If your child is ready to begin potty training, the right training pants can help make the switch from diapers to underwear easier and less stressful for both parent and child.
Training pants are made to fit and feel like underwear but have the ability to absorb accidents while a child is potty training. Our buying guide can help you decide which training pants are right for your child based on important factors like disposable versus cloth, sizing, price, absorbency, and washability. We also share our top recommendations at the end, including the bestselling Huggies Pull-Ups Learning Designs, which are absorbent and feel like real underwear.
Considerations when choosing training pants
Disposable vs. cloth
Both cloth and disposable training pants offer different advantages. Both types are padded so that when a child has an accident, the pants become slightly uncomfortable and wet (without soaking through to the outer clothing) to encourage the child to use the toilet.
Cloth: Cloth training pants, which are usually sold in packs of two to four, can be washed and reused as many times as needed. Some brands are more absorbent than others, but all brands need to be washed after each use — which can add up to a lot of laundry. Fortunately, potty training usually takes less time with cloth pants.
Disposable: Disposable training pants are usually sold in larger packs and offer single-use convenience — a lifesaver for busy parents. Keep in mind that disposable pants are more absorbent and feel more like diapers than cloth pants, which may prolong the potty training process. They also create more waste and are ultimately more expensive.
If you opt for cloth training pants, you need to prepare for proper laundering. It’s good to know that disposable training pants can’t be washed and attempts to do so may actually ruin your washing machine. Wash cloth pants using a mild detergent, bleach, and hot water to kill bacteria without irritating your child’s skin.
To help keep accidents contained and avoid even more laundry, choose cloth training pants that have stretchy leg holes and waistbands that prevent leaks. Some brands also include an extra waterproof barrier in the pants themselves.
Best training pants features
The best training pants are easy for your child to take on and off by themselves, comfortable to wear when dry, and mildly uncomfortable when wet to encourage toilet use. Avoid models with scratchy material or overly tight leg holes and waistbands, which can cause a child to protest the new training pants.
Choose a size that won’t restrict your child’s movements, is roomy without gaping, and is easy to put on and remove. Manufacturers list size recommendations by either weight range (e.g., 35 to 50 pounds) or clothing size (e.g., 5T).
While design might seem like an afterthought, it can be an important factor in motivating a reluctant child. Many brands of training pants are decorated with friendly cartoon characters that can help your child warm to the idea of potty training.
Training pants price
Reusable cloth training pants are a bigger investment up front at $2 to $5 per pack of 2 to 8, but they’re usually a more economical choice over the course of potty training.
Disposable pants cost between $0.20 and $0.60 per unit in packs of 24 to 99 pairs. The larger the pack, the less you should expect to pay per pair, but be wary of brands at the very low end of the price spectrum, since they may offer a poor fit that leaks.
Training pants FAQ
Is there any difference between “boy styles” and “girl styles” of training pants?
A. If a given style of training pants offers different designs, you can usually rest assured that they are interchangeable. A few brands offer extra quilting up front (for boys) and in the center (for girls), and they advertise this feature.
Do training pants have added fragrance like diapers?
A. Most brands of disposable training pants include added fragrance to mask odor, just like diapers. If your child is sensitive to fragrance, look for a brand specifically labeled as “fragrance free,” or opt for cloth training pants instead.
Training pants we recommend
Best of the best
Our take: Best-selling, high-quality disposable training pants for a great price.
What we like: Feels like real underwear. Absorbent material with lots of fun designs and character options. Flexible closures help prevent leaks. Good price for the quality.
What we dislike: Runs a bit small. Some customers report rips in the side material with frequent handling.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Best bang for your buck
Our take: Reusable and comfortable training pants with excellent absorbency.
What we like: Available in styles that appeal to both girls and boys. Great absorbency without being bulky. Comfortable and soft material. Flexible waistband and leg holes. Stands up to repeated washings for a long lifespan.
What we dislike: Not waterproof, which makes them less practical for very young children or children who are just starting to potty train.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
Our take: Comfy disposable option with superior absorbency that’s great for overnight protection.
What we like: Fun characters and design options for girls and boys. Lots of absorbency great for overnight potty training. Three sizes available based on weight. Comfortable and flexible design.
What we dislike: This brand feels more like a diaper than some options, which can mean slower potty training progress.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Noelle Ilhi writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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