Doctor Betti
Dr. Betti Hertzberg Ressler is a Board Certified Pediatrician on staff at Miami Children's Hospital. Dr. Hertzberg developed the toilet training video "Let's Go Potty." She is the co-author of "The Doctor's Book of Home Remedies for Children."

Pull-ups vs. Training Pants

Question: My son is 33 months and has started potty training. He does really well, except when I have to put him in pull-ups. I do this is when we have to leave the house or when he attends Mothers Day Out. This always leads to accident setbacks. Should I just not leave the house for about 2 weeks until he grasps the concept? He loves to go into the bathroom, close the door, and go in his potty. He doesn't tell me, he just does it on his own. Any advice? - Samantha

Answer: Toddlers in the process of potty training: The need for independence and "I'll do it my way!" It seems that as long as he controls when and where he goes "potty," all goes well. When he is placed in "pull-ups," regression occurs.

Maybe what he's trying to tell you is that he doesn't feel in control and feels like a baby. It may be extra work, but if the only time there are accidents is when pull-ups are used going out, it may be worth it to allow him to wear regular underpants on an outing. You can treat it the same way on an outing as you would at home. The only difference would be possibly having to use an adult toilet (unless you take the potty with you).

In simple terms that your son would understand, explain that he is going to wear his underwear when going out. Be prepared for accidents. They are part of the learning process. Remember not to scold if he has one. Change him as you normally would.

Keep this in mind ... at home, he's a "big boy" wearing underwear. When he goes out, he's a baby (pull-ups sometimes feel like diapers). He apparently has the ability to control his bodily functions when he himself feels in control of the situation. (At Home!).

Good luck potty training!
Dr. Betti

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    This information is not intended to be a substitute for visiting your pediatrician. If you or your child has specific concerns, you should see your doctor for a diagnosis and treatment.