“The Potty Manifesto of Arlington, VA” Suspending 3 Year Olds–What’s Next?

Hello fellow readers, followers and bloggers!  It’s been quite a while since I’ve had the opportunity to post a blog.  But after reading this column in the Sunday Washington Post, (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/01/29/AR2011012903854.html), I just had to write!

What’s got my ire up?  The fact that a 3-year-old girl reached her “maximum allowances of potty accidents” at preschool and therefore, was suspended for a month.  Are you kidding me?!  It’s not like little Zoe was misbehaving–punching or biting her fellow classmates, or throwing objects around the room, or even using bad language.  No, she was suspended because she hadn’t yet mastered reaching the bathroom on time.

Zoe didn’t have accidents every day, or even every week.  But like a lot of children, she’d go through a period of multiple accidents.  Zoe didn’t make scenes about it, in fact she cleaned herself up and changed her own clothes.  According to the article, her parents did everything most of us do–a reward system for when Zoe did make it to the bathroom on time, cute songs to help her remember, even giving her a watch with a built-in alarm to remind her to go to the bathroom and try.  I’m sure it didn’t help matters when her teacher would bring her up to the front of the classroom at the end of the day and tell her class how many accidents she had that day.  Hmm, common sense, let alone child psychology tells me that public humiliation doesn’t work; it’s just cruel.

The school had the nerve to suggest Zoe go see a pediatrician.  The doctor said she was perfectly normal and so were accidents.  But when Zoe returned after her suspension, she was so scared and nervous that the accidents started again.  I can’t blame her, actually.

I understand that some schools aren’t equipped with enough staff to handle multiple accidents by multiple children, let alone a handful.  But to expect ALL children to be 100% potty-trained (no Pull-Ups allowed here!) at the tender age of 3 is absurd.  Although I’m not a resident of Arlington, VA, I fully support this mother’s efforts to change the school board’s policy.  I’m glad little Zoe is now at a better school and my heart goes out to all those other little children still going to that preschool who can’t switch out. 

Shame on you, Arlington School Board and shame on you, Claremont Elementary.


5 responses to this post.

  1. This is a horrible story. The teacher should be suspended for cruelty to a child. This kind of ignorance can affect a child for many, many years.

    If it’s the school’s and/or school district’s policy, then each should be brought up on some sort of charges.

    Great blog. I’m a MomBlogger and if you’d like to exchange links, please check out: Babies, Tots, and Children
    to see if we’d be a good fit for each other.


    • Posted by yangmommy on February 3, 2011 at 8:28 pm

      Thanks for stoppng by! I agree, I think the teacher should be reprimanded for her style of teaching, including going back to school herself or a reminder program on child psychology.


  2. Hi, I just found you on MBC. Did you hear of a follow-up to this story? I’m wondering if the parents did anything legally? I’m so sick of hearing about schools making stupid decisions. Going to read more of your blog….

    PlayfulDecor (at) gmail (dot) com
    PlayfulDecor.blogspot (dot) com


  3. This is so upsetting! What does something like potty breaks have to do with learning?? I have to use the potty way more than the average, yet I sitll manage to be a giving and productive member of society…great post, Mama.


  4. Posted by Jen Farrell-Powell on June 14, 2012 at 12:31 am

    What on earth is the world coming too? I just want to find the little girl and hug her and tell her she is okay. Then I want to find the teacher, put her up on the school stage in front of all her fellow teachers and reprimand her!


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