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No More Diapers!

The Sticker-Chart Approach:

The method: Reward your child after each of her potty accomplishments with something small, like a sticker. You may want to hold out the promise of a bigger treat after she accumulates a certain number of stickers, or stays dry for an entire week.

Pros: Let's face it  -- for some kids, the thought of a trip to the toy store can be highly motivating.

Cons: You run the risk of having your child demand compensation for every "performance."

Who it worked for: Me. My daughter Matilda, like many other toddlers I know, accomplished the peeing part pretty easily, but resisted having bowel movements on the potty. Since we'd also chosen the cold-turkey-underwear approach, things were beginning to get a little ugly around our house. When I expressed my frustration to our pediatrician, she suggested a sticker chart, and it worked immediately.

Is it right for you? It can be, if you know when to draw the line. I simply quit mentioning getting a sticker and Matilda soon forgot all about them. "It also helps to relate the reward to the process," says Lerner, like buying underwear that the child gets to pick out for her bigger treat. Then again, she warns, if you've got a real manipulator on your hands  -- and a tendency to give in to maintain the peace  -- rewards may be a bad route to take.

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