Best potty training pants for toddlers

30 March 2021

child in potty training pants

A stepping stone between nappies and children's underwear, potty training pants can be really helpful to toddlers who've just started potty training. Here's our pick of the best.

Potty training is tricky at the best of times, so anything that helps to ease a toddler into it is a bonus.

Potty training pants can help a child move seamlessly from nappies to kids' underwear by giving them a much-needed safety net, whether at nursery, out and about, or at bedtime.

They can be worn full-time until a child is dry and confident enough for ordinary pants, or part-time whenever extra reassurance is needed.

Like ordinary pants, they can be pulled up and down easily by a toddler and many are made of cloth so have the feel and comfort of normal pants.

While they don’t soak up as much liquid as a nappy, they are, instead, designed to give toddlers (and parents) that crucial early warning.

But with so many different types of toilet training pants available – see our buyer's guide below for more advice on which pants might suit your child best – we've done the research so you don't have to.

Here are the best potty training pants for toddlers.

1. Best value potty training pants: Bright Bots Trainer Pants

“I had Bright Bots and they saved my bacon countless times. I think they’re absolutely worth it.”

1. Best value potty training pants: Bright Bots Trainer Pants

These cotton terry Y-front training pants by Bright Bots are a super comfy option and available in a range of bright colours.

While they won’t hold a full wee, like a nappy, they are ideal for children prone to leaving it a bit too late to make it to the loo. The central target area has an extra layer of terry towelling with a waterproof lining, which contains enough wee to stop it from soaking through other layers of clothes.

Not only do these trainer pants wash and dry with no fuss, but they stand out for being the most recommended potty training pants on the Mumsnet forums thanks to their reliability, washability and all-round practical nature.

Pros

  • 10 appealing colours to choose from
  • Comfy fabric
  • Machine-washable

Cons

  • Come up on the small side so size up if in doubt
  • Non-tumble-dry

Need to know

  • Age range: 12 months to 2.5 years
  • Sizes: S, M, L and XL
  • Retailers: The Nappy Gurus, The Nappy Lady, funkymonkeypants.com and others

Price: £5 each

View on Amazon

2. Best reusable potty training pants: Bambino Mio Potty Training Pants

“Bambino Mios are what you need. They are bloody brilliant. They get wet but, unlike normal pants, you avoid puddles on the floor and in shoes etc. I love ‘em.”

2. Best reusable potty training pants: Bambino Mio Potty Training Pants

Very popular with parents of potty-trainers, these brightly-coloured, charmingly-patterned pants certainly appeal to toddlers – and are really comfortable too.

Thick bands at the legs and waist make them really easy for toddlers to get on and off. They’re also made of 80% cotton, 20% polyester and laminated to polyurethane to make them waterproof.

While they’ll keep a wee in, they’ll also give your child that feeling of being wet to help them learn the sensation and eventually get to the potty in time.

Pros

  • Machine-washable up to 40 degrees
  • Can be tumble-dried

Cons

  • None that we could find!

Need to know

  • Age range: 18 months to 3+ years
  • Sizes: 18 months+, 2-3 years and 3 years+
  • Retailers: Amazon, Bambino Mio, Argos and JoJo Maman Bébé

Price: £23 (pack of five)

Buy now from Amazon

3. Best leakproof potty training pants: Mother-ease Big Kid Cloth Training Pants

“My son used the cloth Mother-ease pants for a short time as they saved his clothes if he didn't get to the toilet in time. It was just to save emergencies – they gave him confidence when he was first out of nappies.”

3. Best leakproof potty training pants: Mother-ease Big Kid Cloth Training Pants

Mother-ease’s training pants are designed with a slim style to look grown-up and to appeal to potty-trainers embracing the big kid life.

Made from bamboo terry, which is ultra absorbent and feels very soft to wear, they also have a built-in waterproof layer made from the same material as the Mother-ease Airflow and Rikki wrap nappy covers. This means that if your child is moving on from either of these reusable nappies, then the Big Kid Pants will instantly feel familiar.

Soft and stretchy elastics also make these pants easy for your child to get on and off by themselves, and they hold fluid well, giving parents confidence that they won’t be dealing with a puddle.

Pros

  • Very soft to wear
  • Designed to hold a full wee
  • Machine-washable at up to 60 degrees

Cons

  • Pricey

Need to know

  • Age range: Not stated
  • Sizes: S, M and L
  • Retailers: The Nappy Lady, Mother-ease and others

Price: From £16

Buy now from The Nappy Lady

4. Best training pants for boys: JoJo Maman Bébé Boys’ Training Pants

4. Best training pants for boys: JoJo Maman Bébé Boys’ Training Pants

This three-pack of JoJo Maman Bébé training pants are designed specially for boys, with extra absorbency at the front for those times when things aren't quite pointing in the right direction.

We love the totally roar-some design on these dinosaur pants, and we like the comfy and soft elasticated waist which makes them easy for little hands to pull up and down.

Made from 100% cotton, the water-resistant layer and inner pad keep any accidental wees inside while still letting them know they’re wet so that they can dash to the potty.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Good absorbency
  • Machine-washable

Cons

  • If dinos and diggers aren’t your thing, there’s no other choices of colour or design

Need to know

  • Age range: 18 months to 4 years
  • Sizes: 18-24 months, 2-3 years and 3-4 years
  • Retailers: JoJo Maman Bébé

Price: From £14 (pack of three)

Buy now from JoJo Maman Bébé

5. Best training pants for girls: JoJo Maman Bébé Girls’ Training Knickers

5. Best training pants for girls: JoJo Maman Bébé Girls’ Training Knickers

Like the JoJo Boys' Training Pants, these are designed specifically with girls’ bodies in mind, so the extra absorbency is more equally spread around the whole gusset.

They’re also made from 100% cotton and have the same water-resistant layer.

While we're pleased to see something designed for dino-loving girls, there is, unfortunately, no colour available other than pink.

Pros

  • Good value for money
  • Well-designed
  • Machine-washable

Cons

  • Design options limited to bunnies and dinosaurs

Need to know

  • Age range: 18 months to 4 years
  • Sizes: 18-24 months, 2-3 years and 3-4 years
  • Retailers: JoJo Maman Bébé

Price: From £14 (pack of three)

Buy now from JoJo Maman Bébé

6. Best potty training pants for swimming: Charlie Banana 2-in-1 Swim Nappy and Training Pants

“We use a reusable swim nappy with swim shorts over the top. Makes it so much cheaper and easier to persuade DS to wear training pants as it's not a nappy to him, just pants.”

“DD was trained at two-and-a-half, but I used swim nappies until she was four just in case!”

6. Best potty training pants for swimming: Charlie Banana 2-in-1 Swim Nappy and Training Pants

These clever pants from Charlie Banana work as a swim nappy as well as training pants, and are available in loads of brilliant and bright patterns.

The award-winning design is made of one waterproof layer and one soft, absorbent Loycell fabric layer, so it keeps everything contained in the pool but doesn’t swell up in the water like many swim nappies do.

We also like the adjustable waist ties, which make it easier to get the perfect fit. Plus, these nappies are so slim that they can also used as ordinary potty training pants too.

Pros

  • Eco-friendly swim nappy
  • Dual use
  • Machine-washable and can be tumble-dried

Cons

  • Expensive

Need to know

  • Age range: Birth to 2+ years
  • Sizes: S, M, L and XL
  • Retailers: Amazon, eu.charliebanana.com, The Nappy Lady and other online retailers

Price: £20

Buy now from Amazon

7. Best patterned potty training pants: Flyish Training Pants

7. Best patterned potty training pants: Flyish Training Pants

Stylish potty-training parents will like this multipack of training pants from Flyish.

Five absorbent and breathable cotton layers with a leakproof layer underneath allow a wee to leak slowly back to a toddler’s skin to give them the clue that a potty trip may have been in order.

While the pants won’t hold a full wee, they are ideal for those moments when a child doesn't quite make it to the potty in time.

Sturdy elastic also helps toddlers to pull the pants up and down unaided, and the leg holes are designed to be less restrictive to make walking and playing easier.

Pros

  • Good size range available
  • Machine-washable

Cons

  • Some users report sizing either too big or too small

Need to know

  • Age range: 2 to 5 years
  • Sizes: 2, 3, 4 and 5 years
  • Retailers: Amazon

Price: £18 (pack of four)

Buy now from Amazon

8. Best potty training pants for independent toddlers: Ez Undeez Toddler Potty Training Pants

8. Best potty training pants for independent toddlers: Ez Undeez Toddler Potty Training Pants

Aside from the brilliant patterns, what caught our eye with these Ez Undeez was the very clever loop design on the waistband.

Little fingers can hook through the loops so even toddlers who find fiddly clothes tricky will be able to pull their pants up and down alone.

The leg and waistbands are nice and thick, making them feel really secure and preventing them from rolling downwards, and there are no labels inside to irritate.

Made from 95% cotton and 5% elastane with a breathable padded layer to absorb accidents, they’re not quite as absorbent as some training pants, but it does mean that they are less bulky to wear.

Pros

  • Easy for children to put on themselves
  • Can be bought in a boxer style too
  • Machine-washable
  • Available in a decent range of patterns

Cons

  • Slightly less absorbent than some potty training pants

Need to know

  • Age range: 2 to 4 years
  • Sizes: 2, 3 and 4 years
  • Retailers: Amazon

Price: £12 (pack of two)

Buy now from Amazon

9. Best potty training pants for nighttime: Pop-In Parrot Nighttime Training Pants

9. Best potty training pants for nighttime: Pop-In Parrot Nighttime Training Pants

These plush-looking, tropically-patterned training pants from Pop-in will put a smile on any child's face.

A great, eco-friendly alternative to pull-ups at nighttime, these pants have an absorbent inner layer, but you can also insert a booster pad (bought separately) for added absorbency if your child needs it.

A soft, waterproof outer layer and deep cuffs on the legs prevent any leaks even when your child's wriggling around in bed. The pants can also be worn in the daytime.

Pros

  • Eco-friendly
  • Available in other patterns, including squirrels
  • Great for nightttime
  • Machine-washable

Cons

  • Bulky
  • Reviews suggest they come up small, so size up if unsure

Need to know

  • Age range: 18 months to 3.5 years
  • Sizes: M, L, XL and XXL
  • Retailers: Amazon and Babi Pur

Price: £12

Buy now from Amazon

10. Best disposable potty training pants: Huggies Pull-Ups Potty Training Pants

“We used Pull-Ups in between training sessions for DS1 for four months. He wasn't ready on the first attempt, but we didn't want to go back completely on what he had learnt.”

10. Best disposable potty training pants: Huggies Pull-Ups Potty Training Pants

There’s no getting away from it, disposables aren’t great for the environment, but if you aren't keen on reusables and need something to help get your toddler through potty training or nights when they’re not yet dry, Huggies to come up trumps again and again.

Their Pull-Ups feature a range of Disney characters that will appeal to potty-training children, and a feel-wet layer and wetness indicator means the character on the front fades if the nappy is wet, encouraging children to make it to the loo in time.

A learning liner gives a brief sensation of wetness to alert the child to the fact they needed to use the potty, and an elasticated waist helps them learn about getting pants on and off the big-kid way.

Pros

  • Hold a lot of liquid overnight, but also available in an even more absorbent nighttime version
  • Disney character designs include Cars and Cinderella

Cons

  • Not eco-friendly as they can't be reused
  • Expensive over time
  • May not help children learn to stay dry as quickly as cloth pants

Need to know

  • Age range: 2 to 4 years
  • Sizes: 1-2.5 years and 2-4 years
  • Retailers: Amazon, Huggies, and all good supermarkets and pharmacies

Price: £14 (pack of 60)

Buy now from Amazon

Are potty training pants any good?

Some parents swear by potty training pants when potty training their child, while others feel it’s better to go for the speedier method and move straight to ordinary pants.

Toilet training pants have come a long way since the flannelette versions you may be scarred by from your own toddlerhood, which means that there's multitude of choice to suit different toddlers and development stages.

What are the best training pants for potty training?

Different types of potty training pants are designed to do slightly different jobs.

Which you go for will depend on the job you want the pants to do, whether you want them for nighttime, day trips or the first few days without a nappy at nursery.

Among the cloth training pants available, there are many types, including swim pants and pants designed with more absorbency in specific areas, aimed at either boys or girls.

We think the reusable Bright Bots Trainer Pants are the best potty training pants for all-round use, while the Pop-In Parrot Nighttime Training Pants are a great choice for nighttime.

What's the difference between training pants and pull-ups?

Pull-ups are essentially disposable nappies that you can pull up and down, so there’s less of a training aspect to them than potty training pants.

They tend to be used in the very early stages of potty training and at nighttime for more absorbency when toddlers aren't yet dry through the night.

When worn in the daytime, they’re good for giving your child the idea that you can pull pants down to use the potty or loo. But because they have the absorbency of a nappy, your child won’t feel that they’re wet.

Reusable or cloth versions are designed for smaller accidents and to encourage toddlers to check for wetness.

There are lots of different styles to suit all tastes and comforts, from boxer-style shorts to to pants with thick waistbands for ease of pulling up and down.

As well as being better for the environment than pull-ups, reusable cloth training pants are more like ordinary pants. They’ll stop an accidental wee soaking through to clothes, but they won’t take away the feeling of being wet. This means that your child will begin to learn when they need to use the toilet.

Are potty training pants necessary?

Lots of parents don’t bother with training underwear and move straight from nappies to big kid pants.

But if you’re concerned about days out while potty training, first days at nursery or long car journeys, they’re a great stepping stone, and many parents use them throughout potty training to make clean-ups easier.

How many potty training pants do I need?

It depends on how you’re going to use them. If your child is wearing them every day, you’ll want at least five pairs of reusable potty training pants to start with.

Pull-ups are a good alternative for nighttime and usually come in packs of at least 15 pants.

When should a child start wearing training pants?

Training pants are part of potty training so there’s no point thinking about them until your toddler is ready for the potty. This is generally between 18 months and three-and-a-half years.

It might also be that you crack potty training first and just use training pants on the occasions when your child needs a bit of extra reassurance.

When should a child stop wearing training pants?

As soon as they’re confident, really. Many children take a little longer to be dry at night and use some form of pull-ups or training pants well into primary school, particularly when they're away from home.

Many brands of training pants are now so subtle they easily pass for normal pants, which might help children feel less self-conscious.

But they are expensive, so moving on to proper pants as soon as you can means your bank balance will thank you later.

Do training pants slow down potty training?

Some parents think it’s best to go ‘cold turkey’ and move straight to ordinary pants. While disposable pull-ups won't help your child know when they're wet, which could be a hindrance, most cloth training pants enable them to feel the wetness, which ultimately aids potty training.

What to look for in potty training pants

The main thing to consider is whether your child is happy in them, so attractive patterns, illustrations and characters will help them make to friends with their new undies.

From a practical perspective, look for training pants that are machine-washable and easily dried as you'll likely get through a handful in the first few days.

Good absorbency in the right areas is a must and leg holes that are close-fitting but not too tight will help keep leaks contained in the event of an accident.

Also try to choose pants that your toddler will be able to pull up and down themselves. Some have thick waistbands or loops to help with this.

How we chose our recommendations

We went straight to the experts and trawled the Mumsnet forums for recommendations on brands and products from parents who have been through the potty-training years.

We then searched across the wider internet for reviews from other websites and publications as well as consumer write-ups, and we also looked at Which? for more advice on buying potty training pants.

Finally, we put all this information together to come up with a list of what we consider to be the best training pants on the market.

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