This is probably one of those hacks that everyone but me figured out a long time ago, but just in case you haven't either...
Since sick kids don't always manage to aim very well (despite you screaming "In the bucket! In the bucket!!), when a stomach bug hits your house lay down old towels around your child's bed and on a path to the bathroom to protect your carpet, just in case. It's a lot easier to throw a load of towels into the machine than it is to scrub carpeting.
Now that I've had this stroke of genius, hopefully I won't need it again for a LONNNNNG time!
Check out Rocks In My Dryer for lots more tips.