could not leave a child getting accustomed to a new activity.


One of my most embarrassing home school moments happened while one of the little ones was getting potty trained. Ashley was struggling with a math concept, which for me was inconceivable.  It was such a simple concept, especially for someone like me who had almost 30 years experience experimenting with the concept. But for Ashley, the comprehension was just not there.


I'm not sure if I was more frustrated with the child who stood up and promptly wet the carpet in the bathroom, or with Ashley who just couldn't get it no matter how many times I explained.  Something horrible came over me and in a fit of frustration I broke Ashley's pencil. It was terrible and I felt really bad about it later. I learned that perhaps it's sometimes best to let a child stew on a problem for a day or so in order that Mom doesn't get so frustrated.


I've recently enjoyed a lot of "educational" moments in the bathroom with our youngest son. For some reason he has become afraid of the bathroom after dark. This is often the time when he needs to "sit a spell."  I have become his favorite protector of whatever lurks behind closet doors and out bathroom windows. 


Perhaps at his advanced age, (he's four and a half now) he might be a bit embarrassed that his mom is sitting in the bathroom with him.  He has me sit in the bathtub, so I can't look at him. And then he begins talking to me. I just had a thought, perhaps he's simply figured out a way to get some good one-on-one time with Mom?  I'm sure that's not it.  The most recent time of sitting came right in the middle of a game of Scrabble with four of my younger children.  We were all a bit anxious to get back to the game, except Bryan who had me all to himself.


John came to the door knocking impatiently asking, "How much longer?"


I told him just another minute or so.


Bryan then said, "Mom, how long is a minute?"  I told him it was 60 seconds. His eyes got big as he said, "Oh, I can't count that high!"


I then asked if he could count to six.  He answered with a gleam in his eye that of course he could count to six. Don't ask me how I saw his eyes while sitting in the bathtub, but I did.  I then asked, knowing the answer, if he can count to ten. Again, he said, "Of course!"  Seizing the moment with my four year old I explained that 60 seconds was the same as counting to six, 10 times.  He was excited about this concept and began counting to six, 10 times.  With a triumphant shout, he shouted the last six!


Outside the door, I could hear John say, "I don't see why he's scared, I mean, it's only a matter of a monster jumping out of the closet."


I vowed to have a talk with John as soon as I was finished with Bryan.


Even David grew restless waiting for me to come finish the game. He came into the bathroom, asking Bryan if he wanted him to check the contents of the closet for any monsters so I could get back to the game.  David then climbed into the closet and promptly pretended to get sucked into the closet.  I vowed to talk to him when I finished with Bryan too.  It's no wonder the poor kid is now afraid to be in a bathroom alone.


After laughing at David, Bryan became a bit worried that there was still a monster in the closet. I tried to ease his mind by once again turning the conversation to math.


Bryan is never one to pass up a challenge so I asked him how high he could count.  He said to me, "Well, I'm not sure, let's see."


He began to count quickly, skipping 16, but not really noticing. He continued counting. I became quite impressed.  I really didn't know he could count so well.  He got to the number 56 then stopped.


I said to him, "go on." 


He replied by saying, "That's how far I can count, to 56!" 


He then jumped off the toilet with a triumphant spring.


Sometimes you have to seize the moment with your children. Who would have ever thought of math in the bathroom?  I wonder if Einstein's mother taught him this way?

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In addition to devoting herself to her husband and the eight children she home schools, Terri also enjoys writing and speaking to offer encouragement to women in an effervescent, humorous way. Visit her Website at or e-mail her at