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Ease the potty training transition to underwear with training pants

What are training pants?

Training pants serve as a useful transition between diapers and underwear during potty training.

They are soft undergarments that mimic the look of underwear but with absorbent protection to catch small amounts of urine. They aren’t as absorbent as diapers or pull-ups but are a great way to get a child used to wearing underwear while still having some protection in case they don’t get to the bathroom in time.

They can be washed by machine or hand and come individually or in packages of 2, 3, or more with designs suitable for both boys and girls, including solid colours, patterns, and cute images of things like animals on the back and/or front. Sizes range from 2T up to about 4T; larger sizes might be difficult to find.

What types of training pants are available?

There are three main types of training pants: waterproof covers, washable cloth underwear, and pull-ups.

Waterproof covers are designed to be worn over regular underwear to provide an extra barrier of protection. This can make kids feel sweaty but are handy if your child is anxious to get out of diapers but still having frequent accidents.

Cloth padded underwear, as noted, is designed to be able to absorb small amounts of urine should a child have an accident. They can be waterproof and are often made of material like soft cotton with a double-sided terry inner layer.

Alternatively, there are pull-ups, which look and feel similar to diapers except the toddler or child pulls them up or down when going to the potty versus parents using tabs on the side for changing. They are typically as absorbent as diapers, or at least more absorbent than padded underwear, making them the best option for bedwetters who might release a lot of urine overnight. However, kids who are potty training might have a difficult time understanding that pull-ups are not diapers.

When should you use training pants?

Training pants are best when you feel as though you’re nearing the end of potty training, and accidents are happening less and less often. Kids can feel like they’re moving on to the “big boy” or “big girl” underwear while you still have a bit of a safety net, just in case an accident occurs.

Once a child has gone a few weeks without soiling their training pants, you can use that as an indication that it’s safe to move on to underwear and celebrate the occasion.

When selecting the right training pants, make sure to get the right size, as something that’s too tight could bother the child while too loose can allow urine to leak. Choose fun patterns they will love and buy multiple packs, so you have enough to use one per day in between laundry sessions.

If your child has frequent bedtime accidents, consider more absorbent options like pull-ups, or continue with diapers, at least for overnight.