Designed like real underwear to help kids transition from diapers. Material is flexible and absorbent enough for most youngsters' needs. Comes in several sizes, a variety of fun character prints, and styles for boys or girls. Lots of pants for the price.
You may have to order up a size if your child is on the chunky side. Occasional leaks noted. Sides may rip after frequent pulling or tugging.
Parents praise these training pants for their absorbency without being too thick or bulky. Cotton material is soft and comfortable on delicate skin, and it's also flexible with youngsters' movements. Holds up well to repeated washings.
Not waterproof, so not the best pick for little ones who are in the early phases of potty training. Leg holes may fit a bit snug on kids with chubby legs.
Material is thin, yet it catches at least some leaks. Absorbent core made from plant-based materials. Hypoallergenic. Lots of patterns available.
Sizes run large, but notably, size only goes up to 4T/5T.
Offered in three different sizes to help you find the best fit. Gives extra absorbency layers in the areas where kids need protection. Great characters printed on the outside so kids will have fun wearing them.
Feels a bit like a diaper, so some kids may react more slowly to potty training.
Uses tear-away side panels so it's easier to remove the training pants after the child has an accident. Good design of training pants that fit like underwear. Includes fun animal print designs that kids will like. Company is committed to using eco-friendly materials.
May slow down the potty training process, as these training pants feel a lot like diapers.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
Training pants are designed to help your child transition from diapers to big kid underwear. Toddlers can benefit from spending time in these underwear-like “pants” that catch accidents without embarassment. Given time, a child in training pants will develop the ability to anticipate bodily functions and head to the bathroom before an accident happens.
How do training pants work? Unlike diapers, a child wearing training pants feels an uncomfortable wetness after an accident. Some training pants feel more uncomfortable than others, though, and it’s up to you to determine the amount of absorbency that’s best for your child.
In this guide, we discuss what is perhaps your biggest potty-training decision to date: the choice between cloth and disposable training pants. We also discuss washability, sizing, price, and other key factors that will affect your choice. For some fantastic product recommendations, check out the training pants we spotlight in this guide.
Cloth training pants are reusable, making them cost-effective and environmentally friendly. Most cloth training pants are highly padded to keep messes contained. The wearer feels a slight discomfort when the pants are wet, which provides motivation for the child to use the toilet in a timely manner.
On the downside, cloth training pants vary in absorbency, and you must wash them after every wear. Cloth pants aren’t sold in large packs like disposable pants are: most packages contain two to four pairs. This creates more dirty laundry for parents, although potty training might take less time overall.
Disposable training pants function like diapers, and many children find them easier to put on than cloth trainers. Their convenient use-and-toss design is great for busy schedules, but the pants cost more money and create environmental waste. What’s more, children often take longer to potty train with disposable training pants. The reason: wet disposable training pants are quite comfortable and feel a lot like the diapers your child is already accustomed to.
Seasoned parents admit that cloth training pants are more work, but they also tend to agree that potty training is a shorter ordeal than it would be with disposable training pants.
Cloth training pants are made of cotton. Some have a waterproof barrier to help prevent messes from spreading to furniture, carpets, and other areas. Many cloth training pants have elastic waistbands and leg holes to create a snug fit.
Because the pants are mostly cotton, it’s expected that you’ll launder rather than toss them. Invest in a gentle baby laundry detergent that won’t irritate your child’s delicate skin. Wash the pants in hot water to kill all germs. Also keep a bottle of bleach on hand to cut through fecal particles and destroy bacteria.
Disposable pants may be made of a number of materials, none of them washable: tissue paper, fluff, wood pulp, and chemical crystals known as superabsorbent polymer (SAP), to name a few. To attempt to wash a pair of disposable training pants would be to invite disaster (and possible destruction) to your washing machine. Don’t do it. Anyone who has ever seen a diaper explode due to oversaturation already knows what can happen.
Don’t toss urine-saturated training pants in your hamper with other clothes. Try to launder soiled cloth pants immediately. If you can’t get to the washer right away, seal the pants in a plastic bag to contain germs and odors.
Although you want your child to sense wetness and learn healthy pottying behaviors as a result, training pants must be comfortable enough that the child doesn’t mind putting them on. For example, if the leg band is too tight, the child won’t want to wear it. If the material is scratchy or makes an irritating sound as the child moves, they may not want to wear it.
The best training pants are not only comfortable but also easy to pull down and up again. Look for pants with a soft, stretchy waistband. Make sure you buy a size that is roomy rather than tight because this can affect how difficult the pants are to manipulate. If you go the disposable route, consider pants with stretchy, tearable side material. These pants are easy for the child to remove when standing and also easy for a caretaker to remove when the child is lying down.
Comfort matters, but how do you know you’ve got the right size? To help you choose correctly, manufacturers provide clues related to clothing size and/or body weight.
By clothing size: Some companies list compatible clothing sizes on the package. For example, if your child wears size 4T clothes, reach for a package of 4T training pants. We’ve seen training pants in sizes from 12 months to 6T. However, you won’t find this large size range offered by every manufacturer.
By weight: Some manufacturers provide a weight range for which their products are suitable. For example, a package of “small” disposable training pants may be designated for kids between 35 and 50 pounds, whereas a package of “medium” pants may be marked for children between 50 and 65 pounds.
Whether plain, printed, or decked out with beloved cartoon characters, the look of your child’s training pants could make or break potty training. If your child resists potty training, you want every possible weapon in your arsenal to entice them to the other side. For some kids, awesome-looking training pants are irresistible. You can use this to your advantage.
Laundering cloth training pants is a messy job. Keep rubber gloves and a soaking bucket on hand for those times when you’ll be dealing with extreme messes.
Cloth: Cloth training pants cost $2 to $5 apiece, and most are sold in packages of two to eight. They are decidedly cheaper than disposable training pants, but, ideally, your child will get a lot more wear out of them over the course of the potty-training months.
Disposable: Disposable training pants cost between $0.20 and $0.60 each. Packages vary in quantity, from 24 to 99 pairs. It’s not necessary to buy at the high end of this range to get something that works. However, at the low end of the price range, you are more likely to experience problems with leakage or poor fit.
Notably, the number of training pants you get for the money may go down with size. For $15, for example, you might be able to get 66 pairs of disposable pants for a size 4T child but only 56 pairs for a size 6T child. This makes sense because 6T pants require more material to make.
For kids, a big selling point for training pants is independence. The child is free to take the pants on and off as needed. With diapers, the child is far more dependent on adults to get their needs met.
Keep a lookout for leaks. If your child’s training pants don’t hold in liquid, check that the waist and leg bands fit correctly. You might need something in a different size. Also note that some products don’t promise leak protection at all. These pants are for parents with a strong focus on potty training who don’t mind cleaning up messes.
Know how to tell front from back. Your child is gaining independence, and you might not always be there to help them put on a fresh pair of training pants. Both of you should be able to discern the front of the pants from the back. Often, there will be a printed design on the front but not the back.
Note that some brands carry more sizes than others. If you’re shopping for an older child, say one who wears 5T clothing, you’ll have better luck finding what you need from some brands over others. For example, one well-known maker of baby products only carries training pants up to size 2T. With such a large market, however, you’re likely to find the right size if you keep looking.
If you’ve been parenting for a while, you know that Pampers and Huggies are close competitors in the baby product world. We like the Pampers Easy Ups and find them comparable to Huggies’ version of disposable training pants. If you’re a Pampers family, be sure to check these out for your little one.
The Dappi Nylon Diaper Pants differ from most non-disposable training pants in that they contain no cotton. These waterproof pants slide over your child’s cotton pants to protect furniture and carpet. The advantage here is that your child is using cotton pants and feeling the wetness necessary for potty training, yet you’re not worrying so much about leaks and stains.
Q. I’m allergic to latex, and I’m afraid my grandchild might be, too. Do I have to worry about latex in training pants?
A. Probably not. In generations past, latex was a key component of disposable diapers and training pants. Today, the majority of manufacturers have replaced latex with spandex or a similar material. However, you should check the packaging to be sure. Many companies boast that their products are latex-free as a selling point.
Q. I’ve seen disposable “bedwetting underwear” grouped on a store shelf with regular training pants. What’s the difference?
A. Bedwetting underwear and training underpants look and feel similar. In fact, a toddler who needs training pants could feasibly wear bedwetting underwear and gain the same benefits. But bedwetting underwear has a narrower target audience than regular training pants: it is designed for children who have issues wetting the bed. As such, there may be more than the standard three layers in a pair of bedwetting underwear. Also, the underwear may be available in a broader range of sizes in order to accommodate older kids with bedwetting issues.
Q. Do I have to buy “boy underwear” for boys and “girl underwear” for girls? What’s the difference?
A. Aside from color and print (“boy” training pants may be the traditional blue, while “girl” training pants may be the traditional pink), there may be no difference. In fact, many training pants are advertised as suitable for both boys and girls. That said, there are a few companies that place extra quilting in the front for boys and in the center for girls.
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