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What Should My Child Wear for Potty Training?

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Question: What Should My Child Wear for Potty Training?
Answer: There are many options concerning undergarments during potty training, and as many philosophies about what works and what doesn't to go along with them. Let's look at some of the pros and cons.

Underwear

Pros:

  • Inexpensive
  • Reusable
  • Easy for child to pull up and down
  • Thin enough that child feels wet and dirty
  • More like what adults wear

Cons:

  • If child has an accident, entire change of clothing is often necessary
  • Creates a lot of laundry
  • Doesn't protect surfaces when in the car or on an outing

Cloth Training Pants

Pros:

  • Reusable
  • More expensive than underwear, but less expensive than disposable training pants
  • Thick enough to sometimes protect surfaces, but thin enough that child still feels wet or dirty

Cons:

  • Sometimes not thick enough to protect outer clothing, so change of clothing may be necessary in case of accidents
  • Creates a lot of laundry
  • Sometimes will not protect surfaces when in car or on an outing
  • Less like adult underwear
  • Can be difficult for child to pull up and down

Disposable Training Pants (like Pull-ups)

Pros:

  • Protect outer clothing when accidents occur
  • Can be a good transition out of a diaper if child is uncomfortable with underwear
  • Disposable
  • No Laundry
  • Protects surfaces when in car or on an outing

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Have to go to the store when you run out
  • Child often doesn't feel wetness and so is less aware
  • Feels like a diaper, so child may feel no difference between being in diapers and learning to potty
  • Sometimes difficult for children to pull up or down
  • Not at all like adult underwear

You may choose one method exclusively, which is often recommended so that it promotes consistency and eliminates any confusion. You may choose to use underwear during the day and disposable training pants at night or during naps, as many parents do. This is a good strategy since children often gain control during sleep much later than they do during waking hours.

Ultimately the decision will be what works for you and for your child. Don't be afraid to try a method and then switch to another if one is plainly not working. Once you find what works, stick with it and keep on going.

Do you have a question you'd like to see answered? You can send your questions to me at babyparenting@aboutguide.com and I will answer them here on the site.

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