All About Trainer Pants
Cloth trainer pants are nothing like the disposable pull ups which are sold as “trainer pants”. Those are nothing more than pull up nappies, and will hold whatever wee or poo your child produces. Cloth trainer pants, on the other hand, simply give your child a chance to get to the loo without embarrassment if they have an accident. They won’t act like standard nappies, for the most part, so you use them only when your child is ready to come out of nappies, more for reassurance rather than anything else.
For this reason, it is a tricky decision as to whether to use trainer pants at all, because most brands are comparatively expensive and will be in use for a very short period of time - quite probably less than a week, if you time it right. I therefore stock very different types of trainer pant:
The Mother-ease Big Kid Pants are reusable pull up nappies and are a less padded pull-up version of their main range: lovely soft white or print PUL fully covering stretch terry cotton, with snugly elasticated legs and waist. They are therefore fully waterproof and absorbency is also quite good - the kind of trainer pant you could get away with at pre-school if your child is not 100% dry, especially if you put in a booster 'just in case'.
Bambinex 2 in 1 trainers are another great economical reusable pull ups choice. They offer a light weight absorbency protection (not quite as high as the Motherease), and they can also be used as a swim pant. This really helps make them an economical option as if your child does train rapidly you can still use them for swimming.
However, apart from the cost, the main downside to this trainer pant is the fact that it really looks like a trainer pant. It doesn’t have that essential 'big boy/girl' look that proper pants do. For this reason, your child will probably associate it with nappies and will not want to wear it for very long. This means it has a relatively short shelf life. On the upside, I expect to see them widely available on the active 2nd hand cloth nappy market for this very reason, which can only be good news for parents. Washable at 60 and can be tumble dried cool.
The alternative is Bright Bots pull up reusable nappies, an Australian trainer pant. Available in eye-catching colours, they are washable at 40. They are much more like pants, and much more cunningly disguised than the Motherease ones. For this reason, the Bright Bots can continue to be used as 'proper' pants long after their protective purpose has passed. In addition, they are half the price.
The downside? Well, because the waterpoofing is hidden inside the gusset, along with a panel of absorbent foam, they do not offer the same level of overall waterproofness as the Motherease ones. They are more 'wee protectors', to give your child a chance to get to the loo after they have had an accident without getting their clothes all wet. They won’t hold a full wee without leaking and won't withstand being sat on when wet.
We did work out a way around this with son number 1, who refused (as a matter of principle) to use the toilet for six weeks after he was already dry at night. We put him into Bright Bots pants and then covered them with an Airflow wrap, so that then when he did (inevitably) do a full wee, we had no worries about the furniture. It reduced a lot of the stress while getting him to co-operate... until Dad sussed what would work for him: the threat of “no more telly until you’re dry” produced miraculous results, and he used the toilet completely unaided from that moment on!
Bamboolik Trainer Pants are fantastic reusable pull ups for toddlers if you're just starting potty training: they allow you to open the pants at the side so if the child accidentally does a poo in them you don't have to pull them down the legs (and therefore smearing poo right down their legs too) as can happen with these other trainer pants. Bamboolik trainers do seem expensive initially especially as they are just the waterproof part and absorbency needs to be added in. However the idea is that you reuse inserts you already have from previous nappies rather than buying new inserts. The waterproof Bamboolik cover can be reused throughout the day so suddenly they become a very economical system.
The Motherease Bedwetter Pants and Kijani Night Time Pull Ups are both pull ons with the full absorbency of a nappy, so are the nearest equivalent to disposable pull ons. These are best for night time due to their bulkiness.
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