The Best Types of Training Pants for Your Potty-Training Child
After two-plus years of changing dirty nappies, you’re likely really (really!) ready to say so long to diapers. No matter what potty training method you choose—and there are many!—you’ll definitely need something to cover your kid’s bum during this transition (at least when he’s out and about). So what are your options?
What you choose will depend largely on what’s working for your child, what stage you’re at in potty training and what you’re up to that day. We sorted through all the crap (so to speak) to get you the lowdown on the best training pants, and how to make the right decision for your family.
Training pants are meant to help with that all-important transition from diapers to underwear. There are a few different types you can choose from, and the best training pants for your little one will depend on their needs and how they respond to the training process.
- Toddler underwear. Many experts actually encourage parents to forgo the transition options and use these right away. “Kids who use underwear are most likely to be aware they had an accident, therefore making training much more speedy,” says Adriana Vermillion, a Charlotte, North Carolina-based potty training expert known as “The Potty Whisperer.” Make things easy on yourself and choose something your kid is going to be psyched to wear!
- Cloth training pants. These are basically regular underwear that feature extra layers of absorbent and/or water-resistant fabric to provide some accident protection. They can be really helpful if your kid doesn’t make it to the toilet exactly on time.“The point of training underwear is to help with the mess,” explains Michelle D. Swaney, CEO of The Potty School in Costa Mesa, California, and author of The Complete Guide to Potty Training. “Training underwear simply absorbs more of an accident so less gets on the ground.”
- Plastic underwear covers. These go over your toddler’s regular or training underwear. This method may seem a bit outdated, but waterproof training pants definitely have their place, especially when you’re on the go. “The instances that I would recommend a plastic outer diaper would be for travel, for the first few days of transitioning back to preschool after potty training, or for nap/overnight training,” Swaney says.
- Disposable training pants. “It’s important to know that a pull-up is not much different than a diaper,” Vermillion says, “so training with them may be slower and less effective.” Kids won’t learn from their accidents, since there won’t be any. Plus, they won’t get a “wet” feeling if they dribble a little and therefore may miss their cue to head to the loo. But they’re obviously popular for a reason—they’re mess-free! This means they’re a good pick when you’re traveling or out somewhere without easy bathroom access, or at night (which really is a whole different potty-training ball game).
Which is right for your kiddo? A bit of experimenting might be in order to figure out which helps promote toilet training in a way that’s best for your little one. Below, you’ll find some of the most highly recommended potty training pants.
We’ve voted MooMoo training pants as the best overall, simply because they check all the boxes you could possibly want. They’re crazy-soft, but absorbent without being bulky or heavy. They’re made with organic cotton that’s free from dyes and chemicals, and they come in a variety of sizes to suit even the latest trainers and feature sets of coordinating and adorable patterns for both boys and girls.
Type: Cloth training pants | Sizing: 2T to size 7 | Material: Cotton outer, cotton/muslin/TPU inner
- These training pants offer sizing up to 7, making them a great option for larger kids or late potty trainers
- Six layers of fabric offer ultimate protection from minor leaks and accidents
- Machine washable and get softer over time
- These training pants are prone to shrinking in the dryer
When it’s time to trade in the diapers, cloth training pants are an obvious choice for potty training. This set of beautiful undies from Hanna Andersson is sure to get your little one excited for this big transition. Bright colors and fun patterns are in line with the Hanna Andersson brand you’re used to, while four layers of protection help prevent embarrassing accidents while your little one is still getting used to making it to the potty on time.
Type: Cloth training pants | Sizing: XS to S | Material: Cotton with poly interlining
- Smooth seams ensure these training pants are pretty invisible under clothing
- Absorbent lining doesn’t touch the skin, reducing irritation
- Adorable, brand-consistent colors and patterns
- Won’t fully prevent leaks, simply meant to alert your child to head to the potty
- Limited range of sizes available
Sure, waterproof training pants aren’t exactly all the rage anymore. If you’re a child of the 70s or 80s, you may understand why. But, like we said above, they have their place! If you find yourself in need of plastic training pants, you simply can’t beat the price and effectiveness of Gerber’s basic offering. This two-pack is a gender-neutral white, with elastic around the legs to contain leaks. The best part? They’re better at containing larger leaks and messes than cloth training pants, but they’re reusable, unlike disposable training pants.
Type: Plastic underwear covers | Sizing: 0-3m to 2T | Material: PEVA
- Lots of sizes available
- Super low price
- Contains larger leaks than cotton alternatives
- These waterproof underwear run large, so it’s best to order a size down
Not only is this 4-pack of potty training underwear cute, they’re made with added layers of wetness protection in the crotch, and gentle elastic waist and legs for comfort and a secure fit. Choose from three different packs of patterns, featuring colors like pinks, purples, florals and sweet characters, or dinosaurs and woodland creatures. She’s sure to want to start learning how to use the potty when she sees these stylish and functional training pants.
Type: Cloth training pants | Sizing: 2T to 4T | Material: Cotton
- Added layers in front and back for protection against leaks
- Great price point
- Not recommended for nighttime use
If you’ve got a little boy who’s ready for the potty, treat him to a pack of his very own toddler training pants. With patterns that range from trucks and dinosaurs to solar systems and numbers, this 10-pack comes in bold colors that will put a smile on his face (and yours, when you realize you don’t have to do laundry every five minutes!). These easy-on, easy-off underpants feature a comfortable, not-too-restrictive waistband, added layers for protection against leaks and an overall lack of excess bulkiness, which means they work well under pants and shorts.
Type: Cloth training pants | Sizing: 12-24 months to 5T | Material: Cotton
- Great price point
- Large pack cuts down on having to do laundry daily
- Covered elastic waistband for added comfort
- Best suited to small leaks since material isn’t as absorbent as competing brands
Eco-conscious parents, rejoice! When you choose The Honest Company’s training pants, it’s possible to use disposable training pants without harming the environment. These cute pull-up style pants feature adorable patterns and plenty of absorbency thanks to a fluff pulp that’s sustainably harvested.
Type: Disposable training pants | Sizing: 2T/3T to 4T/5T | Material: Bio-based core with sustainably harvested fluff pulp and plant-derived materials
- Easy to pull up
- Eco-friendly disposable option
- Designs for boys, girls and gender neutral
- Some parents report poor coverage
Most kids are potty trained during the day long before they’re able to stay dry all through the night. So, you may have to call in the big guns when it comes to training pants for overnight use. We love the popular Goodnites brand, which we find to be both affordable and effective. They’re soft like underwear but pull on and off easily in case there are any overnight trips to the potty. What’s more, they’re hypoallergenic and come in a variety of sizes to suit both young and older potty trainers.
Type: Disposable training pants | Sizing: XS to XL | Material: N/A
- Feel like underwear, despite being disposable
- Wide variety of sizes available
- Fun designs for kids
- More absorbent than cotton training underwear
- Some reviewers indicated these feel a bit rough on the outside
To help you find the best training pants on the market today, we browsed lots of different options from some of our most trusted retailers. We considered features like material, absorbability, and available size ranges when choosing our list of the best training pants for toddlers. In addition, we read user reviews to find out how these training pants perform in the real world, and we only sourced them from trusted retailers. We didn’t consider any training pants with less than an average four-star rating.
Interested in learning more about our editorial process? Read about how our team develops and reviews all articles here.
Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.
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