Thursday, January 22, 2009

Potty Training Without Pity?

Submitted for post by Anya

We came across this short piece in the Miami Herald, "Your Toilet Training Tot Can Be a Star" and wanted to know what you all thought. It appears producers are casting for a new reality show wherein families will contend for rewards and the possibility of staring in a television ad for the winning family. The hook? The competition will involve families seeking to potty train their toddlers. While the Miami Herald article makes no direct mention of "Jon & Kate Plus 8", a writer at Babble.com picked up on the piece and believes the inspiration for this new show can be directly tied to the ratings success of "Jon & Kate Plus 8" and "the goings-on in the Gosselin family bathrooms."

Anyone who has spent any time blogging about the Gosselins knows the potty scenes of previous seasons arouse pretty strong feelings in many watchers. What do you think of this new show? Do you consider it tacky and absurd or just another blip in the craziness of reality television?

Perhaps when all is said and done, the Gosselin sextuplets won't be the only children of their generation to have been watched by millions on the potty!

44 comments:

Dawn said...

I really don't think it's appropriate to film kids being potty trained. It's demeaning. Potty training is hard enough. Do people really want to watch kids doing there business on a potty? I really don't.

Guinevere said...

The whole concept sounds a little tacky, but then, reality TV often is.

I'm on record as being less bothered by the "privacy" aspect of potty training - assuming there is no actual genitalia shown (a safe assumption, I would think), I don't consider it a big deal.

Now, I'm not sure what I think about competitive potty training - if anything is going to warp the little kids involved, it might be that!

MoreCowbell said...

Yeah, that's a bit tacky. Besides, how can you make a contest out of something that each child does at a different stage in their life? I tried potty training my son at two years old, only because my mother and grandmother, both of whom had never had to potty train a male child, insisted that "it was time." Well, it wasn't, and my son couldn't have been more disinterested, which was confirmed by his pediatrician who told me, "He's just not ready yet. Don't push it." In fact, it wasn't until he was three that he was "ready." The doctor also told me that pushing potty training before a child is ready will lead to problems. It will naturally take longer to accomplish, leading to bet wetting and accident problems. Because I waited until my son was open to the idea, he was trained in a couple days, with little struggles and never had a nighttime accident once he was trained. Still hasn't had an accident, which is good, because he's in college now. ;)

Sooo....how do you have a contest about something like that?

SamanthaNC said...

This is funny bc: a child is going to be potty trained when they are good and ready and not one minute sooner. I don't think they are going to care about "winning". Our little one was hit and miss during potty training as most children are and then one day out of the blue- during a 6 hour drive where bathrooms were few and far between OF COURSE- she decided today was the day and she was a big girl who would be using the potty. That was that, granted we had to stop on the side of the road a few times bc she had to "go right now", but they always do it when they on their itme table and not whats most convenient for us lol.

I know that almost every topic imaginable has been made into a reality show but potty training? I can't imagine tuning in to see if little Johnny will use the big boy potty. Weird.

marci said...

Yeah, I think this concept for a show is way out there compared to anything we saw on the Gosselins' show. With the tups we were just privy to this stage of their lives, whenever it happened to happen. And it wasn't promoted like the wedding renewal episodes....can you imagine???

And, I agree, this is not something you can force a toddler to "do". My son was the same age as the boy tups, 3 and a half, when he finally decided the potty was worth taking an interest in. But when he did, we were done in a weekend....not one accident.

I can't imagine this show even getting on the air, but I guess there's been worse fluff that's made it to the TV screen. Trainwreck of Love, anyone?

cwats76 said...

I find this quite strange that they would make a reality show out of potty training...I think it would be pretty tramatic for kids to be on a show specifically for potty training. But not because they are showing them potty training but because the competition will get crazy and out of hand (I am sure since most reality shows do) and it will be the actions of their parents that will harm the kids. Plus I don't think with all the added stress of 'winning' that the kids will train completely. and effectively.

I never had an issue with the Gosselins potty training their kids and us seeing it. It was part of their life and they showed it because they had a show. I have pictures of kids going to the bathroom as does my mom have pictures of us. I also have a friend who much like Kate with her pics of the poop has a VIDEO of her youngest son's frist poop on the potty. And she has shown it to people. Yes he does get a little embaressed when she brings it up but he also finds it funny to see himself as a toddler and his mom acting all crazy on video.

Linda said...

I've got a family member who is a urologist -- pee pee doctor.

The indicator of when a kid is ready is not when they can urinate in the toilet or in the potty chair. (Some kids can do that a full year before they are ready to be trained.) The best indicator is dryness -- can they hold their urine for long periods of time.

I'd go to change my sons' diapers before we left for an errand and around 3 years old I'd notice that it was dry. That was the time to stick him on the toilet to urinate.

================

Re: a show that highlights potty training.

It does seem tacky.

I hate to open up this can of worms but the Gs potty episodes did not show any genital shots did they? I don't remember seeing it but sometimes I think that I watch a different show than other people do.

Paula said...

Like my pediatrician said... She will be trained by the time she hits kindergarten,don't worry about it. Even Kate said the boys weren't ready until later. I don't think I would watch this.

themrs said...

this really bothers me. i have a problem with the G's showing it also. let me ask this: would you allow your husband to post a video of you on the toilet on youtube? even if your genitals weren't shown? so what makes it ok for anyone do so for their children?

this is one thing i feel very strongly about:)

MommyZinger said...

That sounds like a silly show. But they will make a show about anything and if people watch it well....that's what the business is about I guess.

The potty training scenes in J&K+8 didn't bother me in the least. It is people sexualizing normal childhood behavior that is disturbing. I was actually interested in it as I have a daughter the same age as the tups. I am sure many other mothers were potty training their kids at the same time and whether it was appropriate to show on TV never crossed their minds.

Mom said...

DUMB.

Jenn said...

I don't get why someone would want to put their child in a potty training contest. Both of my kids potty trained before they turned 3 but that was their doing, not mine. They did it when they were ready. It's a silly concept for a show, if you ask me.

Kikibee said...

A silly idea, but I bet they get lots of people to sign on for it.

A few weeks ago on "The Doctors"
(which is produced by Dr. Phil and his son) they had a taped segment about a woman who has classes for potty-training impaired parents.
They had a bunch of toddler boys running around completely naked
(blurred, of course) with potty chairs available for when they got the urge. We also got to see a little boy mop up a puddle of his pee (not blurred). And all I could think was the GwoPs need to scratch Dr. Phil off their list of
"people we can contact to help these poor kids".

FIONA said...

I can't even believe it. Horrendous.

It isn't about sexualizing anything. Going to the bathroom is private!

It was and is private for the G kids, and it should be for everyone.

I guess that's why there are doors on all bathrooms.

happymama said...

Potty training is hard. The parent has to wait, till the child is ready. Every child is different.

That said, I don't think that kids should be filmed being potty trained. It's alot of stress for the child being potty trained. Filming it adds even more stress.


I feel that going to the bathroom, is one of the most private things that a human being does. JMO

Anya said...

Kikibee said...A few weeks ago on "The Doctors"(which is produced by Dr. Phil and his son) they had a taped segment about a woman who has classes for potty-training impaired parents. They had a bunch of toddler boys running around completely naked (blurred, of course) with potty chairs available for when they got the urge. We also got to see a little boy mop up a puddle of his pee (not blurred). And all I could think was the GwoPs need to scratch Dr. Phil off their list of
"people we can contact to help these poor kids".


Very interesting. Well, I guess the idea has already been done (sort of). Now, we just need to make it a *competition* and we will be off and running!

Dr. Phil is off the list too? The list is getting to be so short. I am terribly concerned. Wait, let's not forget there is a girl reporter named Jess who is onto the Gosselins and once she has written her story (with the help of a certain blog), the Gosselins will be finished! Mwahahahaha!

Anya said...

themrs said...this really bothers me. i have a problem with the G's showing it also. let me ask this: would you allow your husband to post a video of you on the toilet on youtube? even if your genitals weren't shown? so what makes it ok for anyone do so for their children?

this is one thing i feel very strongly about:)


My personal opinion is most (not all) people just see toddlers on pottys as *different* than grown-ups on toilets. I don't know if I can articulate a great answer as to why. It's the same way a baby's bottom is *different* than a 12-year-old's to me.

I do understand your point. We all come here with diverse ideas about what exactly "modesty" is.

On that note, I am not too keen on seeing adults on the toilet. It seems this has become rather commonplace in movies that are trying to "be real" or just gross. I don't need to see that folks.

As for the show itself, I agree with others, the only real concern I would have would be the competitive nature of it.

Lizabeth said...

The thing that resonates with me is that I would not want a child shown in any behavior that I, myself, would not want to be shown in. Bathroom time is included in that-- I never thought it was a good thing to show it on Jon & Kate but I did understand the reasoning that it may give other parents hope and guidance in some of the tips Kate used (i.e. the girls could stay dry first and were thus 'ready' before the boys, how she gave a reward, how she would congratulate them, etc).

Its interesting that Dr. Phil showed that-- I know child nudity is something discussed often not just regarding Jon and Kate, so while blurring out the nether regions may satisfy some, I think it'd be better not to show that at all.

At the same time, I figure the networks will do what they have to/want to do for ratings. If they really think a show like that will get sponsorship, maybe allow some doctors to give educated information to parents whose child just does not want to use a toilet, etc, then they have every right to broadcast what they want. Just like *I* have every right not to watch :).

BEE said...

I didn't have a problem with Jon and Kate Plus 8 showing the kids being potty trained. However, like another poster said, as long as there wasn't any genitalia being shown. As long as the filming is done in a tasteful and respectful way then I don't see the problem with a show that deals with the issue of potty training. However, I wouldn't be to interested in watching a show that was all about potty training!

Guinevere said...

My personal opinion is most (not all) people just see toddlers on pottys as *different* than grown-ups on toilets. I don't know if I can articulate a great answer as to why. It's the same way a baby's bottom is *different* than a 12-year-old's to me.

I agree, and I also can't entirely articulate why. I don't have any need or desire to see little kids on the potty, but I don't see it as private the same way an adult using the potty is private. I think it becomes private once one is able to do it in private, without help.

Do people feel the same way about seeing diaper changing? If not, what is the difference?

Or how about this: is there anyone who would have their potty-training toddler use the potty with a close friend around, but not use the toliet themselves in front of the friend?

I'm not trying to argue that kids don't deserve privacy. But what we're talking about here is not a moral question but social norms. In our society, I think we do see bathroom use by adults or children who are old enough to go by themselves as private, but we don't generally see potty training or diaper changing the same way.

Anya said...

Off-topic, but I just wanted to point out that Nina has posted a "TV Talk" post on the right side bar under the poll. This will stay up throughout each week so we can discuss our favorite shows.

Apparently, there is a show called "Skank of Love", I need to check out! :-)

"scents" & sensibility said...

This is sick, tacky and downright wrong. I have a child who we are trying to pottytrain and although we aren't in the greatest financial situation, NEVER would I put my kids through the humiliation of potty training on national television. It seems that networks are capitalizing on all of this J&K "fame" and doing more to these little kids. SICK !!

VOR said...

That show is not for me. I'd rather not remember the effort it took to potty train my 3 kids.

Competitive potty training? Is that like your grandma telling you that all of her kids were trained by the time they were one? No thanks. BTDT

While I have bath shots and naked baby shots, I never took a picture of my child on a potty. I am not interested in taking pictures like that of my kids or watching other children on the potty. I have shown the bath/naked baby shots to family and my child's serious girlfriend.

Theresa said...

I'm not keen on a show about potty training. As said on the posts above, every kid is different.

Linda--the answer to your question is no.

Anya--you crack me up!...Dr. Phil is off the list too? The list is getting to be so short. I am terribly concerned. Wait, let's not forget there is a girl reporter named Jess who is onto the Gosselins and once she has written her story (with the help of a certain blog), the Gosselins will be finished! Mwahahahaha!

mommy in nh said...

I don't think this show will last too long. I mean a whole seaseon of toddlers learning to be potty trained? With J&K it wasn't more than a couple of episodes and it wasn't really a competition.

I also think this show has the potential to do some damage to these kids by their competitive parents. Depending on if this show focuses more on the competitive nature or not. But being reality tv show the odds of that are good.

themrs said...

Vor- when my oldest was a baby i took some adorable pics of her running through the sprinkler naked in our backyard. she was about a year old. the film dept at meijer called children's services on me for child pornography! the irony of it all was that when the caseworker came to my house i had to tell her i was in college for a degree in social work! obviously, there was no backlash, in fact the social worker was ticked when she found out why they called on me. i had to fight the manager of the store to get my pics back!

SamanthaNC said...

themrs said...
Vor- when my oldest was a baby i took some adorable pics of her running through the sprinkler naked in our backyard. she was about a year old. the film dept at meijer called children's services on me for child pornography! the irony of it all was that when the caseworker came to my house i had to tell her i was in college for a degree in social work! obviously, there was no backlash, in fact the social worker was ticked when she found out why they called on me. i had to fight the manager of the store to get my pics back!


I saw alifetime movie where the same thing happened and the child was taken from the parent. That is just ridiculous!!!! I'm so sorry that happened to you, I would have been furious.

themrs said...

sam- i don't know why but i just laughed out loud when i read "i saw a lifetime movie where that happened". i don't know why that's so funny to me!

MrsRef said...

I remember that movie, I think it had Mare Whittingham or something in it. I find a distinction in having a child use the potty in front of a close friend or relative but I don't think it should be a contest on tv. I really do think going to the bathroom should be a private matter. There was a show on hbo last year that had a scene with someone sitting on the toilet. I didn't find it too appealing, actually it was unneccesary and added nothing to the plot.

Anya said...

mommy in nh said...
I don't think this show will last too long. I mean a whole seaseon of toddlers learning to be potty trained? With J&K it wasn't more than a couple of episodes and it wasn't really a competition.


Oh, I agree, I don't think we are looking at the next "American Idol" or "Survivor".

If it makes it to the air, it will probably be on a second tier cable network and probably won't last long. It's just interesting to me the never ending "new" ideas producers come up with.

TheMrs. - I too am sorry that happened to you. Like Samantha, I would have been furious and SO upset. You have a good attitude about the whole thing. Sometimes it helps to just put things in perspective. I am sure you were the most "boring" call of that case worker's month.....(That's a good thing in case I am not making myself clear).

themrs said...

i was upset at the time but nine years later it's not a big deal:) interestingly, a few months after i graduated college and took a job as a social worker placing juvenile felony offenders in foster care. i was an intern at that agency when this happened!

Guinevere said...

I also think this show has the potential to do some damage to these kids by their competitive parents. Depending on if this show focuses more on the competitive nature or not. But being reality tv show the odds of that are good.

I agree - I'd be more concerned with that aspect than with privacy concerns over potty shots.

themrs, that is a scary story. I think that's part of my concern when people talk about oversight for the Gosselin family - not that I oppose laws that protect kids on reality TV, but I'm aware that there can be a downside to agencies interfering in the way parents raise their children. It sounds like it turned out fine in your case, but I don't think that's always the case.

FIONA said...

I agree, and I also can't entirely articulate why. I don't have any need or desire to see little kids on the potty, but I don't see it as private the same way an adult using the potty is private. I think it becomes private once one is able to do it in private, without help.
====

What if the adult can not go to the bathroom along due to health reasons, or need help in changing an undergarment, or cleaning themselves up? There are plenty of folks that do require assistance...should they not be granted privacy, just because they can't do for themselves?

I agree with Lizabeth in that if you yourself wouldn't want something filmed, we should extend the same consideration to children.

Saint said...

This does NOT sound like a show I will be watching. Crass.

Saint said...

Fiona, I don't think anyone meant to say that only those who are independent are entitled to privacy. It was meant as a general way of deciding when showing potty scenes might cross a line. Potty training is generally complete by the age of three and a half (though some go longer, and some much earlier.) So the remark was about a general age for everyone, not necessarily about individual examples of independent toileting.

Personally, I see nothing wrong with taking a picture of a little one potty training by a mom or dad, for the family. I don't like it being aired to the public though. It's not going to ruin anyone for life if it's shown, but I do think it's in poor taste. I didn't care for the Gosselin potty training episodes, but they weren't a deal breaker.

I come from a very big family with lots of little kids having been potty-trained in the past 23 years. Some kids were shy about it. Others bragged about their accomplishment and insisted on an audience. I think the child's own feelings about having an audience should be considered, too.

Leah said...

Sounds like a horrible show.

However, I've never bought the argument that the Gosselin kids will be forever scarred by having been shown on the toilet. When I was growing up, my mom wrote an interest piece for the local paper on raising kids, normally with personal stories of me and my sister. One of her more "embarrassing" articles was all about potty training me - complete with a photo of me on the toilet with a diaper on my head. She still has the "hate" mail she received all about how I'd grow up embarrassed and damaged by most people in the town knowing all that about me. Needless to say, my "embarrassing" moments as a two or three year old have little effect on me now. I'd be surprised if, in ten or twenty years, the sextuplets reacted in any other way.

Guinevere said...

What if the adult can not go to the bathroom along due to health reasons, or need help in changing an undergarment, or cleaning themselves up? There are plenty of folks that do require assistance...should they not be granted privacy, just because they can't do for themselves?

I agree with Lizabeth in that if you yourself wouldn't want something filmed, we should extend the same consideration to children.


So you also believe that diaper changing shouldn't be filmed in any way? (For the record, I'm talking about discreet diaper changing, with "nothing showing".)

Anya said...

There you go, Gosselin detractors:

Leah said... Needless to say, my "embarrassing" moments as a two or three year old have little effect on me now.

It's called g-r-o-w-i-i-n-g u-p.
Amazing what it can do for YOU!

Thanks Leah!

Saint, I hope you are feeling better?! You were missed the last few days.

Guinevere said...

I agree with Lizabeth in that if you yourself wouldn't want something filmed, we should extend the same consideration to children.

I was thinking about this a bit, and to expand on my earlier comments, if you really believe that a baby/toddler is due the exact same privacy and consideration that anyone at any age is given, you have no right to take any pictures of the child until he or she is old enough to give consent. Anything else would be an obvious violation of their privacy.

scarfoot said...

The idea of a potty training show is just ridiculous. I don't want to see that. It doesn't sound interesting, and it sounds like it could be pressuring children about something that definitely needs to occur in the child's own timing.

I have not seen any pictures of the Gosselin children while potty training that gave me any major cause for concern (no genitalia). There are pictures somewhere of a certain scarfooted blogger on the potty. I realize that these pictures were not there for all the world to see, but in my mind, I am not nearly as embarrassed by my parents documenting that process as many people are. In my mind, it seems less of a big deal when it is a child.

What about the commercials that show children using the potty? Are the children who are portrayed using the potty on Pull-Up commercials going to be as scarred as the Gosselins?

Potty training is a rite of passage and is well documented by many, many parents. I just don't see it as that large of an issue. However, if there were truly genital shots for the public to see, that is a different issue entirely.

Saint said...

Thanks, Anya,
I am feeling better and soon I will be up and at 'em.

I was disappointed to have missed most of the inauguration coverage, though.

Nina Bell said...

This idea and show is just ridiculous.

MeMommaMo said...

If this show is to be believed... How awful will these kids feel when they are grown about being in such a show? Where has decency gone? This is ridiculous. I'll stick to potty training my son in private. And I won't take pictures of his bowel movements like a certain reality TV mom...

Nancy said...

Nope, I don't wanna see a show about Potty Training Competition. Ugh. I don't care what age is doing the pooping and peeing... I do not want to see what went into any potty or diaper. EVER. I've seen enough of that in my own home. LOL!