How to Encourage Big Kids to Wear Diapers

Urinary incontinence, or enuresis, can occur in children who are age 3 or older, and often runs in families, according to the National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse. Because of the embarrassment that he may feel about wetting his pants, a child may resist wearing diapers or training pants for fear that he may no longer be a “big kid.” To encourage a child to wear absorbent products, be supportive and help him understand that staying dry is part of being a big kid.

Explain to your child, in terms she'll understand, why she’s experiencing enuresis. For example, if you or a family member once had a similar problem, let her know this and explain that it can run in families. If bedwetting is a problem, explain that sometimes the brain doesn't wake up in time to heed the body's call to go potty 5.

Reassure him that it is happening through no fault of his own and that you are not mad at him for wetting his clothes or the bed. Help him understand that you don’t love him any less when he wears a diaper; you still think that he’s a big boy and you’re not going to treat him like a baby.

Don’t make a big deal about your child needing to wear a diaper. Incontinence naturally makes children feel embarrassed or anxious. Make wearing a diaper part of her routine. For instance, have getting ready for bed involve brushing teeth and putting on a diaper or training pants when changing into a pair of pajamas. In addition, avoid speaking negatively about the extra laundry that results from your child’s incontinence.

Don’t use diapers or restrict fluids as punishments for enuresis. The incontinence is not your kid’s fault. Instead, encourage your child to wear diapers by telling him that he’ll feel more comfortable because his clothes or bed sheets won’t be wet and other people won’t be able to tell if he has an accident.

Give your child a sense of control over her incontinence. Have her pick out the diaper or training pants style that she likes. Place diapers, clean clothes, a hamper and trash can in an area of the bathroom or the bedroom. This gives your child easy access to dry clothes or a fresh diaper.


Urinary incontinence, including bedwetting, may be a sign of a medical condition or stress. Talk to your child’s pediatrician to learn more about what may be causing his bladder control issues.

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