We've been telling you all along that ABA is incredibly helpful for everyday things with everyday people. I have 4 kiddos of my own and it's chaos in my house despite the fact that both Katie and I are both BCBAs. You'd expect that we'd do better right, not so much.
Well, I'm not sure if we can get any more practical than this. Behavior Analysts or BCBAs like to address issues of social significance. There's 3 boys and 3 girls in the Fattal Household. We can let a lot of issues fly, but one thing that's a non-negotiable is urine on the toilet seat. Practical right?
We scored and got 2 sons and then 2 daughters. Andrew and Timmy are 8 and 7, Genevieve and Juliana are 3 and 2. We toilet trained Andrew and Timmy really early in their lives. We were ambitious, but at the time, we taught Pre-K ABA so we literally worked on potty training kiddos all the time. One thing we FAILED to teach was consistently lifting the toilet seat.
Around 6 months ago, it hit us that the boys still urinate on the seat a handful of times per week. No bueno. This is what I did. There's a strategy called "Overcorrection." Overcorrection is a simple procedure in which you take an offense and require the offender to overcorrect the issue. For example, I believe there was research in JABA (Journal of ABA), or elsewhere, that involved throwing pencils in class. A student threw a pencil across the room, so the teacher, after trying many other things, decided to dump hundreds of pencils on the floor and required the student to pick up all of them along with the one that he originally threw. The result was that the student no longer threw pencils.
My strategy was simple. When I noticed urine on the seat (which is a permanent product of the behavior of urinating on the seat), I would call Andrew and Timmy over. I'd usually be able to determine which kiddo was the offender really quickly. Once I did, I'd require them to first clean the seat with bleach. Then, they'd have to lift up the toilet seat and put it down 50 times. We did this between 5-8 times. Today, we have no more issues with urine on the seat!
We also did this with dirty laundry. Again, the boys were having a tough time putting their dirty laundry into the hamper. When I'd notice laundry on the floor, I'd ask them to put it in and take it out 25 times. As with the seat issue, we no longer have issues with laundry on the floor unless there was a particular reason they were in a hurry etc. (which happens at times when you have a crazy huge family).
We hope you learned how our strategies can be helpful for ALL families. Contact us if you'd like a Family Consultation of your own or if you have friends that might be interested! There's buttons all over this website that will take you directly to us. Call or connect today!
Rob @ Cultivate
Note: It's advisable to try to use reinforcement first before using a procedure like Overcorrection. Each case is unique and different but this story documents what worked in our family AFTER we tried "catching the boys being good" which never built enough momentum. Also, Andrew and Timmy are delightful young boys that may give me a hard time one day for telling these stories #sonofabcba #justbemydad #weloveyoucrazyboys