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How To Introduce Underwear In Potty Training

#trainingpants #underwear Jan 17, 2023

Potty training is one of the biggest and most complex developmental milestones a toddler will face, and finally getting your child out of diapers and into underwear can be an exciting part of the process.

However, not knowing how and when to introduce underwear can actually be a hinderance to your child successfully voiding in the potty. So the question is, how does a parent introduce underwear in the potty training process?


1. Spent some time bottomless 

If you transition your child too early into underwear, it can have a similar sensation to diapers in the way it acts as a barrier to pee or poop going down a child's legs. 

Before jumping straight from diapers to underwear, you want to start with a few days of "bottomless" time - meaning your child is naked from the waist down. When your child is not wearing any clothing or bottoms, it gives them the opportunity to feel their wetness and bring attention to their body's signals and urges - which is exactly what we are trying to do in potty training. 


2. Let your child choose their underwear

Getting your child involved in the process as much as possible helps to engage their interest and make them feel in control of the process... so take your child on a special shopping trip to choose their own underwear! 

Choosing their favorite character underwear is a thrilling process for your child... not only will they feel more self-motivated when you start potty training, but they may even be less likely to want to mess it!


3. Practice pushing down and pulling up 

In potty training, success begins when a child starts to recognize what their urges are and begins to self-initiate taking themselves to the potty before they have this urge. 

For a child to have the confidence to self-initiate, we need to give them the autonomy and independence they need to gain this confidence... and this independence can start by encouraging your child to begin dressing and undressing themselves (or with your help in the beginning!)

Start by letting your child choose their outfit by setting out two different options to choose from. Then begin to talk through how to dress and undress and help your child with each step. There are numerous steps throughout this process (i.e. putting on a top, pushing one arm through and then the other, pulling underwear up, pulling pants up etc) so take it slow. The key here is you want to practice pushing pants down and up out of the pressure of the moment when they actually need to pee or poop.

Independence and autonomy are two important themes your child craves at this stage and Help your child to get dressed and undressed.


4. Size up!

Wearing underwear is a completely new sensation to diapers or bottomless time which usually sees a temporary stage of more frequent mistakes. Sometimes if underwear is too snug it can have a similar feeling to diapers which can add to the confusion. A way to combat this is to ensure you purchase a size up in your child's underwear so they remain loose fitting and not too snug.


5. Purchase enough pairs of underwear

In the beginning of potty training, there will be a tonne of mistakes... and this is the point! Mistakes are the perfect opportunity for you to teach your child about their signals and guide them on what to do the next time they feel the same sensation. So be sure to purchase enough pairs to get you through a full day. I usually recommend anywhere between 12 -18 pairs of underwear to begin. 


6. Consider training pants 

Many brands these days have developed variations of underwear called "training pants." This type of underwear is made from a thicker material that usually comes up higher on a child to mimic a diaper and has a thicker layer of cotton at the crotch or absorb a small amount of urine. To be clear, this type of underwear does not soak the same amount of urine as a diaper, but only if there are small leaks throughout the day. This type of underwear is particularly handy for kids who tend to pee frequently in the beginning. However, most kids are able to transition straight to normal underwear, so consider if this type of underwear purchase is necessary for your kid!


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