It’s time for your little one to start their journey to potty training! It is both an exciting venture and stressful for all parties involved. Some children make it easier than others and practically train themselves, others need charts, stickers, treats, and parades for each successful bathroom visit. Regardless of how your child gets there, you may be wondering about how to handle this transition if you use cloth diapers and what the next step should be.
First I feel the need to tell you something you may or may not know- training pants are NOT diapers.
Nope, not even close. Training pants are trim and have very little absorbency. If you are looking for a training pant that functions as a diaper you need what they call “bedwetting” or “overnight” pants. And if you are looking for trainers that function like diapers, ask yourself “why?” Would a diaper still fit the child you need the diaper-like trainers for? If so, maybe you don’t need training pants after all. Trainers, by design, are meant to just catch an accident. Now that we have this little PSA out in the open (I see this expectation that training pants are just pull on diapers and they aren’t) we can move on to when you should use trainers, or not, when potty training your child.
There is no definitive answer and the variables depend on you, your child, and how successful they are at potty training. You can either go cold turkey form diapers to undies, mix in trainers at certain times and use diapers for trips and nights, or go from diapers to all training pants then to undies.
Cold Turkey- For me and many others skipping cloth training pants was the way to go. We used the “3 Day Potty Training Method” (there is an e-book you can read for sale on Amazon) for the boys and went from wearing cloth diapers full time (with intervals of EC beginning at 6 months old for both) to being nude. Some children, like mine, regressed when wearing diapers or trainers, even underwear, so we went without as long as possible until they had things figured out.
What about at night? When you go cold turkey you can either test the overnight waters to see how they do (sometimes they will surprise you!) or opt to use protection. For me, just using diapers at night was fine and didn’t cause any regression during the day. It was also more cost effective than buying training pants just to use at night. Even after being potty trained for a year my son often has to wear diapers at night and we never even purchased trainers for him.
A little of this and a little of that- Going cold turkey isn’t for everyone and many parents would rather ease into potty training. In this case, that may be when training pants come in handy. Cloth trainers that slide up and down with ease (Blueberry slide up and down nicely like underwear and are trim but not nearly as absorbent as a diaper, so best for more successful toddlers) make the frequent bathroom trips easier. Usually you find yourself going “just to check” every 30 minutes or so and undoing/redoing a diaper will get tedious. There are some diapers that slide up and down easier than others (side snapping diapers like the GroVia All-in-One) but if you foresee a longer process training pants for daytime and cloth diapers for longer outings just in case might be for you.
All trainer transition- If you’re into that “rite of passage” style of transitioning it may be the only time you want to buy a lot of trainers. Sometimes the toddler needs/wants a big “to-do” over training. You can either turn that into buying underwear and going cold turkey or move to fun, underwear-like training pants. Again, keep in mind that when you go to trainers they aren’t diapers so you will have to change more frequently if they aren’t making it to the bathroom on time.Brands I love
I know I mentioned that I didn’t use training pants with my boys, and I didn’t for the most part, but we tried a few just to understand how they worked for us and to give me understanding of cloth training pants for the blog. We reviewed a few and I borrowed some from a friend. FWIW my youngest still sleeps in diapers most of the time, not trainers, and he hasn’t had any regression issues and doesn’t complain about wearing a diaper.
Bummis Potty Pant: this brand is GREAT for kids who need a fast and easy pull-up trainer that is trim. It looks discreet under clothing and is waterproof. It is decently absorbent enough for small accidents though as with most training pants, not an overnight solution unless your child is a very light wetter.
Blueberry Training Pant: These trainers have a hidden waterproof layer under a soft cotton outer and work best with children you don’t expect a lot of accidents from but want to protect their clothing just in case. They would also be great for those easing into training. They can be worn with just a t-shirt, look extremely comfortable for the child, and have fun prints your child may WANT to wear.
Super Undies: This brand specializes in training pants so they must know what they are doing! They have several styles available so if you need an overnight trainer they have one that is ultra-absorbant for an older toddler or even young child that is wetting the bed. Their themed colors are attractive for boys and girls without obnoxious character prints found on disposable products. They are pricey for the bed wetting style but if you are using disposable products nightly for an older child who is consistently wetting the savings will be apparent quickly after a few short months.