Potty Training Rewards The Good, The Bad And The Ugly

Submitted by: Colleen Langenfeld

If you have been toilet training for any length of time or if you are just getting ready to begin, you have probably considered the topic of potty training rewards.

These are little prizes we give our toddlers and preschoolers for working on their healthy potty habits.

I have toilet trained four children and while I think potty rewards are indispensable, I also think they can backfire on us parents when we don’t pay attention to what we’re doing.

Potty training rewards – the good.

– Everyone likes to get prizes. Toddlers do, too. Nothing motivates them in the moment like the promise of a reward.

Some toddlers will move their version of a mountain for a tiny and insignificant prize. If this describes your child, use this to your advantage to help him move forward.


– Using toilet rewards does more than just help your child learn to use the potty. It also sets the stage for goal-setting and goal-getting as he grows.

The skill of personal achievement is just that, a skill to be learned and practiced. When your child is two, the skill is about learning to use the potty for a piece of candy. When she’s thirteen, it’s practicing her flute each and every day and earning the right to be in jazz band and when she’s twenty-two it’s studying six nights a week and relaxing on night seven so she can get into grad school.

Potty training rewards – the bad.

– Potty rewards generally lose their luster with toddlers rather quickly. That’s not because the prize is no good; it is because the toddler is an imaginative human being. So as parents we must tweak our use of prizes regularly.

If a prize is working, fine, stick with it. If not, cycle it out for another and have several more options in the wings.

– If a toddler is tired, tired, tired of potty training, then the rewards will stop working. Remember, the small prizes are a motivation to keep working towards the real prize, which is growing up.

Toddlers and preschoolers are normal people and sometimes they get tired of this growing up stuff. So they stop. It helps if we can respect that for a few days or a week while giving lots of extra hugs and love.

When your little potty trainee is ready to grow up some more, he will. And you’ll be ready with the prizes to gently push him a long the way.

Potty training rewards – the ugly.

– Overusing rewards until they’re worthless is a very real problem. If the whole concept of rewards gets tainted in your preschooler’s mind, she’ll be suspicious every time you offer one and you’ll find it hard to motivate her with anything.

Remember, there’s a huge difference between awarding a prize for a job well done and tossing prizes at someone hoping they’ll do what you say. Toddlers are bright people and they can definitely tell the difference.

What’s the takeaway here? Simply that potty training rewards, used correctly, can be a huge help to you and your toddler as she’s learning to make her new toilet habits second nature.

Rewards cannot – at any time – take the place of actual training and encouragement. They are a supplement to make the process go more smoothly and be more fun. They are NOT the process itself.

Enjoy your potty training season with your child. This is the first of many times the two of you will work together towards a goal. Keep your perspective and teach your child how a journey of many miles involves taking one step at a time, day after day.

About the Author: Colleen Langenfeld has potty trained four kids and helps other moms get more out of their mothering at http://www.paintedgold.com . Toilet train faster using her potty reward charts and creative ideas plus uncover more about

potty training rewards

by visiting her website today.



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