Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Hard, Easy


We recently decided that desperate times call for desperate measures, and bought a big bag of M&Ms to use as potty-training bribes for Julia. (I also checked out the "Elmo Potty Time" DVD from the town public library and am letting Julia watch it every! single! day! this week. Desperate times, people.)

I really thought these M&Ms were going to be my magic bullet. This kid does not get sweets, other than, say, the occasional cookie, cake and ice cream on family birthdays, and a miniature chocolate bunny on Easter. And believe me, she loves sweets when she does get them; they're definitely a major, major treat.

On Saturday night I let her taste an M&M. She'd never seen them before. She was appropriately entranced, and happy to eat her treat. But did it spur her to even TRY her potty chair? No. (Keep in mind, she gets an M&M JUST FOR SITTING ON THE POTTY. She doesn't even have to go, though if she does, she gets two M&Ms. People, who wouldn't SIT ON A CHAIR DOING NOTHING for the reward of a piece of chocolate? My daughter, that's who.)

Yesterday I even tried ostentatiously dumping the bag of M&Ms into a clear canister right in front of Julia, then placing the candy jar directly on the bathroom vanity where she will see it several times a day, commenting the whole time about how tasty they are and how thrilling it would be to get one, just for sitting on the potty for a few minutes. Nothing doing.

This is my kid: She's all like, Yeah, I like 'em. Sure, I'd love some. But I'm not going to sit on the potty to get them. SEE YA!



This is also my kid: She likes to play "going to sleep." She climbs into bed--hers, ours, wherever--arranges the pillows and blankets a million times, and just sits/lies there. In bed. Doing nothing. Playing "sleeping." It requires nothing of me. And if asked, she will tell you that no, she does not want to play something else, or go somewhere else, or do something messy or involved or effortful. She wants to sit in my bed playing "sleep." FINE. WITH. ME!


Donna said...

We convinced our son it was HIS idea to use the toilet, not ours. Once we did that (and added a reward), he was potty trained.

(I can go into details if you want, but it'll be a long comment so I didn't want to do that.)

I just caught up on your blog. I've been out of touch for awhile. I've got that silly thing called work that's been keeping me busy. :)

Jim said...

I can see her possibly wanting to sit on the potty for a treat but certainly today's kids do not consider one M&M a treat. Maybe a handful or quite possibly a full sized Three Musketeers would do it! Now after she sits down on the potty and has eaten her Three Musketeers bar have her play with her favorite new (chosen for this event) bath toy or toys in a large dish of warm water. The old wives tale says the hands in the warm water will activate what ever it is that is activated to activate the process! I've never tried it myself but it might work. Now the final trick is to give her an even bigger treat for going! How about the whole bag of M&Ms?

Shan said...

No way; believe me, for Julia one M&M IS a treat. Maybe not for most kids (who eat candy and other non-nutritious foods on a regular basis), but for Julia, definitely. She has been known to hold ONE BITE of fudge in her mouth for half the drive home from a friend's party, just to savor it as long as possible. Somehow I think it's her independent streak that's the problem, not the number of M&Ms!

Nonna said...

How about bringing her into the bathroom with you, doing your business, and then rewarding yourself in front of her, making great mention of how wonderful the M&Ms are...and when she wants to share, comment, "Oh no, honey, these are just for when you sit on the potty. Would you like to try now??" (Probable response: "No, thank you, Mama.") I know this girl!!

Jordan said...

I was going to say exactly what Nonna said. But I'd say, pretend you don't care if she does it. Reward yourself in front of her, reward Daddy when he comes out of the bathroom, but don't say ONE WORD about her doing it! It sounds like she wants to be in charge of it. If she says something about it, maybe even say doubtfully, "Oh, well...that's for big girls. When you're ready you just let us know." You still have months before she starts nursery school, right? So there's time for a more pressured approach in August if you have to.

We just started the M&Ms with Lyle and it seems to be working today - I just heard he's gone 3x already! But it didn't work at all for Baxter. I think it makes a huge difference when they see a big kid doing it, so it might be really different for Genevieve.

Shan said...

I just read Nonna's and Jordan's comments, and laughed. Nonna is right--we HAVE done that (gone to the bathroom in front of her, eaten an M&M as a reward, etc.). In fact, if she hears the toilet flush, she calls out, "Mama, did you go potty? Did you have an M&M? What color did you pick? Was it good?" and then goes back to her playing. She could not care less.

BUT, both Jordan and Donna mentioned a certain tone or attitude that I think we will try now--that of complete disinterest in HER going, and even doubtfulness that she's big or ready enough to go and then get the treat afterward. Yo both are right--she has to think this is HER idea. And so far, that's definitely not the situation! The funniest part is how she's very excited about preschool, and knows she has to be trained to go, and she'll say matter-of-factly, "I'll go YATER, Mama. SOME day. Before PRESCHOOL."
It's like she's got it all figured out--which, knowing her, she probably does.