Charts and rewards for potty training

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Charts and rewards for potty training

When parents are potty training their kids, they really want to think about the reinforcement or rewards that their child is going to get for being successful, either with getting close to the potty, sitting on the potty, using the potty, cleaning themselves after using the potty. My first advice to parents is always to use that endless supply of hugs and tickles and praise and positive statements from the parent as your primary way that you reinforce them. Now sometimes using a chart to track their progress can be a really great way for kids to see that they're using the potty more often, their accidents are reducing, and they can actually see it over time. I tend not to first advise for the tangible rewards - things like trinkets and treats and M&Ms and things like that - simply because I don't want parents to bypass all of that positive reinforcement that they have an endless supply of. And I think sometimes parents will do that. They'll jump right to the M&Ms and forget about all of the other things they could be doing. Some kids, though, are really difficult and stubborn and can be very willful in potty training. So in those cases, if the other isn't working, in terms of all the praise and that, then I do advise parents to start to strategically and in a limited way start to use the more thing-based rewards.

Watch Video: Charts and rewards for potty training by Peter Stavinoha, PhD, ...


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Peter Stavinoha, PhD


Peter L. Stavinoha, PhD, ABPP, is a board certified clinical neuropsychologist in Dallas, Texas.  He directs the Neuropsychology Service at Children’s Medical Center of Dallas and he is Professor in Psychology/Psychiatry at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. He was named Distinguished Psychologist for 2005 by the Dallas Psychological Association. Dr. Stavinoha specializes in the cognitive, behavioral, and emotional aspects of developmental disabilities and acquired brain injury in children. As a general parenting expert, he is regularly interviewed in the media, Dallas morning television, Parents and Parenting Magazines, and numerous parenting blogs. Together with Sara Bridget Au, he is co-author of Stress-Free Potty Training. He has also authored several chapters in scholarly texts on subjects ranging from pediatric concussion to brain tumors in children. Dr. Stavinoha received a BA in Psychology from the University of Notre Dame and a PhD in Educational Psychology from the University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Stavinoha completed a residency in Clinical Neuropsychology at the Medical College of Wisconsin, and is a member of the American Psychological Association, the International Neuropsychological Society, and the National Academy of Neuropsychology. Dr. Stavinoha has a 16-year old son named Joe.

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