Should you use pull-ups or not?

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Pull-ups – should you use them or not? The most common complaint among parents who choose to use pull-ups for potty training is that their child will not transition to using the toilet instead of relying on the pull-ups. We really struggled with this so if your little one isn’t progressing past the pull-ups you’re not alone!

There are a few reasons this can happen:

  • They aren’t completely ready yet. In this case, it’s a good idea to back off for a little bit and try again when they are a little more ready.
  • The child starts using them as diapers; soiling the pull-up and then putting on a new one without being prompted to. This can happen because a child is “too busy” playing to remember to go on time or because the child enjoys the act of getting dressed without help.
  • Sometimes children have fears about using the potty. This is completely normal. Talking about the potty process and reassurance should help ease their fears.

However, pull-ups can be a very useful tool to aid you with potty training your child.

Tips for Success

  • Be sure your child is really ready – once they show signs of basic readiness (knowing they need a diaper change and being able to tell you, being able to pull up and down pants, being able to follow simple directions, showing interest in using the potty, etc.) most kids are ready to transition from diapers.
  • Let your child pick them out – if your child is ready for potty training it can be a good idea to let them help choose pull-ups and underwear that they like and would want to wear more than a diaper.
  • NO MORE DIAPERS – make a big deal of getting rid of any remaining diapers, how proud you are that they are ready to move on to something made for bigger kids (not babies), and how you will only be using pull-ups from now on until they are ready for underwear (Big Kid Undies). Don’t go back to using diapers as this can be confusing to your child.
  • Make frequent bathroom trips – when starting out, take your child to sit on the toilet every 10 minutes – even when you are not at home. When you feel they are ready, go every 15 minutes instead and so on. Whether or not anything happens, be positive and praise your child for sitting there and trying.
    Reward them – the reward can be whatever works for your family (small toys, a few pieces of candy, stickers, or just praise) but definitely reward your child every time they try – and when they are successful to use the toilet.
  • Don’t shame or punish accidents – this can cause a child to associate the act of going potty in general as a bad thing, which can prolong the process. Instead, clean up the mess and remind them they need to use the toilet next time.

For us, I think it made the whole process much longer. Some swear by them but others are adamant pull-ups shouldn’t be used as you can see here.

The most important thing to remember while potty training is to be patient and consistent. Each child is unique, which means that what works for one child may not work for yours. Even if you need to take a break remember, it will eventually happen when your child is ready.