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Baby is 15 months – walking & talking – what we can say and do

How many words can a 15 month old say? Here's a list of ours and walking progress! baby-brain.co.uk

Look at my cool yellow hat

The baby (or is it toddler now?) is 15 months! He’s been talking more and is now walking fully – when I say fully, i mean he’s walking everywhere and not resorting to any crawling. However, his walking is still a bit robotic and jerky, cowboy-esque.

 

Here’s some words I’ve noticed he can say, appropriately and in context, although not all of them are clear:

  • thank you (clear; one of his first words)
  • daddy (very clear)
  • pea (very clear; he likes peas)
  • sock(s) (clear)
  • banana (but not very clearly)
  • attempts to say “open” but not clear at all
  • down (clear; put me down – is confusing up and down though, mainly just says “down” for wanting both to be picked up and put down)
  • sit down (clear; he likes to sit on the sofa)
  • wow (very clear)
  • wee wee (very clear; and will go sit on the potty – has probably been influenced by his brother’s potty training, also see here and here for more on potty training)
  • poo (clear)
  • apple (clear; one of his first words)
  • Sarah duck (kind of clear; a kid’s cartoon he and his brother like to watch about a girl called Sarah and her friend, a duck)
  • ball (not very clear)
  • twinkle twinkle (and can sing more of the song including up above the world so high, not very clear)
  • round (kind of clear – relates to wheels on the bus song)

 

Next development step with talking: putting two words together!! (not including wee wee)…

 

Potty Training the Toddler – Potty Charts, Rewards & Tips

How we potty trained: Psychology, reward charts, practice!

So we started potty training some time ago, but then lost momentum

The toddler (2.5 years as I write this) is pretty good at going to the potty now at home and if he is not wearing a nappy or trousers. But, if he has nappy and clothes on then he will just continue to use the nappy, not say when he needs the potty, and not use the potty. So I needed to get back on track with the training:

 

Potty training – Stage 2

The toddler is acquainted with the potty now so that’s some of the hard work done. I decided to make a chart where he can see his gains and successes and include rewards and positive reinforcement.

 

The psychology behind it

  • Graded exposure – to the potty (practice) – Child gets used to using the potty and increased skill and confidence with experience working their way up to a final goal (e.g. using potty or big toilet and no longer wearing nappy)
  • Behavioural psychology – rewards and reinforcement
What does this mean? Graded exposure relates to gradually in a step by step manner getting used to something starting with one small step and building on this with bigger steps. You might make an exposure hierarchy which is a ladder of experiences starting with a step that causes only a small amount of change/disruption that would be more manageable, and an experience at the top that would be very difficult to achieve in the first instance (but more manageable after you’ve achieved all the steps leading up to it). Once a step has been mastered any concern or upset about the following step tends to reduce because we learn that it “was ok”, “not as bad as we thought”, we have the experience from the previous step, and so on.
  • Example of steps with increasing difficulty: sitting on potty with clothes on as a first step. Doing a wee on the potty. Doing a number 2 on potty. Not wearing a nappy and using the potty. Using the potty at night time, using the “big toilet”… etc etc

 

Rewards and Reinforcement:
Reinforcement is where behaviour increases. Positive reinforcement is where a behaviour increases because it’s followed by a positive/motivating consequence such as praise or a toy. Negative reinforcement is where behaviour increases because a negative consequence is removed, maybe using the potty prevents wet and soiled clothes, change of nappy, change of clothes (if they don’t like this).

 

The Potty Chart

How we made our potty chart - potty training, how to & psychology

How we made the chart

The potty chart I made is a very lose hierarchy I suppose because I included a point where we ditch the nappy and wear pants (there’s a little photo of a pair of pants at this stage), in the hope that the toddler will be able to go straight to the potty when needed.
The general look is supposed to be a train track which goes down to a station at the end (see the photo of the station at the bottom of the chart which attaches to the toddler’s train track and he can actually play with it). There are trains (rewards) to collect along the way. I spaced these out so that the target behaviour (using the potty) is continually reinforced and rewarded, see more below:

 

How we potty trained: Our big toy reward! Psychology, reward charts, practice!

The “big reward”

  • I spaced the rewards out to keep the toddler motivated – there are several and they start soon on in the process.
  • There is a “big reward” at the end – a train station, which he really wants
  • We talk about the rewards which are trains from Thomas the Tank Engine in the hope that this maintains his attention and reminds him of the aims and potty frequently
  • I ask him frequently if he needs to use the potty and of the reward process – Use potty – Get sticker – get train after so many stickers
  • I keep the potty chart close to the potty so he can see his progress and to act as a reminder
  • The theme of trains and train track is meaningful to him and something he values. It taps into his personal interests.

 

How we’re using the Potty Chart

How we potty trained: Choosing stickers for our reward chart.

Choosing stickers for the reward chart

  • Use potty and get a sticker
  • Toddler picks a sticker and puts it on the chart himself (control, autonomy, increasing interest, ownership etc)
  • Stickers go down the train track towards a reward (toy).
  • Get enough stickers and he gets a toy.
  • Keep going down the track to the BIG reward at the end – a train station

 

Outcomes – what happened…

I wrote the above a few months ago now. We successfully navigated around and down the train track to the station at the end! The focused reward chart was a success. I also liked the idea of keeping the chart up in the living room where the toddler could see it, track his progress and act as a reminder of his success alongside the repetitive and reinforcing potty behaviour. He was very pleased with his station.

 

How we potty trained: Our big toy reward! Psychology, reward charts, practice!

Finally got his big reward! (station)

Wasn’t all plain sailing…

The area of the chart where it says “now wear your pants” didn’t happen – we started with the pants a bit later down the track. Why? Well we used them and we wet them a few times. I wondered if it was a bit too early and if they felt like wearing a nappy. Pants were a new concept for the toddler. So I waited a bit longer until the potty visiting behaviour was more familiar and routine and then we added the pants.
We had a few accidents, but I think this is normal.
But, finally, we are now “potty trained” inside the house for wee! (apart from at night time and long naps where we use a nappy still)

 

 

Next step – potty use OUTSIDE the house!…

(note how I’m breaking this all down into steps – this is also for my benefit! – but if you prefer to do it quicker or all in one go, then that’s a personal choice).

 

Potty training the two year old – psychology and retrospect

Potty training at 2 years old: Psychological perspectives and a graded hierarchy to encouraging the toddler to use the potty

Our potty

The potty “training” still seems to be going well. I say “training” because I feel like we’re not specifically doing anything, but then I looked back on what we had set up, and, actually I can think some psychological and “set-up” aspects apply.
Firstly, we upgraded the basic boring plastic potty we had previously (that he never sat on) to a fancy Thomas the Tank Engine colourful potty that plays a little song when something is deposited in it. This is a reward in itself. We made the potty interesting and something exciting to sit on by selecting one where he recognises the theme (Thomas), and likes and potentially trusts that brand (because he likes the toy). We set it up so that it wasn’t a toy, though, so he knows there’s a particular function around it. We started to talk more about that “function” and make it part of our every day, normal, conversation by saying things like “mummy is going to the big potty now”, etc, to make the toddler aware that going on the potty is a normal thing people do. I suppose we kind of set up a graded step by step hierarchy as well by:

 

  1. Introducing the potty
  2. Having the potty out in the living room
  3. Discussing that the potty is for doing a wee or poo in, not a toy, and normalizing this process when adults in the house needed to go to the “big potty”
  4. Encouraging the toddler to sit on the potty, with clothes on in the first instance (as he wasn’t sure about it)
    1. offering a reward/reinforcement for just sitting on it (I can’t remember if this was a biscuit or watching his favourite TV show, which also probably reduced any anxiety or concerns because he was distracted by the TV and calmed by his favourite show)
  5. Encouraging the toddler to sit on the potty without a nappy (diaper) on
  6. Encouraging him to sit on it when we thought he might need a wee, e.g. after a bath because that’s when he often does one, and offering a reward for doing a wee – also talking about what reward he would get
    1. offering a reward/reinforcement for doing a wee which was chocolate and now also a reward “coupon”, which the toddler calls “tickets”. He likes the fire engine tickets the most (pictured)

 

Potty training at 2 years old: Coupons, Rewards and Reinforcement; encouraging the toddler to use the potty

Reward “coupon”

We haven’t got to the point yet where the toddler can tell us that he feels the need to use the potty. That is still to come. But, we’ve done very well so far I think!

 

♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦

Also, here’s a complete cut and paste job from a previous post of mine about reinforcement:

Ψ reinforcers = increase frequency/likelihood of a behaviour

Ψ punishers = decrease frequency/likelihood of a behaviour

Ψ Here’s a good page that explains positive/negative reinforcement and punishers – for example, they explain that “punishment” doesn’t necessarily mean there is a harmful or dangerous consequence, it’s a process where a consequence immediately follows a behaviour which decreases the future likelihood of that behaviour occurring. Positive punishment is where a negative consequence is put in place after the behaviour, like sending child to “time out” or telling them off, and negative punishment where a good thing or desired outcome is removed after the behaviour occurs, such as removing cake/sweets/ice cream because the child was “naughty”. Reinforcement is where behaviour increases. Positive reinforcement is where a behaviour increases because  it’s followed by a positive/motivating consequence such as praise, reward, like giving a kid money (positive) for doing chores (the behaviour). Negative reinforcement is where behaviour increases because a negative consequence is removed, such as a kid does his chores (behaviour) to avoid being nagged to do it (negative).

 

 

 

Potty Training the toddler at 2 years old

Potty training at 2 years old: Rewards and Reinforcement; encouraging the toddler to use the potty

I’m the “number one” engine

So we’ve been attempting to “potty train” the toddler. By potty train I mean buy a potty and hope he sits on it. I’ve not actually developed any formal training schedule. Anyway, some time ago I bought a basic plastic potty. He didn’t like it and only sat on it once or twice I think. Maybe it was too uncomfortable and uninteresting. We upgraded a few weeks ago to an all singing fancy Thomas the Tank Engine potty which is colourful, has a picture of Thomas on the inside and also (apparently) plays a song or noise when he (eventually) deposits something in it!

 

And now something (slightly) more psychological about potty training and shaping behaviours:

So far my attempts have been to encourage him to sit on it for a start. He’s done this. I had to bribe him with promise of a biscuit if he sat on it because he was slightly dubious of the thing (despite it being Thomas related, and even then he kind of thought it was just a new toy). We then upgraded to him sitting on it with no trousers (pants) or nappy, usually after a bath as this is sometimes when he does a wee and has no nappy on anyway. He’s done that too. I’ve promised him chocolate if he does a wee or poo. You could class this as reinforcement I suppose, rather than bribe! Note though, maybe offering food as a consequence isn’t always the best answer but hey ho I’m into new territory here with the potty so I’m winging it. If you want to set up some less food related rewards and consequences schedule there’s some great behaviour charts here for “things I need to work on” (useful for general behaviours and issues) and their potty training section here. The potty training reward coupons look great and i’m going to print some off to give to the toddler appropriately. Yes, suppose I could have done a sticker reward chart too to encourage repetition of potty sitting and eventually wee/poo related behaviour on the potty.
So last night, he apparently did a very small wee in the potty!! Unfortunately, nobody noticed and he didn’t say that he’d done anything . The darned potty is supposed to play a song to alert us to this fact but I think it was too small an amount so it didn’t set the song button off. Fingers crossed he’ll do it again soon though so we can celebrate! Yeah, let’s all celebrate successful weeing!!

 

Potty training at 2 years old: Coupons, Rewards and Reinforcement; encouraging the toddler to use the potty

Reward “coupon”

**update the next day: he did a really small wee in the potty tonight! He had chocolate and a special “coupon” as a reward (pictured, from freeprintablebehaviorcharts.com) Hopefully the coupon is a bit more tangible and longer lasting than the chocolate; he can see it and it will act as a reminder, encouragement and reward for the behaviour.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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