Potty Patrol

I really do love working with the preschoolers at church in the Cubbie program. Preschoolers are some of the most honest people on the face of the earth. There is very little prevarication in a 3 to 5 year old child.

But they also fall prey to the power of suggestion very easily.

Take last evening, for example. One little girl, just before we get started, tells my mother, the Cubbie Director, that she needs to go to the bathroom.

Not a problem, my mother says. I volunteer to take her, since I actually need to use the bathroom myself. So, off we go, and we get back just as my mother is getting ready to sit the kids down to get started.

As soon as we do, two other little girls pipe up with, “I need to go to the bathroom now!”

So I find myself taking these two to the bathroom. Since we did have an “accident” a few weeks ago (due to the fact that the child told us too late that they needed to go potty), we’re trying to avoid a repeat and taking kids immediately when they say that they need to go. However, this causes a problem every single time. Preschoolers tend not to think about their bodily functions unless it is suggested to them – most likely due to parents who are constantly checking to see if they need to use the bathroom so they can avoid said accidents. If you’ve ever watched a preschooler at play, you know how single-minded they are on whatever they are doing. Going to the bathroom is simply not high on their priority list.

Unless someone else needs to go, of course. Then they instantly become aware of their own needs, and then we have a mass exodus for the bathroom.

After I return with these two girls, three more now have the “need” to go. We only allow two to go at a time, for better crowd control. So I take two more, and return with them to discover that – surprise! – someone else has also decided to join the last girl to go, so I take another two kids to the bathroom.

By the time I get back with the last two, the kids are splitting up into their teams for crafts, snack (it was birthday night for February, so they get rice krispie treats and apple juice), or verses.

We had fourteen kids last night. Three boys, eleven girls. I took seven girls to the bathroom in the first half hour.

The funniest part was one little girl who let out an audible sigh after she was done peeing. “Now I need to wipe myself and flush the toliet,” she said, very loudly, to herself.

It still doesn’t compare to one little girl we had a couple of years ago, who sang mini-arias to herself while she was on the toilet. Think “Boo” in the movie Monsters Inc., and increase the volume by three times. She was a riot. One leader and I used to stand by the bathroom door and just laugh silently because it was just so funny. And she was just singing la-la-las in whatever melody was in her head. Like I said, a mini-aria.

Preschoolers are wonderful, refreshingly direct children. I think that they are great. Just don’t ever suggest that they might need to use the bathroom.

On the plus side, my hands were very clean.

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