A funny thing occurred to me recently. A mama at one of my workshops brought up rewards for potty training.

I don't care for using rewards to potty train, for a myriad of reasons I list here.

I was giving my no-rewards reasoning and this mama was pretty adamant about wanting to use rewards. "All my friends used M&Ms and it worked."

And I sighed. Yes. I do know that rewards work for some kids. I'm aware that MANY parents use candy rewards to potty train.  Maybe my reasoning of why you shouldn't at least TRY to potty train without rewards isn't good enough. But here's the thing. No one ever lets you know about the absolute disasters that happen with rewards and potty training.

No one brags on Facebook that their whole family ended up in family therapy. I kid you not. The power struggles over a small piece of candy nearly wrecked one family I worked with.  When Jenny, one of our certified experts started working with clients, she emailed me..."Holy cow! You weren't kidding about the rewards disasters."

Yes. I get that rewards can work for some kids. BUT FOR OTHERS IT CREATES A NIGHTMARE, for the entire family. You can find yourself in huge battles over the rewards, which almost naturally have to amp up to be effective. So huge, that you are no longer even dealing with potty training.

So my job is to warn you of the risks; not judge or call you wrong. But is it worth it?  To have a kid screaming, flailing, and aggressive for a piece of candy? Is it worth it to add a HUGE power struggle on top of a challenging transition?  I don't think so but that's me.

I do consider it my job to let you know that disasters happen. I see big numbers in my work. I have the dubious honor of seeing how thousands of kids potty train. I see disasters. Rewards can go horribly wrong. I have seen a LOT of Facebook threads regarding potty training. And you know what's weird? I NEVER see or hear anyone talk about the dark side of using rewards. But I'm constantly booked with rewards-gone-bad cases.

Weird, right? Especially for social media? 


Don't forget we have tons of awesome resources for potty training! In addition to hundreds of blog posts, we have Youtube videos, over 70 hours of recorded podcasts, and Facebook quick tip videos. If you still need more personalized help, book a consultation with one of our Oh Crap Certified Experts.  Help is available! Not every kid does this easily or lickety split.