Potty training is one of the challenges of early childhood that every parent wants to have their child learn as soon as possible! Often reward systems have been tried, and in my experience with 2 children, they don’t work if they are too complex, or require too much duration. In other words, toddlers need instant feedback. But, I am testing a new method that so far seems promising, and might be something great for Proctor and Gamble to implement if they want their market share to go back up.
The idea is simple: Use happy and sad faces. Toddlers are starting to learn empathy, which is a critical skill for living in a social world, and I believe a critical trait for the survival of humanity. If whenever the toddler pees in their diaper, the diaper gets a sad face, and when they don’t pee in their diaper the diaper gets a happy face, and the parent emphasizes how the diaper feels sad when it is peed in, then the child can start to think about how they are “making it feel” (yes, I know diapers don’t actually have feelings, but neither do teddy bears, but they are good to help with learning empathy). And when the toddler sees they are making the diaper “sad”, they will generally want to have happy diapers.
This can be done by any parent right now, by simply drawing a sad face on a diaper of training pants before throwing them away. But it could also be implemented in the diaper itself, where for example if Pampers did this, they could start with a happy face on the character on the diaper, but as pee gets into it, a chemical reaction would change the happy face to being sad (it probably would be as easy as having the pee erase the old face, and have an “invisible ink” activate from the urine.)
If anyone knows anyone at P&G who is interested in improving their market share, please send them my way. I have further ideas about how this could really work well, and how it could be potentially “positioned”, etc.