Pull-ups V. Underwear

Updated on February 22, 2010
J.L. asks from Cleveland, OH
15 answers


I am sure this has been asked a hundred times on here, but here we go. My son will be 3 in a few weeks and is not potty trained. I just had a baby three months ago and he has not shown much interest, but he needs to be for camp this summer and for school next fall, so it is time to try. I will say that I know if he is not ready that it will not happen. There is no way to force him and I will not make it a battle of wills, but he is very verbal and seems to be interested.

I am not sure that he knows when he needs to pee, although he is very aware of when he needs to poop )he has had some issues with constipation). So some tips please....

Also should I do the pull-ups thing or just invest a week in underwear?

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

Featured Answers



answers from Cleveland on

I found training underwear helpful. It keeps that little bit of pee as they realize they are going from leaking all over the place, but wont help full blown accidents. Saves washing pants. Pull ups are not motivating. They are too much like diapers. Buy about 12 or so. Gerber makes them and they can be found near onsies and cloth diapers at Target and Walmart. If you have to, put training underwear on then a pull up if you need to go out of the house and he isn't completely trained. That way he feels the wet and is uncomfortable if he does pee. The best thing I did was let my son go totally naked from the waist down. He was so much more aware that he didn't have a diaper on.

More Answers



answers from Cleveland on

I am currently potty training my daughter (she's 2 1/2). I started with pull-ups but she just peed in them. So I went and bought her panties that she wanted and she did much better with them. She had a couple accidents in her panties but she decided she didn't like the feeling. So now she is learning to tell me when she has to go. So I say- go undies not pullups during the time he's awake. I do change her to pull-ups at naptime and night time.



answers from Indianapolis on

I used pull-ups for awhile but my daughter just used it as a diaper. I let her pick out underwear and a few potty "prizes" to get things started. My sister said she puts star stickers on a chart--when her son gets so many stars he gets m&ms. There's also a potty watch that one step ahead sells for about $10--you can set it to any interval you want to remind your little guy it's time to go potty. It took a few stops and starts to finally get reliable success, but we had to get rid of the pull-ups to make it work (we use diapers for naps and bedtimes). Good luck!!



answers from Tulsa on

I am not one to enjoy cleaning up feces and urine off the carpet and flooring so we use pull ups. If you really focus on taking him and making a big deal out af any response, such as sitting there trying, sitting and producing anything, really going, and give him a jelly bean or mini M&M then he will get the desire for the positive experience. I have a 3 yr. old, December, and he is going and as long as I am paying attention to his actions he will go every time and stay dry all day, in the same pull up. He has even had a dry night or two. But I never mention if he has an accident or anything, I just try to focus all positive to him.



answers from Kansas City on

pull ups are just another diaper and most kids will treat them as such. we tried the cool alerts, and our dd didnt not even notice. eventually we went to pull ups for going out and underpants for home, which worked pretty well, now we're just at pullups for night night.



answers from Columbus on

My son is 3 and is fully potty trained except for bed time of course and that is when he wears pull ups. I did the reward system and when he peed I gave him a flavored tootsie roll (or candy of your choice) or when he peed and poohed he got 2. he picked up on the reward system and it really worked well for my son.

I did pull ups for my son and learned that underwear worked better because he would pee in the pull up and have no trouble sitting in it. But with regular underwear he had to be changed right away because he hated sitting in it. So I would say underwear is best.

Good luck!



answers from Dayton on

I would say take a week to do the underwear. The way some one told me how to potty train a child worked for my daughter. You go straight to underwear because pullups are like diapers so the child feels like still going in the pullup. Take him to the store and let him pick out a pack or two of underwear. Put them on him and every 5 minutes you put him on the potty. I know I know it is time comsuming but it works. You put him on the potty for 5 minutes then take him off. Set the timer for 5 minutes and when the timer goes off put him back on it for 5 minutes. You just have keep up with it. I would put a pullup on him for naps and bedtime though. Good luck and hope things go well.



answers from San Francisco on

Agree with Sara. When you are in the middle of potty training, the last thing you want to deal with is an accident on the go when you have the new baby too. But the only way to learn the sensation is underwear. My strategy was to pick a time when I knew we would be home most of the day and really focus on it. Have more than one potty and let him take it where he is. My son put Thomas the Tank Engine stickers on one of his (the downstairs one). And my son was a few weeks past 3 when I started.
Oh, and we started with naked from the waist down, then underwear only, then underwear and pants.



answers from Cincinnati on

Pull ups were way too much like diapers. He went in them just as if he was wearing daiper. I would go straight underwear for two weeks, reminding him every two hours or less to go. At the end of the two weeks assess as to where you are, and move from there.



answers from Cincinnati on

I went straight to underwear. Even I sometimes couldn't tell if she had peed in a pull-up (if it was a little); even the special ones that cool when they are wet. She couldn't either. I do pull-ups at night and during her naps, though. Good luck!


answers from Dallas on

I agree that you should ask him to sit on the potty about every hour or so for a few days. Hopefully he will learn to take the lead himself and understand the "feeling" of needing to do it on his own and learn the skill of "holding it" too. I also recommend getting him a small potty and keeping it available in the play area. I know some folks don't want to deal with it but sometimes it does the trick and they feel like they don't have to stop everything and go in the bathroom. Small candy treats for using the potty is also a good thing to encourage them. And of course, ALWAYS keep it positive! As for pull ups or underwear, I think that you could buy a small pack of training pants so he'll be able to feel the wetness if he has an accident. Pull ups are fine for later when he gets the hang of going to the potty. They are great when your not quite sure to trust him on a long outing or at nighttime. Pull ups feel like diapers so it's hard for them to know the difference.
Best of luck! I just got my last one potty trained two weeks ago! Yeah!



answers from Mansfield on

My son couldn't wear either underwear or pull ups while first learning to potty train. He didn't care if he was wet. However he knew he was in trouble if he went on the floor, furniture,etc. So he was naked from the waste down until he was really getting the idea. Then we went to underwear for day time (use those plastic covers to keep wetness in just incase of an accident- especially if not at home and ofcourse a change of clothes with you at all times) and used regular diapers at night until he started getting up to go or just staying dry. Pull ups are expensive.
My girls were alot easier to train- alot earlier and faster than my son and we didn't use pull ups for them much either. Except for church and things like that. Hope this helps :)



answers from Dallas on

I didn't use pull ups or underware. I put my son in training pants and told him he would graduate to big boy undies when he didn't have anymore accidents. Training pants do let them feel wet, but absorb a lot more urine than underware. Good luck!



answers from Pittsburgh on

If you do use underwear during the day, I'd still use Pull ups at night. He won't be night trained for a while yet. People say that with underwear, they feel the wetness and learn quicker. I used Pull ups til I was pretty sure my son was getting the general idea, then switched to underwear.



answers from Washington DC on

I'd say brace yourself for a few days indoors & letting go around with nothing on the bottom half , take him to the toilet every hour to see if he needs to pee , once he has done it a couple of times and you have gone completely overboard with the praises and cheers!....he will love it and it should then fall into place quite easily. As for pull ups I did not bother with them , they are a diaper that pulls up and down so I just thought what is the point , so we went straight to underwear. After a few days of being house bound , if we were going out in the car I would make sure they went before we left the house and then I bought (from babies R us) car seat protectors. They are an absorbant sheet that you put on the base of the seat , so if they had an accident it saved the car seat. Always remember to take a change of underwear and pants with you (socks aswell , you will be surprised how everything get's wet).

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions