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#1 of 20 Old 06-04-2013, 04:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So I'm reading "Diaper Free Baby" and one thing that author just mentioned that threw me off was not praising your kid for using the potty. She mentions that she never says "good job" or "good boy," because the potty experience is for the child alone. She does mention it's ok to say things such as "oh you went into the potty. That must feel so good!"

 

Now, I hate to compare potty training a child to potty training a dog.... but the latter is all I have experience with. Whenever my puppy would make an effort to go on papers or show me that she wanted to go outside I would comment "oh you're such a super genius! You went on the papers/outside. You're so smart!" Granted dogs probably don't understand the meaning of those words whereas a child will, especially as he/she gets older and not in infant stage.

 

Anyways, I suppose my point is what's your opinion on praising when your kid goes on the potty? 

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#2 of 20 Old 06-04-2013, 07:30 PM
 
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hey there inconditus I'm with you on this one. Through a child's entire life, they will be continually congratulated for doing things right, and told when they have done something wrong. I don't fully agree in just having the child go to the bathroom and acting as though they have not done anything special.... I mean, what do we do when they make an A on their test later in life? Act like that is their experience and they are doing it for themselves and we are not proud of them?

My wife, Andrea Olson, also wrote a book on Elimination Communication and runs http://godiaperfree.com when I first met her, she was the same way. She already had a two year old and when I saw him do something which I knew he though was amazing, I would say.."way to go!" or "great job!". She would tell me not to praise him, not to say good boy. Confused, we talked through it and I presented the same ideas I did above. If we are raising a kid to be successful in their social life, we might as well help them to understand the reactions caused by doing something wrong or right. It also helps to define what we expect as our parental values and expectations.
 

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#3 of 20 Old 06-04-2013, 10:16 PM
 
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I love EC, but this is where I have to work on it/compromise.  I get the point of it - when he tells me he's hungry, asks for food and eats it - I don't praise him.  When he asks to nurse and  I let him and he nurses - there is no confetti or bells going off.  It is true that it's a bodily function, like any other.

 

I also firmly believe that too much cookie cutter praise makes kids praise junkies, always seeking external validation because they are thirsty for a deeper connection.  I don't want to train my kid into blind obedience to my authority, always looking to me for approval, like a dog. orngbiggrin.gif  I want him to take ownership of his body, what he does with it, and build confidence.

 

All that said, I don't want him to think I don't respect the effort he's making.  So I try to walk the same line I do in other areas of life - not making generic, blanket statements of value like "good boy" or "nice job!" but showing recognition of effort.

 

For me, this goes something like, "Wow, that feels so much better when we go pee pee on the potty, doesn't it?" followed by, "Great job listening to your body!" - sometimes adding specifics, like "...and letting me know you needed help in time (or) getting on the potty all by yourself (or) whatever."  Basically letting him know that I realize he worked hard at it, because hey, when you are a busy toddler in a room full of toys, it's HARD to recognize the urge and stop playing.

 

If we had a miss, or he tells me after the fact, I tell him I appreciate that/offer to change him, and sometimes casually let him know that next time, if he feels it coming, to ask me and I'll help him out. thumb.gif

 

I think the praise thing is also to keep you from getting so caught up in "results" that you forget this isn't potty training, it's elimination communication.  Play it cool, stay calm, use the same smile and tone of voice whether it's a miss or catch - just connect with your kid, because it's about communication - that's the main lesson, to me.


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#4 of 20 Old 06-04-2013, 10:38 PM
 
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Most babies who use EC, even if they start late, have not been so thoroughly trained to ignore their own elimination and cues as many potty-training preschoolers.  It makes sense, then, that they wouldn't need giant neon signs, bullhorns of praise, balloons and all that craziness to re-direct years of training - they weren't trained to poop in their pants in the first place.  All they need is guidance, attention and facilitation (and honestly, you can achieve potty independence with an older child the same way - just focusing on what they feel in their body, making the connection to elimination, etc. it really is it's own reward!).


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#5 of 20 Old 06-05-2013, 03:25 PM
 
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Praise is a funny thing. It's generally not recommended for children, as far as I'm aware. I think the idea is that they learn to do things for their own motivation rather than an effort to get our approval. Their self worth shouldn't really be tied to catches and misses.

I'm sure you can find a lot about it all over mothering and the larger Internet.

I compare EC to dog training in the timing but I talk to my babies like people instead of dogs.

ECed kids aren't really doing something amazing. If I heard the toilet flush at work and my co-worker walked out and I said good job... On the other side. I don't say good job every time my baby nurses or sleeps, why am I going to praise every other body function?

I personally am enthusiastic about most things and I say a whole lot of ridiculous stuff. If that's frowned upon. No one has told me yet.

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#6 of 20 Old 07-05-2013, 10:12 PM
 
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This is a decent (if long winded) article explaining why I try to avoid praise with my kids (as relates to EC and the rest of this parenting journey): http://www.hanen.org/Helpful-Info/Articles/Good-job!-Is-Praising-Young-Children-a-Good-idea.aspx

 

This doesn't mean I don't recognize their efforts, it just means that I do it differently.

 

Here's the part I find helpful:

"

Not all Praise is Created Equal

It may be that not all forms of praise are harmful. Research has shown that different types of praise have different effects on children. Distinctions have been made between person praise and process praise.

  • Person praise – this type of praise evaluates a child's traits, like his intelligence [1]. Person praise evaluates a child globally, telling her that she is good or smart or outstanding. Examples of this kind of praise include, "You're a good girl", "You're so good at this", or "I'm very proud of you" [5]. Studies have shown that person praise reduces motivation, focuses students on their performance and encourages them to compare their performance with that of others [5].
  • Process praise – this type of praise is related to the child's effort [3], and focuses on his or her behavior and actual "work" or output [1]. Examples of process praise include "you tried really hard" or "I see how carefully you are building that tower." Process praise has been shown to encourage children to develop a flexible mindset, confront their weaknesses, and take on challenges [1].

How Should we Praise Young Children?

The question may not be "Should we praise young children?", but rather "How should we praise young children?"

The question may not be "Should we praise young children?", but rather "How should we praise young children?" A lot of research has shown that process praise motivates children to work hard, learn, explore, and have a healthy outlook on their abilities [1]. In addition, praise that is sincere and conveys realistic expectations can promote a child's self-motivation [3].

Here are some ways to translate these ideas about effective praise into your everyday life with your child:

  • Describe your child's behaviour and effort, not his or her attributes. Statements like "good girl" or "great job" undermine self-motivation, and don't provide your child with specific information that will help him or her continue the desired behaviour [1]. Instead, say what you see [4], by providing a simple, evaluation-free statement like "You used a lot of bright colours in your picture" or "Your tower is so tall!". Even a simple "You did it!" tells the child that you noticed, without providing a judgment [4].
  • Bayat [1] suggests that paying positive attention to appropriate behaviour that is valued can be effective. An encouraging description such as "I can see you are working very hard on that puzzle" or "Wow! You are sharing the toy truck with your brother" tells a child that effort, cooperation, and positive relationships are valued in your home.
  • Avoid praise for low-challenge activities or error-free success – as this tells a child that he is only praiseworthy when he completes tasks quickly, easily and perfectly, and does not help a child embrace challenge [5].
  • Be careful when praising after failure or mistakes – Praise such as "Well done. You did your best" can convey pity. It can also contribute to a child's belief that his or her mistakes are a result of an underlying fixed ability or intelligence (which can't be improved or changed) rather than due to effort (which can be improved). And telling a child to "Try harder" does not give the child any information about how to improve his or her effort [5]. It may be best to provide process praise and identify what the child did accomplish in this case. For example, "You missed the goal, but it was very, very close!"
  • Praise must be sincere – praise should reflect the amount of effort the child puts in. When praise is meaningless and "over the top", it loses its effectiveness [1]
  • Choose appropriate activities – many people praise children in order to maintain their interest in an activity and discourage misbehaviour. However, it is important to think about whether the child has been given something appropriate to learn, and whether the expectations are realistic [6]. If you find you need to use a lot of praise in order to keep your child interested in an activity, try modifying the activity to make it more interesting or choosing an activity he really likes.
  • Reduce the amount of praise – praising a child can really become a habit. If your child is naturally interested in an activity and self-motivated, you don't need to use praise at all. Participate with your child during the activity and respond with interest and conversation.
  • Provide natural consequences – when it comes to communication, praise can get in the way of conversation. Communication is its own reward, so, providing praise regarding a child's attempts to communicate by saying "Yay! You said ‘cookie'!" or "Nice talking!" undermines the real purpose of communication, which is to share thoughts and feelings and to get things done. Therefore, if your child says "cookie", give him a cookie and talk about the cookie, which is far more reinforcing since it tells him that his communication was effective. If your child points to bubbles, say, "Wow! Look at all the bubbles!" or talk about how they are floating in the air or how they pop. Your child will be motivated just by having his message understood and responded to with enthusiasm."
  •  
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#7 of 20 Old 07-05-2013, 11:02 PM
 
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I love this, Carlyle! love.gif

 

It's hard to switch gears (in parenting in general) but this does a great job hitting on the main points and alternatives.

 

Lately I've been working harder on focusing on effort (and what I observe) - as in, "I saw how hard it was to stop playing, but you listened to your body, and asked for help!!" etc. (of course, still working on not reflexively tacking "great job" on the end winky.gif but at least there's more substance to it).


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#8 of 20 Old 07-06-2013, 12:15 AM
 
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I agree that praise isnt needed for ECing, but as long as its not an all-the-time thing i highly doubt it will have an effect on them. For example, sometimes i have said "good job!" after my DD went in the potty just because it accidentally rolled off of my tongue, but i dont make a habit of it. I dont see that as a big deal. Someone who does it every time, though, is probably not helping their child any. Its simply not needed because going in the potty is something that should be on their terms, not a training program that requires praise.
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#9 of 20 Old 07-06-2013, 09:56 AM
 
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What I've focused on with my kids (long time EC grads now) is gratitude over praise. "Thank you for going in the potty! (and not the floor)" or even "thank you for cleaning up the puddle you made!" ;-)  

 

I treat praising like I would for any adult in my life. I praise a great performance, accomplishment or creation (you were great in the concert!, that's a beautiful carving! You did a fabulous job handling that meeting) but not the person.

 

And I did grow up with dogs and dog training, so I thought the "good boy" thing would be more automatic but it made me cringe to even think of saying it to my babies and even "good job" makes me cringe.

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#10 of 20 Old 07-09-2013, 09:22 AM
 
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We are of the Alfie Kohn Unconditional Parenting philosophy anyway, so we don't really praise much of anything at this point. I believe even "process praise" can be problematic. We say "baby (or you) made ihi (or tae) in the potty," maybe with an exclamation point at the end, at most. And we will often sincerely thank her when she signals (fussiness) and then goes-- even if we miss it and she goes in her diaper. "Thank you for letting mommy/daddy know you had to go."

Good boy/girl/job is fine for pets, but I feel like I am raising an eventual adult human being, for whom I have different expectations, YKWIM?

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#11 of 20 Old 07-09-2013, 10:28 AM
 
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We are of the Alfie Kohn Unconditional Parenting philosophy anyway, so we don't really praise much of anything at this point. I believe even "process praise" can be problematic. We say "baby (or you) made ihi (or tae) in the potty," maybe with an exclamation point at the end, at most. And we will often sincerely thank her when she signals (fussiness) and then goes-- even if we miss it and she goes in her diaper. "Thank you for letting mommy/daddy know you had to go."

Good boy/girl/job is fine for pets, but I feel like I am raising an eventual adult human being, for whom I have different expectations, YKWIM?

We do this as well - but the great job finds it's way in there somehow.  "You went in the potty!  You let mommy know you had to go.  You listened to your body!" etc.  I'm trying to get rid of those two words that get tacked on, though. shy.gif

 

I've been thinking alot about saying "thank you" - and even tried it - and that doesn't feel right to me.  It implies that he is doing me a favor.  I find that to run counter to the whole idea of detachment to outcome in EC - it implies that there IS a "good" outcome to be thankful for (and thus, a "bad" one).  I don't thank him for letting me know he is hungry, ykwim?  To me, it is irrelevant whether or not he goes in the potty, or whether or not he feels like telling me - it is entirely his own body and his own affair, so why would I thank him?

 

I do communicate to him that if he wants, I will help him, but I leave the ball in his court.  I guess I can see how you are praising/encouraging them for communicating by saying thank you - but it still feels like praise/positive reinforcement to me. 


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#12 of 20 Old 07-09-2013, 10:41 AM
 
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Hmm, I'm not detached from we're he puts his pee. I have a preference for potty over floor.

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#13 of 20 Old 07-09-2013, 10:45 AM
 
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Originally Posted by pickle18 View Post
I've been thinking alot about saying "thank you" - and even tried it - and that doesn't feel right to me.  It implies that he is doing me a favor.  I find that to run counter to the whole idea of detachment to outcome in EC - it implies that there IS a "good" outcome to be thankful for (and thus, a "bad" one).

 

Well, in my house, if my kids use the potty instead of the floor it is awfully helpful to me.  Is that a favor?  I dunno, but I am genuinely grateful when it happens and do consider it a good outcome!


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#14 of 20 Old 07-09-2013, 11:50 AM
 
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Thinking...smile.gif  I can see your point - potty is more convenient, to me, in some ways than the floor - but I never focus on the mess, if one occurs.  Just remind him I can help next time, commiserate about how hard it is to stop playing, etc.  So it seems like thanking him for NOT making a mess would be passing a judgment on the mess, that I do not make.  Also, If babe was using a diaper, instead of the floor, would you feel the same way? (there are lots of days DS prefers a diaper, and that's perfectly ok with me)  Because my understanding of EC has always been that it's about opening communication, not outcome - so, don't worry about misses and catches, just try to listen to your kid, and support them.   

 

I guess it just feels like I'm inserting my ego into his bodily process too much by saying thank you.  I don't thank him for eating food or drinking water without spilling, either - so maybe I'm just strange. upsidedown.gif


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#15 of 20 Old 07-09-2013, 07:53 PM
 
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Pickle, how old is your kid? At 9 months I was much less attached than at 20. When my boys smile and look down for a fun puddle to splash in, it seems different.

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#16 of 20 Old 07-10-2013, 04:55 AM
 
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He's 26 months. smile.gif


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#17 of 20 Old 07-10-2013, 10:34 AM
 
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I guess I didn't tend to say "thank you" as much as my kids got older, but I don't think it's a weird or manipulative thing to do.  I mean, I thank my kids for lots of things (cleaning up, helping me when I ask for it, etc)--not as a judgement on the times that they're not cleaning up, but as a sincere thanks for their help.  I can imagine myself thanking my kids for using the potty even if they are wearing a diaper--"hey thanks for using the potty, now I don't have to wash that diaper and I'll have more time to play with you" kind of thing.  I mean, it's all good, I'm not shaming them for using the diaper or peeing the floor...but it IS easier when they don't.  And then I have more time and energy to play.  I don't see anything wrong with communicating with them about that reality, as long as I'm not openly bummed when they pee in a diaper or on the floor.  Sort of like, I wouldn't thank my kid for drinking without spilling, but I might thank them for stopping themselves from pouring water on the carpet if I asked them to do it in the bathtub instead.

 

As my kids got older, I tended to say things like "I bet your body feels better now!"  "Great, you peed in the potty, now there's no mess to clean up and you can get right back to playing - that's faster isn't it?" and "You really know how to take care of your body."  These days, she's pretty much taking herself, so I only tend to comment if there's a mess.  "Oops, that caught you by surprise.  It's okay, you'll try again next time.  Let's get a towel."

 

ETA: I totally agree that being detatched from the outcome is important when they are little (especially before they are mobile!), otherwise you can drive yourself crazy and put too much pressure on yourself and your little one and it will backfire.  But at some point (and I think the age really depends on the kid and the family), I do think it's okay to make it clear that it's preferable to pee/poop in the potty.  Not in a shaming or "this is bad" or "you really should be doing it this way" kind of way, but more in a "hey, isn't it easier when it goes in the potty" kind of way.

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#18 of 20 Old 07-10-2013, 10:50 AM
 
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I guess I didn't tend to say "thank you" as much as my kids got older, but I don't think it's a weird or manipulative thing to do.  I mean, I thank my kids for lots of things (cleaning up, helping me when I ask for it, etc)--not as a judgement on the times that they're not cleaning up, but as a sincere thanks for their help.  I can imagine myself thanking my kids for using the potty even if they are wearing a diaper--"hey thanks for using the potty, now I don't have to wash that diaper and I'll have more time to play with you" kind of thing.  I mean, it's all good, I'm not shaming them for using the diaper or peeing the floor...but it IS easier when they don't.  And then I have more time and energy to play.  I don't see anything wrong with communicating with them about that reality, as long as I'm not openly bummed when they pee in a diaper or on the floor.  Sort of like, I wouldn't thank my kid for drinking without spilling, but I might thank them for stopping themselves from pouring water on the carpet if I asked them to do it in the bathtub instead.

 

As my kids got older, I tended to say things like "I bet your body feels better now!"  "Great, you peed in the potty, now there's no mess to clean up and you can get right back to playing - that's faster isn't it?" and "You really know how to take care of your body."  These days, she's pretty much taking herself, so I only tend to comment if there's a mess.  "Oops, that caught you by surprise.  It's okay, you'll try again next time.  Let's get a towel."

 

ETA: I totally agree that being detatched from the outcome is important when they are little (especially before they are mobile!), otherwise you can drive yourself crazy and put too much pressure on yourself and your little one and it will backfire.  But at some point (and I think the age really depends on the kid and the family), I do think it's okay to make it clear that it's preferable to pee/poop in the potty.  Not in a shaming or "this is bad" or "you really should be doing it this way" kind of way, but more in a "hey, isn't it easier when it goes in the potty" kind of way.

 

yeahthat.gif  that's pretty much what I was talking about, but you said it much better ;-)


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#19 of 20 Old 07-10-2013, 12:47 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Carlyle View Post

I guess I didn't tend to say "thank you" as much as my kids got older, but I don't think it's a weird or manipulative thing to do.  I mean, I thank my kids for lots of things (cleaning up, helping me when I ask for it, etc)--not as a judgement on the times that they're not cleaning up, but as a sincere thanks for their help.  I can imagine myself thanking my kids for using the potty even if they are wearing a diaper--"hey thanks for using the potty, now I don't have to wash that diaper and I'll have more time to play with you" kind of thing.  I mean, it's all good, I'm not shaming them for using the diaper or peeing the floor...but it IS easier when they don't.  And then I have more time and energy to play.  I don't see anything wrong with communicating with them about that reality, as long as I'm not openly bummed when they pee in a diaper or on the floor.  Sort of like, I wouldn't thank my kid for drinking without spilling, but I might thank them for stopping themselves from pouring water on the carpet if I asked them to do it in the bathtub instead.

 

As my kids got older, I tended to say things like "I bet your body feels better now!"  "Great, you peed in the potty, now there's no mess to clean up and you can get right back to playing - that's faster isn't it?" and "You really know how to take care of your body."  These days, she's pretty much taking herself, so I only tend to comment if there's a mess.  "Oops, that caught you by surprise.  It's okay, you'll try again next time.  Let's get a towel."

 

ETA: I totally agree that being detatched from the outcome is important when they are little (especially before they are mobile!), otherwise you can drive yourself crazy and put too much pressure on yourself and your little one and it will backfire.  But at some point (and I think the age really depends on the kid and the family), I do think it's okay to make it clear that it's preferable to pee/poop in the potty.  Not in a shaming or "this is bad" or "you really should be doing it this way" kind of way, but more in a "hey, isn't it easier when it goes in the potty" kind of way.

 

Thanks for explaining. smile.gif  I think we fall at different places on that spectrum (of when, whether, and how to encourage potty over other options) but this helped me understand where you are coming from.  I do still think there is a difference between saying thank you for help cleaning up toys and using the potty - but I'm going to let this post roll around in my brain a bit before I try to explain why.


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pickle18 is offline  
#20 of 20 Old 07-10-2013, 03:34 PM
 
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I understand where you're coming from, pickle. Saying thank you for going in the potty could lead to the child feeling bad about making messes or going in their diaper. In this context, showing gratitude isnt a purely positive thing since it could lead to shame around normal bodily functions. I think its best to offer the potty but not make a big deal out of it nor out of not going in the potty.
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