Many well intended parents have asked the question, “Should I use treats when potty training?” Others simply go forward with the potty training process while using treats to reward without thinking about it. There are strong opinions from experts about when it is and when it is not appropriate to use treats as positive reinforcement. Such opinions and alternative rewards for re-enforcing little girls and boys for success in the bathroom are describes below.
Experts advise strongly against the use of treats when potty training
Experts advise strongly against the use of treats for several reasons the main reason why experts advise against the use of treats is because it is unhealthy for a child to turn to food for reward. You may be unintentionally teaching your child to eat as part of an emotional response. If your child has to work for their food, they may develop a complex of sorts where they feel like once they have won their food their either have to hoard it or eat it quickly. Rewarding a potty training success with food is also illogical as eating food and using the toilet have no place being done together.
This is not to say that if you have previously potty trained children by using treats that they will all be ill affected by it or will have to pay a therapist to rid them of their potty training food complex. Some children may not make any significant connections between food and security. However, it is simply a better idea to avoid a potentially complicated situation later by finding better alternative rewards for potty training today.
Alternative rewards for potty training your child
There are hundreds of alternative rewards for potty training that you can use in the place of treats that will motivate your children to successfully use the toilet. The first is the ever popular sticker system. The sticker system involves using a sticker to mark on a chart or calendar when your child successfully used the bathroom. The reward comes when your child accumulates a certain number of stickers. One example would be that once your child earns ten stickers, they will get to go out to do a fun activity with mom or dad. This activity does not have to be directly related to potty training (as in you do not have to visit a waste processing plant or the home improvement store to browse the toilet aisle). But your activity should include multiple references to the great job that your son or daughter is doing with their potty training and that you hope they can continue to work hard to learn how to use the potty.
A child should be motivated to learn how to use the potty from the very beginning. If your child is not excited about learning to use the potty themselves then it may be too early to start training them. For this reason, make sure that the rewards that you are using are not bribes. A child should use the potty because they want to. As a parent your job is to reinforce your child’s progress with activities that reflect your child’s new-found abilities to act more like a big kid.
Boys and girls will respond differently to rewards. Boys are generally less interested in fancy big boy underwear while many little girls are motivated by the prospect of being able to get out of the diaper and into panties that she can choose. Both mom and dad have important roles when it comes to potty training and the reward process should be a family affair.