Training Pants for Babies and Toddlers

If you read my post on the history of American potty training, you know that infant potty training was the norm until the 1980’s when disposables gained a growing market share and experts re-thought toilet training norms from decades past.  In fact, I can’t help but mention that in the 1950’s and 1960’s, 95% of all toddlers were toilet trained by 18 months!

Today, most of the mainstream training pants come in size 2T and larger.  My daughter is 18 months old and her training pants invariably end up around her ankles after ten minutes of running through the house.  I’m searching for a smaller pair of training pants that will accommodate  younger children.

I’ve heard great things about Imse Vimse Organic Cotton Training Pants, mainly from Rebecca.  She used them with her small daughter and was impressed by their quality and effectiveness.   There is no waterproof layer, so they have to be used at home–but they give your child a full sense of how uncomfortable it feels to wet her pants.  A small sized pair of Imse Vimse training pants fits babies 24-31 pounds, which is still far too big for my petite sized daughter–but will fit other children that range from 15-24 months.

Mother-Ease Training Pants seem like a better fit, since a size small ranges from 20-30 pounds.  They have a waterproof layer on the outside, so would work more easily on the go.  They’re also a reasonable $13.50 a pair.

Although I have no idea what their sizing means, I have to say that Blueberry Trainers Pants are just about the cutest things I have ever seen.  They are not waterproof, but their vibrant colors and thick comfortable layers make them really appealing.  And what toddler wouldn’t want to start potty training in order to sport a pair of these stylish pants?

If you’re training an infant, you’ll be happy to know that Diaper Free Baby’s website now sells infant underwear for just $6.00 a pair, and baby training pants for just $8.00 a pair.  They’re not waterproof, but since they’re specifically from a site that emphasizes elimination communication, you know that they will actually fit!

Do you use pocket diapers for potty training, make your own, or find another great brand of training pants?  Please give me your tips on favorite cloth trainers for young toddlers or babies!


  1. Thanks so much for this post! I just ran across your potty training in history post and I also have a slight obsession with cloth diapering, potty training etc. My son is 12 months old and using the potty quite consistently when at home. I haven’t changed a poopy diaper in over a month 🙂 I was just starting to wonder about putting him in training pants so I appreciate the overview and recommendations! I did check out the sizing on the Blueberry training pants (they are too cute) Small (22-30 lb) Medium (25-35 lb) Large (32-42 lb). My lil man is small too, only 19lb 9oz at his year check up.

  2. Imse Vimse and Blueberry trainers do have waterproofing in the crotch so they will prevent one accident from running down the little trainers legs.

    Little Beetles trainers have no waterproofing, but have side snaps for easier removal of messy accidents. Their small size is tiny and works great for ECers.

  3. We used the Imse Vimse ones with our nearly 3-year-old and they worked great. I think they are somewhat waterproof – probably enough for at least one pee. I also bought 1 pair Bummis b/c they were cheaper — they work, and are waterproof, but are kind of huge and balloon-like. I love the Gerber training underwear for the cheapest option — not waterproof, but catch little drips. My 3-year-old still wears them b/c they are just really thick comfy cotton, with a gentle elastic band (inside fabric instead of right against the skin). I plan to use them with a waterproof cover when I’m ready to go whole hog with potty training my 18-month-old.

  4. If you want to save your money, go terribly cute and organic check out Hanna Andersson Training Unders. They’re absolutely adorable. My toddler is (June 11th here) almost two — will be July 31st — and has gotten really excited about potty and “panties”. I couldn’t believe how I could spend $20 for three pairs, and they’re organic versus all the other brands out there. Yes we cloth diaper so I’ve research all the CD company trainers and just cannot believe the price difference!

  5. Jennifer says

    I agree with Margaret….I bought 3 packs of Hanna Andersson Training Unders (3 per pack, total of 9). Early on she wore her cloth diapers and we pulled them off to potty. Then we moved up to the Unders (she was about 18 mo). At first I put a cheap-o Geber plastic pant over them when we left the house. (Someone passed those down to me, if I had to buy I would probably look at wool soaker shorts.) But the vinyl pant made her little behind sweat, so that stage passed quickly. Now, she’s 2.5 and fully trained day and night, so we just use the Unders as panties. They are a little thick, but she’s scrawny so it pads her behind and helps her shorts fit! I would say that when we first started wearing the Unders, she HAD to wear pants over them to hold them up (I usually put shorts under dresses anyways, for modesty). They’re still loose now, so she can keep wearing them to age 3 and beyond- not bad for $20 a pack!

  6. Hanna Anderssons are AMAZING. I tried under the nile and they were too big for my son in the thighs and he leaked right through them. Hanna’s are absorbant without feeling thick, organic and soft. They also come in colors and prints. They can be worn by smaller children than other trainers but have a large age range. The crotch is all cotton, not polyester batting like Gerber. Wish they were cheaper and I’d keep my son in these all the time except for naps. We also have some Mommy’s Touch Potty Time Trainers which have a waterproof layer, pull up, snap off and are stuffable for additional absorbency. They are super expensive for trainers though, couldn’t afford a stash of these. If I’d known my son would want pull up diapers and trainers so badly, I might not have spent as much money on our expensive cloth diapers. oh well, too late now.

  7. Zelda Pinwheel says

    The first ones we got to stay up, when he was 14 mos, were: Nikky M, Potty Scotty XS, and Gerber 18 mo. He soon grew into Blueberry S. For more waterproofing, we would slip a pair of Dappi M nylon pants over any of these. We had to order all of those through the mail.

    He then grew into Imse Vimse and Hanna Andersson. They’re great for different situations and phases.

    He’s 2 and a half now and wears Hanna XS daily. His spares at school are Gerber 2T. We can buy both at local stores. (Fortunate to live near a Hanna outlet, and 2T is a mass-market size for Gerber.)

    As Betsy indicates, if 2T falls off your child, Bummi 20-30lb. will too (unless they’ve changed the design).

    At night he wears Nikky All-Night Pants with three doublers. He started in size 2-3 at around 18 mos, and is now in 4-5.

    It will be great when small cloth trainers and cloth all-night pants are no longer fringe items. I learned what to try on pages like this. Thank you!

  8. Ooh, thanks for the tips on the Nikky pants and doublers. I have a 6-year-old who still wets at night (he’s a very solid sleeper, and also on the autism spectrum)–when I read elsewhere that some boys, particularly those with autism, can have this problem until somewhere between age 7 and 10 I definitely wanted to find an alternative to disposable pull-ups. We tried Gerber cotton training pants under Kissaluvs waterproof training pants, but even with me waking him up at 11:30 to sit on the toilet, he was soaked through by morning. After a month of this I got tired of washing sheets daily and have gone back to using up the leftover disposables at night while searching for another solution.

    I am thinking of trying one of those alarm devices, but if that doesn’t work maybe I will at least invest in some doublers to use with the Kissaluvs pants (which are quite nice, with adjustable snaps, and 3T fits him because he’s so skinny).

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