When it’s time to say goodbye to diapers, it’s time to say hello to something else. Eventually this something else will be regular underwear, but it’s not always the best solution right away, unless you enjoy cleaning urine off of your couch (and floor, and bed, and everything else). Enter potty training underwear.
Why Potty Training Pants?
The purpose of potty training pants is to help make that transition from diaper to real underwear. For this reason, you want a product that is somewhere in between. It needs to look and feel like underwear as much as possible in order to encourage a change in your child’s behavior. But it also needs to provide at least a little bit of the absorption you’d get from a diaper, because no kid is going to get it right immediately. Accidents will happen!
It’s also a good idea to have training pants that are easy for your child to pull down and back up without help so that they can make it to the toilet in time and go without help. When it comes time to select the right training pants for your kid, you have two basic options: disposable and reusable. Each has its merits.
Great Disposable and Reusable Underwear Toddlers
Prefer Pull-ups or potty training underwear for potty training? We’ve covered both. There are some advantages and disadvantages to both. Here’s a look at our favorites in both options:
The best thing about disposables is that they’re–you guessed it–disposable, so there’s no need to clean gross fluids off of fabric when there’s an accident. On the other hand, because they’re disposable they tend to feel a lot like diapers. This can make potty training more difficult for some kids. And because you have to keep buying them, they also cost more in the long run than their reusable counterparts. So that’s another aspect to consider.
Huggies Pull-Ups Cool & Learn
When you think of disposable training pants, you probably think of Pull-Ups. But this version of the classic has one slight upgrade. When the pants get wet, it sets off a cooling reaction to make the wet pants uncomfortable, which can aid in the potty training process.
As is their trademark, these Pull-Ups include the easy-open sides that can be readjusted for a tighter or looser fit. The pants are even designed with Disney characters to make kids excited to wear them. The designs fade when the pants get wet, providing kids with further incentive to stay dry. For nighttime use, be sure to look for an overnight potty training version.
- Adjustable sides
- Cooling reaction makes accidents uncomfortable
- Disney designs fade with wetness
- Feel like diapers
- Not for bedtime use
Pampers Easy Ups
Softer than Pull-Ups with a more cottony feel, these disposable training pants are very absorbent. They’re designed to work both day and night! The waistband is stretchy all the way around, making it feel more like real underwear. And they’re easy to pull up and down like underwear, too.
Unlike Pull-Ups, Easy Ups do not have re-closable or adjustable sides. However, the sides do tear easily to avoid having to pull soiled pants down over your child’s legs. And best of all–for your toddler, anyway–they come come in several cute designs, including Thomas the Train and Hello Kitty.
- Softer, cottony feel
- Stretchy waistband all the way around
- Can be used day or night
- More costly over time
- May still feel like a diaper
The Honest Company Toddler Training Pants
Perhaps you’re looking for an environmentally conscious option when it comes to disposable training pants. If so, I suggest the Honest Company. Their diapers are made without latex, fragrances, allergens, or chlorine so you can rest assured that your precious babe won’t be exposed to any harsh, harmful chemicals. In fact, they are made with eco-friendly materials including “sustainably harvested fluff pulp and plant-derived materials”.
While you’ll be happy to have a clear conscious about the impact your purchase makes on the environment, your 2-year-old will love the comfortable fit of these training pants. They go up and down with ease and even look like big-kid underpants. You’ll even notice how soft and stretchy they’re made.
- Very absorbent
- Plenty of fun designs to choose from
- Won’t irritate skin
- They run large so it may take some experimenting to find the right size
- So soft that they tear sometimes
- Only leak if the fit isn’t just right
Reusable potty training pants are good because they feel more like real underwear. This can help 3-year-olds with potty training by serving as a reminder that they can’t go in their pants anymore. But when they do have accidents, training pants are designed to prevent big messes in the same way as disposable ones.
Other than the obvious drawback of having to clean them after accidents, the big downside to reusable training pants is that they’re not very dependable for nighttime use, so you’ll want to also buy diapers or disposable pants for bedtime.
BIG ELEPHANT Training Pants
These BIG ELEPHANT training pants are masterfully designed to capture urine which means that the skin won’t get irritated. Although there are several layers, the outer layer is cotton make them more comfortable and soft to the touch. I love that there is extra padding in the crotch area in case of an accident. Also, the elastic around the leg holes and waist won’t hinder your little one’s movements. Overall, these are a high quality option.
But you should know that they tend to run small, which is good news if you have a slim preschooler. After all, there’s nothing worse than baggy pants! But if your child has extra chub you will want to go up a size.
- You can save these for younger siblings regardless of their gender since they are unisex
- Very effective
- Thicker than other brands
- Be careful about what size you order since they run small
MooMoo Baby Training Pants
You won’t be disappointed with these premium training pants! Made of soft and breathable cotton, they are thick enough to absorb any of your toddler’s accidents. In fact, they are composed of six layers, making them absorbent enough to work even during naps. The stretchy leg holes ensure a perfect fit and are key to prevent leaking.
Just make sure you wash them before using them so they’ll work their best. Using water to clean them will make them softer and more absorbent.
- No harsh chemicals used in production
- Adorable prints and high quality fabric
- Won’t leak when there’s an accident
- Run small
- Colors can run when washed
Skhls Potty Training Pants
Since this highly rated product comes in a set of 6 briefs, you won’t have to wash them daily (hopefully!). Plus there are four layers so your toddler’s outfits won’t get dirty when they have an accident which will save you some laundry as well. However, it may be a good idea to air dry them since one of the layers is plastic and may get damaged in the dryer.
I have to be honest: my favorite feature is the cute animals on baby’s rear end! But the elastic around the waist is essential since it makes it easy to pull these training pants up and down. This is what will sell your toddler on these training pants – they’ll feel like a big kid since they can do it all by themselves!
- Great value
- Detailed size chart so you know just what size to buy
- No more diaper rashes!
- Sometimes the prints differ from what is pictured
- Not waterproof
Gerber Toddler Training Pants
Gerber training pants are a great option for potty training. They look and feel like big kid underpants. They have a covered elastic waistband that makes it easier to pull up and down for the big kid in training. They are thick and absorbent which helps in the clean up process for mom and dad.
These are relatively inexpensive and come in packs of 4. If your toddler is small or starting potty training at a younger age, these are a great option since they offer a 18 month old size. Whether your toddler is 18 months old or 4 years old, he will feel like a big boy wearing these pants!
- 3 sizes (18 month, 2T and 3T)
- Pull on closure
- Machine washable
- Tend to be loose around the leg
- Not ideal for nighttime
Lamaze Organic Training Pants
These training pants are fantastic! They are made of 100% organic cotton making them soft and comfortable. There is not the crinkle sound you get with disposable training pants so they look, feel, and sound like big kid underpants. They come in packs of 4 ,which gives you some extra for those accidents that are bound to happen. I love the colors and prints; they are super cute. And the price is great! Win, Win, Win!
- Soft and comfortable
- Pull on closure
- Machine washable
- 100 percent organic cotton
- GOTS certified (Global Organic Textile Standard)
- Runs big
Best Bottom Training Pants with Inserts
These toilet training pants have a waterproof inside and a cotton outer layer, which makes them look more like real underwear. Obviously, a strictly waterproof interior would be problematic, which is why these come with three fabric liners that attached with two small snaps. This is the greatest selling point for these pants, because the liners prevent you from having to change to a whole new pair of underwear every time there’s even the smallest accident.
The inserts are made of absorbent microfiber and are wrapped in soft flannel with cute patterns, so your child can feel just enough wetness to know they had an accident. And best yet, they come in a variety of sizes and materials so you can customize the feel and and absorption rate to fit your child’s needs. You can buy the training pants and inserts separately, or you can purchase them together in a “training kit.”
- Liners customizable by absorbency and material
- Look a lot like real underwear
- Only need new liner, not new underwear, after accidents
- Could get costly stocking up on liners
- Not for bedtime use
EcoAble Convertible 3-in-1 Cloth Diaper Hybrid
While this option is technically touted as a cloth diaper, one of its designed uses is as a training pant for potty training. The smallest size holds babies 8 to 25 pounds, while the medium size ranges from 15 to 35 pounds, and the large goes from 35 to 60 pounds. And best yet, each of the sizes can also be adjusted for the best possible fit. Snaps along the waist and down the front of the diaper allow it to be tightened or loosened as well as lengthened or shortened.
The snaps on the side allow parents to easily remove the pants after an accident, and the elastic waistband makes it easy for kids to pull them down when it’s time to use the bathroom. Even the absorbency of these pants is adjustable! An insert can be either snapped in or tucked into small pocket openings for nighttime use or for children who are new to potty training. Once a child has begun to show more control, you can remove the insert and the micro mesh lining of the pants themselves can contain small accidents.
- Adjustable width and height for best fit
- Can be used day or night
- Waterproof outer layer to protect clothing
- Feels and looks more like a diaper
- More expensive than other re-usables
UOU Potty Training Underwear
UOU training pants have 6 layers and so are more absorbent than regular underpants. They have the same soft feel as cloth diapers. These training pants come in a package of 5 and are fairly inexpensive. If you are looking to train a younger toddler or your little one is small, these might be perfect for you since they run small. Be sure to order the right size . . . nothing like potty training with underpants that are too big!
- Great for small accidents
- Machine washable
- Fun, colorful patterns
- Will only hold moisture for a few minutes
- Runs small
As with all things kid-related, there are so many options to choose from when you decide to take the potty training plunge. Disposable diapers are clearly the most convenient option for parents. However, their diaper-like look and feel can make it hard to convince your child that they aren’t, in fact, diapers.
For my money, I prefer the reusable training pants, specifically the Best Bottom Training Pants with Inserts. The customization options alone are reason to go for them. And you can always use disposables for bedtime if you’d like a little extra peace of mind! If you’re not sure if your child is ready to potty train, read our potty training readiness tips. And be sure to read about our favorite potty seats and toddler toilets.
What are the benefits of disposable training pants?
Disposable training pants are easy to pull on and off. Parents love that they can simply be thrown away when they are soiled. A good step between diapers and regular underwear, disposables are convenient and easy to use.
Do kids get potty trained faster with reusable potty training underwear?
Cloth potty underwear can help kids recognize their toileting needs. They can recognize the feeling of being wet much more easily than with disposable pants. More like real underwear than disposable options are, reusable help transition kids to regular underwear more easily.
How old should a child be to potty train?
There isn’t a magic age to potty train. It really depends on the child’s development and willingness to try. Seasoned parents agree that waiting until the child is interested and ready is the best time to start potty training. That can really vary in age for kids from anywhere from about 18 months to 4 years.