Monday, January 23, 2012

Cloth training pants

Let me preface this post by stating that I think that training pants (cloth or disposable pull-ups) are the stupidest thing ever. LOL.

The idea behind them is that they provide a transition from diapers to underwear, allowing kids to use the potty but preventing messes when they don't. Which sounds great in theory. Problem is, at least with my kids, avoiding a mess is the reason that they use the potty. If they're in training pants, there's no motivation to use the potty. And so training pants are really no better than diapers.

For that reason, Littles went straight from diapers to underwear. And for that reason, when I work on potty training with Noob right now, he's bottomless.

Another thing that's stupid about cloth training pants in particular is that they are designed to be used for a limited period of time, when the child is transitioning from diapers to underwear. Presumably, the child should either "get" the concept of using the potty and transition to underwear, or not "get" it and go back to diapers. Either way, that eliminates the need for training pants. I can see how it might make sense to use a pack or two of disposable pullups during that transition period. But spending hundreds of dollars on a full stash of cloth training pants? That makes no sense to me.

So, why on earth am I sewing a full stash of cloth training pants? Well, Noob is starting at preschool this week, and his preschool requires pullups -- no diapers. So, I have to buy super-expensive disposable pullups, or spend hundreds of dollars on cloth training pants... or sew my own. Clearly, the last option won out :)

(If you're wondering what I did for Littles when she started at this preschool? Since I didn't know how to sew at the time, I found some cheap side-snapping diapers, and pre-snapped them so that they could be pulled on. After a few months, her teachers complained that she wasn't able to pull them up/down easily enough. Which was true. Luckily, she was on the verge of potty training anyway, so we switched her into underwear at that point and that was that. But given that Noob will have the same lead teacher, I knew that the side-snapping diapers wouldn't be an option this time around.)

Without further ado/ranting, here is my collection of stupid cloth training pants :) All are done using the Trimsies Trainer pattern, overnight style, size small, with a pocket.




Outer: PUL (purchased directly from another sewing mom)
Tabs: Cotton rib knit (Joann's)
Inner: Microfleece (

I did just a slit pocket on this one. Very easy -- basically, I cut a hole in the inner fabric using my rotary cutter, before sewing the outer and inner together. But I don't like the way it looks. It kinda "flips up," exposing the Lastin elastic at the back. Still, it's very serviceable.

Noob wasn't really cooperating for action shots, but here are a few. For these, I was using a two-layer Zorb II soaker that I made a while back. It fit OK, but these trainers are really trim through the crotch/front panel, so I knew they'd look better if I sewed up some soakers from the pattern itself. Which I've done now... I'll get to those in a little bit. Anyway, you'll see a little bit of poofiness in the front because the soaker that's in there isn't the best fit.


I wasn't quite sure that the side tabs were stretchy enough to be easy to pull up/down, and I thought it might be the microfleece inner limiting the stretch. So for the second pair I made, I used crushed panne velour for both the inner and the tabs, since it's super thin and stretchy. No pictures of this one, unfortunately :(

I found that the final product was just about as stretchy as my first version. And crushed panne is a maaaaaaaaajor pain in the butt to work with, because it's so thin and stretchy and slippery. It took me a lot longer to make, and since I have a lot of these to sew up in a short period of time, I decided to go back to microfleece inners.

Here are the next three that I made:


Inserts: These are made from the soaker pattern included with the trainer pattern. They fit great! They are three layers of heavy bamboo fleece (purchased from a coop). I originally thought I'd double them up, but I'm finding that just one is plenty absorbent! I'm loving this heavy bamboo fleece!

Top trainer outer: PUL (purchased from another sewing mom)
Tabs: Jersey cotton (from an old sheet set we have around the house, same one I used for the fitted diaper in this post)
Inner: Microfleece (

Middle trainer outer: PUL (
Tabs: Cotton interlock (
Inner: Microfleece (

Bottom trainer outer: PUL (purchased from another sewing mom)
Tabs and inner: Microchamois (purchased from a coop)

These all turned out really really well! We've been on vacation in China for the last ~2.5 weeks (which is why I haven't been sewing...) and I've used them all quite a bit and they've been working great. I especially love the bottom one with the microchamois tabs/inner -- microchamois is a type of microfleece that is slightly thinner and stretchier, and it really makes for a nice fit.

Oh! One thing I did on some of these trainers was sew a small patch of t-shirt fabric into the crotch. This is a feel-wet fabric (microfleece/microchamois are stay-dry), so hopefully that will help Noob with potty training. Here's what it looks like. Not real pretty on this trainer (it's obviously less visible on the trainers with white inners), but you can't see it once the trainer is on.


No action shots because I've been lazy, but I'm really happy with this pattern and these trainers. I have six now, which should be enough for one day at preschool... I'll be doing a lot of laundry at night until I can sew up a few more to add to the stash!

1 comment:

  1. They turned out great!

    And I'm with you regarding trainers, I just don't get them (and I don't even have any kids yet...not until April at least)!