Food Rewards

As I am gearing up to start potty training my son(again), I’m contemplating whether to buy candy for his reward or not. After all, everyone I know or who has given advice on this topic has suggested a reward system with candy. However, I know all the negatives that can be brought about by looking at food as a reward. In our house, we do not use food as bribery or rewards for the most part. We don’t use food as a bargaining tool. None of the “You have to eat your vegetables in order to have dessert” or “If you’re good here at the doctor’s office, you’ll get ice cream!” Nope I’ve made a conscious decision to not use food in that way. So it feels foreign to say “If you pee pee in the potty you get one M&M, if you poo poo you get two!” Yay?? I know this reward system is one of the oldest methods used to help encourage the toddler towards potty independence but is it ok that it develops a reliance on food as a reward?

Personally, I’m going to try a reward chart with stickers. Each time he goes pee, he’ll get one sticker; when it’s poo in the potty, he’ll get two. The end prize will be a new toy, most likely a car or train as those are his two biggest obsessions at the moment. I’m hoping this works and that he understands the reward system. We will see in the following weeks.


What are your thoughts on using food as a reward? Do you use it with your children? Do you see food as a reward for yourself after a hard days work? Any potty training tips and tricks out there?



3 thoughts on “Food Rewards

  1. I went through the same thing with my kids – trying not to use food as a reward, hoping it would stave off food problems later in life. It didn’t. And I found that at age 2 1/2, an M & M holds a lot more meaning than a sticker. Our 3 1/2 year old granddaughter is getting stickers on her chart now for doing her “chores” , but I don’t think it would have worked when she was younger. Even so, the intangible idea of the stickers adding up to a prize at the end of the week is barely enough to help her get through the week with everything done.

    • We’ll see how things go. When I was little my parents did stickers that added up to a Chuck E Cheese visit. They also did money once I got a little older. My son is about to be 3 and LOVES stickers lol I’m actually worried he won’t keep them on the chart because he’ll want to stick them on himself or decorate his room.

      • Jenn says:

        How about letting him do what he wants with the stickers, then, and drawing a star or something on the chart to help keep track?

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