I recently sat down to a great phone chat with co-creator of Signing Time, Emilie Brown, and also listened to a radio interview Rachel Coleman did, to learn more about the creation of Potty Time. You can read the back-story to Signing Time HERE and the first installment of the interview with Emilie HERE.
What was the creation of Potty Time like?
As we talked about in PART TWO of this series, from the very beginning of Signing Time (even from year one!) many requests for a potty training show were rolling in. But Rachel freely admits that she felt resistant to teaching signs for bathroom words and singing about bathroom words.
However, once Rachel and Emilie realized there was a big need for a potty training approach that taught kids about their amazing bodies, and how they needed to listen to those bodies, Potty Time production was up and running.
The creative process of writing “Look at you Grow” and “Your Body is Amazing” were easy for Rachel. But she still just did not want to write a potty song! So, the obvious answer was to pass on the job to their youngest brother, Aaron (who incidentally is in on the family business and helps with music production and sound design.)
So Aaron is responsible for “Uh-oh, It’s an Accident” and “The Potty Dance”, writing the potty songs as only a little brother can do (and we are very glad he did!).
You can listen to a radio interview with Rachel on the creation of Potty Time HERE.
How do you see Potty Time being used at home?
I asked Emilie what their vision was for Potty Time once it was created. How would families from all walks of life use it? The first hope of course was that families would start watching the video, using the signs, and integrating it into their potty training routines.
More than that though, the hope was that every family would have the support they need to have potty training be a great experience – with whatever method they choose – with a tool to help kids be excited about potty training and be successful in that process.
What about using Potty Time in childcare settings?
To the Signing Time folks, the most effective trainers are the parents because they can be the models. It’s a challenge for someone who is not the parent to be able to navigate something like potty training. If they are using Potty Time, that framework of positive messages and support can really help them be aware of the important messages that kids need.
In daycare, there are often kids of all ages and developmental stages, so signing in general can be critical and very helpful. In addition, if the daycare uses media (like videos), Potty Time can make a difference for their kids more so than some shows that are purely for entertainment.
When it comes to preschools, most children are expected to be potty trained when they enroll. But this video isn’t just for kids who are starting to train. Even after potty training is more or less complete, you still have to deal with some of those bathroom things… like remembering to wash hands all the time! In this case, Potty Time can be an ongoing support to help newly potty-trained kids in a new environment.
Finally, it is Potty Time, after all! Let’s keep our sense of humor!
Just for fun, I asked Emilie if she had any funny stories to tell about the creation process. She had a few!
During production there were some pretty funny conversations about the products that would be used with Potty Time. The creation of these products is literally a fine art. So when something like the pee spot Hopkins makes in the board book isn’t quite the “right” yellow, a conversation has to happen. You can imagine the laughter from the illustrators, who probably weren’t quite accustomed to these sorts of… details in their work!
After Potty Time was created, the team hosted a preview party for all the kids who were involved in the show. There is a song in the video called “Stop and Go” (to the bathroom), and by the end of the song, half the young audience was all lined up to go to the bathroom. Proof that the concept works, I guess!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this behind the scenes look at Potty Time creation and all the love and effort that went into the production process.
As Emilie said, “Who knew that potty training could be so fun and tender? And that potty training could be another opportunity to strengthen the relationship between parents and their kids?”
LeeAnn the Marketing Assistant for Signing Time, which includes a roll as Signing Time Academy Administrator. She has been a fan since 2002 when her oldest received Signing Time on VHS for her first Birthday. In July of 2003, she became the first Signing Time Distributor and started volunteering for Two Little Hands Productions where ever she could. In June of 2005 she was offer a temporary position helping with a special project and her responsibilities have grown and changed based on the needs of the company.
Here LeeAnn shares her own potty training story!
While working in a childcare center before I was even married, I worked with the 2 year old class which meant potty training. At our center the policy was to assist the parents with which ever method they chose. Some preferred to use Pull-Ups® or Easy-Ups®, some preferred us to leave their children in diapers and take them to the potty every half hour, and others preferred bringing several changes of clothes letting their children tell us when they needed to use the restroom. We accommodated all of these approaches. At the time, I was confident that I knew how to potty train. I also believed I knew exactly how I would potty train my own children when the time came. Boy was I wrong! Here’s what I learned from potty training each of my three children: Continue reading →
She has some interesting thoughts at the end about a challenge of potty training when your child is at daycare:
“I’m worried that with nobody paying as close attention to her body language as we do at home, they will not know when she needs to go, and that Abby will forget about holding it or talking about going potty. They know we have begun potty training and when they are changing diapers and such they do have her sit on the potty, but she has yet to have any type of successes with them. I’m thinking we need to just ask them this week to talk to her throughout the day about the potty and encouraging her more than just once an hour.”
How have you approached potty training with other people who watch your child?
Signing Time Academy Instructor Monica Blouin, of Lil Miracles Signing Academy, is mom to four year old Madie, a little girl with Down syndrome. Here, Monica shares with us her journey of trials and triumphs as she and Madie work together to potty train.Continue reading →
Many parents like to use stickers or candy as rewards, and if that works for your family, great. Others prefer non-tangible (sometimes called “intrinsic”) motivators: things that are not “stuff”. Perhaps a combination of the two will work as well. In this article, we’ll discuss some ideas for non-tangible rewards. Continue reading →
From early on, Evalyn took an interest in the potty time routines in our home. She was familiar with the signs of bathroom-related vocabulary thanks to the fact that we use American Sign Language in the house. So, she was taught and understood the terminology and was able to communicate it from infancy (6 months). Evalyn also had a wonderful role model in her older sister, Elizabeth. So, as the saying goes…monkey see monkey do. Continue reading →
Potty training is a significant developmental step for your child, so it’s important that you and your current (or potential) child care providers are on the same page before potty training begins. Discussing the following aspects of potty training can help you clearly communicate your preferences and expectations– and help you determine if your provider’s approach to potty training will meet your child’s needs. Continue reading →