≡ Menu

presentsLooking for a way to keep your child motivated during potty training? If so, then positive reinforcement is the best way to go! When children are rewarded for a job well done, this boosts their confidence while fueling up their desire to do even better for another dose of positive feedback. After all, that’s human nature – people are encouraged to do something that makes them feel good. So, it’s a no-brainer that rewarding kids during the training process can lead to success.

Blaming Yourself (Or Your Child) Won’t Help

It is only natural for some parents to immediately lose their temper when accidents happen days after toilet-training their kids. Basically, what happens there is a mixture of frustration and disappointment since they assume that their toddlers have already gotten used to the potty. Thus, when bed-wetting resumes, there are parents who begin to question their competence in training their kids. In addition, they end up taking out on their kids the frustration they experience because of such accident. But then, is it really anyone’s fault?

Getting mad at your child for this tiny slip may satisfy your desire to blame someone for the mess. However, you have to think that your sharp words can pierce right through your toddler’s heart and bring down his or her self-esteem. When this happens, you may find your child wanting to go back to wearing diapers and postponing the training session with you. For parents, this is like going back to day one, and it can get even more frustrating and stressful for them.

A Win-Win Situation

On the other hand, positive feedback and rewards can give your child that boost of confidence needed to succeed in potty training (or in any type of training or learning situation, for that matter). How many times have you seen young kids beaming with pride and proudly showing their parents that “Well Done!” stamp mark that their kindergarten teacher gave them for doing well in class? This may be a simple sign of appreciation, but for these youngsters, that is all they need to feel loved and important.

That tender memory will forever remain in their mind, so this causes them to go back to that thing they did that helped them get a reward. And now, you probably realize positive reinforcement’s implications to toilet training kids. When children are driven to do well because of a reward, they WILL do just as you want them to do. Bottom line: Happy Kids = Even Happier Parents.

With this in mind, allowing anger to sink in or blaming your child for any accident will not do both of you any good. However, if you catch your little one doing good and give rewards right away, this motivates him or her to do even better for more incentives in the future.

Brilliant Ideas on How to Reward Your Kids During Toilet-Training

Now, you’re probably wondering – what can be the best reward to give your child for doing an amazing job during training? Fortunately, younger children are fairly easy to please, which means you don’t need to spend a lot of money just to encourage them to keep doing well. The following are some great ideas on how you can make your child feel appreciated without going over the top.

1. Go shopping for your toddler’s underwear – and let him or her choose the design.

For kids, the idea of wearing underwear makes them feel more grownup because they are slowly becoming like mommy and daddy, unlike the time when they still wear diapers. So, what better way to reward your child than by going on an exciting underwear shopping adventure. Let your little one pick the color, style or design, but be sure to inspect the size and quality of materials used in the product.

2. Allow your child to decorate his or her potty with a rewards sticker.

Whether you buy a sticker that features the usual sparkly design, or a sticker presenting your child’s favorite cartoon character, you can be sure that your kid will love the idea of getting one each day until the potty is covered with bright and adorable stickers. You may even customize the stickers and have these resemble one of those boy scout badges. Add a short note in each sticker, so your child will feel even more motivated because of your uplifting words.

potty training chart3. Make a potty training chart and draw a smiley face on it each time your child gets to use the potty successfully.

A chart offers a visible reminder of your child’s performance and readiness to sleep at night without wetting or soiling the bed. Combined with your enthusiastic remarks, a chart can fuel up your child’s dedication and motivation to do amazingly well each training day.

4. Other simple, but highly effective rewards.

You can also opt for other great ways to reward your child such as visiting the dollar store and letting him or her pick out an item as an incentive. To share the good news to others (a surefire way to enhance your child’s confidence), you may even allow your toddler to call grandma, grandpa, aunt, uncle, or other family members – and just let your child go on and on over the phone to broadcast such praise-worthy achievement.

Important Considerations

When thinking of a great incentive for your child, make sure you consider his or her interests and personality. This way, your little one will appreciate the reward, which makes the item even more meaningful. You should also avoid waiting too long before you give your child a prize for doing a great job. If you have to wait for days before the reward is given, your toddler may no longer be interested in it.

Training your toddler to use the potty properly may be one of the toughest things you will have to go through, but there are always brilliant ways to lighten up the process and make it more fun for your little one. Consider this guide on giving rewards to kids and some tips on providing positive reinforcement to enhance every child’s potential for success.

giftsSome parents have admitted being guilty to bribing their children in order to get them to use the potty on a consistent basis. Personally, my husband and I find nothing wrong with doing so as long as you don’t turn it into a habit to get him to do everything else with a bribe. This worked surprisingly effective in our case.

For every potty session that they successfully complete on their own (including washing up after themselves), we awarded them with a sticker for them to paste onto a sticker chart. After collecting a certain number of stickers each, we bring them out for a treat, whether it be to watch a movie in the cinema or a trip to the zoo. To ensure that they keep up their streak of potty success, we promised to buy our daughters a “special gift” each if they could keep up the right potty behavior for an entire week without fail. These gifts could be dolls or puzzles, it doesn’t really matter as long as it’s reasonable (in terms of the price!).

We made sure that we kept our word and so if they fail to keep up with their daily potty use, we will hold back on the stickers regardless of how hard they begged us for them. Soon, discipline kicked in and we didn’t even have to remind them to use the potty every morning. Once it became a habit, things went on real smoothly.

You should also be prepared for accidents to happen from time to time, but this should occur far less often as time goes by. Public accidents were never an issue for us, thankfully. If it happens to you, please refrain from berating your little girl because they might be traumatized and that can interfere with the potty training process.

We’ve found that a ton of encouraging words (exaggeration is fine, kids won’t be able to tell) and a little bribery worked fantastically for us, so you might want to try those too!

girl being potty trainedOne of the most essential components that is missing from most parents’ regime in potty training their girls is to wait until the toddler is ready to be trained. There will be certain clear signals that show whether a child is ready to undergo this process or not. Until then, you could be the most patient or persistent parent and yet your kid will still be unable to master their bladder control.

Why is that so? Before a toddler reaches a full year of age, he or she would not have developed sufficient muscles in order to control their bowels or their bladder. Even once they have the physical characteristics to do so, there will still be some mental requirements necessary before it would be wise to proceed with the training process. Otherwise, their learning process will be stumped or they might even turn to hate it if you push them too hard. In fact, there’s no rush in doing this because most kids are only fully trained when they are 3 years old. Some might take even longer (up to 5 years of age) depending on how the parents proceed to train them.

Nonetheless, here’s an excellent checklist of signs of readiness that should give you a pretty good idea when you should begin potty training:

1. Physical Readiness

If your baby girl has the ability to walk in a steady manner, that’s a good sign of muscle control. She should also have the capability of taking naps without wetting or pooping in her diapers for up to an hour. This shows that her muscles are sufficiently developed around the bladder to withstand the urge to urinate constantly.

2. Behavior

If you find that your daughter can remove or put on her own pants, that shows that she’s becoming mature enough to start learning how to use the potty. Additionally, if she wets or poops in her diapers and she wants to change out of them without you having to tell her to, you can take this opportunity to educate her further on the subject of urination and pooping and how she should do it in a potty instead.

It is also more likely than not that your daughter will have watched either you or your spouse use the bathroom. If she wishes to follow you to the toilet or if she asks about it, that also indicates sufficient interest to initiate the training process.

Girls are almost always easier to teach compared to boys when it comes to potty training so you can probably start teaching her as soon as you see any or a combination of the above signals. Of course, if she finds it difficult to follow your instructions or if she refuses to use the potty, don’t force it onto her. Instead, leave her be for the moment until she shows other signs of readiness.

pull upsHaving a pooping accident in the public can be a worrying situation for the parents who have not properly potty trained their child. Although it’s understandable for parents to worry about this, some of the best advice that can be given when it comes to potty training is NOT to use pull-ups on your son or on your daughter. Pull-ups are essentially another form of diapers and when your kids have them on, they will use it (i.e. poop or even pee into it) whenever they feel like going.

This is never a good thing especially if you’re attempting to potty train your daughter since that might cause a certain amount of confusion for her when you’re putting her constantly on the potty while at home but putting her in a pull-up when you’re out.

What you have to do is to instil the discipline and principle that whenever your child wants to poop or pee, she has to find the right place to do it and not just do it wherever and whenever she wants to. The key here is consistency and while the first few times of your public outing might be disastrous without your child having a diaper on, soon she’ll learn that she has to hold it in sometimes until you find a suitable place for her to go. Of course, you’ll also have to explain this to her slowly and make sure that she understands perfectly what you’re trying to pass on to her.

Just make sure you have a change of clothes with you the first couple of months that you’re doing this though. Soon, you’ll be glad that you’ve ditched the diapers and pull-ups completely for a much more proper and long-term potty training skill.

p.s. You might find it handy to bring along your daughter’s potty with you when you’re out with her so that she can use it instead of having to use public toilets, which can be disgusting or revolting at times!

You’ve heard it before:  “Potty training boys is more difficult than potty training girls.”  Since I have two boys of my own,  I can’t really make that comparison from experience.  But the general consensus is that the statement is true.

happy-baby-boy-smiling1Some people will site fancy studies and others will talk about experiences with their own kids. But from what I can determine,  the following are the three biggest reasons why it is tougher to toilet train boys than girls:

  1. Girls develop faster physically
  2. They are able to communicate with you earlier compared to boys
  3. Since mom usually takes on the responsibility of potty training, boys have a tougher time relating to the process  than girls do (they see dad standing up and want to do it that way)
  4. Because  boys have to learn an extra ‘technique’, it naturally takes them longer to become full potty trained

Now stop me if I’m wrong, but aren’t there solutions to each one of these problems?

You’re probably saying “Well, you can’t change the fact that boys develop slower than girls.”  Ok I agree with you. But to me, this argument doesn’t make sense in the first place. The fact that one child is completely potty trained at age 1 while it takes another child until age 3,  has no relevance on how difficult the actual process is.

As you will learn on this website, there are a number of concrete signs that will help you determine when your child is ready. If you start too early, whether it be with a boy or girl, potty training will take longer and be more difficult.

To solve the second issue, try to get dad more involved in the teaching process. Kids are quick learners and it only takes a few demonstrations from dad before your son will start to get the idea. It’s not like using the bathroom is rocket science– or even earth science, for that matter.

Now solving the last problem is easy. You might not know this, but there’s no universal law that says, “Boys shall not sit down to go #1″…especially if they’re under the age of 5. Worry about getting them using the toilet, instead of their diaper, first. Then focus on them standing up to go. The good news is that the longer you wait, the better their coordination will be, and the cleaner your toilet/floor/wall will stay.

happy-baby-faceRewards. We all love them. Whether it be a pay raise at work or $5.00 off your Jiffy Lube bill, rewards are a great motivator and method of reinforcement.

And they work great for potty training! When little Bobby goes to the bathroom in his potty instead of his pull ups (or the floor), he should be rewarded for his effort. Not only will it make him feel good, but this positive action will make him want to use the potty over and over again. Obviously, this is the ultimate goal.

Now what form of reward should you use? In my opinion, it doesn’t really matter.

A popular choice is stickers. Each time your son uses the potty, let him choose from a variety of stickers (Thomas the Tank Engine and Lightning McQueen are my son’s favorites).

Stickers are a good choice because they can be used in a number of different and creative ways. One suggestion that I’ve heard is to place each sticker on a potty training chart. Once a certain number of stickers are collected, you can reward your child with an even bigger gift/prize.

Another very effective reward is food. More specifically, food of the candy/cookie shoot-your-blood-sugar-through-the-roof variety. I’m sure many would say, “You can’t reward your kids with food! That will only teach them bad habits and lead to childhood obesity. Don’t you know that 99% of kids today are overweight!…” Blah Blah Blah. I could go on. But I won’t.

We rewarded our son with M&M’s and it worked like a charm. We didn’t go overboard. We gave him a few pieces each time he went #1 in his potty. After a couple of days, he wanted to go in his potty just so he could get a few M&M’s. And when he went #2, we gave him a slightly bigger prize (i.e. Little Debbie Brownies…mmmm). As long as Mommy and I stayed out of the rewards, everything worked perfectly.

Rewards definitely work. But don’t forget that physical rewards should always be accompanied by rewards of praise. Those are just as valuable.

potty-timeOk. So you’re ready. And he’s ready. The potty chair is locked and loaded. Now what?

First you will want to designate a time to start potty training. If you can pick a long weekend or a set aside a day or two without any obligations, it will be easier to get going.

The first few days are going to be the toughest. You’ll  be trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t and in the process, tempers will flare, frustrations will mount and messes will be made. A relaxing environment, where you can focus on the task at hand will make things easier.

One of the easiest methods to start with, is to take him to the bathroom every 1-2 hours and let him sit on his potty chair. As we have already discussed, don’t worry about your son learning to stand up to go at this point. Let him sit for #1 and #2.

While he’s sitting on the potty chair, ask him a few times if he needs to go. You both might sit there for a while (even a few separate times) and nothing will happen. But eventually, nature will take its course and when that occurs, he will start to associate the feeling of needing to go, with the potty.

Whether he has to go or not, it is vital that you give him positive reinforcement through the whole process. When he does actually go in the potty (even if it is just a tiny bit), act like your favorite baseball team just won the World Series. Cheer, clap…be enthusiastic! This will get him excited and will really help him want to use the potty.

As I mentioned, the first couple of days of potty training will probably include flaring tempers and numerous setbacks so you should also prep yourself up for some much-needed patience and tolerance.

baby-ready-for-some-potty-trainingYou’ve read about the potty training readiness characteristics on this website and determined that your boy is ready to get started.

What do you do now? Well, you can either jump right in or you can take a little time to prepare your child and yourself for the challenge that lies ahead.

As with anything in life, a good plan can make things a lot easier and results more successful. This is definitely the avenue that I would take.

First of all, you will probably want to purchase a potty chair. They start at about $20 are well worth it. Regular toilets can be intimidating and are often too large for a child who is just starting to potty train. Portability is one of the other advantages of a potty chair. Sometime just bringing it in the living room can help create a more relaxing environment for the child.

One note: I would recommend buying a potty chair without a splash guard. They can often irritate a boy’s penis, and the last thing you want is your child associating pain with the potty.

An additional purchase that you might want to make is training pants/pull ups. Now there is a lot of dispute over whether these actually encourage or discourage a child to use the potty. In my experience, training pants are not much different than a diaper.

With my son, we tried training pants for the first few days and then ditched them for underwear. Even though it was a little messy at first, he soon understood that he wasn’t supposed to go in his underwear. And once that realization occurred, he began making real progress. But as I will always say, each child is different. You might have great luck with them.

Preparation should also focus on teaching your child how to use the potty. With my son, books such “Everyone Poops” and “Once Upon a Potty” were effective in simplifying the process and helping him understand that it is a normal and natural thing that everybody does.

Children also learn by imitation. If he can watch mom or dad use the bathroom a handful of times, he will really begin to understand what’s going on. Along those same lines, you can also have your child watch you take a dirty diaper and empty it into the potty chair or toilet. This deliberate action helps him associate the contents of the diaper with the toilet/potty chair.

These are just a few ideas for getting yourself prepared. The amount of time you spend on it is completely up to you. But taking some time to demonstrate the process and spending a few dollars on a potty chair and a couple of books, can be very beneficial.

baby-pictureIn one of the previous articles, we talked about some of the characteristics that can help you determine if your child is ready to begin potty training. Most of those dealt with physical readiness, but let’s now talk about some of the mental/emotional characteristics.

Can your child follow simple instructions?
We used to ask our son to take a snack plate (plastic one) from the living room to the kitchen and put it in the sink. I think he had as much fun with this as we did. Either way, it’s an example of being able to follow simple instructions.

Does he recognize phrases relating to going to the bathroom?
Pee pee, poo poo, wet, dry–you get it.

Does your child care that he has a dirty diaper?
This is a big one. Frustration cause by a wet/dirty diaper is great motivation.

Does he ask simple questions?
Who, what, when, where, how and mostly commonly, Why?

Does your child imitate behavior?
If he does, potty training will probably be easier. Your child can learn a lot by watching and then trying it himself.

Is he curious about the bathroom?
As unexciting as this room is to an adult, it’s fascinating to a child. If he’s showing interest in what the toilet is and what it’s used for , he’s probably ready to use it himself.

Is it a stressful time for the child/family?
It’s important to start potty training at a time that’s good for both you and your child. If your family has just moved or your child has just started a new day care/preschool, it might be a good idea to wait until things have calmed down a bit.

The above guidelines should help you accurately gauge when your child is ready to start potty training. But of course it’s not an exact science.

With our first boy, there were a couple of false starts. We thought he was ready and then a few days later, when no progress was being made and everything was a battle, we said, “Ok, Let’s take a break and start this thing again in a few weeks/months.”

This was the best decision we could have made. Forcing the issue would only have resulted in anger and frustration all around.

When your child is ready, he’s ready. And chances are when he’s ready you will be too. Knowing how to make this determination will only make the process easier and less stressful.

The use of reward charts as a tool for potty training your child is a no-brainer. It simply works so effectively that virtually all parents who have used it before will recommend doing so. Much like how you’re often graded in pre-school or primary school for your grades, these will keep your child motivated to perform well if he or she can often track their progress on this simple chart.

If you haven’t tried it yet, you owe it to yourself to make the process a whole lot easier by investing a few bucks in one of these. Below, we’ll be looking at some of the best looking and most interesting sticker charts that will keep your kid very excited to keep up with his potty training sessions.

my-potty-reward-stickersMy Potty Reward Stickers

There are 2 versions of this. One’s specially made for boys while the other’s made for girls. The differences aren’t too major and mostly revolve around the differences in the images and colors being used on the stickers. With up to 126 different stickers, that’s easily more than enough to catch the attention of your kid. Most of the stickers will consist of relevant images that are related to potty use such as tissue paper, soaps, hands being washed, the different types of potty seats as well as motivational praises like “I did it!”.

The chart upon which the stickers will be pasted can be hung up on a wall just like how you’d hang a calendar. You’re free to award your child with whichever stickers you like within the package but there are several recommendations included within it that will help you optimize the process. Currently, it has 84 Amazon reviews and scores 4.3 out of 5 stars. This is the choice we found most interesting thus far after trying out 3 different sticker charts so we’d recommend getting this for your child. We bought 1 chart for our baby boy of 2 years old and another for our 3 year old girl. We put up these 2 right outside the bathroom so that they can compete with each other on how well they’re both doing. A little competition doesn’t hurt! Plus, it only costs $7 each which is pretty reasonable.

ginsey-sesame-street-reward-chartGinsey Sesame Street Potty Training Rewards Kit

This sticker chart has an interesting feature to it because it doesn’t mix and mash random stickers with random images on them. It comes with 76 stickers. What the chart does is line up 5 different columns on which stickers can be pasted. Each column represents a “duty” that has to be completed before a sticker is rewarded. For instance, the columns are categorized into sitting on the potty, actually using the potty, flushing the toilet and washing hands. This way, if your child misses any of the steps, he or she wouldn’t be ‘eligible’, so to speak, for a certain sticker of the relevant column. We tried this out on our girl and she will attempt to earn every single sticker for those columns because to her, it’s just like a game that she wants to finish. If she didn’t wash her hands, for example, we’d say that she didn’t earn the last sticker and she’d immediately rush off to clean them. It’s truly an interesting notion that has proved to be effective, at least for us.

Ratings-wise, it isn’t too fantastic and only scores 3.9 out of 5 stars from 19 user reviews. This is probably because the stickers are weak and will occasionally fall off the chart. You’d be better off drawing up your own chart and getting your own stickers if you like this idea.

i-can-do-it-sticker-chartI Can Do It Potty Chart

This chart is really straightforward but the stickers aren’t varied at all. Instead, all of them are in the shape of stars and share the same yellow color. If you like to keep things simple, this will do well but we could tell that our kids got pretty bored of it after just a few days because there’s nothing new here. It has a 4.1/5 rating and only 14 customer reviews. Plus, it’s priced at a super high $15 (compared to the previous 2 charts which cost only $7 each).