You have probably come across potty training sticker charts and other rewards systems that parents use when potty training their children. Some parents will simply use the stickers as a reward, others will reward their child’s overall progress with a bigger prize or present (like a new toy) once they get a certain amount of stickers on their chart. Some parents are reporting success with using small candies like M&Ms as a reward for using the potty.
Is using a rewards system during potty training a good idea or are we just bribing our children? It’s a good question and of course brings up some valid concerns that you may have as a parent entering into the world of potty training.
You most definitely have to be careful how you use a rewards system when potty training. You want it to be encouraging, easy to attain the rewards, yet challenging enough to make your child try.
You apparently also have to be careful how you word the “terms” of the reward to your toddler. A friend of mine promised her boy a particular toy car that he wanted if he didn’t do number two in his pants for two weeks. The boy didn’t; in fact, he didn’t poop at all during those two weeks, which ended with an enema in the doctor’s office. Of course this story is a little extreme, but nevertheless it stresses the point that we need to be very clear with our kids about what we expect in return for the potty training reward.
For me personally, a combination of lots of verbal praise and a potty training chart that showed the child’s progress with stickers has worked best. But every child is different, has his or her own personality. Your child may respond better to a few M&Ms or a larger toy. Try what you feel would motivate your child the most. If it doesn’t seem to work, you can always move on to a different rewards system.
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