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Potty training for Newbies

Posted by iMacG5, on Thu Jan 03, 2019 11:03 pm

Should I sit, stand or kneel? If I sit, which way do I face? Seems so fundamental; or does it. Don’t know how it was handled in the hospital but we’re home now with different plumbing and, with lots of years ahead of us, it’s time to determine how we’re going to handle this thing. There are many variables and we might not even know what questions to ask. Things like the length of the bag relative to the water level in the toilet is a real consideration for sitting. The length of our thighs compared to the height of the toilet rim concerns the kneelers. Then there’s standing. Once we determine a comfortable position for the MT process we need to determine what cleaning stuff to have available and easily disposable. We veterans might have even forgotten all the stuff we went through to get to be experts and take for granted the mouthwash, TP pads, turkey basters, spray attachments and whatever else.
I think the most important thing is to ask all the questions necessary to get all the answers to make the MT-ing process as convenient as possible. I’m sure we’ll quickly remember our experiences and give you the best advice for your situations.

Reply by Bill, on Fri Jan 04, 2019 3:01 am

Hello Mike. What a great subject to bring up for clarification. It is particularly relevant to me at this time because I have recently changed my 'potty' routine. I tried all sorts of different ways to irrigate, from sitting frontwards, backwards, standing upright, bending. massaging, exercising etc.

It used to take me so long to complete the irrigation that for several years I gave up and sat at my computer to write while I waited. I had made a comfortable padded seat/board to place across the toilet pan, because the normal oval toilet seats did not give me enough space at the front to complete the task satisfactorily. As I am not one to be satisfied with anything that isn't entirely comfortable or functional, I keep trying different methods and routines. Recently, I have taken to standing up and emptying the sleeve every time it has anything at all in it. This necessitates bending over the pan to let the output drain off. I then rinse the sleeve and empty the sleeve again. repeatng the process at the first sign of output. I was fascinated to discover that this constant bending and stretching, whilst energy consuming, reduced the time it took to irrigate from over two hours to under an hour. (sometimes down to 30 minutes.) This method meant that I could no longer be productive in writing during this period, but it freed me up to sit at my mainframe computer in the relative comfort of my office, rather than being stuck on a less comfortable toilet with my laptop.

I also experiment with lots of other stuff - like making my own baseplates which prevents leakages and accidents because they are now secured with two elastic belts, top and bottom adjusted to differing lengths. Thes also mean that sleeves and bags last for months rather than becoming one-off, single use items. 

I feel that ostomates ought to keep experiments with all of their routines and gadgets until they find the most appropriate stuff for their own comfort and convenience.

I hope your post gets lots of replies as it could be invaluable for 'newbies'.

Best wishes


Reply by Puppyluv56, on Fri Jan 04, 2019 10:13 am

I think that this is an evolving Ostomy life! Even the experienced Ostomate is always looking for the easier, less time consuming, most proficient way of doing what we do! I have changed many times, some changes worked, some not! I am not sure I will ever forget the trial and error of being a newbie! It was horrible until I tried many options and found what was right for ME! Once that happened, life moved on! I know that is why we offer our experiences to other newbies, with hopes of lessening their heartbreak of this life and begin to live again! Thanks for the reminder Mike! Nice! 


Reply by dls, on Fri Jan 04, 2019 2:12 pm

Mike, What's MT process? Never use an acronym if you do not know what it means--and I don't, although I get your point.  My system of doing things has changed dramatically over the last 11 months and is constantly changing.  Currently, I can't find a good position to put water into my bag without getting water on the floor.  One improvment, I discooverd that if I stand and bend forward, I can 'pull out ' my bag and it rinses more quickly and cleanly,   Then I just have to wipe out the 'chute'.  As Puppyluv said, ever-evolving.  So to all you ostoVETS, all advice is aspect is taboo, we are all diferent and have different sensibilities and needs.  For my part, I am always looking for new things and routines to try.

Reply by iMacG5, on Fri Jan 04, 2019 4:07 pm

Hi Bill. Thanks so much for your reply. I’ve always been impressed with your offerings relative to our mechanical needs as ostomates. You could be accurately referred to as the “Premier Ostomy Engineer”. As I just mentioned to Angel, there’s a priceless synergy to our combined efforts. The biggest mistake we might make is thinking we learned it all. The other big mistake as MrsA suggests, would be not asking questions. As we share our concerns and experiences we’ll become the best we can be for each other and ourselves.

Reply by iMacG5, on Fri Jan 04, 2019 4:12 pm

Sorry Dls. MT was a shortcut for EMPTY and TP for TOILET PAPER.
Thanks for your contribution. I can imagine some folks saying, “Hey I need to try that”.

Reply by iMacG5, on Fri Jan 04, 2019 4:21 pm

Hi Pup. You remind us we don’t have to be satisfied with things being just OK. Thanks for sharing your experiences. Some of us “Not So Newbies” need to recognize things can be better as you pointed out.

Reply by Puppyluv56, on Sat Jan 05, 2019 10:04 pm

Mike, everyone, 

i have a funny story and fit right into the evolving, maybe revolving Ostomy life! I had a lymph node removed in my groin and had to have a drainage tube with a big old bulb on it! Talk about a pain in the butt! I figured one more thing in my pants and they were going to bust! Well, that drain was in forever, or so it seemed, all thru the Holidays. I went to, I thought , get it out on Thursday. He was not satisfied that the lymphatic fluid was completely drained so he put another little tube in! No bulb thank goodness and tube only sticks out about a half of an inch. I suspected this tube would leak around the entry point just as the other one did . I constantly had wet pants from soaking they the bandage. So, you know as Ostomates, we tend to think differently and being Inspired by all the fixes we have seen on here, I started to think! I had some Coloplast two piece caps that I asked for to try because I irrigate. I had not graduated to them yet but they were about to get used! Instead of tape tearing up my skin at the top of my leg having it leaking and changing it constantly, I put a stoma flange over the drain and popped a cap on it! It works perfectly! The absorbent stuff inside comes right out and I have a case of gause I was going to use to decorate for Halloween and didn’t. I just replace the gause every few hours and the cap catches all the fluid! It is priceless! 

Thanks for listening to my long story! May have to call Coloplast to have them market the stoma caps for this purpose!



Reply by NJ Bain, on Mon Jan 07, 2019 3:22 pm

  I usually sit to empty my pouch inbetween my legs and careful not to dump on my johnson.  I'm just more comfortable that way.  Unless I'm on an airplane or portapotty.

  Some people that use public restrooms are disgusting.  How many of you had to wipe the seat clean on an airplane so that the next person that uses the restroom after you doesn't think it WAS you that made the mess?  And God knows how many sick mofo's I've seen leave the restroom without washing their hands.  *cringes*



Reply by iMacG5, on Mon Jan 07, 2019 4:48 pm

Congratulations, Pup! You reminded us we think differently, learn from each other and understand we can make things better for everyone interested. You used your engineering skills and your ostomate attitude to develop a workable solution to a problem that could easily frustrate the heck out of most folks. 
If you patent the device let us know how to go about buying stock.
Great job!

Reply by iMacG5, on Mon Jan 07, 2019 5:11 pm

So Bain, I really can’t thank you. You just reminded me of one of the most disgusting experiences of my pretty long life. There are no “cringes” appropriate for this adventure. The best part, make that the worst part, of the whole thing is that I took a filthy situation created by someone before me and, by my own volition, made it more horrible than any sane, adult human might ever consider.
The urinal was occupied in the McD’s restroom so went into the stall. The toilet seat was pretty much covered with crap and the bowl hadn’t been flushed. It was vivid evidence of uncontrolled diarrhea left for someone else to clean up. I really had to pee but needed to lift the seat first so I carefully reached for the toilet paper and when I snapped off a bunch my new sunglasses fell from my shirt pocket into the crap laden bowl.  Ya know, I can’t finish this story now. I’m gonna vomit.

See what you caused, Bain?

Reply by Puppyluv56, on Mon Jan 07, 2019 9:30 pm

Lol... all I can do is laugh with this! Took my dog for a walk day before yesterday and as it happened, she decided to poop in her own yard when we go home. I was using a poop bag to pick it up and bent over to use it and my phone fell right in the fresh pile of poop! Needless to say, I was not leaving my phone! Lol


Reply by NJ Bain, on Wed Jan 09, 2019 10:43 am


  I'm sorry for both of your misfortunes.  I'm sure you retrieved your phone Pup but I'm curious Mike....Did you retrieve your sunglasses?

Reply by Puppyluv56, on Wed Jan 09, 2019 7:25 pm


How much did you love those glasses? Lol


Reply by iMacG5, on Fri Jan 11, 2019 11:13 pm

OK Pup and Bain, you guys forced me to finish my story. So after the glasses splashed into the murky crap laden bowl I backed up to look for any residue on my clothes or, God forbid, my skin. None. The stench was getting worse and I really had to pee. The glasses were new and it was the sunniest day of that year and, like Pup with her phone, I was not leaving those glasses. Now, the first problem was I couldn’t see them. Then I realized there were no tools; no coat hangers, no nothin’. So I did the unthinkable. I closed my eyes, squeezed my nose with my left hand and submerged my right hand and forearm darn near to my elbow into the most disgustingly contaminated crap container in New Jersey, felt around and retrieved my sunglasses. Boy, I really had to pee. I took my rescued glasses and my crap covered arm to the sink where I unscrewed both soap containers, ran both faucets full blast and scrubbed my hand, arm and glasses for about five minutes. I used every drop of the soap and about twenty yards of paper towels. Aarggh! I know I’m gonna vomit!

Reply by Puppyluv56, on Sat Jan 12, 2019 1:47 pm

Haha Mike, 

Sorry to hang you out there like that but was interested in just how far people will go! And you know, you cannot start a story such as that and not give the whole story! Lol  I probably would have done the same thing. Maybe got a bag to put my arm In. Now I know why I carry a zip lock baggie in my emergency pouch! What another great use for it other than for a used pouch in a public place! 


Reply by iMacG5, on Sat Jan 12, 2019 4:18 pm

So we left McD’s and headed for our destination. After a few minutes on the road my wife asked, "How are your new sunglasses?” I almost panicked. She can’t know what just happened! I tried to act as “matter of fact” as possible and just said, “They’re OK”.  My wife replied, “Boy, you just can’t beat that Dollar Store”.
‘Nuff said?

Last edited by iMacG5 on Sat Jan 12, 2019 8:26 pm; edited 1 time in total
Reply by Puppyluv56, on Sat Jan 12, 2019 5:05 pm


Reply by Bill, on Sun Jan 13, 2019 3:37 am

I too have dropped my phone down the loo. I wish now that I had flushed it away  it because it never worked after that!

Reply by NJ Bain, on Mon Jan 14, 2019 12:18 pm

  OMG, I really needed that laugh, even though it was at y'alls expense, and for that, I'm sorry...

  You're all braver than I am.  I'll bet all of you make sure your items are a bit more secure now before you use a public toilet.  I don't bring my phone to the bathroom.  Which also cracks me up because most people without ostomies, use the phone in the bathroom when they're dropping some friends off at the pool.  I suppose I would be too if I still shxt like that.

  I saw something on TV once about how people get sick from germs on everyday items.  You'd think bathroom door handles would be bad, or shopping carts or money.  Then, they did a swab test on random peoples cell phones.  You'd be AMAZED of the germs they found on them, most of them with E. coli.  So maybe it's a good idea to use some hand sanitizer or something on your cell phone once in a while?  Just a thought.



Reply by Bill, on Tue Jan 15, 2019 2:16 am

You are right about making sure the phone s safe Bain. After losing two phones this way, I have made myself phone pouches out of old shirts to hang around my neck. Now if I bend over the phone stays put. I've been using these for about two years and never lost another phone.



Reply by Emad, on Wed Jan 16, 2019 11:29 am

I sit forward when I empty, the same as before ( I'm female) I keep a water bottle next to the toilet and after emptying, I add some water to rinse out. Really helps to empty easier. I keep a water bottle in the car, sometimes I remember it, sometimes not, but no big deal, it just helps. I use gel packets sometimes, especially right after I've changed my bag. helps keep the stool in the bottom of the bag to help adhesion stick without much wetness around the stoma. I also use one at night. When I'm changing my bag, here are the supplies I gather beforehand. Paper Towels, toilet paper, bag, moldable seal, barrier wipe, hydrocortisone cream, rounded scissors, a marker to draw cutting area, gel packet, and trash can with bag to put old bag and used items in. I always change my bag after a shower, take bag off, shower, dry, and apply. Really gives my skin a chance to breathe. I rub a tiny amount of hydrocortisone cream lightly in any places that might get a little red or irritated, to avoid getting irritated, wipe with barrier wipe, let dry ( about 30 seconds) put seal on barrier opening for stoma and press together firmly, put on bag, place gel packet in, and I'm done.

Reply by xnine, on Sat Jan 19, 2019 9:24 am

I have a colostomy and kneel when changing my bag. No matter what I do or what anyone else does you can not be prepared for a volcanic eruption. I can not feel anything until after it has happened. It is surprising how much power is behind a little gas backup, equivalent to projectile vomiting. Sh*t happens. Relax, take it easy, cleanup and start over. No it does not happen everytime but on occasion it does. Just change as quick as you can. Be prepared.

Reply by iMacG5, on Sat Jan 19, 2019 11:29 pm

I think Puppyluv56 wisely reminds us it’s an evolving thing. One day we pooped like we did forever and the next day our guts needed to take a short cut. Most of us knew very little about what was to become our new normal. Then we became “experts”. At least we thought we did. Most of us continue to experiment and nothing is more important to reading what others come up with and how it might apply to our processes. Emad, you did a great job listing all the stuff you prep before the change. You probably have a colostomy to be able to shower without the bag but iliostomates might improvise and do something similar to improve their comfort and their end result. I need to have everything within arms reach, readily accessible without any physical strain and situated so I can do what’s necessary quickly and effectively. There might be a little OCD influencing my process but that’s just me. But then, I think we deserve all the comforts we can get with our situations. I remember being told I might need an ostomy. My reply was something like, “That’s not gonna happen”. So nine years later here I am sharing with all you wise, caring folks instead of watching grass grow from under the roots.
Thanks for all your contributions.

Reply by iMacG5, on Sun Feb 10, 2019 12:56 pm

Hi Emad. Thanks for sharing your process with us. You “put seal on barrier opening for stoma and press together firmly”. That’s interesting and might be very helpful for others. One might ask how thick and how wide the seal might be and does it end up closer to the stoma than the barrier. How close would that be? I’m betting lots of folks benefitted from your offering.

Reply by Puppyluv56, on Sun Feb 10, 2019 11:31 pm

I actually thought of putting the barrier onto the flange first instead of the skin and then adding the flange. Only thing, I would have to experiment some with getting the flange cut to fit a little larger and even roll it over the inside of the flange for extra  protection. Anyone tried that? Who know, just changed today so will try In 10 days  when I change again! 


Reply by iMacG5, on Tue Feb 12, 2019 4:48 pm

So Emad and Pup gave me more to think about. A WOCN at Convatec asked me why I used a barrier ring with my moldable wafer. I said I thought it might provide a better seal. She said it wasn’t necessary.
I guess you’re not using a moldable wafer Pup because you’re cutting the opening. Emad, I’m not sure what kind of wafer you’re using. I know on occasion I’ve made the opening on my appliance too tight and suffered some serious cramping. I’ve always worried about unprotected skin next to the stoma but I might have carried it too far.
I’ll continue to experiment and I thank you guys for your input.

Reply by Puppyluv56, on Tue Feb 12, 2019 5:18 pm


I had never used the barrier rings until recently and did just fine without them! Yes I do use cut to fit because my stoma is a little elongated! I never felt I got my flange on right if I saw skin there but after you irrigate a few times, it is lifted up and I think all that sticks well is the barrier ring. Who knows! Fun to experiment! 

Let us know what cool things you come up with! 


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