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Mom Bans Her Mother-In-Law From Ever Seeing Her Young Son Again After She Derails His Potty Training With A Traumatizing Joke

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Everyone has their own parenting style, and in some cases, new parents will handle their early years of parenthood much differently than their own parents.

But unfortunately, those differences can lead to major arguments, and it's up to the family to decide how far to let it go.


In one mom's case, Reddit user "the_pottytrainer," made the tough decision with her husband to severely punish his mother after she impacted their son's ability to potty-train.

The mother explained in the "Am I the A$Shole?" subReddit that her son is two-years-old and until two weeks ago was doing very well with his potty-training progress.

That is, until Grandma came for a visit.

"I have a two-year-old son who we are potty training. He has his own plastic potty, and he has been doing very well with using it until about two weeks ago."
"His grandma (my husband's mom) was visiting around that time about two weeks ago, and I was taking my son to go use the bathroom. She then decided to tell my him 'Be careful, a monster might pop out of the toilet!' My son then started crying, and he refused to use his potty and wet his pants instead."
"My husband and I asked Grandma what the hell she was thinking, and she only got defensive and insisted that it was just a joke. She refused to apologize. So we kicked her out of the house."

As it turns out, their son has continued to have trouble using the potty since this incident, fearing the monsters that must be hiding in his toilet.

He's had to return to wearing diapers, which can feel devastating to new parents.

Because of this, they decided to take their reaction a step forward from kicking the grandmother out of the house.

"My son has been refusing to use his potty since then for the past two weeks, and we had to put him back into diapers for the time being. After discussing with my husband, we mutually decided to permanently ban his mom from ever seeing our son again."
"Now that she realized that this is serious, she has been begging for our forgiveness. But she refused to apologize the first time, and she's only sorry now because there are going to be negative consequences for her."
"We don't forgive her, and she isn't entitled to any forgiveness whatsoever. She isn't welcome in our home anymore."

Despite her perceived certainty in the decision to ban her mother-in-law from her home, the Reddit user turned to Reddit for feedback.

The responses—YTA-You're The A$$hole, NTA-Not The A$$hiole, ESH-Everyone Sucks Here—were divided, but definitely leaned toward the mother and her husband overreacting to the grandmother's joke.

Most suggested having a conversation with the grandmother, or offering a ban that was more in line with the original offense.

"It's obvious why she sucks. You suck because the ban is too long. Ban her until Christmas or he's potty trained, that will be a direct correlation to her offense."
"Get a stand up urinal for now with a paddle wheel or frog he can pee on, you can locate it away from the toilet. Have him watch lots of friendly monster movies. Maybe a diagram of a sewer system showing him all the pipes and bends and traps. Ninja turtles live in the sewer."
"You might even have Grandma make an apology video to him explaining she's in a time out for lying and scaring him." - Shagcat
"Don't ban her until Christmas. But limit her a little. Help your son get over that fear. You don't want him to grow up, and one day realize his parents banned his grandma over something so silly. That is not healthy for a child." - ioplkjhdioplkjhd
"I'm YTA side with a drizzle of ESH personally. The joke is very harmless but the baby reacted negatively about it and that sucks, but the lifelong ban is extremely ridiculous. Unless we are heavily missing some details about how the grandma is, like if she has done things like this before then this little incident is like dropping a bomb on a flower."
"I will say the grandma sucks for not initially apologizing but their reaction is way too much, especially when she is BEGGING them and has now apologized. People on this topic has given plenty of cute and fun ways to ease the baby's mind when using the potty so that should solve that."
"So in the end, the apology was given and they're still being harsh so now the end judgement for me is YTA." - Solleil

Others agreed with the mother's decision and said it was concerning how she was unwilling to apologize in the first place.

In this unwillingness, they saw red flags in the relationship that needed to be worked on or banned all together.

"This 'joke' is only the beginning. What if she causes him to be scared of other stuff in the future? She clearly thinks it's a harmless joke so what's stopping her from doing it in the future? NTA" - pizzawithbbqsauce
"Grandma really should have apologized the first time nonetheless... it should have been a natural thing for her to do once she realized what it did to her grandchild."
"There have been a few times in the past where I inadvertently frightened or offended someone with something I said. Once I realized it, an apology was immediately forthcoming, no one had to give me a consequence." - MyT*tsAreRustled
"It's not a meaningful apology though, she has consequences so she is doing it under duress..." - WednesdayAddament
"I'm not so sure the joke was that misjudged."
"My first thought reading this was wondering if grandma was wanting to hold onto the baby stage longer, and was trying to scare the kid back into diapers to do it."
"There are PLENTY of people who will, as a couples child goes into the toddler stage, start encouraging the couple to have another baby. I know a lady who's family does just this; the grandparents pressure and pressure the adult children to just keep making babies because THEY want babies to snuggle and have fun with."
"Its creepy, it's wrong, it's a shitty thing to do to the parents."
"But I did wonder if Grandma was purposefully sabotaging the kid." - SA_Starling_
"They just don't think, my mother is the same, her 'jokes' aren't funny, and a kid taking a literal translation does not get it. Jokes about spanking meant my son never wanted to sleep over at grandma's again. Even something seemingly innocuous as 'you're growing so fast I'm gonna have to put a brick on your head' is understood as threatening by a kid too young to grasp metaphor."
"The excuses aren't acceptable to the kid... however I'm going ESH on this one because a lifetime ban is over the top. Set suitable boundaries, get potty training done, and maybe grandma will choose her words more carefully next time." - I_deleted

And some simply came to the thread to offer some sweet suggestions for how to get their son back on the potty.

"Monster spray works really well too! That's what made me and my sisters feel better when we were little" - katniss12794
"I personally preferred the monster proof force field my parents would create." - griffinwalsh
"We colored fairy pictures for my daughter. Because monsters are obviously afraid of fairies. It worked for her being able to sleep in her room without being afraid" - CloackedGod926
"When my daughter was 2 she was afraid of monsters so I showed her a pic from the internet with a teddy bear scaring away the monsters and let her know that it's her Teddy's job to keep them away. For a while after that she required teddy bears in my room, her room, the bathroom, and the car. But we've been monster free, so all is good." - meow_witch
"As kids my sister had a similar fear of toilets( and of course wardrobes and under beds etc that lead to monster spray) my ma had an awesome solution to the toilet problem. You know those blocks for the loo that turn the water blue? My ma bought a pack and had labels made up to staple/glue onto the box."
"She told my sister that it works like insect repellant and monsters absolutely hate it and won't go near it cos the colour blue makes them sick. Within a week or so sis was absolutely convinced that as long as the water was blue when flushed it kept the monsters at bay" - Lokiberry316

However the husband and wife choose to move forward, it seems they should at least have a conversation with the grandmother. If she's receptive to their concerns and accepts suggestions for how to do better, they may be able to work on their relationship.

And if nothing else, at least they have some ideas for getting rid of the monsters now.