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How to Reward Toddlers With Candy for Potty Training

by Sara Ipatenco

Potty training can be hard and unpleasant, and if your little one isn't getting the hang of it, you might be looking for anything you can bribe her with to get the job done. In general, you shouldn't use or withhold food as a reward, but in the case of potty training a candy reward can go a long way toward convincing your kiddo to at least give it a try. Of course, once she starts using the bathroom regularly, you'll want to stop giving her candy each time, but don't be afraid to brandish a candy reward to get the potty training ball rolling.

Count out 20 or so pieces of small candy and place them in a jar or plastic container with a lid.

Show your child the candies you plan on using as rewards. Allow her to eat just one piece, which can motivate her to use the toilet more often because she'll naturally want to eat another piece.

Schedule regular potty breaks. When it's time to use the potty, take your child into the bathroom and help her pull down her pants and sit on the toilet.

Remind her that she'll get to choose one piece of candy if she actually goes in the toilet. Give her a few minutes to see if she needs to go.

Help your child wash her hands before rewarding her with the candy. This ensures that her hands are germ-free after going potty but also teaches her to always wash up after she uses the bathroom.

Open the candy container and allow her to reach in and select one piece of candy. Replace the lid and put the container out of her reach.

Continue using the candies as an incentive and reward until the jar or container is empty. At this point, your child is probably getting pretty good at heading to the bathroom and actually going, so it's time to switch to a different reward. Candy should only be used for a short time, and most kids are willing to accept nonfood rewards, such as stickers or high fives, just as readily as they'll take the candy.

Items you will need
  • Small candies
  • Jar or plastic container with a lid

Tips

  • Place the candy jar in an out-of-reach location that your child can still see, such as on top of the refrigerator or a top shelf. That might help remind her to at least try to use the potty.
  • Don't give in and let your child have a piece of candy every time she goes into the bathroom. Only offer the candy if she actually goes. Otherwise, she'll be going into the bathroom a hundred times a day in hopes that she'll get to have a treat.

Warnings

  • Offer your child candy that doesn't pose a choking hazard, such as soft, easy-to-chew chocolates or miniature marshmallows. Don't use hard candies, taffy or caramels.
  • Use candy as a reward only in the short term because your child could begin associating good behavior with candy, and she'll starting asking for it every time she does something you want her to.

About the Author

Sara Ipatenco has taught writing, health and nutrition. She started writing in 2007 and has been published in Teaching Tolerance magazine. Ipatenco holds a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in education, both from the University of Denver.

Photo Credits

  • Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images