This week we’re celebrating National Underwear Day.  Whatever you choose to call them – underwear, panties, underpants, big girl/boy underpants – transitioning away from diapers is a big step and can be pretty stressful and scary for both parent and child.

I was going to spend today talking about potty training, but don’t worry, I’ll cover that in the Resource Handout this week. Instead I decided to speak about what you should do when you actually make the switch and stop diapering your child.

There are many opinions out there, so please know that what I am discussing today is merely another option of how to go about transitioning.  You can read what I’m writing and love it, or you can think I’m out of my mind and decide to handle the situation differently.  It’s totally up to you.  As always, I’m just here to make suggestions.

When you determine that your child is ready to begin the potty training process, the number one step stop using diapers during the day. You’ll still need the nighttime diapers for a bit as children aren’t necessarily ready to stay dry all night. Don’t worry, they’ll get there.

So, the decision has been made…now what? Well, I suggest taking your child to the store and allowing them to pick out their new underpants, panties, underwear, etc. Involve them in the process.  Remember, developmentally your children are smack in the middle of a stage where they want to control things; they want to feel as though they are making the decisions.  So, we set them up to believe they are doing this…to some degree.  Of course we, as parents, have the ultimate say. But children gain such an increase in their self-esteem and tend to fight back less when they feel they are a part of the decision making process.

You take them to the store – let’s just say Target for this example – now what? If you have a daughter do you HAVE to take her to the girls section? What if your daughter is obsessed with the movie Cars and only wants Lightening McQueen on her underpants but they don’t make girls underpants with the Cars characters? Well, today I’m here to tell you that it’s ok if this is what she wants and you can only find the underpants in the boys section.

Let’s think about this honestly…does it matter at the age of 2 or 3 if she is wearing girls briefs or boys briefs?  As long as she will wear underpants, does it matter which gender they were originally designed for? Remember, the ultimate goal is to get your child out of diapers and into underpants. In the end, does it really matter how they get there?

Think about your life for a minute.  Are you still wearing the same type of undergarments that you started wearing at the age of 2 or 3? I, myself, have gone through at least 10 different styles that I can think of off the top of my head.  Styles change. Preferences change.

You want your child to participate in this process and feel positive about it so that the ultimate transition can go as smoothly as possible.  Let’s face it, the whole potty training process is stressful enough.  If we can find even the tiniest way of making it easier on everyone, isn’t it worth it? 🙂