Wednesday, June 1, 2011

sickie bucket 101

Some mums have mad skillz in the kitchen. Some with play dough. Some with craft. Some with storytelling. Some with patience and kindness.

My mad skillz are in sickie bucket training.

I started sickie bucket training my kids before I began toilet training them. Both are important life skills.

There are many places you can go to find tips on toilet training. Not so easy to find help with sickie bucket training. So let me offer my simple 5 steps to sickie bucket training.

1. Don't ever suggest that your kids throw up in the toilet. Having your head in the toilet bowl is disgusting. No kid who is feeling sick is going to want to hang out in the bathroom just in case. This won't work. There will be vomit on the carpet or on the bed.

2. Teach your kids that if they feel even slightly sick, to get a sickie bucket. Keep many in the house. Nothing is lost if they don't actually use it. They can just carry on with their play with the bucket safely beside them.

3. If your kids are little, stay close after they've asked for a bucket. When they are about to start vomiting, direct them to the bucket - don't carry them to the bathroom! Hold them. Rub their backs. Tell them it sucks. Then compliment them for their great use of the sickie bucket. "Look! Well done! None went on the floor!"

4. Train your kids in identifying possible sickie buckets that could be used in emergency cases. I told our kids that I would rather pick up dinosaurs from the floor and wash out a toy crate than have to clean vomit off the carpet. Walk around the room with your kids. Get them to identify impromptu sickie buckets. Make sure there is always something right next to their bed that could be used.

5. When your kids are bigger, start to train them in how to empty a sickie bucket. I call it the pour, flush and wash method. Kids often enjoy steps one and two (if they aren't too sick.) Step three needs some supervision (and disinfectant).


  1. Turn this into an illustrated children's book.
    There has to be a market.
    I'm sure you've got willing graphic (too graphic?) artists at hand who'd help out.
    Probably the only extra is for (usually) girls with long hair which is another management issue.
    And maybe a toothbrush or at least a mint afterwards.
    And trade-mark the term 'Sickie Bucket,' although 'vomitorium' sounds cooler.

  2. When I was a child, my mum would have a warm washcloth on hand and hold my hair out of the way while I was ill into one of the following bucket / bathtub / toilet (whichever was closest when nature called). The washcloth was to wipe my face afterwards.

    When I left home and was ill, I really missed having her on hand to provide that washcloth and the hairholding.

  3. I'm with Gary. Write it down. We have a book at work (called "Plopsy the Poo") that is designed to encourage reluctant poo-ers to use the toilet. And it is a great story. Beautifully illustrated too.

  4. And your kids don't even really need it that often!

    Lucy is fine with the bucket. Hamish hasn't really had the opportunity.

    You are my idol. I learnt from you to keep a bin next to their beds for any 'moments'.

    And I think you need to add the sip of water at the end. Off you go. New project!

  5. Great points. I'd just add to have a box of tissues handy for wiping the mouth (and nose - eek) afterwards. One of the biggest motivations in getting rid of my carpet two years ago(after the asthma) was this issue. I always told my kids to throw up on the bedcovers which can be thrown into the washing machine rather than the carpet.