As any parent of a growing toddler knows, potty training can be one of the most memorable—yet frustrating—developments of those early years. I, for one, experienced a roller coaster of ups and downs while potty training my son this past year.
I did my homework, reading about all the good, the bad and the ugly of potty training boys. We tried the “potty train your kid in a day” plan… it didn’t work. We tried bribing him with treats, including small toys, candy, or anything else we thought might coerce him into cooperating, but we quickly learned that rewarding him with a gift every time was a slippery slope. And he appeared to be completely unmoved by our encouragement of him being a “big boy.”
And then I was introduced to the wonderful world of My Scratch Offs. In the midst of our seemingly endless journey toward our deliverance from diapers, the concept of a fun and functional tracking and reward system breathed life back into the nearly broken spirit of this potty training parent.
How Potty Training Charts Track Progress and Reward Success
If you aren’t already familiar with how a potty training chart works, here is a little background. A potty training chart is designed to help you and your child keep track of potty usage and progress each day. Every time your little one makes a trip to the bathroom, you can use the chart to record it. The mark can be as simple as a smiley face drawn with a magic marker, or you can let your child participate by using fun Scratch Off Labels that reveal words of encouragement or small rewards for their progress.
From my personal experience, as mentioned before, giving your child an actual gift every time they use the potty can lead to unrealistic expectations and eventual regression if you’re not careful. For this reason, making your own potty training chart that includes a healthy mix of tangible rewards (like small toys or treats), words of encouragement, and other positive gestures (like a hug or a trip to the park) can offer a perfect balance to keep your child motivated and excited to “earn” their chance at another incentive.
Create a Custom Incentives Specific to Your Child
My son is all about dirt, tools, and things that go vroooom! So when we were planning out his incentives, we had to think of things that would keep him engaged in the process. We structured our chart so that the more times he used the potty successfully throughout each day, the more exciting the rewards. This served two purposes: first, that he wouldn’t just get bored from receiving the same result every time, and second, that he had something bigger and better to anticipate if he kept up the good work.
I should note, however, that we started the climb over again each day rather than letting the rewards build throughout the week. You may find that your child is motivated enough just by the visual evidence of successes marked on the chart, but my son was not that way. If the simple joy of building a bank of gold stars is enough to keep your child on track, then by all means, go for gold! But if your kid is harder to motivate, as mine was, you might need to get more creative with your incentives.
How To Make Your Own Potty Training Chart
The internet is full of free, printable potty training charts that you can use as inspiration. If you want to create something unique that really fits your child and suits his or her individual personality and interests, making your own potty training chart is easy using basic computer programs like Microsoft Word or Excel. Simply create a table or block of cells with borders and insert words or images to represent the incentive they have “earned.” When you print out the chart, place a Scratch Off Label over each square on the chart so that your child can scratch the label after he or she has used the potty successfully to reveal a prize or other positive reinforcement. You may, for your own purposes, keep a pen handy near the chart to jot down the time and “outcome” of each potty session.
A custom potty training chart created with fun Scratch Off Labels is one way to help encourage your toddler to transition out of diapers. If you need help to make your own potty training chart to really inspire, contact My Scratch Offs today to learn about our custom order capabilities.