Big Kids Do It in the Potty

By Dr. Charles Fay

With some easy–to–learn tips from the Love and Logic Institute, parents can get their young children to brush their teeth, pick up their toys, use the potty, or just about anything else. How?

I witnessed some clues, watching a three–year–old, picking up trash in a large auditorium. My audience had left for lunch. I stayed behind to marvel at this tiny dynamo. Toddling from isle to isle, he picked up empty coffee cups, gum wrappers, scraps of paper, and other refuse.

How could such a small child be motivated to work so hard?

The answer walked just a few steps ahead. There she was…his wonderful and wise grandma, smiling back at him as they worked together. Grandma volunteered in that auditorium almost every day, making it gleam for all to enjoy. Most days, little Cory came along to "help… for an hour or two.

Grandma learned long ago that little kids want to be big like their parents. She also learned that little kids who have fun doing …big people chores… with their parents and grandparents grow into teenagers and adults who don't bicker and complain about helping around the house.

While Grandma never studied the research on modeling, she …knew… that kids are much more likely to copy adults who are:


Kids copy the people they love and respect.


When parents show impatience, anger, or frustration because their little children are moving too slow or making mistakes, they destroy the natural love of helping.


Kids copy people they view as caring yet strong. Parents who set firm–yet–loving limits have youngsters who become firm–yet–loving adults.

Seen by the child as being rewarded by the behavior performed

While no one was handing Grandma goodies for tidying the room, she was smiling and saying things like, "This is so much fun! I love cleaning. It makes me feel so proud!"

Grandma was rewarding herself, and her little grandson was soaking it up too.

Less than perfect but always improving

The key is to show your kids that you are always learning from your mistakes.

Never underestimate the power of modeling.

A mother attending a Love and Logic class shared her story:

It worked, and it was easy. I just kept acting really excited when I went into the bathroom, and I kept telling him that he couldn't use the potty because …it was only for big boys…that big boys do it in the potty…and that using the potty is too much fun for little ones.… After about three weeks, I heard him screaming from the bathroom. There he was, singing and carrying on. I couldn't believe it!

It's never too early to start having fun with Love and Logic!

People who are really successful implementing this skill purchased Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood

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©Charles Fay, Ph.D.

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For more information, call the Love and Logic Institute, Inc. at 800-338-4065.

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