The Art of Potty Training

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The chapter on learning was very intriguing. Learning is a concept that we all understand and is often associated with memory. Is learning a slow, gradual process or a sudden, all-or-nothing process? I believe it is a slow, gradual process especially when learning is teamed up with the idea of shaping. Shaping suggests that learning a new behavior is determined by the reinforcement that we are given over time as we come closer and closer to meeting the requirements of producing the behavior. This made me think of the art of potty training. Toddlers don't just sit on a toilet and know what to do. Wouldn't they be cool if they did, though? Potty training is an extensive process of praise, positive reinforcement, and lots of treats. Whether you use stickers, candy, or a bribe of other sorts, potty training is a behavior of shaping. When a toddler sits on the potty for the first time, they may have a tendency to be timid or completely fight the situation. After the toddler can sit on the potty in a calm manner, they are given a prize of some sort. This process goes on and on until the toddler can go to the bathroom on their potty, and eventually have the ability to communicate their need to go to the bathroom. After each stage of the process they are continually being positively reinforced and shaped with bribes to accomplish the task of potty training. Eventually, the tots are on their own and the potty training process is finally over.

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Nice example of shaping Corissa.

Ever wonder why then a child continues to use the toilet after the reinforcements are taken away?

Why is this particular behavior not subject to extinction?

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This page contains a single entry by burke471 published on October 23, 2011 1:07 PM.

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