It can be difficult to find very small sizes of cloth training pants for your baby or toddler. Especially for babies practicing elimination communication and petite toddlers. The average age of potty independence in the USA is 36-months-old and many brands of potty training pants start at size 2T or 3T. The lists below can help you find training underwear in sizes smaller than 2T.
Cloth training pants are an intermediate step between cloth diapers and regular underwear. Training pants often look like underwear, but have extra padding in the wet zone, to absorb a "miss" or "accident". Cloth training pants allow a child to feel wetness, but prevent a puddle on the floor.
Elimination Communication Training Pants
For those of us practicing elimination communication, the switch from diapers to cloth trainers can happen before "potty independence" or "EC graduation". With EC, we strive to change our little one's back-up immediately after a miss. This makes training pants perfect, since they can hold one pee, but are much less bulky than cloth diapers.
Benefits of Cloth Training Pants
Wearing training pants can allow for better freedom of movement when crawling or walking, compared to wearing a bulky cloth diaper. Training pants are also quicker to wash and dry than thick cloth diapers. They also allow your toddler to practice pushing them down, an important step when moving towards potty independence. A good time to transition to training pants is when you are catching all the poops in the potty, and your little one is standing, so he can stand up and help push down the training pants. We made the switch from cloth diapers to using cloth training pants full time when my son was 12-months-old.
Brands of Non-Waterproof Cloth Training Pants
Dressing your little one in non-waterproof cloth training pants is a great option when you are at home. These training pants are breathable and comfortable, especially in hot weather. You can also tell right away when they are wet and need to be changed. Non-waterproof training pants can prevent a stream of pee from going straight through and making a puddle on your floor, but they will soak through quickly and wet anything that comes in contact.
At home I would allow my son to toddle around in non-waterproof training pants. For going out I would add a pair of interlock wool shorties or a wool soaker. Wool is an awesome natural fiber, since it is both water repellent (when properly lanolized) and absorbs wetness, as well.
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Sizes from: 12-24M; 20-28 lbs.
Fabric: 100% GOTS Certified Organic Egyptian Cotton
I love that Under the Nile training pants are made of 100% organic cotton. My son started wearing them full time at around 12M old. They absorb a pee miss well.
Sizes from: 6-12M; 10-16 lbs; Waist 13-15"; Thigh 8-10".
Fabric: 100% Cotton
Tiny Trainers are designed by Andrea Olson, author of Go Diaper Free: A Simple Handbook for Elimination Communication and The Tiny Potty Training Book. They are available in gender-neutral solid colors.
Sizes from: 18M
Fabric: Cotton panels; absorbent padding contains synthetic material
We have not tried Gerber training pants, but I have heard from other families practicing EC that they run small.
Brands of Waterproof Cloth Training Pants
While some training pants are labeled as waterproof, they are only designed to hold one pee, and should be changed right away.
Other training pants are semi-waterproof and contain a waterproof layer hidden under the padded crotch area. A pee miss will seep out and wet the trainers and any clothing worn over them. Semi-waterproof trainers have the advantage of letting you know right away when they are wet.
Our favorite semi-waterproof training pants were sold by Mothercare (a UK based brand), and we purchased them in Thailand. Unfortunately, they are not sold in the USA.
Sizes from: Small; 20-28 lbs; Waist 14-20".
Fabric: Outer 50% cotton, 50% polyester; Cotton Velour Lining; Hidden Microterry and PUL
Blueberry training pants are super cute and made in the USA! We didn't get around to trying them, but they would be at the top of my list next time. These are only semi waterproof, so clothes will get wet.
Sizes from: Small; 11-16 lbs; 0-6M.
Fabric: Shell-Face: 100% Polyester; Back: Polyurethane; Inner layer: 66% Biconstituent Fiber (80% Polyester 20% Nylon) 34% Polyester; Lining: 100% organically grown cotton.
We used the Charlie Banana Swim Diaper and Training Pants, which worked well for both. The new version is called Charlie Banana Extraordinary Training Pants and is lined inside with organic cotton.
Sizes from: Small; 2T; 20-28 lbs; Waist 15-20".
Fabric: Cotton outer, PUL inner
The Best Bottom Training Pants Kit is made in the USA and includes training undies plus snap in inserts. The design is similar to an All-in-Two cloth diaper. The PUL layer covers everywhere except the sides.
On my thin son, the large leg holes allowed pee to go straight to the floor. These would work best on a toddler with chubby thighs.
I hope this list helped you find small cloth training pants for your baby or toddler. Next up is a list of Small Underwear for Toddlers and Babies.
At what age is your baby or toddler transitioning to cloth training pants?