Diapers vs undies

I’ve had one outburst too many regarding accidents on the floor these days. So, recently we’ve been offering Lucy the choice: undies or back to diapers?

Photo: “Mom! Will you please stop hassling me about the potty?!”

Lucy and I have been locking horns quite often on the potty front. The standard response to “Lucy, do you need to use the potty?” has become, “No potty sit!” In the past week or so, we’ve had lots more accidents, and it has turned into a vicious circle — the more I ask her to go, the more she resists, the greater the possibility of having an accident, the more I resolve to ask her frequently. This makes me nuts. So, now I give Lucy a choice: “You may sit on the potty now, or you may wear a diaper. You decide.”

I must say, I’ve had to do a little soul-searching to be okay with the revert-to-diaper option. Since we’ve been working hard at potty training for almost three months, it totally feels like a step back. But I need to remember that this time has not been wasted. Lucy has definitely shown us that she knows how to use the potty, but it seems that she needs to make the decision to be a potty-girl on her own. The jelly beans, parental prompts, and “potty time” timers are just not cutting it anymore.

I also need to remember that potty training is really a big responsibility. This scene from The Incredibles (one of Lucy’s favorite flicks) illustrates it:

Violet: We act normal, Mom! I want to be normal! The only normal one is Jack-Jack, and he’s not even toilet trained!
Dash: Lucky…uh, I meant about being normal.

It has taken me awhile to realize that pull-ups and diapers provide a level of comfort and freedom from responsibility for Lucy. There are new freedoms, of course, with potty-training — but I can imagine that, from Lucy’s perspective, sometimes she just wants to not think about it and have the whole elimination process handled by Mama and Papa. Plus, Rosie seems pretty happy with her situation — what’s not to like?

In some ways, it would be freeing for me to have Lucy in diapers again — no need to drop everything at the grocery store for a trip to the bathroom, no worries about Lucy peeing on the floor at a friend’s house (or our house), no need to bring a portable potty seat when we go to the park, and (perhaps best of all) a greatly reduced chance of having potty-related conflicts. But I don’t think she really wants to give up her big-girl skill.

Offering Lucy the choice between diapers and undies seems to be helping her to understand the joy of independence that comes from being diaper-free. There have been a couple of times that she has chosen to wear a diaper, but she doesn’t seem to enjoy it like she thought she would. And, while we are still prone to accidents in undies (whereas she’s got the naked-bottom thing almost down pat), Lucy is learning that wearing underpants will eventually result in her complete autonomy in the area of elimination. How we will all rejoice on that day!

6 Replies to “Diapers vs undies”

  1. Potty training is definitely a difficult thing and I will agree that it does have to at some point be up to the child to decide to want to do it. My cousin has a son who is about one month older than Benjamin who is completely potty trained, but refuses to poop on the potty – he will say, Mommy, I need to poop, put a pull-up on me. What can you do? You can’t force a child to use the potty!

    One thing I would say that I learned is that it’s never a good idea to say “Do you need to use the potty” because the answer is pretty much always going to be “no”. Even now, completely potty trained for 8 months, Benjamin will answer that question with a “no” but when I say, “Why don’t you check and make sure before we get in the car” he’ll go and pee in the potty… Instead, we just started saying “It’s time to sit on the potty” or “Let’s try the potty now” or something like that. I also found a timer to work better than me telling Benjamin when to use the potty – then it wasn’t me making him use the potty, it was the timer. I like your idea of giving her the choice of diapers vs. undies. At least she will feel like she’s somewhat in control of the process. And hey – if you have to go back to diapers for a while, it’s not the end of the world. I started potty training with Benjamin around age 2, gave it up after a couple months and tried again at 2 1/2 at which point it took a week and went very smoothly (I didn’t even have to use rewards). In the meantime, I still encouraged him to sit on the potty when he wanted and if I could tell he had to go, would put him up there, just to try and maintain the idea of it.

    One other thought – if Lucy has any friends that are potty trained, you might use that as a motivator. Benjamin has responded very well to “why don’t you sit on the potty like Landon does?”

  2. Ann,

    I am so there with you!

    We recently had a time where I had to put the M & M’s “back on the potty”. I had stopped rewarding because Naomi was beings so faithful in going and telling me she had to go. But I was starting to feel like I had a puppy. Puddles everywhere! It helped to begin the rewards in earnest again. But we are still having accidents. Usually, these are happening because Naomi waits to long to come inside. I probably need to be more present in the process. Oyy. I just dont remember it taking so long with Alex and Joseph…but then they were a whole year older. And I did not train Charles. He just did what his brothers did. Period.

    I hope that things get better and I wish I had some good ideas. Know that you are not on the journey alone.

    Blessings

  3. I totally feel you. Madelyn was doing awsome. No accidents for months and then starting a week or so ago we now have an accident every other day and some times 4 a day. But it is also a very stressful time for me. We have so much on our plate right now that we are around the girls and not working for maybe 3 hours a day. So I think she is crying for attention. It doesn’t help that both of us are on short tempers right now. Ahhh, what will we do about it? Just this morning Lydia had a blow-out a few mins after maddy peed in her breakfast chair (I had just asked her to get down and go sit on the potty). None the less we changed two girls and got them off to school 30 mins late. I am thinkful for your thoughts, I am enjoying reflecting on them.

  4. Kaia was so difficult to train, that I thought she’d be wearing pull-ups to kindergarten. I learned with her just to back off. We kept her in pullups and she used the potty when she wanted to. When she started not using the potty and only using the pull-up we took them away again and made her wear undies for a little while. Eventually she got the hang of it.

    Mo is still in pull-ups (I posted a video on my blog this morning, that he will not like when he’s older) but is interested in trying to use the potty. I know he’ll use it when ready. He has a few times. Asking if he wants to though always results in a “No” so just letting him ask us to use it has been much more successful.

    I’ll keep you in my prayers as it is definitely a task!

  5. We are SOOOooo right in the middle of this with Eli now. It’s frustrating and I’m sorta ready to throw in the towel. There are already so many battles to fight with a stubborn toddler, I don’t want to force potty training to be one of them. He wants to go back to diapers. Honestly, diapers are cheaper than Pull-Ups. I’m hoping (but not holding my breath) that after the baby is born he will start to see the difference and want to continue to be a big boy. However, it may take a while. Thanks for this post! I was sure I would need it sooner or later. Merry Christmas!

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