Thursday, August 14, 2008

The answer, my friend, is BRIBERY

J has been on a potty strike. He can go in the potty, but he doesn't want to. We have not found a good incentive that motivates him. We got him big-boy underwear. Some have cars on them. Others have Spiderman. He doesn't care.

We tried taking him every hour. He pees in between. Every half hour? He pees in between. Every fifteen minutes? He waits 'til he's off the potty, then pees.

We told him he can't go to the playground if he's not potty trained. He cried. Then he got over it and carried on with life.

All of his classmates at daycare got moved to the next room. We told J that he doesn't get to play with them anymore until he's potty trained. He decided not to care.

J's cousin, who is one month younger than J, has decided to go in the potty. J admires his cousin. We asked J if he wanted to be a big boy like Jakey. J said "No, I want to be a baby, like N".

Sticker charts? No. Hand stamps? No. Candy? Not really, but we got closer.

Nothing has really worked.

So now, we are using full blown bribery.

We bought a bunch of little trinkets. We wrapped them all up in small bits of wrapping paper, and put them in a bowl. Now, every time J uses the potty and is dry in between uses, he gets to pick a present out of the bowl. There's a big present wrapped up and sitting on top of the piano in plain sight. When the present bowl is empty, J gets to open the big present.

The present bowl is filled with all kinds of cool things. Superballs, Hot Wheels cars, tracing stencils, stickers, sticker books ... but J only really wants the superballs. He rifles through the bowl and picks out all of the balls. We were hoping the cars would be a bigger hit. The big present relates to the cars. But so far, J is only wanting the balls.

With this new incentive in place, J has gone back to doing well with potty training. He still has accidents, and they upset him. We'll keep making sure the bowl is full until he's completely potty trained. The hope is that, once we let the bowl empty out, J will be so used to being clean and dry that the uncomfortable sensation of being wet or dirty will be enough to keep him from regressing.

I hope this continues to work.

Filling the bowl with presents isn't particularly cheap, but it's also not going to break us. H has mentioned that we could have just wrapped up rocks we found in the street and J would have been very happy with them. Sadly, H is correct. And I kind of wish we'd thought of that before we bought presents. But I like to discourage the whole rock obsession, so this is probably better anyway.

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