Walking backward (not a tribute to Michael Jackson)

So, I mentioned before how I had trouble with toilet training. Sticker rewards and praise didn’t help with the learning process on this one. Or even like episodes of Full House  where Michelle was bribed with cookies to really focus on learning this self-regulation behavior. That happened, right?

I don’t remember specific experiences of trying to reach the bathroom. Thankfully. But trying to get my brain to give me appropriate signals wasn’t working.

I do remember using special underwear that had an electronic device. I believe there was a little pocket in the underwear for a sensor. That was connected by wire to an alarm that attached to my shirt. The sensor would detect that slightest hint of moisture and the alarm would sound to indicate the need to use the bathroom. (Here is one website resource.)

Beyond that, I’m not sure how it was supposed to work. Maybe the alarm was trying to train my brain, too, cueing my bladder to offer its own signals that “the tank is full” and needs emptying.

I wore this monitor at home, for sure, during my preschool years. Maybe after a while I started to improve. But I still had accidents. Proof of which was stored in my teacher’s cabinet space in the form of a change of clothes.

And I’d still have accidents at home. When it happened at home, especially if I was in the room with other people, I would walk backward through the door. I guess I thought this was less noticeable, I was hiding the dark spot on my pants and clearly no one would realize I re-emerged in new clothes.


Mom of course would notice my backward walking. In recent years Mom told me that when she caught me exhibiting this behavior, I would give her this sad, pathetic look of knowing I messed up and ask, “Do you still love me?”

Man, did I know how to pull on the heart strings!

I’m sure manipulating buttons and zippers also played a part in my efforts for success.

I remember even when in high school and college sometimes that signal of “you need to pee” didn’t happen until it was almost too late. In which case, I couldn’t make any sudden movements. It required slowly getting up and walking to the bathroom.

Or sometimes it would be similar to testing your “gas tank is empty” light in the car. “Oh, we can make it a few more miles before pulling over to fill up the tank. No problem.” …. “Oh I can wait a few more minutes before going to the bathroom, let me finish this one little thing.”



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