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Saturday, September 14, 2013

M&Ms: Potty Training Your Kids Since 1980

Depending on who you ask, children start potty training anytime from 18 months to 3+ years.  We started looking into the "gear" for potty training right around Gretchen's 2nd birthday, and in all honesty, we haven't had much use for any of it until very recently.

Through a few different visitors' trips, we have acquired the Baby Bjorn Potty Chair and the Arm & Hammer Secure Comfort Potty Seat, along with several pairs of kiddy underwear, in Minnie, Dora and Day of the Week theme. We also bulked up on Kirkland's moist flushable wipes to add to our baby shipment, which was a fantastic suggestion by an anonymous source - in case they don't want to advertise their first-hand knowledge of the product. Anyone who has purchased toilet paper in Argentina will know that these wipes are your best friend - paper products here leave a bit to be desired.

Once we started collecting all the gear, we asked for tips from folks that have gone through potty training before - namely our parents. The response was universal: We used M&Ms.  Seriously, everyone we asked has used M&Ms as a reward when their kids went on the "big potty". This should be on some sort of ad campaign for the candy-coated treat, and now we can add our names to the believers - it really works!

During the late July "winter" break of jardin, I was on a mission to have Gretchen potty train before baby brother joins the family. This determination lasted about a day.  She was completely uninterested, and I realized that we were going to spend the majority of the 2-week break sitting on a potty. Jon and I resolved to put potty training on hold until after the baby, though if Gretchen ever asked to sit on the potty, we were happy to oblige.  She asked, maybe 2 times in August and we scrounged up some sort of chocolate treat to give her as a reward. Then September came and one Wednesday night we were in the kitchen making dinner and she said she wanted to sit on the potty.  Success!  She did it again on Thursday and Friday night, but had no interest in going at any other time during the day. Saturday - a week ago today - we had some friends over and Gretchen witnessed her 3 year old buddy say that he needed to use the potty.  She wanted to use the potty too, and she did.  Then she did again.  Then we bought M&Ms.

The deal is, if she goes #1 she gets 2 M&Ms, the payment doubles for #2 - the coveted FOUR M&Ms! As of Monday afternoon she has been in big-girl undies all day, as of Thursday she's been in them at night too.  No accidents yet.  She is PLOWING through the M&Ms.  She talks about them all day.  "I get TWO M&Ms today!" "I need FOUR M&Ms, Daddy!", it's amazing! The M&Ms are the perfect way for her to see direct positive results, and she knows exactly what to expect when we give her a reward. The hardest part of the whole thing is keeping Jon and I from raiding the M&M stash.

I hesitate to say that this is the whole of our potty training experience since it has been so seamless, but Gretchen is doing an amazing job. We are so proud of our girl, sneaking in a last minute big girl step before baby brother arrives! It teaches us that there are many times that we should just follow her lead - and be sure to keep M&Ms on hand.

1 comment:

  1. "The coveted 4 M&Ms!" Hilarious. And way to go Gretchen!!