The potty-training stage of your toddlers’ life is a huge milestone that’s also a little scary (for you and them!). You don’t know whether to jump for joy that soon you can wave goodbye to the nappies you’ve spent your savings on over the last two or three years or dread it completely.
Other parents who have conquered this stage will probably have told you a few horror stories about having to buy new carpets or that one time in the shops when their little one had an accident, but it’s honestly not that bad.Every child is different, and if you go into potty training expecting a few accidents most days, it makes those surprises a little easier to handle.
Introducing your youngster to toddler training pants (also known as pull-ups) is a way of bridging the gap between nappies and potty training, with many people claiming their toddlers learnt to potty train quicker as a result.
Best potty training pants loved by mums:
What are potty training pants?
"Potty training pants enable toddlers to make the transition away from nappies towards big-kid pants and are a great first step in your potty-training journey," says Bambino Mio's Product Co-ordinator and Technician, Alex Nicholls. "Training pants mimic the feeling of wet underwear to allow toddlers to recognise the feeling of needing to use the potty and the underwear-like fit and pull-up style makes it super easy for changing in-between any accidents."
Why use potty training pants?
Rather than a replacement for nappies, potty training pants should be used as a step towards wearing normal underwear as your tot learns to potty train. Because they do not soak up wee as much as disposable nappies, your toddler will find it easier to tell when they are wet and will start to understand that they need to keep them dry, encouraging them to use the potty instead - and acting as an early warning for you too.
Benefits of potty training pants
"There are so many benefits to both parents and toddlers making the transition to reusable potty-training pants. They help promote independence for your toddler with their pull-up style design and help children to feel like they’re wearing real pants," says Alex. "Potty-training pants such as Bambino Mio's usually come in a range of super cute designs and contain a concealed water-resistant layer and absorbent inner pad that minimises the need for any clothing changes. Many are also super easy to wash so that when little accidents do happen, they can be machine washed and tumble dried. They’re great for the environment too, allowing you to move away from single-use plastic products like disposable training pants and towards more sustainable, reusable options."
Types of Potty training pants
Cloth potty training pants: The good thing about potty training is that you won’t have to spend a fortune on nappies every week, but you can reduce the cost even further by using reusable training pants. Not only are these better for the environment, but they help promote independence for your toddler as they look and feel like big-kid pants. Cloth training pants usually have a water-resistant layer and inner pad, which will contain little accidents. You can simply pop them in the washing machine as and when you need to.
Disposable potty training pants: For many parents, it's straightforward for their little ones to move onto disposable potty training pants because they feel and work the same as regular nappies, making it an easier transition.
Potty training pants to buy
We've found the best training pants will make potty training that little bit easier for not only you but your little one too! We'd recommend getting your child involved with every stage, including choosing a potty and pants. It will make the transition smoother and a lot more fun. Why not have a look through the list together and let them pick their favourite?
The best potty training pants
These training pants are the perfect middle man between nappies and pants. We love the child-friendly designs that make ‘big kid’ pants more fun and the fact the material can be washed very easily and re-used without any lingering smell.
These won Bronze in the 2018 Mother&Baby Awards in the Best Potty Training Product category.
Tested by mum Shannon Finch for the Mother&Baby Awards 2018; she said: "I would recommend this product to a friend because, in the long run, it's far cheaper to purchase a few of these than buy disposable pull-ups. I love how many beautiful designs are available as well and that they don’t leave your bag smelling of chemicals."
Read our full review of Bambino Mio Potty Training Pants here.
Bronze winners at the Mother&Baby Awards 2021 in the Best Potty Training Product category, these pants allow you to train your child with confidence.
The Paw Patrol pants are super easy to pull up and support your child in their potty training journey - whilst making your life easier too. You can feel rest assured as these pants have been created to catch any dribbles, so their clothes need changing less. The fabric is soft and easy to wash with a stretch waistband that fits snugly around your child
Tested by mum Nadia for the Mother&Baby Awards 2021, she said: “This product made potty training a breeze, as it’s the perfect go-to product between pull-ups and underwear. My son enjoyed the fun design and felt like a ‘big boy’ wearing these. We found we were changing a lot of pull-ups/nappies that were dry, and I felt guilty about the impact to the environment and cost.”
Read our full review of Paw Patrol Training Pants here.
Shortlisted in the Mother&Baby Awards 2019 in the Best Potty Training Product category, these training pants are a great eco-friendly and economical option.
The Charlie Banana 2-in-1 Swim Diaper & Training Pants have a waterproof outer layer and a soft organic cotton interior lining that is gentle against your baby's skin. They make ideal training pants when potty training a child because of the trim fit, easy removal and a fine absorbent layer to minimize little accidents.
Tested by mum Elizabeth for the Mother&Baby Awards 2019, she said: “The fact that this product is 2-in-1 is great! It makes them so versatile and usable making them much more cost-effective. The design is fabulous and has meant there were no fights when trying to get my son to wear it! They are very soft, and the materials used means there are no worries about your child’s skin.”
Read our full review of Charlie Banana 2-in-1 Swim Diaper & Training Pants here.
HUGGIES pull-ups are specially designed to make potty training easier. They have a unique learning layer that briefly mimics the feeling of wet underwear to help your little one learn the difference between damp and dry, soft stretchy sides.
Toddlers can effortlessly pull up and down these pants. Plus, kids love to wear them because of their Disney design, which fades when wet. They also have re-sealable easy-open sides, making it easier to remove them in case of accidents.
These training pants were shortlisted in the Mother&Baby Awards 2019, in the Best Potty Training Product category.
Tested by mum Shreya for the Mother&Baby Awards 2019, she said: “I would 100% recommend these to other mums. They make life easier when potty training at night time. They are also good for long car journeys if you are worried about accidents due to naps. They have good absorbency compared with other similar brands on the market.”
Read our full review of HUGGIES Pull-Ups here.
Featuring in the Mother&Baby Awards twice, these dry pants won gold in 2017 for the Best Potty Training Products and a year later in 2018, grabbed another gold award in the Best Disposable Pant category.
Our panel of mum testers were so impressed by the liquid retention of the nappies, especially at night, and reported no leaks whatsoever. The material is thick, high-quality and soft on sensitive skin. We love the sticky tab at the back, sealing the nappy and mess inside.
Tested by mum Vicki Jones for the Mother&Baby Awards 2017, she said: “I think Pampers Baby-Dry Pants would be great for potty training or a little one that's a bit of a wriggle, that is if they cooperate with you. Once on, we had no leaks and they absorbed really well.”
Read our full review of Pampers Baby-Dry Pants here.
Boasting over a thousand four-star reviews on Amazon, these toddler training pants are super durable and soft, made from cotton. Sewn to precision to prevent any baby rash and fully reusable, these will last you your entire potty training season.
An Amazon mum review: “We bought these pants for my son, because he couldn't tolerate real nappies anymore. We tried a lot of training pants and these were the only ones that didn't tighten on the legs and where we can very well insert a washable insert, so that everything stays dry even on the road in the car and on the playground. After washing they dry very quickly, I would recommend going a size up”
These pants are designed to feel like comfortable underwear and are tested to hold at least 30ml of urine if the waist and thigh band fit snug. They are partially waterproof, helping to catch small accidents, so they’re perfect for potty training. Washable, durable and reusable, these are great eco-friendly transition pants from nappies to normal underwear.
An Amazon mum review: “Absolutely love these! I don't have to spend the whole day cleaning. They don't hold enough for baby to wear for hours after an accident but enough to get baby to the bathroom without leaving a trail on the ground. Which is perfect! baby realizes it's not comfy to have wet underwear, but I don't have to deal with the mess when there is an accident.”
Supporting potty training during the day, the hidden water resistant layer of these pants allows children to feel wetness whilst preventing little accidents from soaking through completely. The set of three varied designs is in a pull-up style and is designed especially for boys, with extra absorbency allowed to the front.
How cool are these eco-friendly toddler training pants? The stretchy leg holes offer a greater fit for your child and help to avoid side leakage. The on-and-off stretchy waistband is ideal for when your tot needs to go RIGHT NOW! Suitable for hand and machine wash, they're made of natural cotton, making them comfortable to wear and avoiding skin irritation too.
An Amazon mum review: "This product is excellent quality and made very well. I love how you get so many, which is needed when it comes to toilet training or generally. Value for money compared to other brands and does the job just as well. It holds the urine for my toddler perfectly for the few mins I need to quickly bring him into the bathroom for cleaning without it going onto the floor directly, which is one less thing to worry about during toilet training!"
How to introduce potty training pants
Bambino Mio shares their expert tips for introducing your baby to toddler training pants.
Make sure they’re ready
One of the best tips we recommend is to make sure your child is ready. Potty training isn’t something you can or should force on your little one. While both girls and boys are often ready to potty train around the same time (between 18 months and 30 months), it’s different for every child. Pushing your child to potty train before they are ready might actually delay the process and can create unnecessary stress for both you and your child. If your toddler can stay dry for 2 hours or during a nap then they might be ready to say goodbye to the nappies.
A recent YouGov survey provides evidence that using reusable nappies are associated with early potty training by 18 months or younger because reusable nappies allow for an increased sense of independence for both children and parents.
Make sure you’re ready too
It’s important to invest in potty-training essentials to make the transition as smooth as possible. Pull-up style training pants are the perfect step away from nappies towards big-kid pants! It’s important to make potty training a fun and enjoyable experience for toddler, so we recommend stocking up on designs that are eye-catching and let your child choose which style they want to wear – this will encourage them to love wearing training pants.
It’s important to be your child’s biggest cheerleader and use words of encouragement to keep them motivated and to get them excited about using potty training pants. Some kids might need more motivation, so rewards might be the way to go. A great idea would be to use a reward chart and each time they use the potty they get a sticker, this is a simple but great way to encourage them to continue to use the potty and understand the journey. But you know your child so use whatever method works best for them, some parents opt for stickers, small toys or a little lolly as a reward.
Keep it consistent
Routine is key in this process, so once you start potty training to keep the momentum going, stay on a schedule. To prevent your child from having accidents and to help them understand the feeling of needing to go, you could try to sit your toddler on the potty at regular intervals during the day and especially after meal times to get them used to the idea. Even though it can be a bit of a repetitive process, it will help familiarise your little one with the routine. Yes, sometimes they’ll have accidents, meltdowns and they’ll probably refuse to go, but at the end of it, all your child will understand the process and will start to be more independent and take themselves to the potty. It will be hard at times but remember to give some extra patience as this is all new to them.
How we choose our recommendations
Our product recommendations are based on a combination of real-world testing from our burgeoning army of mum testers, and the extensive knowledge of our experienced editorial team and product specialists. Where we can, we also consult experts who specialise in that field to ensure you get the right advice along with the right product, and we listen to what you say as well. Our thriving mum community on our Facebook group #mumtribe also often hold great insights as to which products mums really like best and why helping us highlight the products that meet what you really want.
For the essential products, our annual Mother&Baby Awards shortlist the top products tested, and you can find full reviews from our mum testers provided on the product page. The winners and runners up for each category then will appear in our top picks article for that product, along with other products that were rated highly by our team.
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