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Monday, April 23, 2012

sticker charts and cheeseburgers

Our household is in full-on potty training mode. It's been ugly. Week 1 can basically be summarized using two words: urine and crying. Taking the advice of W's future preschool teacher (who I must admit, intimidates me a little bit. I know she won't be happy if he's not using the potty in the fall) we've ditched the pull-ups. She told me to sit him on the potty every 10 minutes and warned me that it was going to "wear me out" (said with a heavy southern accent).

For days, nothing. The only thing I did was wash load after load of wet underwear. Then I introduced a sticker chart with incentives. 5 stickers = a Mickey D's cheeseburger with fries and chocolate milk. 10 stickers = a trip to the store (in this case Fred's, the low price leader) to pick out a treat. Eureka! Stickers have been flying: 2 cheeseburgers have been eaten, and we're one sticker away from another trip to Fred's.

We still have a long way to go, but its wonderful to see some progress. Potty training and parenting in general have taught me some yucky truths about myself. I am not patient. I am baffled by a child who is teaching himself to read, but doesn't realize he's sitting in wet underwear. I am selfish. I'm tired of having my life run by a kitchen timer. However, this too shall pass. When I spent month after month exclusively pumping for both my children, I thought it would never end. It did, though, and so will this. W will not go to college wearing pull-ups (or at least that's what a mother of 4 boys from church told me) and I can look at this milestone as character building. W can gain the skill of not wetting his pants, and I can learn to be a little more patient.

I'm thinking about implementing a sticker chart for everyday life. Clean the bathroom. Sticker! Make dinner. Sticker! Washing a load of laundry and folding it. Two stickers! The possibilities are endless. Stickers for running. Stickers for being patient with my adorable 4-year old while he learns to use the potty. The incentives need to be good for that last one.


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