Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Totally Cute Training Pants

training pants by

     The time has come. Elena is 2 years and 4 months -a good time to potty train. We have a relatively slow month before things get crazy around here again. Those teens sure keep us hopping with their sports and hobbies. So now, while we have a chance to hang at home more than usual, is our chance.

     I'm getting some resistance from her so I'm trying to keep it light and positive. The Smarties are purchased except I keep eating them and having to buy more. heehee.  I made her some totally cute training pants. The Dora and princess underpants are ready. We have multiple potties on every level of the house. And the big thing - I put her back in cloth diapers. It took only half a day before she brought me a disposable diaper and said, "Different diaper. Too gross." Sorry kiddo, your mama is hardcore.

     We practiced EC (elimination communication) from the time she was about 3 months until she hit a year and started walking. Then she totally lost interest and just wouldn't do it anymore. It became a power struggle so I let it go. But I experimented back then with making different training pants. I searched the internet and tried a couple different patterns. I tried different fabrics - old tees, micro fleece for the banding, using PUL off of leaky cloth diapers I bought off of Craig's List. Those first 5 pairs taught me a few things and now I'd like to share it with you.

     Good stretchy cotton t-shirts containing some lycra or spandex work great. The absorbent soaker can be made from either old prefold diapers or layers of flannel - old receiving blankets can be repurposed or use the scraps from making pajama pants. It just depends on how thick/absorbent you want them to be. You can add PUL to make them waterproof if you want or not.

     My pattern is a modification of a couple I found online. I drew it out and added the measurements so you can make one for yourself. This fits my 2T daughter nicely. It has room to grow. The leg bands are slightly big on my skinny mini with these dimensions so I used larger seam allownances to take an inch or so out. The waist fits comfy and lose enough for her to be able to do herself.

      I wish I could give you a printable pattern, but it's not hard to draw out on your own. Knit is so forgiving that as long as you make this approximate shape, it'll be good. I'd suggest making one complete pair before you start making them assembly line style. That way you can make any adjustments needed.

Here's how I do it:

1. Make the soaker pad. I cut 3 layers of flannel and stack them and pin them together. Overlock the edges all the way around. Or use a serger if you're blessed with one. I used this super soft monkey print in hopes that she will be inspired to not, uh, get the monkeys wet or dirty.

2. Cut the PUL. I trace each soaker just to make sure it matches.

3. Pin the soaker to your panty piece, wrong sides together. Flip it over and lay the PUL right side up over the right side of the panty and pin. Remove the pins from the other side because you'll be sewing from the top.

4. Using a wide zigzag stitch, attach all 3 layers by sewing around the edges. Use your fingertips to feel that everything is lined up. Afterward, check that you caught all the edges on both sides and go back and add more if necessary.

5. Fold the whole thing in half right sides together to sew the side seams. I use a straight stitch here.
Turn right side out. It's starting to look like a panty.

6. Now for the leg bands. Sew the short sides together, right sides together. Finger press the seam open and fold it down on itself wrong sides together to form the band. Pin the band to the right side of the leg opening. Match the seam to the side seam and stretch to fit the rest in. Sew all the way around with a zigzag stitch so it'll give.

7. The waist band works the same way and requires no elastic. Sew the short sides right sides together. Finger press the seam open and then fold it down on itself wrong sides together. Mark the band and the waist of the panty in quarters and pin the waistband to the right side of the panty. I put the seam in the center back. Sew with a zigzag stitch.

8. Go back and trim down the seams of the leg bands to reduce the amount wicking.

    The "waterproof-ness" is not 100% because the PUL layer doesn't cover the entire panty. You could make them that way, but I don't find it necessary. My goal is to reduce the amount of wetness to my furniture and also to her clothes. This way works well for me. Babyville recommends throwing the sewn products in a hot dryer for 20 minutes to shrink the holes made by the needle.

     You could also put that PUL layer between the soaker and the panty piece if you prefer. They make such cute fabrics that I wanted mine to show and then you get the bonus of having the tee do some absorbing as well.

     Elena was not in the mood for a photo shoot so this is the best I could manage for photos wearing them. It's not good at all.


  1. The photos are fine... just right for showing pants - no need for faces. Thanks so much for sharing pattern and tutorial. I've a boy who'll be toilet teaining this summer ... so I'm off to look at PUL online now! I feel inspired.

  2. I am curious how everything worked out using these for potty training?

  3. Hey, do I need to add 1cm to the pattern before cutting the fabric ? Thanks!


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