By Christie Griffith, TLC Occupational Therapist
If you come to the TLC Learning Center and happen to use the adult bathrooms during your visit, you might notice that we often have things posted on the backs of the stall doors and/or walls. A little “potty talk” for your reading enjoyment while you are a captive audience sitting on the throne. They might be inspirational, humorous, thought provoking, instructional, etc. but most importantly, they change on a weekly or monthly basis to keep your interest and to keep teaching new things.
One item that often makes an appearance here is a copy of the current handout for parents called Skills Sheets by Sandbox Learning (also available at www.sandbox-learning.com) that is a part of our Pyramid Plus Positive Behavior Development program at TLC. It offers practical suggestions to parents for a variety of topics such as Holiday Social Skill Strategies, Having Guests and Visiting Others, or Teaching Skills for Playing with Others. Another parent handout that may appear on the walls is from the Backpack Connection Series (from www.challengingbehavior.org) and may include topics such as How to Teach Your Child to Take Turns, How to Help Your Child to Stop Whining, and How to Have Your Child Have a Successful Bedtime.
But “potty talk” is not just for parents. Sometimes the topics are relevant for staff and other adults who visit. Brief articles torn from magazines or printed off the internet may offer suggestions for identifying your personality type, ideas for how to slow down and take time to enjoy your life, healthy food choices, or humorous stories to inspire, educate and entertain you for those brief moments of private time in the stall.
“Potty Talk” can also be adapted for children and teens. Funny pictures or cartoons, schedule reminders of upcoming events, inspirational sayings, or very short stories can be posted for their entertainment. They may even learn some new things without even realizing it!
So, I encourage you to incorporate a little “potty talk” into your own life. It can be useful at work or at home. If you don’t want to keep putting tape on and pulling it off of your wall consider some alternative ways of posting- hang a small chalk board or cork board on the door or wall nearby, tape or pin up a plastic clear sheet protector for papers that you can slide things into and out of, or use reusable mounting putty to stick things up temporarily. Turns for posting can be rotated through family members or employees to lessen the burden on just one person, if desired. Ideas for what to post can be found in magazines, newspaper articles, comics, online searches, etc. Or come on in to the TLC Learning Center and visit our bathrooms for a little inspiration!
And while we’re talking about potties, remember that children do not have to be potty trained to begin preschool at TLC. Teachers work with kids to help them become “potty talk” ready, so they can join in the extra for minutes of learning and inspiration, too!