Monday, October 1, 2012

Eliza and her cake

The history and back story:

Since we had our first child, Caroline, we have made it a point to try and avoid serving our kids chocolate until they were two. This was mostly an attempt to limit their sugar intake. We have been mostly successful in this endeavor, not directly or intentionally serving them until their second birthday, minus a few unconfirmed incidents with their grandpas.

Once our kids start potty training, we have used small chocolates (M&Ms, chocolate chips) as a reward and motivator for successful use of the toilet. This has worked well for both Caroline and Lydia, and we have been in process of toilet training Ian. Things have been hit and miss with him, and recently he has been improving. Eliza, being a watchful little sister and wanting to be one of the big kids started to want to sit on the potty about a month ago. We obliged, not expecting much other than a giggle.

We were wrong.
She started using the potty.
Several times.
With success. #1 and #2. 

So what do we do? Do we encourage her? Do we really take on potty training two kids at once who aren't twins? Does she get a reward? She is not two yet, but she sees Ian getting a chocolate treat for his success.

We decided to go for it. I made an agreement with Eliza: If she potty trains with more success than Ian, I will buy her a chocolate cake. Not just any cake, but the same kind of cake that I got myself for my birthday. I like chocolate.  A lot. I blame my father for giving me this appreciation. Thanks Dad! We are speaking of a moist chocolate cake with chocolate mousse layers, topped with a smooth and creamy chocolate icing, and covered with dark chocolate shavings. Yep, D-E-licious!
The cake, in all its glory, uncut and pristine. Not for long!
It has been 3 weeks since I made that agreement. In that time, we have been giving her the little rewards for success. I honestly didn't expect her to make the deadline, though, given that Ian had such a start on her. I was wrong. In the past 3 weeks, she has consistently used the potty, telling us when she needs to go. She has gotten to the point that she can hold it, and not just for a few minutes, but for hours. We hiked 4.5 hours up to Hanging Lake, and she held it the whole time. She is waking up dry in the mornings. She is doing everything right. She has been doing so well that last weekend we bought her 'training' panties (all cloth, no waterproof liner, just a little extra padding).

It was at this point that we realized that she had done it. She had potty trained herself. As much as I didn't want to, I had to make good on my agreement. So this Sunday, I bought the cake along with our usual donuts. When I got home, the 3 older kids were curious why I bought a cake. I told them that I would fill them in later.

I pulled Eliza aside right before we had our afternoon snack, explained that I was making good on our agreement, praised her for making it this far and doing so well, and asked if she would share her cake. She was excited and giddy, especially when I looked her in the eye and told her, "You win." My kids do not hear those words from me, and by the look on her face, she knew how hard it was for me to utter those two words. At least she was willing to share the cake with the rest of us.

So we plopped down outside and here is what happened:
Notice how the whole hand disappears
Graciously sharing with her siblings.
This is all that was left. My girl likes her chocolate.

One very happy girl.
For those of you that want to watch it happening:


  1. Nothing like a little motivation -- and chocolate cake is quite a motivator!

  2. While I loved reading and watching this, Dad says, and I quote: "It's torture watching these videos!!!" He enlarged the picture to full screen. I said it was just so he could see the cake.