Putting your boy in diapers is one of the many ways in which a dad and ‘son’ bond, create trust, and share the circle of caring and being cared for. Needing his diapers can feel, to a daddy, like a symbol of a son’s expression of the creative, trusting and loving little guy that he is inside.
His diapers say to a dad: “I feel OK showing who I am inside and I have you to thank for feeling comfortable with that, and for being there for me when I wet or mess.”
But diapers are only one of the many ways that those same feelings can be expressed. The little gestures count: a sudden hug from your little guy without any real reason, the way he needs you to wipe his chin as he eats and gets a toddler-like mess on his face, or the way he snuggles next to you as you watch cartoons together.
Still, it can make a dad feel like his little guy isn’t being fully cared for if he’s not snugly diapered. What’s important, though, is to understand that your son may need to explore the different facets of the little boy he is inside. He may need different ways to express his amazing inner voice, which has many memories, feelings, and thoughts.
Some of these thoughts can include exploring what it might mean to try to prove to a daddy that he’s a “big boy” (or a bigger boy anyways!).
I’m a Big Kid Now
You go to get your boy ready for bed. Usually, he jumps up on the change table willingly. He likes being put in his thick night diaper. He knows that the sleeper, onesie or PJs that you choose for him will be perfect and snuggly, and he looks forward to story time after before being put to bed.
But tonight he hesitates. You sense that he wants to say something and you watch him blush. You smile a little at the slight stammer as he tries to spit out his thoughts. You knew this day might come, and you’re suspecting maybe it has.
“What is it, son,” you gently ask.
“Maybe, um, maybe I don’t need….”
“Diapers for bed?”
He nods shyly. And this is the moment that a dad needs to show his generosity and understanding. Your instinct might be to insist: he’s your little boy, and you know full well that he wets at night. But part of the instinct to want to diaper him is, frankly, selfish – a daddy simply feels better when his boy is diapered. This is a wonderful opportunity to show your son your love and support, and to allow him to express who he is inside in a slightly new way.
Communication is really critical. You don’t want to end the night wondering – is he trying to “grow up”? Is he tired of being your little guy? If you’ve built trust and care in your relationship you won’t entertain those doubts. But it’s still important to have open communication.
First, tell him you’re proud of him and that the fact that he’s your baby boy means the world to you. Then, tell him you’re proud that he wants to try a night with0ut diapers. Tell him that even though you’ve always hoped to help train him to need his diapers always, that maybe you’ve rushed things a little.
How he responds to this will assure you that he doesn’t want to stop being your little boy, he just wants to explore a different side of being little.
Then, it’s time for some ground rules. He’ll need to wear Goodnites or other suitable “training pants”. Tell him that if he has too many accidents that you’ll need to put him back in diapers.
Help him slip into his Goodnites, get him into his Spiderman PJs, and tuck your little guy in. Kiss him on the cheek and tell him how proud you are and how much you love him. And then….well, let what happens naturally just happen.
Regardless of how it happens, there will be times when your son isn’t wearing enough protection at night. He might wear Goodnites, or maybe because of lifestyle reasons he’s not able to wear diapers as often as he should.
Inevitably, there will be wet mornings. A wet bed is a signal to a dad that a boy is looking for care and attention. He might not be able to say it out loud, but the wet sheets or the soaked Goodnites say it all: “I need daddy to realize I’m a little boy who needs structure, care, and, well, diapers.”
Be firm but gentle. Point out the wet bed or Goodnites. You may need to be a little stern – this is a gesture of structure, and little guys sometimes need that to feel safe in expressing themselves.
But remember that he’s showing you trust and love and that the proper gesture is a diaper the next night. The snug feeling of a nice thick diaper will return your little guy to the safe, secure knowledge that he might try to be a big boy once in a while, but he’s always daddy’s baby boy.