Learning something new requires motivation. Potty training is no exception. The more motivated your child is to use the potty, the quicker he will actually learn to do it. While it might be tempting just to pick up some candy and stickers, some children just aren’t that motivated by these little prizes. So get creative with the potty training rewards and think about what really motivates your child and how you can reward the desired behavior. And if you aren’t feeling so creative, here are some ideas to get your imagination going:
1. Praise, Praise, Praise!
A little praise goes a long way, and a lot of praise goes even further. You may think you are overdoing it, but your praise and approval mean so much to your child. Every time your child uses the potty, attempts to use it, or even tells you about soiling his diaper, praise him. Let him know how proud you are by saying nice compliments and giving him a big hug. Show your gratitude and thank him for using the potty.
Brag about him to others in the family and make sure he hears it. Mom can tell Dad what a big boy Johnny was today when he used the potty all by himself three times. Sometimes, just knowing that it makes you happy is a great potty training reward to motivate a toddler to want to do it.
2. Potty Time Activities and Toys
Make potty training fun for your child. Have designated potty times throughout the day. Use a timer and have your child stay on the potty for a designated amount of time. Make potty time fun by having specific activities, toys, books, or games that can only be enjoyed while on the potty.
3. Big Kid Privileges
Toddlers love to feel like big kids. Think of some big kid privileges your child may like to have and make them rewards for potty training, “Since you were such a big boy and used the potty all by yourself this morning, you can have big kid privileges and pick out your own outfit to wear today.” Get creative on what big kid privileges in your household are and make a big deal out of them so your child will take an interest.
4. Potty Training Dyes and Targets
There are a variety of potty training dyes and targets on the market to make potty training fun for kids. You just place the dye in the toilet water, and it will turn a certain color when the child urinates. Kids get really excited about this and can’t wait to see what color the water turns. Potty targets can also be used that help little boys to practice aim, and they also provide incentive as some of them change colors or have different images like animals and shapes which appear when the child hits them.
5. Family Outing or Vacation
Consider a fun family outing or vacation as a potty training reward your toddler will enjoy. Maybe it’s a big trip like going to Disneyland or something similar like Chucky Cheese or the local superhero-themed ice cream shop around the corner. Whatever it is, talk this trip up as much as possible, so your child wants to go. You may even consider playing YouTube videos of commercials of the place or reading stories to your child about how fun it is. Remind your child frequently about the trip, and that once she earns so many potty stickers, she will get to go and have this experience.
6. Game Tickets and Prizes
Kids love going to arcades where they can win tickets and exchange them for prizes. Consider making a system like this for toilet training. This tends to work better than just telling your child she can earn points for that Barbie dollhouse she wants, which can be too abstract for a toddler.
Make it concrete and tangible for your child. Go out and buy the Barbie dollhouse and put it in a high place where your child can see it but not reach it. Let her know she can have the house once she earns enough potty tickets. You may even consider having multiple prizes for different amounts of tickets, just like they do at arcades. This gives your child more freedom of choice and helps your child practice delayed gratification by saving up tickets for bigger prizes rather than getting the small prize right away.