Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Saving My Sanity With Homemade Training Pants


Is it silly to say I've been excited about making training pants lately?  As you can guess, potty training is in full swing at our house these days.  I'm thrilled my little lady has decided she's ready, but I've got to admit this phase tests my parental patience.   With 3 kids we've experienced every sort of potty issue imaginable over the years (and purchased a huge assortment of various pants that were less than stellar).  So this time around I decided to get serious and make some of my own.
I'm calling them my Sanity Saving Trainers.  This was my way to have all the features we've found useful and do it at a reasonable price.  There are a few things I've learned are must-haves for training pants:
  • Waterproof outer fabric is critical.  PUL fabric (the stuff for cloth diapers) is ideal because it won't leak and it comes in loads of colors and cute prints.  Changing entire outfits with every accident gets old real fast.
  • FOE (fold over elastic) makes for soft, yet snug leg holes and waistbands so there's a breathable seal around all the pant openings.  It also makes it easy to get a great fit on all sorts of little bodies.
  • Use inserts to adjust the level of absorbency - it means not wasting money on a bunch of different pant styles, since every kid trains at his/her own pace.
  • Side snaps for easy on/off in case of a potty disaster.  Ideal when said disaster occurs away from home.
  • Motivating designs - kids will wear something they love, but it can be tough to find pre-made pants with specific designs or features.  Not being able to find waterproof Disney princess pants was what got me into making my own!
  • Keep it cheap - I've found a few pants for sale that met most of my criteria, but they're pricey.   Unlike cloth diapers they won't be getting years of wear, so paying a lot doesn't really make sense.  Making them is a fraction of the price (and way less than disposable pull-ups).

I lined the pants with flannel so they'd be easy to clean and also retain the wet feeling to help her recognize accidents.  I also created an opening at the back to slip in inserts so I can vary absorbency as needed.  We can slip in a couple of super soaking microfiber diaper inserts during nap time, a single insert when we're on the go, and when she's really got the hang of things, they can be worn without anything.
The sides snap up for easy clean emergencies - because let's be honest, even a kid who's a potty genius is going to have a messy accident (or 20) and the results of some of those episodes are not pretty or easy to pull down without making an even bigger mess.
I coordinated my snaps with the FOE trim to make things more stylish & fun and there's always the option to add a second row to make more size adjustability:

And for some added flair I've even done some appliques to create special custom looks for her.  My sweetie loves all things princess, so I used a layering & folding technique to add a little Sleeping Beauty applique to these pink pants without worry of any leaking around the stitching.  She couldn't wait to get them on, so it was a great incentive for ditching the diapers. 
We've been using these for weeks and they've been great.  She loves wearing them and once I figured out the ideal overall design for us, they've become a quick sewing project.  I love that I've been using stuff I already had in my stash too.  I might make this into a pattern at some point if there are other training pant enthusiasts out there.  In the meantime I need to get a few Fall-style pants going - time to see what my little potty princess wants to wear next!

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43 comments:

  1. I would love love love a pattern... I 'm training my girl at the moment to!

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  2. So funny, I posted a training pants post today as well...I didn't have to make myself any water proof pants as I already have some diaper covers from cloth diapering that I have been using over cotton training undies...but I added some appliqués to my undies as well...it truly does help doesn't it?! When they want to put on their underpants!! :) I'm going to add a little link to your post at the bottom of my post today to share these as well... :) http://buzzmills.typepad.com/blog/2012/09/funny-undies.html

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    Replies
    1. Good reuse of those covers - I sometimes use those as extra protection at night since my little girl's still not nighttime trained. Thanks so much for adding the link - your appliques are cute too!

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  3. Princess pants. Awesome. Oh by the way those look fantastic.

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  4. So sweet and pratical.Thanks Cheryl to share idea.
    Hope you have an amazing week!

    Hugs from Portugal
    Ana Love Craft
    www.lovecraft2012.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  5. I love these!! I'm slowly trying to potty train my youngest. Now I remember why I haven't started earlier. Potty training is so hard!! But, it wouldn't hurt to have some cute training pants. Maybe I'll have to consider making some for mine. =)

    I love your blog!! I'm your newest follower.

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    Replies
    1. Welcome Shatzi. I'm glad I'm not the only one who dreads potty training - I was almost hoping my daughter would be a late trainer like her brothers, but no such luck. At least this way there are less wet clothes to wash and cute pants on the bum!

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  6. I really needed something like this a few months ago, when my oldest was in training. She's done now, but these would still be useful for the nighttime accidents. Such a great idea! =)

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Charity - you're right about being useful for nighttime, no more need to change the sheets & pajamas with these;)

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  7. That is awesome! I could have used those about a month ago with my little guy. Having the option to undo at the sides is genius.. really!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Elise. My middle child took a long time to get accident-free, so I learned how much of a life saver snap sides were!

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  8. Hi!
    Thanks for letting me share my own recipe of tasty and delicious
    Sweet n’ Healthy Quinoa Salad!

    Here’s the link:
    http://www.momessentials.net/sweet-n-healthy-quinoa-salad/

    ReplyDelete
  9. This is so cool I am training my baby and he is very young. So nothing from the store fits him. I found you from http://cherishedbliss.com/2012/09/craft-and-tell-13.html I think I will be linking up there from now on. Glad I found your blog I am going to be fallowing you and your FB TOO!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So great to hear Kasey! Can't wait to see what you have to share:)

      Delete
  10. These are so gorgeous, I love your colour selection they just look so vibrant. I saw the Pul Fabric recently at Sewco Sewing and Patchworks website (in Australia) and wanted to make someof these their address is http://www.sewcosewingcentres.com/e-store/Babyville-Boutique-Laminated-PUL-Fabric-Dinos.html. Keep up the fantastic work on your blog, I love reading it and cant wait for each of your installments.

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  11. They are sooo darn CUTE that I would sport them too!!!!

    Thanks so much for sharing this at The DIY Dreamer.. From Dream To Reality!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Christine. I've got a tutorial for making undies too, so you really can sport some cute styles yourself: http://www.sewcando.com/2011/07/craftshare-make-undies-yourself.html

      :)

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  12. My neice is having her 1st in less than 3 wks, and I'd LUV a pattern for these (FREE?).

    Thanks for sharing,
    Janice M.

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  13. Awesome! I must make these asap! Training my son has been...wet.

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    Replies
    1. I hear you Sarah! After having to wash the car seat and couch seat covers a few times, I'm willing to do whatever it taks to keep things dry while training!

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  14. This REALLY makes me wish I knew how to sew!

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  15. ugh we are about to enter the potty training stage in my brand new house with my brand new carpet:( please give us a pattern for these!! Did you use cloth diapering with her or your other kids? Are these similar to cloth diapering? You mentioned the PUL fabric and I'm interested in knowing more.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've used cloth diapers for kids #2 & #3 & even made my own, so I've had a lot of experience with them over the years. These are a lot like pocket cloth diapers in their design and materials. If you've got any more questions about them or cloth diapering just let me know:)

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  16. I made a "pull up" trainer that worked great out of cotton PUL - lasted through 2 kids ... and no snaps so they made up in no time. Using a running zig zag stitch through the FOE really helps too.

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    Replies
    1. PUL makes them last forever doesn't it? I wish I could use it on everything! I use a snap press instead of snap pliers so it's pretty easy & quick to add snaps. I usually use a wide triple stitch zig-zag to attach FOE to things, but I wanted these to look more like the store-bought kind so I went with a straight stitch this time (doesn't make them work any differently).

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  17. What a great idea for that transition time. Cute and practical

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  18. Cute, cute, cute! I am going to start following your blog!

    Bobi
    http://westernwarmth.blogspot.com

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  19. Pattern, please? We're not ready for potty training yet because Baby Bit is only sixteen months, but this would be invaluable to have for when she's ready!

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  20. Love these! This is exactly what I have been looking for. Would you share your pattern please?

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  21. I featured your great project today!
    http://www.jaqsstudio.com/2012/09/made-by-me-50-linky-party-and-features.html

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  22. Hi Cheryl,
    These are so cute. I love these. I wish I had thought of something like this when my kids were little. Great idea. Thank you so much for sharing with Wednesdays Adorned From Above Link Party last week. This weeks Link Party is opened at
    http://www.adornedfromabove.com/2012/09/how-to-make-natural-tinted-lip-balm-and.html
    from Wednesday until Sunday.
    Hope to see you there.
    Debi Bolocofsky
    Adorned From Above
    www.adornedfromabove.com

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  23. Yes! Please make a pattern for these.

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  24. I would love a pattern and any tips for making these! I am only a beginner when it comes to sewing so I need all the help I can get. I also have not cloth diapered, but have wanted to. So maybe I can make a few of these for my daughter and maybe get the courage to make some regular diapers for the little one on the way.

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  25. DO YOU HAVE A PATTERN FOR THESE? I'M RUINING MYSELF BUYING PULL UPS!

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    Replies
    1. I don't right now, but I'm working on adding new patterns to my shop, so I may put one together. I'll definitely announce it if I do.

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  26. aaahhhh !! I can kick myself! here in S.A no such luck! , so this is perfect, THANK YOU A MILLION SMACKEROOS!!

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  27. this is exactly what i have been looking for, we are entering potty training stage and have cloth diapered so i have been trying to find something that will work well for all stages. do u have a patten for this available for purchase? did u just make the pocket in this like a cloth diaper pocket diaper?

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    Replies
    1. I don't have a pattern. One day if I get extra time I'll try to put one together. And yes, it's got a back pocket opening just like a cloth diaper.

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  28. Hi I would love the pattern too please :D Thanks so much :D

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    Replies
    1. I'm finally working on it Jo. It's only taken me 2yrs. LOL. Stay tuned for more info on it.

      Delete
  29. Hello, did you use something as a template, like undies or trainers? I'm trying to figure out how to make a pattern without too much trial & error, I'm a newbie sewer. What brand of snaps/ tool do you use? Don't want to invest too much in supplies but like that feature. What is the difference between this and a diaper? My 3 y.o son is resistant to potty training so trainer underwear is too big of a step from a diaper. We still need absorption for accidents but the ease of quick potty access. Will he notice a difference between the training pants & a diaper, so he won't just go in the trainer? Thank you

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    Replies
    1. I created my own template. If you are new to sewing or designing it will be tougher to create your own pattern without a lot of trial & error. I'm currently working on making this into a full PDF pattern to offer in my shop since so many have asked about it. I use KAM snaps and their snap press. A set of snap pliers is less expensive than a press if you're trying to keep costs down (or don't think you will be doing a lot of snap projects).

      These look more like underwear than diapers and are meant to be pulled up & down (the snap sides are meant for easier emergency accident clean up). Using flannel for the interior also means they will feel more like underwear and even a slight accident will be felt (unlike diapers that wick moisture away). You can choose how much absorption to add via the pocket opening in the back. I used multiple microfiber inserts at night and a single during the day when we were first training and then just the pants as we got to the end. I wish I'd been sewing when my older kids were training and had used these then too!

      My middle son was resistant at the same age and after several months of supreme frustration we decided to just wait until he was ready. Then about 2 months later he was ready and fully trained day & night in no time. Some kids just need to go with their own timetable.

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Getting your comments brightens my day. I'd love if you left one:)

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