My Favorite Swim Diaper Works as a Trainer

I’m not a big swimmer and I don’t love potty training.

But, potty training is inevitable and it’s hard to avoid water when the south Texas summers are scorching hot.

Last year, when we went to the beach I took along our Monkey Doodlez swim diaper.  If you want speedo tight (in the legs) then this is the one for you.  We have a CUTE alligator swim diaper in size medium and it barely fits Sterling.  It’s T.I.N.Y. and you know how skinny Sterling is.

Obviously, Monkey Doodlez isn’t my favorite swim diaper.

I love Charlie Banana swim diapers! Their cute, soft and gentle on the legs.  I know, I know, it’s a pull up.  Half of you are going to scream, “What about when they poop??”

Yes, that is a problem.  However, I prefer the fit of a pull up over a side snapping.

You don’t have to buy a “swim diaper”.  A pocket diaper makes an excellent swim diaper.

So, how does the Charlie Banana swim diaper crossover as a cloth trainer?

I’ve used it at night with Sterling for that little bit of protection.  Oh, you didn’t hear?  Sterling is potty trained.

Crazy, I know.  He turned 2 on March 9th and began using the potty within 2 weeks.  Poor kid had some bumps on day 2 of his self-initiated venture.  He got the stomach bug, went back in cloth diapers for a couple of days and got right back on the potty when he recovered.  Again, self-initiated and parent supported :)

He doesn’t have accidents but I’d hate to not have something on him at night…after all he is just 2!! Can you tell this is completely foreign to me to have a child this young potty train?

Another reason I love Charlie Banana swim diapers as a trainer is the price.  At $9.89 they are drastically cheaper than cloth trainers!  We don’t use trainers because 1) it seems like a waste of money and 2) I fail to see the benefit.

I did fork over $20 for a slightly used Little Beetles trainer to try for review.  I got a small and it does not fit Sterling.  I can squeeze him in but that seems cruel.  They are soft, really soft but the side snaps make them way too bulky.  Not bulky all around but just on the sides. Weird.

If you are interested in other cloth trainer brands, here is a list of popular ones from a 2008 post Most Popular Cloth Trainers.

I say buy Gerber training undies (which I also tried and love!) and spend the money you would have spent on pretty trainers, on you :) Well, that’s what I would do.



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About Autumn Beck

Autumn is a wife, mother, homeschool teacher, friend and most important a follower of Christ. She began cloth diapering in 2005 and has experienced many joys and trials throughout the years. You can read more from Autumn over at

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24 Responses to “My Favorite Swim Diaper Works as a Trainer”

  1. April Hill Says:

    Were you using the swim diapers OVER the gerbers training pants? Confused how they were used. My 2 yo DD is potty trained during the day with very few accidents as long as she is running around the house bare butt. I am trying to teach her how to wear the training pants and how to pull down and such. Thx!!


  2. Amy Lutz Says:

    I used cloth diapers from birth to 2 years old with my daughter…mostly bum Genius, but also others and had a good experience. My daughter is in daycare and they have never had big problems with the cloth diapers. However, now we are potty training. I tried the Gerber, Charlie Banana and Imse Vimse training pants, but they are not really ideal for a 2-year-old just starting to potty train and who is sometimes successful, but more often not. The liquid just goes right through and at daycare this just will not work. So now we had to switch to disposable pull ups instead. I am wondering if there are any better cloth alternatives to disposable pull ups that little ones can pull up and down by themselves, but that are fairly absorbant like a diaper should they just forget all about the potty.


  3. Nicole Says:

    Those of you that like Charlie Banana swim diapers, what size would you recommend for my tiny, 6 mo. 13 lb. daughter? The small size states 0-4 months on the website and medium states 6-18 months, but this doesn’t help much since she is in the middle of the two sizes. She is in 6-9 month Carters cloths. Thanks!


  4. Sommer Says:

    I had to laugh at your last statement about buying Gerber cloth trainers and using the savings on yourself :) I regrettably did not use cloth diapers with my first child, but by the time she was beginning to use the potty a few months before she turned 2, I had decided to forego Pull-ups disposables and use Gerber cloth trainers. My daughter potty-trained within a couple of months so they weren’t used for long, but the time we did use them they worked very well and were very inexpensive of course. We never used nighttime covers, just a waterproof bed protector and only ever had 3 accidents–just lucky? I did look into other trainers to use for our second child but decided to go the same route in the interest of saving money. Our son is 22 months now and has showed some but not much interest in using his potty, so he is still full-time in diapers. I’m looking forward to using the Gerber trainers on him and bought them a few months ago in anticipation of training! I’m really glad to hear you like the Charlie Banana swim diaper–it is one I had looked into for this summer and I will definitely be getting this one. Thanks so much for all of your hard work in reviewing diapers!


  5. Julie Says:

    Hey Autumn,

    I didn’t know if there was another place I could contact you so I just thought I would ask you my question here. I own about 15 rump-a-rooz diapers right now for my daughter. She started in them at 3 months and she is now 21 months and potty trained so she is only in them at night. I am trying to figure out what to do for the next baby when that time comes because I really do not like these diapers at all. I hate that I invested so much money into them and not like them. I can never get them clean enough and if I do they only stay great for about a week. I want to sell them but not sure how.
    I want to get diapers that are easy to clean and maintain and diapers that will hold up well. My diapers won’t last through another child and I don’t even dry them! They are already falling apart. Any suggestions of what I can use and what I should do with these ones I have?
    I also mentioned that my daughter wears them at night which is even worse then when she wore them during the day! She doesn’t pee a ton at night or nap time but enough that she needs to be in a diaper. The rump-a-rooz just don’t work at night b/c she wakes in the morning and they smell really bad!!!
    Please help me! :(


    • Nicole G Says:

      Hi Julie, I had this problem with the stinky diapers after my son peed. They had to be stripped. There is good instruction for stripping on, you prob have detergent build up. After stripping, no more stink. I also notice that when I use the pocket diapers, the microfiber liners stink like amonia really bad, a lot worse than natual fiber. I notice this only when I use them overnight. I really prefer the natural fiber fitted/one size diapers with a cover, but they are bulky & my family members find them too much of an inconvenience. Good luck!


      • Julie Says:


        I do strip my a lot! I do it almost every 2 weeks or so. They just stink so bad! I never thought that it was the inserts though. That’s a good suggestion! I may to need to pay them more attention. I always think its the cover. I have come to the decision that I do not like pocket diapers. I think I want to try more of the snap-in insert type or prefolds and covers. Do you know what works well for BM poo? Since it’s so runny I want to be sure I get something that will hold it in. :)


        • Nicole G Says:

          I don’t know what will be best for your lo. I started cloth when my son was about 4 months or so because my one size cloth were so big on him. I will be using prefolds for my next one in November. They grow so fast & i wont spend all kinds of money on tiny nb diapers. Good luck.


  6. Nicole G Says:

    Im sorry this is off topic, but Im in need of some advice. I have recently switched to pocket diapers to encourage my mother in law to cloth diaper while babysitting. We have Bumgenious 4.0 & an Elemental, Flip, Kawaii, Bamboo Baby. We just tried a couple of each to see how it goes. Well, he has developed a nasty rash just around his thighs where the elastic is, just below it. It looks horrible, its red & peeling. Doc says it looks like a reaction to plastic & to slather it with barrier, ie petroleum jelly, but not to ruin his clothes & diapers-I refuse. So he has been swithching to disposables in between as they are cut higher on the legs (Seventh Gen/Earths Best). I don’t know what is causing it, but does anyone else have this issue? Do these diapers use latex? Would it cause a reaction even if its encased in the fabric? I dont know if his skin is rubbing against the outer fabric when he crawls or what. I am so disappointed if the cloth is causing this, cloth is supposed to be better! Please help.


    • Nessie Says:

      Maybe he reacts to polyester/PUL fabric? What kind of diapers did you use before?


      • Nicole G Says:

        I use Mother ease cotton diapers at home with a PUL cover. The ME cover sits lower on the thigh, so it seems to not cut into the upper leg when he crawls. I didn’t have a reaction with them in the past.

        It really seems like a chafing issue, but since the Doc was so sure it was a reaction to the material my mind started to wander if maybe he is sensitive to the material. It would have to be the outer PUL because he doesnt have a rash on the inside. It looks like the outer snaps on the lower row even rub his leg. I just couldn’t help but wonder if others have had this problem.

        Thanks Kerin for the thoughts. It seems like it is chafing, but he has thin legs and I wouldn’t think the leg openings would be such an issue.

        Anyway, I have him in wool covers at night & regular cloth until he goes to Grandmas & it is starting to improve. I guess I’ll hope it clears & start to monitor it & see which diapers are causing it. Thanks all!


        • Tessa Says:

          You could try a cloth friendly rash cream like Grandma Ell’s or Earthly Remedies by, Baby Butt Cream. I have used both and they are both great and will not cause a buildup like other creams bought in a store and may help provide a barrier to whatever is causing your LO’s problem.


    • kerin Says:

      Obviously, I can’t compare your son’s rashes to my own experience, but when my little guy started getting more mobile, the Fuzzibunz OS that we were using began to cause a rash around the thighs. I presumed it was due to chafing since he has chubby thighs, though the rest of him is average to below average as far as waist/weight is concerned. I happened to have a Fuzzibunz perfect fit and noticed that the leg openings were a little roomier and didn’t cause the same problem. We switched to the perfect size instead and haven’t looked back….and the problem went away.

      So long story short…is it possible chafing is an issue since it’s just where the legs are? Hope you get it figured out!


    • Sommer Says:

      Nichole, we had the same problem with my son from right around the time he began to crawl a lot up until maybe 3 or 4 months ago. My son’s pediatrician said it looked like it was due to chafing, rubbing against the elastic edge of the diaper on his legs, which is what it looked like to me as well. It was bad, really bad sometimes, even though I would slather him in cream lotions after each bath. He has only had very minor diaper rashes, but this was not a diaper rash and was confined only to the inner legs. My opinion on the reason why is has cleared up now is that he has begun to thin out quite a bit in the legs. He was a very chunky baby and toddler, but now at 22 months he is slimmer. I still occasionally see a little bit of redness, very slight, in the area but it has just gotten better and better in the past few months. It seems to help when I put him in his gdiaper brand diapers, I think because the elastic right at the legs is very loose and the inside liner is what holds everything in, and the elastic on that is right up at the crease of the legs and crotch. I would say, try the trimmest diaper you can find, particularly something that does not have elastic gusseting (fitted diapers with gusseting seemed to be worst for us). Good luck!!


      • Nicole G Says:

        Thanks so much for the info. I have been switching between styles of diapers because they are all cut so differently. Ive found this helps so he doesnt have the rubbing in the same spot. I rotate the Gdiapers in too, the legs are cut so high that it avoids the red area. It is still an ongoing battle. He had cleared up entirely & then broke out again today. I’ll just keep fighting it with natural lotions, creams & powder to keep him dry.


  7. tiffaney Says:

    I too like the Charlie Banana Swim Diapers! I really like the thick cotton liner in the center.


  8. Cyndel J Says:

    I would have loved to use Gerber training pants, but I couldn’t find any that are size 5t. My son is 3 1/2 years old, weighs 41.5, is 41.5 inches tall, and wears size 4-5 in big boy (I make big babies, DS was 10lbs at birth, and we are expecting this LO due on 5/15 to be 10lbs 3oz at birth)! He can fit in size 5T underwear and some pants because his hips are so slim. But I had a really hard time finding any cloth trainers in that size, so he wears plain underwear in the day…I know more mess when he has accidents but easier on the budget when I’m trying to build a stash of cloth for our second, Pull Up’s 4T-5T (which just fit him…he’ll be out of them soon, yikes!) for long trips in the car and short naps as they are cheaper and Good Night’s size S-M at night. I can’t wait until he is potty trained at night too!


  9. Maggie Says:

    I love Charlie Banana to, and so do a lot of my customers. They are a great way to have a swim diaper and a training pant in one.
    Maggie, Vancouver, Canada


  10. Danielle V Says:

    I love the Gerber training undies too! I’ve been wondering about using empty pocket diapers as swim diapers–have you ever noticed any extra wear & tear on the inside of the diaper, or any discoloration from the chlorine or anything like that? I don’t want to spend money on swim diapers but don’t want to ruin any pockets either, as I only have 2 of them.


    • Katy Says:

      I would say it is not so much the inside of the diaper that will get the wear and tear being used as a swim diaper, but the outside, if using at the beach then the sand gets ground into the fabric and at the pools the rough surfaces of the bottom and sides can snag and ruin the fabric. If your kids spend a lot of time in the water, just buy something cheap to cover their bums as chlorine takes a real toll on fabrics and ours just get ruined. Just my experience anyway, with our 3 little water babies….


    • kerin Says:

      Danielle – I have Fuzzibunz pocket diapers and used them last year in our personal pool as a swim diaper for my then 4-month-old. They worked really well (though he wasn’t in the pool for hours or anything) and I frequently checked for poops to make sure we didn’t have any accidental leaks.

      The fuzzibunz website person who posts on facebook was certain this was a safe use as far as chemicals were concerned on the PUL lining, though I had wondered since you’re not supposed to use chlorine bleach. Of course, the chlorine in pools is much less concentrated, so perhaps that’s the key. In our case, we were swimming in a saltwalter chlorinated pool, so I was even less concerned. I realize this may not totally answer your question, but I hope it’s a bit of a help to have a little more info on the matter!


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