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Jun 12

Potty Training Reward Charts

For many parents, a reward chart is a desired piece of the potty training plan.  Some benefitsPotty Chart of using a sticker chart are:

  • Engaging visuals and characters may assist with the child’s interest the potty training
  • Earning stickers and placing them on the chart may be motivating for the child
  • You both have a visual tracker showing successes

A lot of factors will play a role in whether a rewards chart helps with potty training, such as age, temperament, interest in potty training, interest in stickers, etc.  Some children love to get a sticker and may find a chart really motivating, while others seem to have no interest at all, much to a parent’s dismay.  Keep in mind that you can use a marker or crayon instead of stickers to mark off the spaces if you like.

 

Here are a few things to think about when you’re looking for a perfect potty training chart for your child:

  1. What behaviors do you want to reward?Potty Chart - Winnie the Pooh
    • At the very beginning of potty training, it may be appropriate to include rewards for behaviours such as dressing/undressing oneself, flushing the toilet, washing hands, and trying to use the potty (even without any success).  It’s important to help your child develop all of the right habits and hygiene related to pottying.
    • Some parents decide to focus on just the key goals of potty successes (“I peed on the potty”, “I pooped on the potty”).
    • If you’re already having potty successes but your child doesn’t initiate, you can change up your reward system and reward chart to reward initiation (i.e. she tells you when she needs to pee).
    • Once a child understands what the potty is for and can use it successfully, I prefer to see the potty training plan shift from per-potty stickers and rewards to a focus on staying dry (using dry checks, and rewards for staying dry all morning or all day) and on child initiation of potty trips.
  2. What style of chart makes the most sense?  Some are set up with days of the week like a calendar, and others focus on the behavior without concern about the day.  You can keep using the same chart for several days, or you can use a new one for each day or each week.
  3. What characters, activities, vehicles, or shapes will your child be drawn to?  Thomas the Train, Dora, Diego, Hello Kitty, Mickey Mouse, Minni Mouse, Tinkerbell, Elmo, Cookie Monster, Winnie The Pooh, Disney Princesses, Spiderman, Toy Story, smiley faces, fire trucks, police cars, flowers, dinosaurs… the options are endless!

Free Printable Potty Training ChartsPotty Chart - Princess

Online you will find thousands of ready-to-print potty training reward charts.  With a little searching, you might find something that suits your needs.

Here are some sites that I like for free printable potty training charts:

 

Potty Chart Apps for Phones & Tablets

You may want to check out the available apps for your phone or tablet and use an electronic version of a “sticker chart” instead of using the real thing.  We all know that children love to play with our phones and tablets.  For some, your phone might be just the motivation your child needs to sit on the potty waiting for things to happen.  Alternatively, it can be provided as a very motivating potty reward when your child is successful.

Huggies and Pampers both have apps for potty training.  There are several others that I like much better:

  • Potty Time – created by the folks who do the Baby Signing Time series, this app has a story book, sticker chart, and is filled with engaging videos that have songs with great potty messages, like the importance of listening to your body.  Cute cartoon characters and a frog… how can you go wrong?  This is especially helpful for younger children who may not have potty words yet, as the songs teach the related American Sign Language (ASL) signs.
  • Potty Time with Elmo – this apps includes a narrated story, a reward chart with animated stickers, as well as puzzles and songs.

 

 Potty Charts Available for Purchase

There are lots of professionally packaged reward charts if you’re interested in purchasing something.  Some of the options include potty training tips and certificates as well.

 

Make a Potty Training Chart

The options for making your own charts are endless!  Get your creative juices flowing and prepare something on a poster board, on the computer, or using a chalk board or white board.  Allow your child to be involved by selecting colors, characters and stickers.  You could even put your child’s photo on it!  I’ve seen some great ones online, such as:

  • A railroad where stickers are placed along the way to a goal.  Once the child gets to the goal, he selects a prize/gift, which can be something small from a goody bag (dollar store items), it could be a bigger item, or it could be a trip to get ice cream with mom.
  • A garden of flowers, where the petals will be colored in by the child after each success.  Filling in a full flower (e.g. 5 petals) or the whole garden could result in a reward.

Conclusion

No matter which type of rewards chart and system you decide to use (if you decide to use one at all), be prepared to change things up regularly in order to continue making progress.  The reward system you use on day 1 may not be the same as what is required on day 5 or day 10.  Also, check out my blogs on common potty training challenges (initiation and withholding bowel movements).  Knowing what types of challenges you might encounter can help you plan accordingly, and will also help you recognize the issues early.

 

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