Small candies are ideal for potty training.

How to Reward Toddlers With Candy for Potty Training

by Maggie McCormick

Their child using the potty is one of the milestones that many parents look forward to. No more diapers! If your child is reluctant to give it a serious try, it's time to bring out the big guns. Though some experts might argue that intrinsic motivation is ideal when it comes to potty training, candy can be a huge motivator and parents shouldn't necessarily shun the idea. Offering a small piece of candy to encourage a child to sit on the potty is a tried and true method that has saved many parents' sanity.

Talk up the potty to get your child excited about it. Ideally, you'd like him to want to use the potty, so talking about it by pointing out that other children are using it and that "big boys" use the potty can pump him up.

Choose the type of candy you want to use. Candy has a lot of calories, and too much is never a good thing. Chocolate bars, for example, would likely be too rich to hand out all day. Small candies, like jelly beans or gum drops, are ideal. Small lollipops can also be effective, according to Dr. Gayle Peterson, especially if your child takes a few licks, then becomes disinterested.

Explain the rules of the potty game. You determine what's going to work best with your child. For example, you might offer one piece of candy just for sitting on the potty and two for actually using the potty. A poop might earn your child a bigger piece of candy.

Place the candy in a jar where your child will see it. This will remind her that she can get a piece when she uses the potty, encouraging her to go more frequently.

Stick to the rules. In the first few days, you might find that your child suddenly wants to sit on the potty quite frequently. This excitement will die down in a few days.

Phase out the candy as your child becomes more successful. You don't need to continue to dole out candy forever. Most likely, your child will lose interest as he gains a pride in simply using the potty. If not, you can simply "forget" to give it to him sometimes or "run out" of candy. A natural reward for being successfully potty trained is the opportunity to pick out new underwear.

Items you will need

  • Small candies
  • Jar

About the Author

Maggie McCormick is a freelance writer. She lived in Japan for three years teaching preschool to young children and currently lives in Honolulu with her family. She received a B.A. in women's studies from Wellesley College.

Photo Credits

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