Praise and Potty-Training: Why It Works and How to Use It
Potty-training requires the two "Ps" (pun intended): lots of patience and plenty of praise. But how much praise is too much? Is there a right or wrong way to praise your child for using the potty? This article will answer those questions and more.
Why Rewards Work
Potty training takes time, and it's easy for your child (and you!) to get discouraged in the process. Rewarding your child for meeting each step along the way can encourage him or her to keep going.
Many parents have successfully used reward charts to track potty-training success. With our chart, your child can earn stars not only for using the potty, but for sitting on the potty, flushing and washing their hands, and, later, for staying dry all day. Stars or stickers are a healthier reward than food or candy.
Choosing a larger reward that your child will receive once he/she has graduated out of diapers gives him or her something to look forward to. We encourage parents to celebrate the accomplishment with experiences, such as a trip to the zoo or aquarium. Our potty-training kit also includes a reward certificate and sticker to commemorate this milestone.
How to Use Praise and How Much is Too Much?
As we said, potty-training is a process that requires plenty of patience. Praise all of your child's efforts along the way. Praise works best when it is specific, so reflect back what they did, such as, "Look here! You tinkled (use your word here) in the potty!"
The amount of excitement you share depends on you and your child. If your child seems overwhelmed by the amount or degree of praise, tone it down. If they get a kick out of watching you dance and shout, be their cheerleader.
Also, brag to others about your child's accomplishments when he or she can hear. Tell Dad, Grandma, your neighbor, and anyone who will listen.
You Don't Have to Use Praise Forever
Now that your child is a "big kid," praise for staying dry and using the potty is no longer needed. Once your child has mastered potty-training, award them with their certificate and sticker, and reward them with the experience or other prize that you have chosen together. You can then focus on building the next great habit on the road to independence.
Yay! You did it, Mom (or Dad)!