Bribery is the best form of flattery. Or something like that

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013

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As a follow up to our potty training sessions, we seem to have developed our own method of potty/sleep training.

I don’t know that this is necessarily a bad thing in and of itself since it seems every ‘program’ we follow for these things is already admittedly someone just making something up and their thing just happened to work.

I’m sure there are just as many people though who have tried their own method of potty training that haven’t been so successful. My idea of having Leah walk around in a ziplock bag instead of a diaper so she could see the yuckiness pooling around her might never have been picked up my other parents.

Anyway, we’ve developed a system the seemed pretty fail safe—we’ll just give Leah a reward for pretty much everything we want her to do.

Mind you, it seemed fail safe at three in the morning while Leah was yelling at us in a pile of her own pee suggesting that she hadn’t gone pee and that she was not, in fact, yelling at us and that she was, instead, fast asleep.

So we now have gone to a modified sleep and modified potty training program that has us giving rewards for practically everything. Now, we have at least had the sense to employ a sliding scale of importance to our rewards—saying the word potty might get you one treat whereas going number 2 on the potty and not on the floor will get you a gift basket of treats.

Any parent reading this has thought of, or has actually used, the give a treat for everything method of training and is thinking to themselves “you stupid parent, you’ll regret your gift method in three days when your kid realizes if they stop doing something you’ll start offering them a reward for doing it.”

But you’re wrong. We regretted it three hours into starting it. We looked at our savings account and realized it would be three weeks before Leah went for so many number 2s that we wouldn’t have enough money to spend on stuff we wanted.

So know we’re trying to employ a never before thought of method that gives Leah a treat for not abusing the give Leah a treat program.

It goes something like this:

“Daddy, I went poo, can I have my toy car now?”

“Yes, I guess you can. Good girl for going poo in the potty.”

“Daddy, I went poo in the potty again, can I have a new skipping rope?” she asks two minutes later, apparently having better bowel control than a chess player.

“Um, yes I guess you can. But remember, you’ll get an even bigger treat if you don’t ask for a treat when you go potty.”

“Daddy, I haven’t gone potty in two minutes,” she says just another two minutes later.

“Good, now you get a treat for not asking for a treat.”

Then she stops going to the potty every three minutes and still gets treats.

So that’s how it works in theory. In practice, we just end up giving her treats for talking because we can’t understand our own method.

Leah likes prizes and we’re going to have to bribe her to smile better.

Without knowing it, we’ve started turing our child into a mindless, opinion-less sugar hunter who actually seeks out situations in which she can secure herself a prize.

“Leah, what movie would you like to watch tonight?”

“Is there a treat for picking the right movie?”


“Ok, I pick the movie with the man in the red sunglasses on it,” she tells us pointing to Natural Born Killers.

“Ok, I’ll give you some Smarties if you pick something else.”

“I pick Winnie the Pooh, where are my Smarties.”

I highly doubt we’re going to stop with the gift giving either since it has so successfully allowed us to do things without Leah yelling at us. Plus we get to see Leah’s smile that much more which is never a bad thing.

Leah and her car prize.

One response to “Bribery is the best form of flattery. Or something like that”

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