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Readers Respond: How to Handle a Toddler that Only Wants to Wear Diapers During Potty Training

Responses: 4

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Sometimes, even when all the other signs of potty training readiness are there, our toddlers let us know that they'd like to stick to the status quo instead. Many times they do this by clinging desperately to their diapers. If you've got a toddler who is refusing to wear underwear or who tantrums in order to get a diaper, share how you're coping with it and give other parents your best tips on what's worked to get them back on track with potty training.

Have a Bye Bye Diaper Party

We were having a serious battle with the diapers at our house. She knew where they were and would climb the shelves trying to get them (we "hid" them up on the top of a bookshelf). I didn't know what to do but then one day it dawned on me we could do the same thing we did to get rid of her pacifier which was to throw a party. We had cake and wore party hats and said farewell to the diapers. She threw them in the trash herself and got a present afterward (a doll she's been wanting). Since then we've had no problems with her even asking for them whatsoever.
—Guest Trish

Still Wanting to Be a Baby

My 3-year-old daughter started potty training but kept on making such big fuss over wanting her diapers back. Me and my wife decided to go to her doctor and ask about the problem. She said that most children will refuse potty training because they still have the need to be a baby. She suggested that we give her praise and show her the rewards of being a big girl. Turns out, she was right. After we started supporting her, she enjoyed using the potty. Now we have her in Pull-Ups day and night. She adores the princess ones and it won't be too long before she's done and wearing panties.
—Guest adrian

Cold turkey is the way to go...

In your article, you said: "Keeping diapers around can signal to your toddler that you're not that serious about potty training and you don't really expect him to use the potty. It tells him that he's got options. If he chooses, he can just go get a diaper and pee or poop there where he's more comfortable." Brilliant statement and so true! I always encourage parents to go 'cold turkey' no matter how hard it might be. (Even for quick trips to the grocery store.) When you use diapers, even for brief encounters, it signals to your child that using the potty is inconvenient or somehow less desirable in certain situations. --Suzanne Riffel, author of "The Potty Boot Camp: Basic Training for Toddlers"
—Guest Suzanne Riffel

The Diaper Can Signify a Power Struggle

My son always wanted a diaper for poop. He peed in the potty or toilet, but would wait until I put a diaper on him for nap time and then poop. I asked a psychologist (we were doing a parenting course at the time) and her advice was to change the poopy diaper, but absolutely no talking or eye contact whatsoever whilst doing it. It worked. One day he said to me "Mummy, I want to poop on the toilet now." I gave him praise, but I didn't overdo it and make a big deal out of it, because that can be a component of a power struggle. If your toddler sees how important it is to you, some of his power has been taken away.
—Guest Juina
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