Rewards vs Bribes

Potty training is a time for rewarding appropriate behavior. Rewards make your child feel proud. Remember that the best rewards are ones that can be provided instantly. A trip to the toy store in 3 days is less of an incentive than turning up a favorite song and doing a potty dance with mommy or daddy.

Put a plan in place with the reward specified. Since you know your child best, choose a reward that is something they will truly value. Playing a special video game in the bathroom may be a reward for one child and not much of a treat for someone else.

Create a lot of hype about the sticker chart, the tiny wrapped gifts for the first tinkle or BM in the potty and the end result-of being able to wear the cool new princess or hero underwear. Remember to reward hygiene behaviors as well as potty behaviors.

“Wow, let’s put stickers on your chart for practice sitting on the potty, for wonderful washing up, for fine flushing and for awesome pants-pulling up.” Keep up the spirit of a truly fun game as long as possible.

Bribes are offered to avoid or stop bad behavior and are often offered under duress. They are not thought out ahead of time and can teach children that they will eventually be rewarded for the wrong behavior. Re-frame stressful situations so that you can pre-emptively plan to reward a positive behavior.