6/2/2008 | by Laura Bennett Murphy, Ph.D., Ohio
"For many families, the summertime is filled with activities, vacations and special events. Why not use those summer events to help start your child's potty training. Former PULL-UPS® Potty Training Partner Laura Bennett Murphy offers hints for rewarding your toddler by using summer activities coupled with verbal praise as potty training motivation.
Potty training during the summer has one clear benefit for parents - less clothing to take off your toddler! Many pre-schools also require that kids are potty trained before fall entry, so if your child is showing signs of readiness, get started by turning already-existing summer activities into special reward celebrations honoring your toddler's potty training successes.
"As your child seeks independence from diapers, reward him for specific accomplishments. One way is to combine traditional summer activities with verbal praise for powerful motivation," explains Laura Bennett Murphy, former PULL-UPS® Potty Training Partner and mother of three. "Encouraging a child's sense of pride, accomplishment and independence by incorporating rewards into your routine often goes further than tangible rewards." Below are great ideas to reward your toddler this summer:
At the end of a hot summer day, if your toddler lets you know that she is not wet, offer to get her wet! Reward your accident-free potty-trainee with a refreshing romp through the sprinkler. Be sure to declare the goal that your toddler has accomplished with positive verbal reinforcement such as, "You did it," or "I am so proud of you!"
When your toddler pulls his training pants on by himself, arrange a trip to the beach or plan a family picnic. Really encourage your child's sense of accomplishment and reward him for being a Big Kid® by packing up his favorite toys, shovel and bucket to make a grand sandcastle. When your toddler has no accidents, let him choose his favorite foods for a family picnic celebration.
Not everyday this summer will be filled with sunny skies, so when your toddler lets you know she has to go potty, reward her by throwing a "potty party" in the bathroom. Go fishing in the tub, blow bubbles over the sink or put together puzzles on the bathroom floor when she washes her hands without a reminder. Keep stickers under the sink and let your child add a star sticker to her potty training tracker when she wipes herself. Just as being in the bathroom increases your toddler's interest in the potty, the tracker keeps potty training top of mind by marking both big and small accomplishments.
Children at this age seem very confident, but their confidence and independence are fragile. These summer rewards are great ideas for encouraging your toddler's independence while potty training.