Dr. Steve Hodges
Pediatric urologist, associate professor at Wake Forest University, father of three girls, fan of childish humor
Dr. Hodges is a bit of a goofball, so naturally he enjoyed the movie American Pie, in which a teenager holds his poop all day to avoid using the school toilets. One of the kid’s so-called friends solves this problem in a prank involving a bottle of laxatives and a mochaccino, and the scene is pretty darned funny. But from where Dr. Hodges sits during his day job, he doesn’t think it’s funny at all.
Dr. Hodges wants the world to know: We have a nation of kids who are either too grossed out, afraid or embarrassed to poop or even pee at school. Because of this — and because kids are rushed into potty training and left to their own devices afterward — we have an epidemic of childhood toileting problems. Our kids’ junked-out diets compound these problems.
Dr. Hodges has devoted his career to helping children with toileting issues. A graduate of Duke University and Wake Forest University School of Medicine, he completed his fellowship in pediatric urology at Children’s Hospital of San Francisco.
Author of numerous scientific journal articles, Dr. Hodges sees 3,000 patients a year at Wake Forest Baptist Health. Most of them have wetting problems caused by constipation that had gone unrecognized.
What Dr. Hodges loves:
•food-related analogies for the ideal consistency of poop, including Nutella, pudding, milkshakes and hummus
•preschools and summer camps that welcome kids in pull-ups
•Project CLEAN, the school bathroom initiative run by Dr. Tom Keating
•Phineas and Ferb
Parenting and health writer, mother of twin boys, avid bike commuter and lousy driver
On a mission to achieve a diaper-free household, Suzanne enlisted her boys, at age 24 months, in a potty-training boot camp; her harebrained scheme is chronicled here at parenting.com. Suzanne now admits, reluctantly, that Dr. Hodges is right: Children under age 3 should not manage their toileting habits any more than they should manage their college funds.
Suzanne is the author of The Curse of the Singles Table: A True Story of 1001 Nights Without Sex, an account of her epic celibacy streak. For further evidence of Suzanne’s endurance, check out “Double Trouble,” about the trials of tandem breastfeeding, and “I Used an Egg Donor,” about her long, elusive quest to get knocked up.
When she’s not writing about prenatal hemorrhoids or infant vomit, Suzanne is busy informing exercisers about the latest ways to strengthen their glutes. Suzanne is the author of The Ultimate Workout Log and coauthor of Fitness for Dummies and Weight Training for Dummies. She’s also coauthor of The Good Neighbor Cookbook. Her website is suzanneschlosberg.com. Her other blog is thegoodneighborcookbook.com.
What Suzanne loves:
•Parent groups that advocate for chocolate-milk-free schools
•Strider bikes, J. Livingston bikes, and the Yuba Mundo cargo bike
•foodpolitics.com, realmomnutrition.com, and superhealthykids.com
Betsy Rosenblatt Rosso
Writer, editor, mom of one wonderful daughter
Also not easy: taking a public stand about a subject people don’t really understand but have a lot of opinions about.
Buoyed by supportive family and friends and a handful of strangers, Betsy nonetheless survived the wrath of those who judged her and Zoe after a story about them appeared on the front page of the Washington Post.
The silver lining is that Post article connected Betsy’s family with Dr. Steve Hodges. He was the first medical professional to recognize that Zoe had a physiological problem and what she needed was medical treatment — not more time learning to pee on the potty.
The Rosso family’s potty odyssey has involved months of multiple medications, pelvic-floor physical therapy, home exercises, three beeping potty watches and much MiraLAX. But these days Zoe is doing well, and Betsy knows far more about dilated rectums, bladder walls, and the ideal consistency of poop than she ever expected.
Betsy blogs at You Ask a Lot of Questions. Her day (and sometimes night) job, as owner of Rosso Writing is helping organizations tell their stories so the people and communities they serve can thrive.
What Betsy loves:
•Her daughter’s wit, intelligence, empathy and courage
•Preschool and camp teachers, counselors and directors who understand that accidents happen and say, “Don’t worry about it!” to you and your child
•Potty Animals: What to Know When You’ve Gotta Go by Hope Vestergaard
•Stories of people who stand up for an issue or person they care about and believe in, even when it makes them unpopular
Dr. Tom Keating
Founder of Project CLEAN, veteran of three summits of the WTO (that’s the World Toilet Organization)
Tom Keating has been an educator for 41 years, including as a classroom teacher in Jacksonville, Pomona and Atlanta and as a college instructor in two state university systems. For two decades, he lobbied for better laws and more money for public schools. Since 1994, he has worked to improve school restrooms.
Dr. Keating, also known as The Bathroom Man, began Project CLEAN (Citizens, Learners, and Educators against Neglect) in 1996 after listening to his own and neighbor’s kids and interviewing hundreds of students and adults about their school restroom horror stories.
Dr. Keating has visited thousands of school bathrooms in California, New Mexico, Nebraska, Alabama, Georgia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Delaware, as well as Ireland, Italy, India, and Berlin. He has spoken at and chaired sessions at three World Toilet Summits, in Belfast, New Delhi, and Philadelphia.
“Dr. Tom” has trained teenagers to review restroom conditions, write work orders and design improvements, inspired football players to rap about flushing, spearheaded school science projects on hand washing, produced a skit and accompanying video on restrooms, titled “True Dat,” and awarded art students for their posters reminding boys to improve their aim. Dr. Keating has persuaded schools to hold assemblies on toilet etiquette and install graffiti-proof doors and partitions, boosting pride and respect among students.
Lately he has concentrated on helping 11- to 18-year-old students have safe, clean, and hygienic restrooms in schools, libraries, recreation centers, parks, and swimming pool complexes.
If you want to discuss the 17 kinds of penguins, travel, and citizenship, Tom is also der mann.
What Dr. Keating loves:
•high school bathroom signs that say MEN and WOMEN instead of GIRLS and BOYS
•school bathroom posters created by student artists rather than computers
•all seventeen types of penguins, especially those that live in the desert
•swimming outdoors from April Fool’s day till Halloween eve