Potty Training with Sponge Bob

With our first son, Steve Jr., potty-training was such a breeze! At 18 months, he realized that it was pee and poop in that diaper and didn’t want anything to do with wearing it around! So there really wasn’t any “potty-training” . . . he just went straight to underwear and that was that. Spencer and potty training? A total nightmare! We tried to coax him, threaten him, bribe him, you name it. All of it was an epic fail! We attempted to potty-train at 18 months like his big brother however he wanted no part of it. Our beloved family doctor said to just be patient, he will be ready to use the toilet when he is ready to use the toilet (easy advice when you haven’t seen the price of diapers lately)! So patient we were. So then he turned 2. Then he turned 3. Then we said, enough is enough! My sister had mentioned before a sticker chart she had used to help her youngest learn to potty train. I dismissed it because I am the smarter sister (hahahaha)!

It is amazing how captivating stickers are for kiddos. Stores that want customers to return know that giving a sticker at the check-out to your child is a good first step! Kids just love stickers! Spencer loves sticking his Kroger’s sticker right onto his shirt. Would be nice if we would remember that he did that every time we did laundry, doh! However, his fascination (and all kids’ fascination) with stickers made me think,

“Hmmmmm maybe my sister is on to something. . .”

We were at Walmart recently to pick up school supplies for our oldest son. I believe Walmart is trying to capitalize on Target’s one dollar aisles. We mommas know what I am talking about at Target. They have this section at the front of the store filled with different items anywhere from $1 to $4 and they are all random stuff: Little buckets, pens, cards, you name it (or “junk” as my husband likes to call it). So on our most recent Walmart trip, we noticed that Walmart had a dollar aisle. Of course me,

the-not-ever-turning-down-a-bargain-even-if-I-have-no-need-for-it 

self, checked out the shelves of random items.

If I was a teacher, I think I would have found a little piece of heaven! They had a bunch of teacher items to give to kids or to use in the classroom. One being a pad of paper with an Incentive Chart table on it. It had exactly 25 boxes. I stared at that pad of paper and thought, “hmmm, this would be good for a potty chart if I could find stickers to fit in those little boxes.” I put it down and walked away (ok, rode the electric scooter away). A couple of aisles later, I was in the greeting card section. Hanging on an end cap was a package of Sponge Bob stickers. Tons of tiny little boxes of Sponge Bob.

CLICK, CLICK, CLICK!

These would be perfect for the potty chart I just saw! They were just the right size for those little boxes! I threw it in the basket and went back to the dollar aisle for the incentive chart.

When we got home, we asked Spencer what he wanted more than anything (praying it would not be a pony or trip to outer space). He responded, “Choo choo!” Oh thank God! A choo choo we can do! So we showed Spencer his potty chart and his Sponge Bob stickers. We explained to him that every time he went pee pee or poo poo in the toilet that he would get a Sponge Bob sticker to put in a box. We told Spencer that as soon as he filled up all the boxes that he would get a choo choo. Then we asked him if wanted to potty now. He quickly jumped up and yelled, “Choo choo!” all the way to the bathroom. We put his potty seat on and lo and behold he tinkled! He smiled big and said “Bob Bob” (which is how Spencer says Sponge Bob). We pulled the sticker off the backing and handed it to him along with his potty chart. We pointed to the first box and said, “Put Sponge Bob here.” He proudly stuck his Bob Bob onto the box (totally crooked of course, but that’s ok, lol). He then put his hand up and yelled “5” which is Spencer’s way of saying “high five!” I reluctantly gave him a high five (um, he hadn’t washed his hands yet, gross) and he was beaming ear to ear. We washed our hands (while singing the ABCs so that we know we washed them long enough) and that was Spencer’s 1st time going potty successfully in the big boy toilet!

The next day we put on underwear and every couple of hours we would say, “Choo choo” and Spencer would bounce to the bathroom and “go potty”. We would count and tell him how many more stickers he needed to get the choo choo. Most times he would count with us! Yes, he had accidents. I truly believe he would forget he didn’t have a diaper on and would start to tinkle and then it was too late. We didn’t scold him. We would take him to the bathroom and tell him this is where you potty. Sometimes he would potty the rest out then, sometimes he already did it all in his underwear. After a few days though, the mistakes became considerably less frequent. After a week, we were barely having any accidents!

It took just over a week to potty train with Sponge Bob. Spencer even wears underwear to long outings and successfully recognizes the urge to go and tells us in time to get him to the bathroom. Who would have thought Sponge Bob was the answer? LOL Well, this past Friday Spencer put his Sponge Bob sticker in the last box of his potty chart. He kept hollering, “Choo choo” while jumping up and down repeatedly! Did we run out and buy a choo choo? Well, no, lol. Spencer actually got one from his great-grandma when he was less than a year old and we stored it in the closet and figured one day when he was older we would set it up. We got his choo choo out of the closet and set it up for him! Kids are so easily swayed, if you have a toy you have put up for later (all of us parents have those type of toys, toys too old for our kid, or too loud, or too many pieces, you know what I mean) then mention that toy as an option for a reward. If you say it a couple of times with lots of excitement in your voice, chances are your child will want it. Thankfully for us, he wanted something he already had but didn’t know it! Spencer’s eyes lit up when he saw his choo choo and you couldn’t have wiped the smile off his face no matter how hard you tried! Spencer earned his choo choo while learning to use the big boy toilet and also saved momma and daddy some serious chump change because we aren’t buying diapers anymore!

To encourage this positive behavior, we are doing one more potty chart (that would be a total of 50 successful pee pees and poo poos with both charts). This time, Spencer wants a car. I think we will splurge and get him a small Hotwheels car track, he certainly will have earned it! Potty Training with Sponge Bob worked for us, maybe it will work for you too!

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