Bribing my way through toilet training

Labour aside, I have to say I’ve enjoyed all the new learning moments we’ve had with our kids so far. We’ve been really lucky to have two mostly cruisy kids. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve had frustrating, scary, pull-ya-hair-out moments along the way, but for the most part it’s been good. Until toilet training time. I’m sure Miss Toddler probably could have gone through the process a while ago, and I had every intention of doing it during my six months of maternity leave, but for a number of excuses it just didn’t happen.

I hate when parents compare kids, so I try really hard not to do so with my own, but when I saw that my nephew was taking to toilet training so well, I knew we just needed to get our A into G and start the process too. After chatting to several girlfriends, and consulting Google and Pinterest, I found apparently the easiest way to start is just chuck them in undies and get them used to the sensation of going. Well, let me tell you, when you’re living with a rainwater tank in the middle of summer, you don’t really have the luxury to be washing 10 pairs of undies a day. But that’s what I was facing!

I knew mistakes were a part of the process, I expected them, and we spent lots of time playing outside so that if there were accidents, it wasn’t a cleaning job. Everything I read said to get her to tell me before she needs to go. But how the heck do you teach her that? She definitely knew when she had been, and when she was going, it’s just the “before it happens” we were struggling with. Getting mad was the last thing on my mind, I was just worried that Miss Toddler would start to panic if she continued having accidents. She’s a perfectionist like me and likes to be independent. She loves praise and wants to know she is doing things right.

So I tried a different approach. Sit on the toilet every half an hour until they go. But I have an extremely stubborn kid. She takes after her father there. He is the most annoying person to have an argument with, because he NEVER gives in. But back to Miss Toddler. She figured she’d just hold on ALL day until she was back in a nappy before doing anything! Not only did I spend a good 3 hours of one day sitting in our bathroom, but we only got one little smidgen of a wee to show for it!

How did we get the wee in the end? Bribery. The secret weapon that gets pulled out in desperate moments. A great tactic, and quite possibly the only reason we got that smidgen of a wee. I had to bribe her with a chocolate cow that the Easter Bunny left behind. A sticker or two wasn’t enough of a bargaining chip, but when I upped the ante to chocolate treats it was enough for her to concentrate on “squeezing the wees out”.

It’s been three days and that’s all the success we’ve had. I thought after the first go, the chocolate cow, the happy dance we did, she’d be excited to go again. But no. Maybe if we had another chocolate cow. I think she played me at my own game.

I feel it is definitely me that is stalling the process. Like when an animal can smell fear in a person, I think Miss Toddler senses my reluctance and is happy going with the flow. It’s like when you’re learning to ride a bike, and you have your hand on the brake the whole time, to be in control of the speed, but actually causing yourself to fall off because you’re going too slow to balance. You know you have to just let the brake go and start pedaling. Build the momentum up and you’ll be away laughing. I know I need to stop pulling the brakes by resorting back to nappies, and just roll through the stages.

I’ve succumbed to the fact that my bathroom and I are going to become very well acquainted. I’m ready to let the brake go, may as well just go all in. Feel free to leave any tips, words of encouragement, or general “I understand” comments below. They will be well received!

Watch this space…


2 thoughts on “Bribing my way through toilet training

  1. Aims, kmart do a really cool magnetic reward chart for $10. It has magnetic “stickers” for each time they do a wee and wash their hands. That was our next step (giving her a “sticker”) after the chocolate egg. Note: we went through a heaaap of chocolate eggs the first 2 weeks of toilet training lol, so it was a relief to get her on to stickers (gradual process)!


    1. Megs!! Brilliant – I’m going to KMart this weekend then! Thanks for the tip! I’ve bought about 20 pairs of undies from KMart also because they were so cheap. May have gone overboard slightly…


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