Should You Use Training Pants for Your Kids? Why and How?
So, you’re about to take the plunge and dive right into the world of potty training. We salute you! You may be on your first kid, you may be on your seventh, and if you’re looking at this blog, it means you’re looking for some new ideas and techniques.
There are a lot of different methods for getting your toddler to use the potty – elimination communication, going au naturale, using pull-ups, sticking-him-on-the-potty-chair-with-seventeen-cups-of-juice-in-a-row, waterproof diaper covers, or skipping straight to the big-kid panties – the list goes on and on.
One method is to use training pants to help your child understand and communicate his need to use the potty.
Training pants, like training wheels, are an intermediate step to get your child from the most beginning stage (diapers and plastic tricycles) to the more desirable and independent stage (underwear and free-standing bikes).
What do they look like?
Training pants look a lot like regular underwear, which is a bonus because they are more “cool” and customizable than a regular diaper (translation: they make kids feel motivated to keep their training pants on and dry). The main difference is that training pants have an extra layer or two of absorbent material sewn in between your kid’s bum and the swanky print on the outside. This extra layer of absorption has a few purposes:
- It catches the little leaks as your toddler makes his way to the toilet
- It keeps the moisture close to your toddler’s bum so that he can feel the difference between wet and dry
Do training pants contain accidents?
When you ask that, do you mean, “Do training pants keep me from having to mop up a lake if my toddler goes full-on Niagara Falls on me?” The answer to that is no… sorry… Training pants aren’t designed to soak up as much liquid as a traditional diaper, but they are designed to catch the dribbles as your child hurries to the potty or has a small accident.
Why choose training pants?
Training pants can do a lot of good for your fledgling “big kid,” so they’re worth looking into if you aren’t quite ready for regular underpants but are done with diapers.
- They help your child make the connection. One major plus for training pants is that they help your child’s brain make the connection between wet versus dry and dirty versus clean. Your child will be able to feel the difference and will most likely not enjoy the wet/dirty combo as much as the dry/clean one.
- Cloth training pants are reusable. Another great perk for training pants is that they are reusable. Not only can you use them more than once by tossing them in the wash, but you can also pass them on to your next kid. This is a very economical and Earth-friendly alternative to disposable training pants.
- They cultivate independence. Few things make a toddler feel like a big kid than having underpants that he can pull up and down by himself. Training pants have the same look and feel as regular underwear, but they can help prevent those accidents that are frustrating for everyone.
- There are different levels of protection. Keep in mind that there are *technically* different levels of protection as far as training pants go. As mentioned earlier, training pants aren’t meant to hold in large quantities of liquid, but they can hold little mishaps pretty well. If your toddler keeps having large accidents, but you don’t want to return to diapers, you can choose a higher level of training pant. Though mostly considered outdated, you can get waterproof training pant covers that will keep your toddler from completely soaking through his training pants and onto his outer clothing. They aren’t usually as comfortable and tend to make the “swish swish swish” windbreaker-jacket-like sound when your toddler walks around (which could be off-putting to both you and your toddler), but they are an option for you to consider.
Are disposable training pants and fabric training pants the same level of effective?
People’s opinions differ on this question, but for the most part, parents agree that if you’re going to use training pants, you should go for the fabric ones. Disposable training pants have a purpose, but they’re so similar to diapers that your child may not fully grasp the difference. They may have a “feels wet” strip down the middle to help you kid “get” that he’s wet, but for the most part, that moisture is wicked away from his bum so that he stays comfortable. Disposable training pants are great for when you’re on the go, but if you’re staying at home and serious about potty training as quickly as possible, you should probably choose the fabric ones.
Your child can use training pants both day and night, but you have another option to help with potty training at night: Peejamas. These special pajama pants are made from material that can absorb over 10 oz. liquid. They still give your child the feeling of wetness (think of it as an alternative to a bedwetting alarm) without requiring you to change the sheets and mattress protector every time he has an accident. Coupled with training pants, Peejamas are a convenient, environmentally friendly, and economical way to help the potty-training process along and give your child the confidence to be successful.