Your kid isn't swayed by chocolate kisses, a cool truck, or any other reward
What's going on: The terrible twos (or threes) have kicked in, and your child's chosen to just say no -- even if it costs him an Oreo and a Lego. Your kid's aware now that you and he are separate people -- and that means he doesn't have to do what you say. The power! For an iron-willed kid, that tastes a lot better than any old piece of candy. Resist searching for a better prize: That'll only give him more veto power.
Try a little reverse psychology. After months of attempting other tricks, Nina Vultaggio of Coto de Caza, CA, simply begged her son not to use the potty. But sneakily. "I said that pirates from Disneyland called and wanted him to be a pirate, but he couldn't because they only wanted potty-trained boys," she says. "I told him not to do it because I didn't want him to be a pirate -- and he trained that day." Vultaggio splurged on a trip to the local amusement park (which happened to be Disneyland), where a staffer proclaimed her son a pirate. Your plan can be simpler: You can tell your kid you hope this isn't the week he makes the switch, because then he can sleep over at Grandma's and you'll miss him. Reverse psychology works, of course, because of the thrill of doing the opposite of what you say -- but it also takes the pressure off.
Offer a different kind of incentive. Many parents (myself included) head right into the stickers and M&M's, and they're fine, if they work. But if they don't, think about what'll make your kid proud. Does she adore a particular uncle? Play up how fun it'll be to call him with the good news that she's potty trained. Does he perk up at the mention of being a big kid? Offer a "big-kid bedtime" as a reward, and let him start staying up 15 minutes later than usual.
Reward yourself. This one may sound like a truly desperate move, but it worked at my house when Katie was unimpressed with M&M's. You give yourself (and your husband -- remind him you're a team!) a reward for doing the deed, says Teri Crane, author of Potty Train Your Child in Just One Day. "Get two jars: Fill one with change and decorate the other with a picture of an amazing trip or another special prize," she says. Then when one of you goes, move a coin to the prize jar. Act as excited as possible. This may mean clapping for yourself or (worse?) for your husband. Crane says it often takes just a few days before your kid wants in on the fun.