Help! My Potty Trained 3Yr Old Suddenly Only Wants to Wear Diapers Again!

Updated on November 07, 2007
K.D. asks from Merritt Island, FL
8 answers

I hope there is someone out there who has had the same experience or someone who has a great idea to help. My 3 year old son has been potty trained for about 4 months. He did so well with the potty training. We had NO issues at all. He pretty much one day stopped using diapers and went straight to the toilet. Me had a minimal amount of accidents and I thought that it was great. But now, I am starting to become frustrated. Within the past two weeks, he cries to wear his "diapers". (They are actually pull-ups that we put on him at night because he still does not wake up at night to go potty.) Just this morning, he screamed because I took his pull-up off. He said he didn't want to wear "big boys". I don't give in when this happens. I would rather him run around nude (in the house of course) than think he can wear his diaper all day. I wouldn't mind him wearing the pull-ups if he actually still went to the potty but, he urinates in them. The only think he won't do in them is poop. He will always go to the toilet to do that. I assume he wants to wear the diapers because he is being lazy but I need to break him of this habit. If anyone has any suggestions, I would be very greatful!! Thank you in advance.


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So What Happened?

Thank you to everyone for all of the suggestions. I stayed consistent and he doesn't want to wear the pull-ups anymore during the day. I am still using them at night but plan to stop using them very soon. I'd like to do it over my upcoming vacation from work just in case he wakes up frequently during the night. Again... Thank you to everyone for all of the suggestions.

More Answers



answers from Providence on

I agree that you should take the pull ups away. You're sending him mixed signals. Yeah, it's a pain in the butt to have to wash sheets every morning, but it won't happen for long, and then he'll start getting up at night to go to the potty. We used to use pull ups for about a week before I realized that it was setting our little one back. Then I would just help my daughter for a little bit by going in and getting her to the potty before I would go to bed myself. Once she had a routine set up, she was able to get up all on her own. Before the invention of disposable diapers and pull ups, there were no issues with potty training children. Just because it's convenient and popular, doesn't mean it's the right way to do it.



answers from Boston on

Hi, sounds familiar. My cousin went through this, her son did the same, same age too. My opinion is let him wear the pullup. For some reason he isnt secure about it. Or let him wear underwear & wet it. He may not like it. Since you work all week, he must goto a sitter or center? Have you talked to them? Has something changed there?
I have a 3 yr old girl that isnt ready, gave herself a UTI because she was holding it in, so it could be worse. I think its pretty normal for them to regress. He'll go back to using the potty, just be positive. Remember, he can control what his body does, not you & believe me, he KNOWS it! :)
Best of luck!
L. --

my husband & i both work fulltime while our 3 & 6 yr olds goto a great sitter ( i've known them since i was a kid )



answers from Providence on

my son is 4 and im having such a hard with his potty training. i took the pull ups away because he was being lazy. However he stays dry at night but he pees his pants all day long even if hes a foot away from the toilet. im guessing he may have seen something on tv that is making him change his mind but its probably just a stage. try and reward him to go in the toilet.



answers from Portland on

Give the pullups a cost that outweighs the reward of him wearing them. What is his currency?
Either play it the way- that if he is wearing pullups he can't do big boy things (because it is essentially a diaper) he has been doing...
Or develop a chart (for my son he was into trains so I made a track and each pullup (or undies kept dry) not used because he peed and or pooped in the potty earned him $.30 which equaled one space on the "track." If he peed in them or pooped, I backspaced the train following the track- it was on a magnet- a train sticker taped over a magnet. SO the end of the track was a toy valued at what the pullups used would have cost me. Then I made a fast track (which is what you could do- and each track was worth about $.90 which got him to the toy even faster... for him this was him initiating going to the potty on his own- even if he needed help- I wanted him focused on knowing and initiating needing to go.
I just kept saying that I would rather buy him toys than pullups.



answers from Springfield on

Has there been any change in your family life recently? Or an announcement of upcoming change? Frequently young children will regress in response to change elsewhere in their life, as a coping mechanism. Things like a family member becoming sick or dying, talk of a move or another baby, new neighbors moving in, mention of going to school for the first time, or even hearing Mommy and Daddy argue about money can all trigger it. I would continue to be firm with him about the diapers, but talk to him about any other issues he may be having.



answers from Springfield on

You're doing the right thing...good job mommy! stay persistant and firm. Praise him when he wears his undies. also let him know that him using the pull up is a bit gross. My son took in that one. He didn't want to be gross with pp on him LOL. Also try getting undies with his favorite characters on them. My 3yr old loves his spidey undies. He often wants to use the pull ups b/c of the characters on them so I stopped buying the fancy ones and got the plain ones. But it's ok, its normal for children to want to stay babies. But always praise them for being big boys and girls.



answers from Springfield on

I would highly suggest hiring a specialist to help you with this issue. Getting into tolieting struggles with your child can have a negative and sometimes long lasting affect on your relationship with your child. The most important thing to keep in mind is try not to join in a battle of wills between you and your child.

There are also a lot of good books on the subject.

Good luck!



answers from Hartford on

If you really only want him to wear big boy undies then stop buying the pull ups or diappers! If they are not around he cant wear them! It might be tough for about a week! But it worked for my nephew! Also let him choose his big boy undies out! Letting him have choices is a good thing, it makes him fell like a big boy!

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