Having trained 2 kids how to use the potty and now on my third, I will say that one of the most important parts is the reward system that you set up. Kids like to be praised and they like rewards. Come on, who doesn’t like rewards? I love them! Here are some things to keep in mind when setting up the reward system for your child that is potty training.
There is something exciting about new underwear! All of my girls got the most excited about getting to wear big girl underwear when we were potty training. Make sure to splurge and purchase a few packages of your child’s favorite character underwear. I say a few packages because you will be going through a lot of underwear the first few days!!
Charts are good. They allow your child to see how well they are doing. My girls always liked putting the sticker on the chart. There are several different kinds of charts you can pick from, just make sure to pick one that works best for your child. Check out my Pinterest board…I have several options pinned!
Kids respond best to instant rewards. Yes, the sticker chart is a great visual, but a small treat every time they use the toilet is a must! Small children need instant gratification. You want to plant the see in their head…you use the potty and you get a treat. Some people use mini M&Ms…I like mini marshmallows.
Once your child gets the hang of using the toilet, you will have to graduate away from the treats and focus on a prize. This is where the sticker chart comes into play. After my daughters successfully use the toilet for a few days, I no longer gave a treat every time. We moved away from that and start focusing on a long term goal. At first, try having your child make it until nap time with no accidents. Each day increase the time that they need to have no accidents. Use the sticker chart to keep track. Set a goal and have a reward for the end result. If your child has no accidents for an entire day, give them a special toy. (Go to the dollar store and load up on stuff) After they have mastered going an entire day, change the challenge to 2 days….and then eventually the week. Before you know it, your child will be using the potty like a pro!
An alternative that might work well for your child is the potty jar. You can use a mason jar and marbles to reward your child for using the potty. Every time they use the potty successfully, they get to add 2 marbles. Each accident means taking 1 marble out of the jar. Use a Sharpie to draw goal lines on the jar. Once your child is able to fill the jar up to a specific line, they get a certain prize. Fill the entire jar up, and the child gets a really special prize!
Are bribes necessary? Yes! Sorry, but they are! If you think you can use hugs and smiles to potty train your child…go for it. To the rest of you, go buy mini marshmallows, get dollar store prizes, and start making that potty chart! Potty training is a tough process but it doesn’t have to be miserable for you or your child. Make it fun…get excited at the small victories…and enjoy eating the marshmallows (they are my favorite part!) Click here for more Potty Training Tips!