What are Diapers, Daytime Trainers and Nighttime Trainers and When to Use Them

If you’re reading this blog, it probably means you’re gearing up to start potty training. Congratulations! This is a big step forward and one families often postpone, especially for first time parents. However, potty training doesn’t have to be daunting and with the right knowledge, practice and supplies, you can breeze through it.

The first step in potty training is understanding your options. Should I use disposable diapers? Should I use daytime trainers? Should I use nighttime trainers? Should I use cloth diapers? You’ve probably read contrary opinions all over the internet, so today, we’d like to help define the differences between daytime trainers, nighttime trainers and traditional diapers. We’ll also go over when to use each.

What is a diaper? 

A diaper is a highly absorbent garment used to hold up to 1 liter of pee and/or poop. There are a variety of different diaper types you can purchase but the most popular are disposable. They’re great for babies and very reliable with preventing leaks both at night and during the day. These are made of chemically manufactured polymers and are great for convenience, but not so much the environment. When your child is ready to potty train, however, you should consider dropping diapers altogether. Why? Diapers do their job TOO well. That’s right. They absorb TOO much liquid and so your child does not feel a wet sensation on their bottom. This is great for babies, but toddlers who need to learn to not pee or poop in their undergarments will learn much slower when they are perfectly comfortable wetting their diapers. Just 50 years ago, children were typically potty trained before 18-24 months of age. Big Diaper companies have done a terrific job of making their product so absorbent and ‘convenient’, the average age children are potty trained in the US has now practically doubled, giving that industry a lot more money (and the environment a lot more waste). 

If you’re specifically interested in learning more about cloth diapers and how they compare with traditional diapers and Peejamas, check out this blog.

What are daytime trainers?

When parents start potty training their kids, the common best-practice is to go cold turkey and cut them off from using diapers. This is great, but can lead to frequent potty accidents and leakage. This is where daytime trainers often come in handy. Most hold just a single ounce of liquid, so it is important to understand that daytime trainers typically cannot hold an entire pee release, but are a great first step. They offer a little protection from accidents, are rewashable, and your kids feel great wearing them.

A big element of potty training is making your child feel like a “big kid”. Think of how exciting it is for your child to wear big boy or girl undies as they start potty training! No more diapers, only big kid pants. To make daytime trainers even more exciting, consider buying a brand that has your son or daughter’s favorite cartoon character printed on them. For example, Peejamas' new Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood Daytime Trainers are a great gift idea for children who love Daniel Tiger and PBS Kids. Using a patented design, Peejamas’ design contains small accidents better than any other competing training undies on the market. This is because we use the same impermeable fabric from our overnight Peejamas to help contain the urine. These 3-pack daytime potty training undies are affordable and reusable and even come with a free Daniel Tiger potty training sticker chart! 

What are nighttime training pants? 

You guessed it. Nighttime training pants are used during the night (though they’re a great option for road trips too!). More often than not, children, particularly boys, master daytime training much faster than overnight training. This has much to do with a child’s ability to hold their urine for extended periods of time and their ability to wake up from the urge to pee while they’re asleep. However, some kids simply grow a bit ‘dependent’ on the ease of their diapers. The purpose of nighttime potty training pants is to provide more absorbance than daytime trainers without having to regress and put diapers back on (remember the whole ‘cold turkey’ thing).

Less absorbent than diapers, but 10x more absorbent than daytime trainers, reusable nighttime potty training pants hold about 10 ounces of liquid (approximately 3 pees). Unlike with diapers, your kid will still feel wet (triggering them to get up and go to the potty), but the sheets, blankets, and mattress pads should stay dry. Not only are reusable pants like Peejamas more cost-effective (one pair can be washed 300+ times!), they’re also more environmentally friendly and keep chemicals commonly found in disposable pants away from your child’s sensitive skin. The only real downside to reusable nighttime pants is that they aren’t absorbent enough to work for heavy wetters or children who may not be started on the nighttime potty training journey (more than 3 pees a night OR more than 10oz each pee). 

So, now that we’ve defined diapers, daytime trainers and nighttime trainers, let’s talk a bit about which is right for your child. 

If your child has not yet started showing signs they’re ready to start potty training, diapers are your best option. Signs of readiness include: uncomfortableness in diapers (trying to take them off), interest in others’ use of the toilet, keeping a diaper dry for longer periods of time or communicating with you that they have to go. To learn more about physical, emotional, and cognitive readiness, read our article Is My Child Ready to Potty Train? Your child will likely pee through their daytime trainers and nighttime trainers if they’re not ready to start potty training.

If your child has started showing signs they’re ready to potty train, it’s time to ditch the diapers during the day and start using daytime trainers. We do not recommend daytime trainers during naps or overnight, but they’ll start controlling accidents during the day, accompanied by your ongoing training, education and rewards.

If your child is getting the hang of daytime potty training, but still struggling to hold their urine at night, nighttime trainers may be  the perfect solution. Ideally, at this point, your child will be limiting fluids in the evening, going potty before bed, and able to wake up from feeling a wet sensation and acknowledge it’s time to head to the bathroom. If they don’t get up in time, nighttime potty trainers will protect their bed from small to medium accidents. At this stage, if you feel your child is struggling, remember it’s not likely something they’re choosing to do. Often, their systems simply aren’t formed until age 5 and beyond. Nocturnal Enuresis (the scientific term for nighttime releases) is very common and normal even to age 7 and up. 

Think of potty training as a variety of stages. One, diapers. Two, daytime trainers. Three, nighttime training. Four, master potty training. 

If you have a setback, don’t worry. Regression happens. Keep moving forward through the stages and eventually, potty training will be a distant memory.

Since their ideation in 2016, Peejamas have been made and designed with children's daytime and nighttime potty training in mind. They are an environmentally friendlier, more affordable and more stylish alternative to disposable diapers. 

Interested in speeding up potty training Peejamas? Check out Peejamas.

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