Best Training Pants for Toddlers (Daytime): Top Picks for 2023

By April Duffy •  Updated: 09/11/23 •  13 min read

Training pants are a great tool for parents and caregivers as they help toddlers transition from diapers to underwear. They provide a sense of independence for little ones, while still offering some protection against messy accidents.

Daytime training pants are designed to catch small amounts of liquid, allowing children to recognize when they need to use the bathroom and providing a safety net for those times when they don’t quite make it.

It’s important to note, upfront, that daytime training pants are not built to hold a full pee, and therefore aren’t great for sleeping. For that you will need an overnight training pant, often called a bedwetting pant.

Below I have compiled a list of the best daytime training pants available on the market today. But here’s a quick look at them all compared if you’re not in full research mode:

Best Daytime Training Pants

Having had a lot of experience with daytime training pants while potty training my own daughter, who did not train quickly or easily, I’ve thoroughly researched and tested a variety of trainers. In a separate article, you can also explore the best overnight training pants for continuous protection during sleep. Here though, we’ll dive into my top picks for best daytime training pants and the essential features that make them stand out among the rest.

When deciding on the best daytime training pants, it’s crucial to focus on a few key features, including leak protection, fit and comfort, durability, and how easily your little one can use them. Keep in mind that daytime training pants are not intended to hold a full wetting, as their main purpose is to catch the little bit that may be let go when a child doesn’t make it to the potty in time. It’s expected that they will stop and go to the bathroom when they need to.

Best Overall Daytime Training Pants: Charlie Banana Potty Training Pants

Best Daytime Training Pant
Charlie Banana Potty Training Pants
5.0
$20.99 ($20.99 / Count)

If you need a daytime training pant that will keep accidents in, make clean up easy, and still offer a pull-up function and wetness feel for potty learning.

It offers a nice combination of features to fill the gap for those needing something between a cloth diaper and underwear.

Pros:
  • PUL wraps around the entire training pant
  • Side snaps for easy clean up
  • Let and tummy elastics
  • Adequate absorption for light accidents
  • Materials meet Standard 100 by Oeko-Tex*
Cons:
  • May resemble cloth diapers more than "big kid pants"
  • Premium pricing (due to premium materials)
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02/21/2024 01:52 am GMT

Charlie Banana’s reusable potty training pants are my top choice for daytime training pants due to their incredibly well-thought-out design.

First of all, unlike other daytime trainers, they have water-resistant PUL (polyurethane laminate) fabric wrapped around the whole pant. This means the accident won’t be able to wick past the “wet zone” and onto clothing.

Charlie Banana training pants are also unique in that they have side snaps. Side snaps are very helpful if your little one is still struggling with #2’s and the potty (yes, it’s a thing), clean up will be much easier. Though they open at the side like this (much like a cloth diaper) they are still pull-up and pull-down friendly so that your little one can use them like underwear.

Finally, another feature that is unique to the Charlie Banana trainers is the full leg and waist elastics. This helps keep accidents contained.

While both the side snaps and leg elastics do make the trainer better at holding in an accident, I will say that they do make the trainer feel more like a cloth diaper than underwear. If you have a kiddo that is motivated by getting to wear “big kid” underwear who is transitioning from similarly styled cloth diapers, this may be an issue. However if you’re training a younger toddler who may regress, or a child who is also struggling with bowel movements on the potty, these trainers are essential in my opinion.

I had the pleasure of speaking with Nicolette (Nico) Van der Klaauw, the Head of Research & Development at Charlie Banana, when the new Charlie Banana collection was released in 2023, including these improved training pants (you can watch that interview over on our YouTube chanel here, and skip ahead to 27:30). She confirmed that the absorbency is enough to hold that first gush of pee, but that if it’s needed to hold a full pee, you can add an insert inside. Given how the training pant is made, with a full PUL coverage, and good elastics around the legs and waste, I’d feel very comfortable adding an insert into these for naps and long car rides where bigger accidents could happen.

In conclusion, Charlie Banana Reusable Potty Training Pants are an excellent choice for parents looking for a sustainable, comfortable, and functional potty training pant. Just remember to pay attention to the sizing and consider using a disposable diaper for overnight use.

Best Training Pant for “Big Kids”: Thirsties Cloth Potty Training Pants

Best Training Pant for "Big Kids"
Thirsties Cloth Potty Training Pants
3.5
$21.50 ($21.50 / Count)

For those looking for a training pant that resembles "big kid underwear" more than a diaper, while still needing a good amount of absorbency for light daytime accidents, Thirsties may offer the right combination of features.

Pros:
  • Larger PUL "wet zone" than many other competitors
  • Adequate absorbency for light daytime accidents
  • Does have room for boosting
Cons:
  • Large and bulky compared to other options
  • Low durability, and will show wear and tear from washing
  • On the expensive side
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02/21/2024 01:42 am GMT

I was very optimistic when I tried Thirsties Reusable Cloth Potty Training Pants on my daughter, and while they were a generally positive addition to our potty-training journey, they didn’t get a high star rating or make the top of my list for a few reasons.

I go into detail in my Thirsties Potty Training Pants Review here, but their large and bulky size, and the fact that they show wear and tear quickly (and in fact became damaged at the top elastic before my daughter was done with them) were the biggest reasons.

That said, on the whole they are a good pull-up reusable potty training pant, that will work well for most kiddos, and if you have a child who is highly motivated by getting to wear “big kid” pants, but still needs good protection, these may be the ideal choice for you despite their limitations. Though on the large side, these look like real underwear, so your kiddo will be happy to wear them.

The interior is lined with soft and absorbent certified organic cotton and the “wet zone” has four layers of organic cotton and a waterproof TPU laminate layer, which helps keep their clothes dry during small accidents.

In terms of effectiveness, Thirsties Potty Training Pants do a decent job of catching small accidents and are easy to pull up and down, though I did find the top elastic would twist itself up inside the fabric sometimes and I would have to fix that for her.

Overall, while they might not be my top choice, Thirsties Reusable Cloth Potty Training Pants are still a solid option for many families looking to incorporate an “underwear style” potty training pant into their lineup.

Easiest Training Pants to Pull up and Down: Smart Bottoms Cloth Potty Training Pants

Smart Bottoms Daytime Potty Training Pants
4.0
$16.00

For those looking for snugger-fitting pullup that's very easy for a little one to pull up and down, the Smart Bottoms Daytime Training Pants can be a great option.

Pros:
  • Two layers of organic cotton and hemp fleece in the wet zone
  • A layer of TPU in the "wet zone" to keep clothes dry on the way to the potty
  • Very stretchy polyester waist and leg bands for easy pulling up and down
  • Well priced
  • Lots of prints
Cons:
  • Not suitable for full bladder elimination
  • Requires multiple washes before use
  • Waterproof layer limited to the wet zone
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02/21/2024 01:12 am GMT

Smart Bottoms Reusable Cloth Potty Training Pants are not my favorite option out there, but they have a lot to offer, which you may actually find better for you and your little. For example, while the pants feature two layers of organic cotton and hemp fleece in the wet zone, along with a layer of TPU for waterproofing, the rest of the pant is polyester.

I personally don’t love polyester for it’s feel, but that’s just my opinion. If you’re ok with polyester fabric, the added stretch it has actually offers a few benefits over a cotton or PUL exterior including a trimmer fit, and making it super easy for kiddos to pull up and down.

Because this trainer makes it so simple for children to pull up and down the pants on their own, it’s going to give them independence and confidence for their new potty training journey.

For absorbency, it doesn’t have a whole lot in there, but what it does is good; hemp and cotton is a good absorbent mix that keeps the diaper trim, keeps wetness signals, and can still absorb an accident. Once again, it’s important to note that these training pants are not be suitable for full bladder elimination.

One drawback of hemp in wet zone si that it will need to be pre-washed a few times to get to the pants’ maximum absorbency.

Overall, and especially for the very reasonable price, parents seeking an easy-to-use and comfortable daytime training pant should consider the Smart Bottoms option. With organic materials and stretchy waist and leg bands, these pants really children’s learning experience and serve as a valuable aid on their path to potty independence.

Best Budget Daytime Training Pants: Bambino Mio Potty Training Pants

Best Budget Daytime Trainer
Bambino Mio, Potty Training Pants
4.0
$10.49

Those looking for an affordable trainer that will still give them light protection (more than just underwear) will love these training pants by Bambino Mio. Cute, comfortable, and well-priced these are great for kiddos who are already on their journey to potty trained, but who still need that occasional bit of protection during play.

Pros:
  • Soft cotton terry fabric is comfortable while also allowing kiddo to feel wetness
  • PUL layer to keep clothing dry while they get to the potty
  • Underwear-like pull-up design
Cons:
  • Only suitable for small accidents
  • Sizing is known to be inconsistent
  • Not as absorbent as other options
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02/21/2024 04:07 am GMT

While they are the least absorbent on the list, for the price, the Bambino Mio Potty Training Pants are going to be a good choice for many folks on a budget. Not only are these daytime trainers less expensive than the others on this list (at the time of publication, things change so do make sure to compare current prices) they are also available on Amazon in three-packs and five-packs, which are even less expensive per-pant.

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02/21/2024 02:52 am GMT
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
02/21/2024 02:57 am GMT

Bambino Mio Potty Training Pants are the most “underwear like” potty training pant on the list, but they are not training underwear as they do have a layer of PUL sewin into the wet zone. The remaining fabric is a 80% cotton and 20% polyester blend terry fabric, not a smooth cotton, though it is nice and soft, and maintains it’s softness after washing.

With the small underwear-like cut, and the synthetic fabrics, these definately do have the lowest absorption of any of the trainers listed here, but given their incredable price point these would be perfect for anyone who’s kiddo has taken to daytime training well and never has a big accident, or anyone working within a tight budget. Don’t forget that no matter what daytime traininer you choose, they are not meant to hold a full wetting, so the lower absorption shouldn’t be a dealbreaker here since there’s still a PUL layer to keep a small accident off of clothing, though there is a significant difference in absorption from these to say the Thirsties trainers above, which also have the underwear look to them.

The design does make it easy for them to pull the pants up and down without help.

One thing to note, though, is that the sizing may be inconsistent. While the three trainers we ordered were all the same size, some folks online have reported that two trainers labeled as the same size have been diffeent sizes. Ordering from Amazon.com may be the ideal option here as they are currently (remember always check for updates) eligible for return, refund or replacement within 90 days.

In conclusion, the Bambino Mio Potty Training Pants are a practical option for parents looking to help their toddlers transition from diapers to underwear. While there are a few drawbacks, the overall convenience, comfort, and value provided by these training pants should make them a strong contender for any parent’s consideration.

Training Pants Buying Guide

Training Pants vs. Diapers

When searching for the best daytime training pants, it’s important to understand the difference between training pants and diapers. Training pants are not as absorbent as diapers. They are designed to facilitate the learning process by allowing children to feel wetness, so be prepared for accidents during the transition. One crucial feature to look for in training pants is an inner layer made of cotton or a similar material that allows the child to feel when they are wet. This is different than diapers, where a “stay dry” feeling is often the goal.

Training Pants vs. Training Underwear

Another key aspect to consider is whether a product you’re looking at is training pants or training underwear. Often, you’ll find products labeled as training pants when they are just training underwear, meaning they have no PUL (polyurethane laminate) layer.

Training underwear are just underwear with an extra layer or two of fabric in the crotch area. These types of products will still get your child’s clothes wet. So, it’s essential to select training pants with a PUL layer that provides some protection against leaks.

Easy Pull-Up and Pull-Down

The training pants should be easy for your child to pull up and down, promoting independence during potty time. This is an essential aspect of the training process. Make sure to choose a product that offers an appropriate fit and design to make it as easy as possible for your little one to use the potty independently.

Snap Options

Some training pants, like the Charlie Banana training pants above, come with snaps, which can be a helpful feature if your child still has poop accidents.

These make cleanup easier, but it’s essential to keep in mind that they might make the pants feel less like “big kid pants.” Evaluate the importance of this feature based on your specific situation and whether it might be helpful for your child.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the benefits of reusable training pants?

Reusable training pants offer numerous benefits. Firstly, they are more environmentally friendly than disposable options because they reduce waste. In addition, they can be more cost-effective in the long run, as you only need to buy a few pairs instead of constantly purchasing disposable trainers. The fabric used in cloth training pants is also gentler on a child’s skin, making it a more comfortable option.

How do cloth training pants compare to disposable ones?

When comparing cloth and disposable training pants, there are a few factors to consider. Cloth training pants are more eco-friendly and can save you money over time. However, disposable training pants may be more convenient, as they can be thrown away after each use. Cloth training pants typically have a better fit and feel on a toddler’s skin, but disposable trainers can have added features like wetness indicators. Ultimately, the choice between cloth and disposable comes down to personal preference and priorities.

Are there specific reusable training pants for boys and girls?

No. While some disposable pullup brands offer gender-specific training pants with different placements of absorbent padding, cloth training pants have uniform padding throughout the “wet zone” making them suitable for both genders.

What should be considered when choosing training pants for toddlers?

When selecting toddler training pants, consider size, fit, absorbency, material, design, and price. Ensure a comfortable fit with growth-friendly features. Choose absorbency levels that prevent leaks. Opt for gentle, breathable materials. Pick a design (pull-up or side snaps) and colors your child prefers. Set a budget and compare options within it to make an informed choice for your toddler’s needs.

For more information and guidance on potty training, don’t forget to check out our guide on potty training here for additional tips and resources.

April Duffy

April is the founder of Cloth Diapers for Beginners and author of The Cloth Diaper Wash & Care Handbook. Since 2015, April has helped well over 75,000 parents and caregivers cloth diaper their children through this website, her book, her YouTube Channel, and the Cloth Diapers for Beginners Facebook Group.