5 thoughts on “Learning”

  1. The following methods may be used to toilet train a three year old boy by applying various techniques of operant conditioning:

    1. Shaping:

    This method requires the mother/caretaker to first encourage the child to enter into the washroom. This can be done by placing his favourite toy inside and asking him to enter if he wishes to get it. His entry may be praised and encouraged by clapping, smiling, offering a candy and so on. The next step involves offering him a small treat (a small toy, or a new story or game) whenever he sits upon the toilet even if he doesnt use the toilet. Finally, the child may be praised and encouraged as he empties his bowels. This can be done by showing great joy, clapping, praising, giving him a big hug and so on. This sort of virtual celebration of the act may make the child feel motivated to repeat the behaviour in future.

    2. Applying the principle of negative punishment:

    The diapers should be discarded if a serious toilet training is to be carried out. Instead the child may be presented with an attractive set of underpants having characters from his favourite cartoon. He may be warned that wetting the pants would spoil his favourite hero or it would be taken away. The child may make use of the toilet in order to avoid spoiling or parting with his brand new favourite underclothes.

    3. Using the principle of negative reinforcement:

    In this technique, the diapers may be removed and the child is allowed to wet his pants once. This is necessary for the child to realise how inconvinient it is to be in wet underclothes. Further, when the child attempts to get rid of the wet clothes, he must be asked or encouraged to use the toilet in order to avoid landing into such a mess in future. This way the child may learn to use the toilet to stay dry and avoid the discomfort.

    4. By using the principle of positive reinforcement:

    In the final phases of toilet training, the child may be praised or given a treat for everytime he makes correct use of the toilet. Parents or caretakers may make him feel good by hailing him as a “big boy” or a “responsible boy” or a “smart kid who learns things fast” etc. This will develop a sense of control and pride into the child and he may be motivated to repeat the reinforced behaviour in future.

  2. operant conditioning can be applied to toilet train a three year old boy in the following way ;

    1. continous reinforcement
    2. partial reinforcement
    3. shaping
    4. chaining

    1. continous reinforcement – reward child every time he responses appropriately by doing toilet at correct place and time

    2. partial reinforcement – unlike continous reinforcement, in this the child is not given reinforcement at every appropriate response rather at some intervals. It is of following type

    2.a. fixed interval
    2.b. fixed ratio
    2.c. variable time
    2.d. variable ratio

    3. shaping – each small response of the boy will be rewarded in this technique. for eg when boy will reach the appropriate place he will be rewarded so that this reinforces him to reach the final reaponse

    4. chaining – to make the boy reach the final response his each preceding goals in retrospection must be set up and on completion of those goals accrodingly he must be rewarded. like his final response will be to do toilet at appropriate place but before that he must reach that place and before that he must inform his parents regardig this so therefore all these steps must be rewarded

  3. B.f skinner propounded this theory of learning through operant conditioning in which he emphasised that learning is learned pattern of set of behaviours .
    That behviour is majorily depend on response rather than stimulus.
    By using the following concept of operant conditioning we can do toilet training of a 3 year old child-
    1)shaping and chaining
    In this first parents have to teach child to speak or indicate that he needs to loo or toilet then parents should reinforce him by words “GOOD” etc .
    Then take him to the washroom and train him to sit reinforce him with some candies or toy to encourage to sit.
    Finally when he has done than reinforce him by praising words or actions like “CLAPPING”…”WOWW”….play with him..etc.
    2)positive reinforcement means adding or giving something pleasant to child to incresae the frequency of desired behaviour. For instance-offer him with some his favourite toys.,dish,appreciate him infront of family members etc.
    Decorating washroom with the tiles of cartoon character also reinforce child to use toilet.this is very imperative to reinforce after shaping the child until the learning become relatively permanent behaviour .
    3)negative reinforcement means removing something unpleasant from child’s experience to increase the frequency of desired behvaviour like dont use diaper/napkin…let him wet his clothes and then change them every time by telling him how he can get rid of it.
    4)positive punishment-by mildly scolding child like “bad boy” or praising elder sibling for using toilet and by making facial expressions of annoying.
    5)negative punishment- by hiding his favourite toy when he does not use toilet or don’t allow him to watch his cartoon etc.

  4. Life processes like toilet training are learned by human beings through outcome experiences and to get fit in socially desirable manner following operant conditioning principles can be used;
    1. Reinforcement
    2. Shaping
    3. Chaining

    1 Reinforcement- will be used to increase the frequency of desired response.

    A. Positive reinforcement- providing his favourite food when child tries to tell parents regarding urge .

    B. Negative reinforcement- removal of wet diapers when child indicate through even expressions.

    The series of reinforcement can be used in following manner for;

    2. Shaping- child’s every movement towards toilet habits need to be reinforcement, like
    A. Staying dry for a particular extent of time.
    B. Getting out of bed in morning without bed wetting.
    C. Moving towards bathroom
    D. Pulling down his pants on his own
    E. Seeking help to use toilet.
    F. Sitting and rising from seat
    G. And finally flushing..and washing hands, wearing sleepers etc.

    Every step must be immediately reinforced with positive or negative reinforcement.

    3. Chaining- first we will shape final target that is sitting and rising from toilet seat.

    Child can be put into the situation every morning and then will be reinforced every time.

    Gradually, flushing , Then taking of pants without help , moving towards toilet on his own , getting up on his own out of bed will be reinforced with positive or negative reinforced.

    B.F Skinner’s principles of operant conditioning can be used in building good habits and reducing bad habits , thus helps human to become a social being.

  5. Operant conditioning (OC) involves learning of voluntary responses based on its outcomes.


    Toilet behavior of a 3 year old boy can be categorised as:

    I) Target behavior: Relieving himself in the toilet or chamber pot

    II) Current behavior: Relieving himself anywhere else in the house

    Toilet training of the child would involve making him move from current behavior to target behavior. It can be done by applying following OC techniques:

    (I) REINFORCEMENT: Increasing frequency of target behavior by adding pleasant stimulus or removing unpleasant stimulus.

    Ex: Chocolates for using the toilet.

    (II) PUNISHMENT: Decreasing frequency of current behavior by adding unpleasant stimulus or removing pleasant stimulus.

    Ex: When he soils himself or does potty on the floor, withdraw his TV watching privilege.

    (III) SHAPING: Reinforcing successive approximations to target behavior.

    Ex: Giving treat to the boy in following stages:

    1. First, for not relieving himself on the bed

    2. Then for relieving himself on the floor

    3. For relieving himself as close to the toilet as possible.


    N. Gradually, only target behavior will be reinforced and not the previous behavior.

    (IV) CHAINING: Reinforcing responses occurring in a sequence to form complex behavior.


    1. First take him to the toilet and help him relieve himself. Then give him a treat.

    2. Then take him near the toilet and let him relieve himself. Reinforce afterwards.

    3. Gradually leave him further away from the toilet and reinforce only when target behavior occurs.

    In order to make toilet etiquettes in a 3 year old boy permanent, his behavior should be monitored closely and reinforced regularly until they become automatic.

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