I've done it. I've inadvertently created a potty monster.
Mia's been doing so well with toilet training. She rarely has accidents (once in a while, a pee when she's doing something too exciting to leave, or on waking from a nap). We even had a great success the other day when she told me she had to go the moment we got on the highway - and it was about 10 minutes to the next exit with a store with a bathroom we could rush into - and she made it! I was so proud of her.
She's done great with going in strange places too, like the mall, grocery store, restaurants, and friends' houses. I don't even need to bring her travel potty seat as she has no qualms about sitting on random toilets.
So we praise her, and tell her how proud we are of her. Treats worked as an initial incentive, but she's pretty much forgotten to ask most of the time now, as going on the toilet becomes just another routine.
However - there is a down side that I was not expecting.
I knew finding bathrooms on the fly could be tough. I'm starting to develop a mental map of likely places. I knew I might need to keep a stock of M&M's in my purse for incentive emergencies (and hey, if I sneak one now and then who will know? :) ).
What I didn't know is that all that emphasis on how proud we were of her for peeing when we're out would create a monster. Now, if we are out she needs to go - regardless of how recently she's been.
For instance, today, we did a bathroom trip before we left the house. A five-minute drive later, we were at the restaurant. We were waiting in line for ten minutes (it was busy!) when I hear her little voice pipe up, "I need to use the toilet!" You can't ignore a toddler who needs to pee. They don't have awesome bladder control, and while I keep a spare set of clothes with me, I'm not crazy about carrying around pee-soaked pants.
We abandoned our spot in line and went to find the restroom. "Thank you for telling me," I said to her on the way. Once enthroned, she sat for a moment, faked a "try" and said, "I do nothing. I'm all done!"