Inspiration and Direction
By Colleen Brunetti, MEd
I recently had the privilege of speaking with co-creator of Signing Time, Emilie Brown, to chat about the making of Potty Time. Some of you might not know Emilie, but she is a driving force behind much of what you see in the Baby Signing Time and Signing Time videos, and sister to Rachel Coleman. You can read about their co-creation of Signing Time HERE. I wanted to learn more about what went into Potty Time, a project 10 years in the making!
Rachel Coleman and Emilie Brown
What was the inspiration for Potty Time?
For years Signing Time fans have been saying that there should be a potty training DVD with Rachel. They even went so far as to tell her, “If you (Rachel) tell my kid to go potty, I know she’ll do it!”
The truth was, neither Emilie nor Rachel ever used a potty training DVD or materials, and they didn’t feel personally compelled to do it. Add that to the fact that Rachel wasn’t in a big hurry to sing about “poop” and “pee”, and the idea of a potty training program from the Signing Time folks didn’t seem like it was going to happen any time soon.
However, most of the Signing Time products are a response to a request or a need that fans have expressed, and the Signing Time creators were listening!
In addition to meeting the needs of the Signing Time fans, Rachel and Emilie (and their family) had a very personal inspiration for the Potty Time approach – their mom, Linda! She has nine children and over twenty grandchildren, and each and every time she would change a messy diaper she would say something like, “Wow! What a great poop! Good Job! Your body is working!” Emilie, Rachel and their siblings found themselves saying many of the same things.
This is a bit of an unusual approach! How often are we instead tempted to hold our noses and say, “Ewwww!”? And what kind of message is that sending?
But this is the opposite approach. How many times a day do you get to send a positive message to your child about her body’s abilities?
What did you hope to accomplish with Potty Time?
The Signing Time team set out to make a program that would be not about a certain approach to potty training, but rather a warm and supportive tool to use with any potty training method or philosophy.
As with all of the Signing Time products, there is a special way of doing things – anybody can teach the vocabulary for bathroom needs, but the Signing Time team set out to do that with their trademark approach: making kids feel good about themselves and teaching values, all while learning a new language.
Potty Time uses the Signing Time signature feature –singing your way through your child’s day… all of their day! Signing Time always keeps it positive, and thus, the message from Potty Time is simple but profound: “You can do it! Your body is amazing. This is part of growing up.”
In our next installment we will talk more about how Potty Time was created and how the creators hoped families everywhere would use it. Stay tuned!