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Kristen

Pay-For-Performance Potty Training

Posted by Kristen on July 16, 2009 at 8:14 AM in Potty Training
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pt.JPGI have a sister (she knows who she is) who once gave me a book that discussed all the ills of reward-based parenting. The book poetically waxed on and on about how children should just be expected to do things that were expected of them. That by rewarding them you were teaching them that they deserved a reward for things they should already be doing as members of a family unit. That life doesn't give you treats if you clean up your room.

I read it. I studied it. Then, frankly, I threw it in the trash. I threw it in the trash because it's cr@p. Your boss does give you a treat if you do your work that you are expected to complete. It's called a paycheck. In some jobs, you get a bigger paycheck if you did better in school. In some jobs, you get a bigger paycheck if you do a better job than everyone else. This salary plan is often called Pay-for-Performance. Pay-for-Performance is a pay plan of which I am all too familiar with from my former life.

I decided to implement Pay-for-Performance Potty Training at my house. One M&M for the easy stuff, a handful of M&M's for the more complicated parts of successful potty training and NO M&M's for peeing on the bathroom wall just because you thought it was so cool that you could actually pee on a wall. It's kind of like getting a good review for peeing in the appropriate place but getting a really great review for pooping in the potty. I think that a reward be given commensurate with your success. I really don't think that doing the bare minimum should earn you a GS-15, a corner office and the right to give out really, really BAD reviews to your employee who had the HIGHEST RECOVERY OF THE YEAR while your preschooler sleeps under the conference table in your corner office because she was too sick to go to daycare but not too sick to come into the office and cough on all the door knobs. Not that I'm bitter.

Another controversial Pay-for-Performance subject, the jury is still out on Pay-for-Performance for high school grades here at my house. My husband says "no" but part of me says "yes." I mean, if your kid gets a 4.0 in high school, it's less money you'll have to pay for his mediocre college education since you won't have the $100,000 a year to pay for his Ivy education (assuming he gets accepted). I don't think you should give a kid a $20 bill for a C, but maybe there is something to giving them an incentive to do well. I'm not saying your kid should get paid for everything he does. I'm just saying it might not be a bad idea to create an incentive to do something that results in good habits being formed. Like not peeing in your Bob the Builders, if you know what I mean. Luckily we have another 10 years to argue maturely discuss paying for grades.

Now is a good time to tell you that reward-based parenting doesn't work with my kids anyway. Apparently they have a very high price on their personal freedom and decision-making. Sticker charts? My kids spit on sticker charts. They laugh at sticker charts. They draw on sticker charts with rogue Sharpies found hidden away in drawers. Which means I'll be changing diapers until these kids go to college. Hopefully they'll be going with a 4.0 average.

6 Comments

Eleanor writes...

This is one of the hardest concepts ever in the mixed up confusing world of parenting. "Give your kids an allowance with no strings." "Should we pay them for chores?" "No, they should do things around the house because it's they're responsibility." "If they don't do the chores, do they still get the allowance?" "Why, yes, because the allowance is just for being part of the family.""Well, what happens when they don't do the chores?""Time out? 1-2-3? Remove privileges?" "And what about when they spend all of their allowance the first minute they get it and then want to do "extra" chores to earn "extra" money but really they don't get paid to do chores to begin with so they result to just begging for things they want and you give in because you're so confused your head might explode?" "Sorry, ma'am, our hour is up for today."

John writes...

Kids shouldn't get paid for chores (routine tasks like taking out the trash) but should get paid for work (like raking leaves). Mowing the grass could be either.

And with a two year old, infrequent bribes are fine.

Ashley writes...

It was great to read this because I am starting to read different opinions about potty training for my 2 year old. I'm nervous to embark on it!
Come enter my giveaway on my blog, it's for cute Pedoodles kids' shoes!

christa writes...

i work with a guy who used toys to bribe his 4 year old (yes 4) into going to potty in a toilet. sad, eh? i called my mom and she told me i was completely potty trained by the time i was 18 months old. the kid is incredibly immature for his age, though very smart.

it seems like some things - using the bathroom, brushing your teeth, cleaning up after ones' self - are the kind of things we just DO - and the reward system should be saved for doing things above and beyond the "basics".

christa writes...

i work with a guy who used toys to bribe his 4 year old (yes 4) into going to potty in a toilet. sad, eh? i called my mom and she told me i was completely potty trained by the time i was 18 months old. the kid is incredibly immature for his age, though very smart.

it seems like some things - using the bathroom, brushing your teeth, cleaning up after ones' self - are the kind of things we just DO - and the reward system should be saved for doing things above and beyond the "basics".

Ruth Ashley writes...

Pay for grades is one great incentive, trust me I'm 18 (I'm on the site looking for things to do with my nephew just in case you're wondering) and I've just graduated with a 93 average because my mother pays 20 dollars for every grade above 90 10 for above 85 and takes 5 bucks for every thin below 75. I kept loosing money to calculus though... numbers just aren't for me.

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