Parents of young children know that potty training is no easy task. It takes a lot of patience, persistence and time. When it comes to changing a habit for children, consistency is key. Every child is different and can be motivated in individual ways. My son’s greatest motivation is M&Ms. I have a large jar of M&Ms that he knows he will be rewarded with when he uses the potty instead of his diaper. The big M&M payday comes in when he actually goes but I also reward him if his Pull-Up is dry and for his effort in trying to go.
On a bright and sunny summer morning, I grabbed our copies of “Big Boy Potty” and “I Spy” and announced to my 3-year-old that it is “potty time.” Potty time is usually exciting in the beginning. My son ran to the bathroom with his own reading picks and proceeded to strip himself of all his clothes before sitting down on his little potty throne. I sat down on the floor next to him and started to read. This went on for about an hour. I became confused. How can this be? I gave him a full glass of juice and waited before calling him for potty time. How can he not have to go?
Finally, he grew impatient being in the bathroom while he could hear his brothers playing down the hall. He stood up with a bright red ring around his bottom. We both look inside but there is nothing in the potty. I looked into his little eyes and asked him, “Doesn’t your body feel like it has to pee?” He looks me in the face and with a sweet smile told me, “My body feels like it wants M&Ms.”
Those big blue eyes get to me and I decided that an hour on the potty is worth an M&M for trying. I pop one in his mouth and announced that I would bring him some milk for it. I told him, “Stay on the potty! I will be right back with some milk.” As I raced to the kitchen, I congratulated myself for being so brilliant. Of course he will have to go now. I quickly poured the milk and sprung back up the stairs. I ran down the hall and back into the bathroom.
When my feet hit the bathroom tile, I began to slip. I was able to keep my balance and avoid falling but I realized that the floor was wet and I knew now why I slipped. Of course, the minute that I left the room, my little guy did go. He pointed to the few drips that actually made it in the potty and announced to me that he “peed in the potty.” My feet are wet and sticky and my bathroom is a mess but my little boy looks proud. “Great job!” I told him. We washed our hands; he got a few more M&Ms and ran off to play as I started to clean up. We will try again later.