When our daughter Katie was nearly 3, my husband and I primed her for potty-training success: We put the potty-related books in regular bedtime rotation, thrilled her with a fashionable array of brand-new big-girl panties, and stocked up on a tantalizing incentive -- M&M's.
Within two months, Katie was peeing in the potty like a pro. But no matter how much we bribed, begged, and flattered her, she refused to give up her Pull-Ups to poop. I tried every tactic I could think of: I upped the ante to a Price Is Right -- worthy prize package, took away the Pull-Ups (resulting in a serious bout of constipation and some nasty post-nap cleanups), and even, I'm ashamed to admit, threatened her with a doctor's visit and shots if she didn't do the deed. After poring over every mom board I could find, I discovered a few new ideas -- but, mainly, lots of other desperate moms.
Since no strategy can possibly fit all our quirky kids, it seems that success depends on finding the solution to your child's particular sticking point. These are the five most common, and the best tricks for getting unstuck:
1. Your kid isn't swayed by chocolate kisses, a cool truck, or any other reward
2. You found dirty undies under the bed
3. Only the potty at home will do
4. She was doing great -- and now she's not
5. He reserves number two for the diaper