In all of the mom Facebook groups I belong to, one of the most common struggles discussed and questions asked is how to get your kid to go diaper-free. There are many variations of the process, but when I asked moms to share how they finally got rid of pull-ups their stories all had one thing in common: a huge mess. Getting rid of diapers isn't that terrible when you're switching to pull-ups, but getting rid of pull-ups is an entirely new struggle that moms everywhere can relate to. I remember when I first decided it was time to get my daughter out of diapers completely. The one piece of advice I received was to not switch to pull-ups. As you can imagine, I did not listen.
When your kid starts cruising around the house, regular diaper changes become even more hectic because your kid refuses to stand still. As a result, my partner and I decided to put our daughter into pull-ups. Well, the pull-ups quickly turned into a crutch and I felt as if we were destined to remain in diaper land forever. Finally, when my daughter was close to 2, we took off her pull-ups, put her in regular underwear, and dealt with a few weeks of accidents. After a couple of weeks, thankfully, she learned to use the toilet and we were happy with her success.
I had heard that boys were more difficult to potty train. My neighbor's son was still in diapers at 4 and I remember having conversations about it with her and how difficult her son was when it came to ditching diapers. I didn't quite understand her struggle, though, until I had my son. Unlike my daughter, who didn't like having accidents, my son didn't have a care in the world. He would walk around with poop in his pants all day if I let him. So I decided this wasn't a battle I wanted to fight, and I basically let him go ahead and train himself. The process was rather painless, minus a few accidents here and there.
My experience potty training both a little girl and a little boy isn't universal, though, so I thought I would ask other moms who they handled this major (and often messy) transition. This is what they had to say:
"Just took them off and dealt with the mess for a week both times."
"Went from diapers to nothing (and dealt with the mess for a few days) to train during the day. Overnight pull-ups has been a different story."
"Took them off and kept training. It took two weeks of laundry and mess."
"Went from diapers to nothing."
"My son came home from daycare and said, 'I now use potty and don’t need diapers.' And he was right. Daughter was a much harder process, so we won’t focus on her for this one. Every child is different and my recommendation is to just go with the flow and wait until they are ready."
"We did it in the summer after my daughter turned 2. If she had pull-ups on she would pee in them, so I had to put her in underwear so she got the concept of having an accident. We would put her on the potty every 20-30 minutes and if she peed a little we would make a big deal about it. At one point we even gave her one M&M for every time she asked and went potty by herself. It took us the whole summer."
"Taking off pull ups is easy, it's the changing sheets in the middle of the night that's hard. The struggle is real."