Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Thank you B.F. Skinner

I apologize in advance for writing yet another entry about potty training. It simply has been occupying a large chunk of my time/brain power. And frankly I had started to believe that Paul would be showing up to his first day of kindergarten in diapers. Slightly dismayed but determined not to resort to pull-ups, I scoured the internet chat boards for advice. I asked every mom I came into contact with how she did it. I tried desperately to let go of control, knowing that ultimately it was up to Paul. Last week I read an article that suggested feeding your child bran muffins & then leaving them in the bathroom until they produced. Too cruel, even for me. I chose instead to stick with BEHAVIOR MODIFICATION. Translation: BRIBERY. In the form of the sacred CANDY. (Please don't tell my son's doctor or dentist.) The plan is actually two-fold. Thanks to my mentor at school (who provides excellent teaching advice AND parenting advice) and the Easter Bunny, we have set up two dispensers in the bathroom. Pee candy (jelly beans) and Poop candy (chocolate eggs). Yes, I see how gross that must seem. However chocolate is his favorite. You should see the boy unwrap a chocolate egg... as if it were gold. For additional, long-term motivation he has a chart where he earns stickers for staying dry and double stickers for pooping in the potty. A full sticker chart = a trip to the toy store. (Not everything is about rotting his teeth, I had to throw in some materialism too.) Even after all of this carrot dangling and bell-ringing, it took a while to get the boy to decide it was time to get serious. I am happy to say that we are finally moving in the right direction. He occasionally tries to outwit the system and earn extra candy, but overall he is doing very well. We are very proud!

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