Friday, August 9, 2013

Holy crap: The end to potty training is near; Why bribery is essential

Potty training is awful.

Parents already know this. People without children suspect it. News sites actually report on it and collect articles on it.

If you are going through or have been through potty training with your own child, then you will know the truth: Some advice may work, some advice may not work. You will get headaches.

We are just about done potty training in our house. We used bribery. There is a lot of debate over the effects of bribery, but my son now proudly tells us when he has to go poop and marches off to the bathroom to do it, so I'm pretty happy with the results. I put a lot of time and effort in discovering the correct reward trigger for him. It turns out it was PEZ dispensers. He poops and he can pick out a dispenser and the candy to go in it. No one argues. No one fights. No one cries. (That is considered a parenting hat trick.)

I'm really glad that potty training happens when we are so young, so that we don't really retain the memories of it. I don't think any of us really want to relive memories of crying on the potty that we don't have to poop and that life isn't fair. There are far better memories for us to relive over and over, like that time I fell into an anthill and was completely covered by ants. (Thanks for saving me, mom!)

But, here's the rub: We don't remember the ordeal, but our parents do. We probably owe them an apology for what we put them through, but I'm not exactly sure how to word it. Maybe just find out what reward/bribe your parent used for you and incorporate that somehow. Like if your mom used M&Ms to bribe you, I suggest creating a portrait of her out of M&Ms.

I am totally looking forward to getting a bouquet of PEZ dispensers from my son in about 30 years.

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