Wednesday, May 21, 2008
I am currently going through potty training with my four-year-old son. Yes, I admit it. He's four. He should have been potty trained earlier but I truly believe he was not ready for it.
But then, we might not have been using the right bribes.
We decided to fully commit this week though. My son is getting too old (and too rough) for the little-kid area of our gym, so we had to finally just say no to diapers.
Thank God for Transformer toys.
I never really thought about how fantasy/sci-fi movies are a toy marketer's dream. But think about it. Every non-threatening (for the small children anyway) alien, space-ship and animated creature are bound to end up as a toy in your child's toy box.
I should know.
This week I am singing the praises of Bumblebee. For the few who haven't seen Transformers, Bumblebee is the yellow Camaro. And my son's all time favorite Transformer. In an attempt to encourage pee-peeing on the potty, I took my son to Target and bought the "Stealth Bumblebee" and told my son he could have it when he peed on the potty.
I have never seen such determination in a four-year-old. He was dying to get his hand on that toy. My son didn't really recognize the urge to pee, but by golly, he was going to figure it out. Every time we'd go to the potty and he couldn't go, he'd say his equipment "wasn't working." But once he started to feel like he had to go, he'd tell me it was "working now" and we'd go into the bathroom and try again. I think it must've taken 10 trips for him to succeed, but he got his Bumblebee.
Next, we moved on to "Speed Racer."
We haven't even seen the movie and we own "Speed Racer" toys. I have no interest in seeing "Speed Racer" and my son knows who Speed Racer and Racer X are. He knows the name of the Mach 5 and let me tell you, that toy was wonderful incentive to keep my child to on the potty.
But I have to say, before we even started potty training, the toys were taking over. We went to Disneyland a couple of weeks ago and my son, who has never seen any of the Indiana Jones movies, is already wanting Indiana Jones toys. And who can blame him? Have you seen the Indiana Jones Electronic Sound FX Whip? Heck, I want to get me one of those! I would have loooooved that as a kid.
And if it wasn't enough to market toys to our kids, they're marketing food now too. Have you ever seen the "fruit snacks" (I use the word "fruit" loosely here...) they're selling these days? If you don't have kids you may not know what "fruit snacks" are. They're little packaged bits of candy disguised as a "healthy" snack that may or may not have anything resembling fruit in them. But that's besides the point. They're shaped like your favorite characters from you favorite movies. They make Indiana Jones, The Incredibles, Finding Nemo, Cars and even Kung Fu Panda snacks. Yes, they even have the snacks before the movie comes out. I do not know of a child in my daughter's class who does not show up with fruit snacks in their lunch. It's in the rule book apparently. Oh and let's not forget the cereals. They also have a Kung Fu Panda cereal already and I'm sure we've bought every princess cereal at one time or another.
But you gotta hand it to the marketing gurus out there. They have it down cold. My house has everything from "Transformers" to "Pirates of the Caribbean" represented in their toy boxes and they can't wait to see "Kung Fu Panda."
At least my son will use the toilet now.