Our 2.5yo is currently going through potty training.

She wears normal nappies and this is a little problematic as the velcro strips don't last long when they are repeatedly taken on and off again. Plus putting them back on in public loos without a changing table is awkward.

We tried to encourage her to wear the pullup or pants-style nappies but she bursts into tears and sobs uncontrollably when we ask. She picks up the pullup nappies and throws them away from her. When we ask her why she doesn't like them she just says she likes her current (velcro) ones.

Any suggestions on how to persuade her to use pullups?

  • 4
    To me it sounds a little like she is scared to have her nappies taken away from her, because she is aware that she is not able to always make it on the potty in time. She has no idea that the pullup ones would work quite as well. Maybe telling her that those are special big girl nappies and that they are actually close to the ones adults with problems in this department wear will help?
    – skymningen
    Feb 2, 2017 at 12:13
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    You may not want to go this route and I make no judgement on that, but have you suggested no nappy pull up or otherwise? Some children can go from nappy to normal underwear and she might be happier with that
    – Drifter104
    Feb 2, 2017 at 17:40

4 Answers 4


This will depend on your child, and the exact reasons for not wanting pullup nappies. So the first thing I'd try is find out more about why she does not like the pullup nappies. Don't settle for "I don't like the pullup nappies". Instead, sit her down when she is relaxed and in a good mood, explain to her why you want to change to pullup nappies, and listen to what she objects to.

A 2.5 year old should be able to explain a bit what the problem is. Maybe they are too tight? Or maybe she liked the pictures on the old ones better? Or maybe she's afraid she will have to do without nappies soon (as skymningen suggested in a comment)? Try to find out.

To support the change, you could point out advantages of the new nappies to her:

  • She can more easily take off/put on the nappies herself - independence is important for most toddlers.
  • She can choose nappies with pictures she likes (if such are available in stores).
  • The nappies are for big children, and she's a big child now.
  • They will not come loose as easily as the old nappies.

Also, offer to try out the new nappies together with her. Show her how they are comfortable and easier to put on, and again, listen to complaints she may have.

Of course, if you cannot persuade her, you may need to put your foot down, and introduce some consequences. For example, longer outings (such as going to the zoo) are no longer possible because the old nappies don't last long enough.

As usual, whether, when and how to escalate in that direction is up to you. If using regular nappies causes few real problems, I personally probably would not bother in most cases; if there are real issues, such as problems during outings due to leaking nappies or similar, things can be different.


I think sleske is right.

I really liked the idea of your daughter choosing her pullups by colour or picture.

You could also do a science experiment and show her just how much water a pullup can hold. Remind her that although you want to help her use the toilet like a big girl, she will not be punished if she uses her pullup. My students loved this experiment. (They hold much more water than you might think.)

If any of her peers are in pullups, perhaps their mum or dad could praise their child in front of yours. All they need say is that their child is a big kid and wearing pullups and say it in a positive and complimentary way.

If it is still a problem, you can buy sample adult pullups, too. Perhaps you could buy a pair and show your daughter that adults could wear them too. I am not suggesting comparison. I am suggesting an example.

I toilet trained special needs kids for over 30 years and my best advice is to praise success and be matter of fact and not at all angry about your child using the pull up. The pull up is there to be used if necessary. Punishment and disappointment can prolong the process. Praise is your friend.

Be patient and laugh. Your child will learn and if you make it positive, you'll remember it that way.

ON Edit: My daughter was toilet trained prior to my adopting her, but I lived with her from her birth. She went to daycare and a child a year older than her was just really getting the training accomplished and getting tons of praise. My daughter came home from daycare at 20 months, refused a diaper (except for sleep) and toilet trained herself. She had no daytime accidents. So peers can make a difference. She was way earlier than most kids at toilet training and we had almost nothing to do with it. So imo, being ready matters more than anything else.


How to persuade her? Don't. Instead, have her hang out with some older kids who've already progressed past it. Those kids will usually be proud of not needing a nappy.

Kids don't believe adults a lot of the time. They simply don't, so persuading can so often be a complete waste of time. And maybe there's a genuine reason, but at 2 1/2 she doesn't have the language skills to explain it properly. But they all want to emulate the older kids.

My son stayed with nappies longer than some other kids, then went straight from nappies to underpants when he realised the other kids didn't use them. It didn't take any pressure to get it to happen. Of course you always have a complete change of clothes in their go-bag (and a few extra pairs of underpants for good measure) in case of accidents.


Persuading should only be for times where you are willing to accept "no" for an answer. This isn't one of those times. Tell your kid there are no more diapers. She can help pick pull-ups, or underwear, and that's what she'll have.

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