Cloth Trainers 101

Cloth trainers are always a HOT topic on diaper discussion pages. Diapering to potty learning can be a tough transition  as cloth parents, we feel comfortable with our diapering routine  the wash routine, the type of diapers we prefer, etc. Potty learning can feel like you’ve come to the edge of a great abyss and dont know what to do next. Should I even bother with cloth trainers? Go straight to underwear? Just use disposable trainers? Keep using diapers through potty training? It can be hard to know what to do next and there isnt one right solution for every family. As long as you’re following your childs lead and doing what works best for your familys routine you can’t go wrong. The learning process can be quite long  so choosing to go straight to disposables, while appealing in some ways, might end up costing you in the long run.

My intent with this blog is to help guide you through several styles of cloth trainers available and show you that they are a totally viable option to help skip the unnecessary waste and added expense of disposable training pants.

When parents ask for cloth trainer recommendations, I always ask them questions about their childs potty learning status.

  •  Is your child at the beginning of the learning process or nearing the end? How much absorbency do you need (full bladder or small leaks)?
  •  Are you looking to use them while youre out and about or just around the house?
  •  Does your child have bowel movements in their trainers?

The answers to these questions really help guide them to the perfect trainer for their needs. Every trainer is built differently so its important to know exactly what its meant to do before buying.

Side Snaps

Many trainers on the market have side snaps. Trainers of this style are intended to be pulled up and down or snapped on and off like a diaper. They give the child the satisfaction of being able to dress themselves but provide the ease of easy clean up should your child have a bowel movement in the trainers. GroVia My Choice Trainers, Flip training pants, and both Mme & Co. trainers are this style. Bummis Potty Pants (which are unfortunately discontinued) do not have snaps and are better for children who tend to not have BM accidents.

AIOs vs. customizable absorbency

If your child is just beginning to use the potty, you might want to choose a trainer with customizable absorbency. Benefits of this type of trainer are that you can remove absorbency as the child becomes more reliable or increase it based on situational needs like a longer car ride or outing where a bathroom might not be readily available. GroVia My Choice Trainers and Mme & Co. overnight trainers both have built in absorbency but have a pocket so you can stuff in an insert of your choice should you need it. Flip training pants are a shell but come with 3 inserts which make for easy customization. Additionally, the Flip shells are able to be reused throughout the day  you would just change the insert and wipe the shell should you need to.

For children who dont need as much absorbency, products like the Mme & Co. training pants and Bummis Potty Pants are ideal. They both have built in absorbency throughout the shell but there arent any pockets to add additional inserts. They arent ideal for a child who might empty their full bladder but are great for kids who want to feel like they’re wearing real underwear like an older brother or sister.

Wash Routine

You should stick to your regular wash routine for cloth trainers. If you need to add extra laundry to your wash to bulk up your load, add small items like wash cloths so everything can still agitate properly. I avoid putting any parts with PUL or elastics into the dryer to extend their lifespan as well.

The most important part of potty learning is to follow your childs lead. Don’t be afraid to go back to diapers if they aren’t ready. Or, alternatively, as we just did with my youngest, skip ahead to underwear all in one day and be super sad you dont get to #buyallthetrainers.

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