Bribery & Potty-Training

“Maya pee pee potty, Mommy give Maya L & M.

Yes, folks … I am bribing my potty-training child with M&Ms, a.k.a., the Devil’s snack! Cue the JAWS score.

I was worried this bribery would corrupt her, but so far, it seems to be working quite magically … so if she ends up corrupted but potty-trained, I’ll cut my loss. 🙂

Last night, in fact, she pooped on the potty for the first time! (Previously she had had a near-accident in the tub and finished on the potty — which doesn’t really count).

“Maya want L & M,” she told me as I was getting her undressed for her bath.

“OK, if you go pee pee on the potty, Mommy will give you an M&M.”

She sat there for a while playing with a toy and then looked scared for a moment. “POOPING!!”

I was so proud of her and, though scared at first, SHE was so proud of herself, too, clapping and grinning wildly. After I cleaned her up and washed her hands, I asked her to choose a color (she chose red). Then she had her bath … the happiest kid on earth.

When it comes to potty-training, there is no right and wrong … only what works for you and your family. It’s a totally loaded topic … but it shouldn’t be. It’s a fact of life … children need to learn how to use the bathroom. The “when” is up to us.

As for our little family, we’ve been gradually easing into it. Since she was 18 months old, she has been sitting on the potty before bath each night. It took two months but she finally got it and peed for the first time at 20 months. Since then we have had several successes — maybe  a dozen total? — but nothing that screams, “Yes this child is ready!” … mostly because she tells us AFTER the fact, or during her elimination. She hides in the corner or goes in the bathroom or her room for privacy … All signs she is getting ready, but not quite there yet. So we haven’t been pushing it at home other than before bath. In her new preschool room, they sit on the potty a couple times each day  but she hasn’t had success there yet. And the couple times we’ve put her in panties and let her walk around, we’ve had accidents (to be expected).

We are going to Jamaica in mid-April and I really don’t want to push her before then (I’ve heard regression can happen after trips, major life changes, etc.) — but if she is doing well,  I’d love to have her officially potty-trained this summer, especially since this “L & M” thing seems to have legs. (We tried stickers first but she kept trying to eat them, which is why when a friend suggested M&Ms I was all over the idea since she never has them otherwise).

Of course, I also worry this incentive program I’m doing will create a bad habit and don’t want her to assume every successful bathroom trip will equal a treat …  But then I was reminded of Rocco as a puppy. When house-breaking him, we gave him a cookie every time he did his business outside to get him in the habit of it. Now, he gets treats on occasion — not for every time he goes. He might want one, but doesn’t expect one each time he goes outside. So hopefully it will work similarly with my kid … we shall see!

How about you? Did you bribe your kids with potty-training? Pros and cons? If you did incentivize … any regrets?

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