Transitioning Your Cautious Child To Big Kid Underwear

Jan 18, 2023 | 2 minutes Read

When your kid regularly has dry Pull-Ups® and is feeling confident, it is time to introduce the (drum roll, please) Big Kid Underpants. Explain to your careful child the difference between underpants and Pull-Ups, showing them the two side by side: You wear them the same way, you pull them up and down the same way, but they feel a little different and work a little differently. Your detail-oriented child will likely understand fairly quickly and show interest in taking the next step forward in mastering potty training. 

Girl adding stickers to Potty Chart
Give your cautious child ownership of this process. Take your child shopping and allow them to pick their own underwear. This will show that you have confidence in her ability to be successful.

  • “Look how many stickers you got this week (or month)! Is it time to try Big Kid underwear like (insert the name of an older sibling, cousin or friend)?”
  • When your kid is ready for underwear, let them know what’s happening ahead of time. “Today we’re going on a special shopping trip. You’re doing so well in your potty training, I want you to help me pick some special undies for you, just like the Big Kids have!”
Remember to find a special spot for the underwear when you get home, and keep up the excitement by allowing your child to wear them as soon as you get home. It’s a cautious child’s nature to try new things to see how the old rules work — or need to be adapted.

  • "Where should we keep your special underwear so that you can put them on when you need them? Would you like to put a pair on now and see how they work with the potty rules you already know?"
  • “You’ll still use the potty the same way, just now with underwear instead of Pull-Ups. You already know how to wipe, how to flush and how to wash your hands with soap.”
  • Keep using the Sticker Chart. You may also want to shorten the length of the timer to help your process oriented kid get to the potty in time to stay dry, until they adapts to wearing underpants.
  • “When you’re wearing underwear and don’t make it to the bathroom in time, your pants will get wet, and pee may run down your legs. That’s OK — don’t worry about it. It takes everyone some practice to get used to undies and keeping them dry. If they get wet, just tell me and we’ll get you cleaned up and in dry bottoms.”
  • “Want to try on your new undies and see how they feel?”

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