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MIL cut off when she secretly leaves 4yo son alone, puts him in a diaper. + New Update

MIL cut off when she secretly leaves 4yo son alone, puts him in a diaper. + New Update


"AITA for revoking my mother-in-law's babysitting rights because she put my son in a diaper?"


Me (29F) and my husband (31M) have a son (3M) and a baby girl on the way. As a baby, my son developed a severe allergy to diapers. He'd get awful rashes that took way too long to get better, and nothing we did helped much.

Due to that, my husband and I decided to start potty training a bit early (right before he was 18 months old). We talked to his pediatrician and relied on cloth diapers as much as we could. After a few months of that, he'd almost grown out of his allergy, but we kept going.

Today, he's fully potty trained. He has some (very) rare accidents, but only when he tries to delay his bathroom trips for too long. When that happens, we wash him up and replace his underwear.

My husband's mother was firmly against our decision to potty train our son early. She insisted that it would lead to IBS, and that he should wear diapers until he was at least three. She tried to convince us to change our minds for months, but we held our ground.

In early December, I had a doctor's appointment while my husband was at work, so I left our son with my MIL for a couple hours. Some time later, she called me and said my son had a (bathroom) accident. He hadn't had one in months. I instructed her on how to proceed, as well as where to find the spare clothes I'd packed for him.

I picked him up about an hour later. On our way home, he complained about being "itchy". I didn't know why until I got him ready for bathtime later that night. He was wearing a diaper.

He didn't get any rashes, but the diaper was a couple sizes too small and he hadn't worn one in a long time, so I think that's where the itchiness came from. When I asked him about it, he confirmed my MIL had said he was "still a baby" and put him in the diaper.

When my husband and I confronted her about it, she defended herself by saying his accident was clear proof we'd made a mistake by potty training him early and he should go back to wearing diapers for the time being. At no point did she apologize.

We decided she was forbidden from babysitting, as well as spending time with our son unsupervised. She didn't think we were serious until we went to her place on Saturday. We had to go to the hospital, and rather than leaving our son with her, we took him with us.

Now that she knows we're serious, she's calling us dramatic and ungrateful, as well as claiming we're alienating her from her grandchildren out of stubbornness. She maintains she was right about early potty training being a bad idea and was only trying to help us.

I don't think we're in the wrong, but this does feel a bit dramatic. My BIL, who was skeptical of our decision back in the day, thinks we're right to be angry, but it's still an overreaction to revoke her permission to babysit our son. AITA?

EDIT: I feel the need to point out the diaper was clean when I removed it. Also, my son will be four years old in February.

EDIT 2: MIL is not our only babysitting option. My mom and stepdad, my sister, my BIL and my best friend also babysit.

Here were the top rated comments from readers after the OP's initial post:


Big fan of cloth diapers, used them on mine. Seems that MIL is making some decisions that feel like she is able to override your role as parent. Is revoking baby sitting rights too harsh? I dunno.

I mean, if say you revoked all baby sitting rights for letting your son watch Spongebob when you are a PBS-Kids only family, I 'd say, yes too harsh. In this case, I kinda shrug my shoulders, as I feel its less about putting your kid in a diaper and more about all the other stuff MIL is saying.

  1. Telling your 3 year old they are "still a baby", which feels a lot like a big overdose of shame for the kid for having an accident. I'm sure he'll "recover" and will stop thinking about it after 10 more minutes, but its pretty bullshit from MIL that she's all "you are a shameful shameful boy!!!"

  2. This is all wrapped up in some bizarre protest about your decision regarding when to potty train. I mean... who gives a darn? That there are so many strong and passionate opinions about this it is astonishing me.

  3. Not so much what MIL said, but also what she didn't say. That she put a diaper on your kid. Based on your description, she didn't even tell you she did this. Obviously she was hiding it but also planting it so you would discover later and lead to this sort of scenario. It is also kinda unsafe the way she did it, not because of rashes, but because of the tiny diaper had cut off circulation in his legs.

It would have been a completely different situation if a sem panicked MIL was like "sorry he had an accident, I cleaned him up, and didn't have an extra pair of underwear so had to use a diaper". or something like that.

Unrelated, I have to admit, I read your description of your son ("Son (3M)") as someone who was 3 months old. So when you wrote "he complained about being itchy", I was like ... "what?". Still recovering from new years I guess.


"That there are so many strong and passionate opinions about this it is astonishing me."

Oh man, as someone who also had kids who potty trained "early", SO many people have weirdly strong feelings about it. So many. Similar to cloth diapers, it's absolutely mind-blowing the amount of people who care what someone else's kid goes potty in.


NTA. Not only did she disrespect your parenting decision, she doubled-down, therefore you can’t trust her to not do it again. Tell her she can see him during family functions and she can visit when she wants, but she won’t be asked to babysit him anymore. That’s not alienation, by the way, she’s just being dramatic and trying to guilt-trip you into changing your mind.


NTA. Your son is literally almost 4 as you state in your edit. That's definitely not early for potty training. If anything what she's doing is regressive and going to harm him going forward. On top of that you have a medical reason and worked with his doctor to keep him out of diapers and she ignored all that.

Why did she have diapers on hand in the first place? She seems weirdly obsessed with the fact you have a potty trained preschooler (which is age appropriate) and wildly uninformed about toddler health and how potty training works.

The OP responded here:


I honestly have no idea where that diaper came from. We have started buying diapers for my daughter's nursery, but only in newborn sizes.

A week later, the OP returned with a full update.

"My mother-in-law put my potty-trained son in a diaper (UPDATE)"


Hey, guys. Thank you for your comments and reassurance. It's good to know I'm not crazy. I didn't think I'd write an update (at least not this soon), but I found out something this week that cemented things for me.

Since the diaper incident happened, I'd been wondering where my MIL had gotten the diaper from. When I asked her about it, she told me it was a leftover from when my son was younger. As much as I didn't think that was true, it did make some sense, and she swore by it. When I asked my son back in December, he just told me she had the diaper.

After my original post, some people reached out to me with theories about that. I talked to my husband about them, and on Friday, we decided to confront his mother again. We did it over the phone, after our son went to bed.

This time, she decided she wanted to "come clean" (her exact words). She admitted the diaper wasn't a leftover, but rather a new one she bought right after my son's accident.

To clarify: rather than obey my instructions and change my son into his spare clothes, my MIL left him alone in her bathtub while she went to the pharmacy near her house and bought diapers. She left my four-year-old alone in her house for ten whole minutes because she wanted to prove a point.

She claimed what she did was fine because the bathtub was empty and she'd locked the bathroom door. She also said my son was crying when she got home, and she "comforted" him by saying it would make me and my husband happy to see him in a diaper.

And then she had the nerve to say it was "good to get this off her chest", and that we could finally move on from this. Needless to say, the word "outraged" doesn't even begin to cover how we're feeling. My husband yelled at her for over half an hour before hanging up the phone.

My husband and I talked to our son about it, and he said he didn't tell us anything because he didn't want us to be mad at him. We managed to reassure him he'd done nothing wrong. We promised he's a big boy, and he'll never wear a diaper again.

My MIL called us several times over the weekend. She gave us dozens of excuses, ranging from "I couldn't find his underwear" (I clearly remember her announcing she had it when she called me that day) to "I left my sons home alone all the time when they were younger" (my husband had no idea).

We lost whatever patience we had yesterday. We decided she won't be allowed near our family for the next six months. If she doesn't improve her behavior until then, that will become permanent.

She's also uninvited from our son's fourth birthday party next month and won't be allowed to see our daughter at the hospital when she's born (I'm due in May). We sent her a text with the above before blocking her. That was all yesterday, so we'll see how it goes from here.

Even if she does change, she'll never be allowed to babysit our kids again. We have other people who can take care of them on occasion. Yes, I know it takes a village. It also takes population control. Again, thank you all. I'll let you know if anything happens.

Here were the top rated comments from readers after the OP's update:


She’s more worried about him potty training early than locking him alone in her bathroom for even a minute…much less 10 whole minutes???? What is wrong with her????


I’m in shock! Mil really messed up that whole situation with you and your son. She said/did ALL of the wrong things! She needs sorted!!! Glad you came down hard on her!


My jaw hit the floor. She could be jailed for leaving your son alone. Oh empty tub, that's fine then. And if he had turned the water on and stopped up the drain? Or turned just the hot water on? What cleaning supplies are under sink? Razors or scissors? She is insane.


Leaving him alone, everyone has covered that pretty well. I’m going to comment on her belief of not toilet training until after 3 years of age. I didn’t actively train my four kids. I provided supplies and opportunities. The oldest was 2y 9m, #2 was 3y 3m, next in line was also 3y 3m, and my baby was 2. The youngest wanted to be like her older sisters and brother.

If you ever talk to her again, tell her that this grandma said: kids train when they are ready, and making them wear a diaper when they are finished with them is wrong! What she did to your son is repulsive. She wasn’t “helping”, she was punishing him.


I wonder how many other lies she has confused your son with? That woman is not a safe person. Physically or emotionally. Poor kid. Good job booting her caregiving rights to the trash where they belong OP.

So, do you think the OP overreacted or do you think the mother-in-law should not be allowed to be alone with their son?

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