It’s Not All Mary Poppins

All pooped out

smartiesLittle Noah is totally potty trained, and the thing that tipped the scales for us was not the infamous pee-bottle, but Smarties.

Yup. Good old chocolate-y motivator in a candy-coated package. Noah was told he would get one for a pee, and two for a poo. Suddenly, using the potty was very, very interesting!!

After a week of success, Noah was told that he would only get Smarties for poops. No more Smarties for pees.

He took it well, really. Because really, this would cut his Smartie intake by about 90%. A toddler with the will to pee can drink a LOT of water, and make many, many, many pees in day. But poo? Well, there’s only so much a body can poo.

Or so you’d think.

“I haffa poo, Mary!”
“Away you go to the potty, then.”

And yes, there in the bowl is a decent little arc.

“Good man!”
“I get Smarties now?”
“Yes, you do.”
“Not when a pee?”
“No, no Smarties for a pee. Just for poo.”
“Tank you.”

“Mary, I got to poo!”
“You do? You already did one this morning, but if you have to go, away you go.”

There is substantially more wait time and effort for this one, but, after a minute or so, there in the potty lies another reeking rainbow. Smaller than the last one of only an hour before, but definitely a poo. Wonder what he had for dinner last night?

“Mary, I got to poo!”
“Again? Are you sure?”
“Uh-huh. I got to poo.”
“All right, little man. Do your best.”

He sits. And he waits. And he sits. His face is an intensity of concentration, stern and fixed. He waits some more…

“Mary! I did a poo!”
THIS I have to see.

And there, in the bowl… a smidge, a dot, an iota of shit.

He has managed to squeeze out, by sheerest force of toddler will, the requisite excrement.

Smarties are one helluva motivator, I tell you.

November 16, 2009 - Posted by | Noah, potty tales | , , , , , , , , ,


  1. LOL! I had the same thing!! Last year I potty trained little “c”. He pooped 6 times in one day for m&ms!! Mom and I got worried!

    Given the effort and straining going into production, I was a little concerned (about possibility of hemmorhoids)! When I told him that he’d only get Smarties for “real, big poops”, he eased up on the straining. Hee.

    Comment by jess | November 16, 2009 | Reply

  2. You (and Noah) win for first “coffee spewed all over the keyboard” moment of the week. I doubt anyone will be able to top it!

    Good to know. Me, Noah, the Smarties and the micro-poos. What a team.

    Comment by ClumberKim | November 16, 2009 | Reply

  3. Awesome.

    Tell me, when you wean them off of smarties, to they tend to have a regression?

    If, by “regression”, you mean “poo only once a day”, then yes! If you mean (as I know you do), do they stop using the potty so well, no. They’re disappointed about the Smarties, yes, but they’re also pretty proud of their little selves, and of course I give their accomplishment all sorts of positive attention. “You’re such a BIG boy! Look at that pee!” And we all gather round and applaud.

    No, I’m not kidding.

    Comment by ifbyyes | November 16, 2009 | Reply

    • Hey, I do it on a daily basis, only we call it a “better go now” :-p

      Comment by ifbyyes | November 16, 2009 | Reply

  4. Go Smarties! I also potty trained Son using Smarties and they worked very well. Although I will admit that I did make the mistake of starting by allowing him one for just telling me he had to use the potty.

    After two days, and a whole box of smarties, of running him back and forth to the potty, I realized I would actually have to start seeing some “product” in return for the payment. 😛

    I was thinking about ifbyyes’ comment and you know, I don’t even remember when or how I weaned him off the “reward” but I know for certain once he was trained, there was no regression. I also used a lot of vocal and animated positive reinforcement as well.

    I do that for the nervous — giving them one for ‘trying’. Maybe they’re ‘trying’, maybe they’re just acclimatizing, wrapping their wee heads around the idea… but this period never goes on more than a day or so. Then, like you, I up the ante and expect to see some product for the payment!

    Comment by Zayna | November 16, 2009 | Reply

  5. HILARIOUS! Noah sounds like a very smart and determined little boy.

    I have hundreds of stickers that we were going to use for potty training, but my son isn’t that excited about stickers, on the other hand “CHOCOLATE!” is always exciting.

    Noah is smart, smart, smart. And he loves chocolate. 🙂

    Comment by Tammy | November 16, 2009 | Reply

  6. Great thing. I want to see a picture of that pee-bottle. I just can’t imagine it.

    We’re potty training again too since today, after the creche minder suggested it herself (!), so we’ll see how it goes. We have stickers, but maybe we should go for Smarties.

    It was just a regular old plastic water bottle, the type with the wider mouth. Because really, he just has a little guy just yet…

    Go with what works. Since I don’t use Smarties for more than the first week or two, it’s not a lot of candy. Noah didn’t get through an entire box, the regular not the large box, before we were done with them. (The rest went into cookies!) If you have stickers already, and they work, use them! Why mess with what works?

    Comment by Mwa | November 16, 2009 | Reply

  7. Oh my goodness! This one had me laughing-out-loud..I woke my bf up!! Hahaha.

    I love this little trick. Works everytime!

    Go Noah!

    Comment by ~S~ | November 17, 2009 | Reply

  8. I’m totally envious. My son is now 3 1/2, and not yet even close to trained. Over the course of the past year and a half we’ve tried bribery (most recently, using candy corn, his favorite — it worked for about a day), ignoring the whole issue & waiting for him to ask to be changed, just putting him in underwear (went through 14 pair of underwear each day and he never actually went to the potty without prompting), telling him that big boys go potty and babies wear diapers, and simply taking him every half hour, and nothing works. (Yes, I’m aware that the assortment of things we’ve tried might be part of the problem, but, as I said, nothing seems to work.) Currently, if you say “potty” or “diaper” he screams and cries and fights and hides … honestly, you’d think I was going to burn him rather than sit him on the potty or change his diaper … and I’m just at my wits end (and also have clearly damaged him for life given his outsize reaction to anything potty related). He will typically go (pee only, he’s never pooped in the potty ever) if I can get him to sit, but he seems to totally lack any awareness in his body that he needs to go.

    It doesn’t help that I can’t just put him in underwear and send him to daycare; he has to stay in diapers there until he’s trained. She will put him on the potty (and does, and he will sit and/or be changed for her without a fight) and rewards with M&M’s, but its clear he’s just doing to because he’s asked and not because he understands any clear motivation for going.

    You know those parents who send their kid to Kindergarten in diapers. Yeah, I’m pretty sure I’m going to be one of those. *sigh*

    Comment by anastasiav | November 17, 2009 | Reply

  9. […] the next hour he then proceeded to produce what Not Mary P would call “iotas of shit” in order to receive a hippo and a dinosaur. After his nap […]

    Pingback by Potty Training, End of Week 1 « If By Yes | November 19, 2012 | Reply

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