When we first began our toileting campaign with Nathan, we knew restricting screen time was going to be a tough sell for him. (Which is why we picked it as a reward.) So I gave him a long term goal: if he could do a BM in the toilet for 3 days in a row with no accidents, all the restrictions would be lifted.
Today we got our second day in a row.
We praised him to the skies and reminded him about the goal. He's very excited at being so close.
He's definitely taken another step forward. We're getting less "just sit on the toilet to watch iPad" tries and more result-producing tries. He's learning to listen to his body and recognize when he has to go. And he's made the connection that it's a lot easier to go in the toilet than to have to get cleaned up afterwards.
I don't want to jinx anything and I'm tempering my own excitement by reminding myself that there's no rush and no pressure. It's more important for him to learn this properly and thoroughly than to have an early success.
We've gone through a lot of stages to get to this point and I'll list them off for anyone who is undergoing their own toileting adventure and would like hints:
- start with simple reward for any BM (marshmallow or cookie). The idea is to link the act with a positive result, encouraging the child to pay attention to it.
- reward for early notice. Now, in order to get his cookie, he had to tell us right away that he had done a BM. This helped him to start paying attention to his body's signals.
- once he'd done a BM, he had to sit on the toilet and get a reward. (screen time and a cookie) This was part of the transition to using the toilet. Usually we had him sit for five minutes and then he got 20 minutes of screentime after.
- allowing him to get screentime for any "try" on the toilet. Again, sit for 5 minutes and earn 20 minutes after. He still got the rewards for early notice but this helped to make the bathroom more pleasant.
- unlimited screen time for a BM in the toilet. He still got a limited time for early notice or a "try" but now the big prize was clear.