Rewards. 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.