Training Pants, What are your options?

Posted by Becca on 10/30/2011 to Potty Training

My daughter is two years old now! It feels like moments ago that I held her for the first time and looked into her beautiful blue eyes. It feels like just yesterday that she was a newborn and it almost felt that she would stay that way forever! But now, now our precious Bunny is a little girl. Shes no longer a baby, and not even really a toddler anymore. Shes a little girl capable of complex sentences and hilarious conversations. She is also capable of going pee pee and poopy on the pottythough she has yet to do so eagerly or of her own free will.

After we discovered that Bunny is quite capable of going on the potty without accidents when naked, we realized that we suddenly needed to start thinking about underwear or training pants. Pull-ups just werent an option for us. Besides the fact that theyre disposable and I despise the idea of so much waste, my daughter is so accustomed to cloth diapers that she wouldnt even realize shed peed if she used anything else. As I questioned what the next step would be, I remembered the training pants my mother used on me and my 6 siblingssimply a pair of underwear made of thick terry cloth that came in beautifully, bright colors. They were more absorbent than underwear, but not so absorbent that they contained all of the mess which meant they really did the job of training well. I decided I wanted something like that to potty train Bunny, and found some similar pairs of training pants at Target.

But did you know that there are lots of options for training pants out there? Lets look at some of them:

  1. Disposable training pants. Were all familiar with Pull-ups. Theyre a disposable pair of underwear that kids can pull on and off and that actually feel wet when used. Ideally youll buy them less than you would disposable diapers because your child will remember to use the potty rather than the diaper, but you still have to keep buying them every time you finish a package which can be a strain on any budget. They rip open easily on the sides when they do need to be changed. This is convenient for particularly messy diaper changes. Also, they are supposed to feel wet when the toddler pees in them which is meant to start teaching the toddler to feel uncomfortable and start using the potty instead. Parents who use cloth diapers, though, dont have to worry about teaching a child to know when theyve peed, so this feature is not necessary for many of us.
  1. Waterproof cloth trainers. Most of these are not fully waterproof on purpose, but they have an added waterproof layer somewhere in the mix to keep messes at bay. You can find the Gerber brand of these training pants in your local Target (theyre a potty training version of the rubber pants you all know and love :-D) or you can buy a more high quality pair of these at Diaper Junction. Some of them snap open at the sides, and all of them are capable of being pulled on and off, just like their disposable counterparts. Whats better is that just like a cloth diaper, some of these training pants have pockets that you can use to adjust your absorbency. Some of them are visibly waterproof, such as the Gerber pants, and Mother-ease training pants. Others, like the Blueberry, Eco Posh, Gro Via and Imse Vimse brands have a layer of waterproof material sandwiched in between soft layers of jersey or cotton so that the pants go on and feel just like real underwear. Im excited because Flip brand is coming out with an all new line of training pants at the end of November that is water proof, has adjustable and interchangeable absorbency, pulls on and off like underwear, and snaps open at the sides just like their popular disposable counterpart. I cant wait to get a couple of these when they come out for two reasons: 1) you can use the flip organic inserts that you already have for them (you wouldnt wan to use stay-dry inserts because you want your toddler to feel wet), and 2) they are not one-use training pants. If your toddler has an accident in them, you can wipe them clean, and add another insert rather than changing the whole training pant system. In my opinion, that would save lots of money in the early potty training days as opposed to other one-time use trainers.
  1. Asorbent, non-waterproof cloth trainers. These are simply thicker pairs of underwear that absorb but are worn without a waterproof layer. Ive found that they are sopping wet when my daughter pees in them, but without dripping onto the floor and making more of a mess for me (and her) to clean. Again, Gerber makes these, and they are easily available in the sections of Walmart and Target where you find your prefolds. Theyre actually my favorite for our little potty learner because we want her to stop relying on whatever is covering her butt to absorb her messes. Im actually looking for something that will leak a little and cause urine to run down her legs because I want her to get used to the idea that peeing in her pants is gross and uncomfortable. Other than Gerber, I havent found any other options when it comes to non-waterproof cloth trainers. So, I found that you can also easily make them using some FOE (fold over elastic available anywhere that diaper making materials are sold) and a prefold. You cut out your underwear pattern from the prefold (I Googled one, but you can also cut apart a pair of baby bloomers and use that as a pattern), sew it up at the hips, and add elastic that is at least an inch shorter than the circumference of your babys belly and legs at the belly and leg openings.
  1. Underwear. Of course, since Ive found that naked potty training is quite effective, it might be true for some that going straight to underwear from the diaper is feasible. Were not quite there yet in our house. Somehow, the feeling of something touching her bottom makes Bunny feel secure in being able to pee or poop anywhere she pleases.
What kind of trainers you use for your potty trainee will really depend upon the needs of your family. Different kids are motivated by different things. Some need to have the consequence of wet clothes to be motivated to sit on the potty, and others are content to be a big girl/boy and use the waterproof pants without protest. As the parent, you just need to be aware of the options out there so you can make the best, educated choice for your little big boy or girl.

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