I haven’t written about potty-training in awhile.  Because whenever I write or talk about something my child has done that really excites me, they never do it again.

At one time, I was able to put an infant Benjamin down in his crib, still mildly awake.  When he fussed, all I had to do was pat his little bottom and he then consistently drifted off to sleep.  For at least a week.  Consistantly . 

Then I told my mother-in-law.  I was so proud.  So thrilled. 

He never did it again.

So I’ve been, understandably, cautious about the whole potty-training thing.  Not that I’m supersticious, just that I believe God humbles the proud.  And while I’m not saying humility is a bad thing, I’m not a huge fan of changing tons of clothes and sheets and carseat covers.

But we seem to have found something that works with Olivia.

Previously, we had tried and failed with the following briberies: 

  • Chocolate chips
  • Marshmallows
  • Dollar store prizes

They all held her attention for a good week or so, then she would (say it with me, if you’ve got a toddler, I’m sure you’ve been there) LOSE INTEREST.

But our most recent attempt seems to have stuck.  What did we bribe her with, you ask?

Gammy Beans.

And what, you may ask, are “Gammy Beans”?

Jelly Bellies.

Then WHY do you call them “Gammy Beans”?

Well, once upon a month or two ago, Josh’s mom (aka,  Gammy) was trying to convince Olivia to do something potty-related, and after scrounging through her purse for motivation, came up with a small package of Gammy- er, I mean Jelly Bellies.  Well, they did the trick that day.

And they continued to work throughout the next week, as Olivia would consistently perform for her “Gammy Beans”.  (I called them Gammy’s jelly beans.  She abbreviated that.  So efficient.)

And the next week.

And the next.

(We’re on our third bag.)

And now she only wears diapers at night.  (She gets a Gammy Bean when she wakes up dry from naps, and THREE if she wakes up dry from nighttime.)

She still has accidents, which mainly occur when she’s knee-deep in some enthralling activity from which she just can’t tear herself.  I even tried to bring down the accident count by trying a trick I heard.  I told Olivia that if she had an accident, I would give Benjamin one of her Gammy Beans.  You know, because siblings don’t like to share – toddlers especially. 

But apparently, Olivia’s a different breed.  She started JOYFULLY peeing her pants and then GLEEFULLY giving away her Gammy Beans.

So we switched it around.  And now she gets to be the joyful giver when she makes it in the potty.  (After carefully picking out the better flavor for herself.  She’s still human, after all.)

So I’ve contemplated what it is that makes the Gammy Beans work where everything else had failed.  And I think the missing link was Gammy herself.  My little girl loves her Gammy.  She does things for Gammy that I have to fight for.  The Gammy Beans were a reminder to her of something Gammy wanted her to do. 

And, also, Gammy Beans come in 30 different flavors.  Unlike chocolate chips and marshmallows.  It’s like a new and different treat every time she goes potty.

So that’s what’s worked for us.  Emotional attachment and 30 different flavors of sugar.