Ultimate Guide to Cloth Trainers Part 1

March 6, 2012

Reviews, Training/EC

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Tired of wasting money on expensive, disposable trainers?  Or is your cloth diapered child ready to move into training pants?

Cloth trainers, although not a necessary item, are a healthier, as well as, a more environmentally and financially responsible alternative to disposable training pants.

Due to the large amount of information contained in this guide it will be broken into three parts.  Part 1 contains products A-F, Part 2 G-K and Part 3 L-Z.

As more products arise and more personal experience is had, I will add to this guide.  Feel free to add your experiences with products listed or ones I have not included.

I have also offered several other perspectives throughout the guide with the help of Maria/Change Diapers, Kim/Dirty Diaper Laundry, readers Audi and Tiffany and KC/Amazon Reviewer.


  • Blueberry Trainers.  With a great selection of bold prints it’s hard not to fall in love with these trainers.  But, looks matter little when compared to performance, right?  Blueberry Trainers are lined with ultra soft cotton velour and hidden within is a layer of microfiber and PUL.  Don’t assume because there is PUL that these are waterproof!I love the Groovy print we have and find it overall a very nice trainer. It is easy to pull up and down, soft and gentle at legs and waist (and inside!) and adequate for daytime use during the learning phase.I really appreciate the Amazon review written by KC (I have trimmed it down but you can read the whole review here):

    I have one pair of these training pants, and they are my favorite!

    Sizing: For my daughter, they are perfectly sized, though my daughter is a very petite tot. She is 17 mo old, 50th percentile for height but still very small weightwise (under 20 lbs). Size small fits her well with only the occasional leak from the thigh holes.

    Pros:
    100% cotton (that touches child)
    Ideal for first-stage of training.
    Fits young toddlers.
    Waist and thigh bands are really nice! Very soft, yet they have a little hold to them (more hold than hannah anderson or gerber training pants, which have none)
    Quite absorbent for training pants. Holds a medium-large pee. If your child is a very heavy wetter, might leak a little.
    Very easy to pull on and off — easier than diapers.
    CUTE!

    Cons:
    These are too expensive to get a full set the way I have diapers. (yes, they’re about the same cost as my diapers, but will be worn for a much shorter time).
    Don’t come in really small sizes! It would be awesome to see even smaller sizing for parents practicing elimination communication or early-start potty training.
    Not appropriate for completely dry protection! Will soak through. (This isn’t really a con, I just want to set the expectations for people who have never used cotton training pants before.)

  • Bumbledoo bumble Pants. Review provided by Maria of Change Diapers. Full review here.

    If you’re looking for a trainer for a tiny child, Bumbledoo is a great choice. I used the size 1 side-snapping version on my son when he was about 18 pounds and 16 months old, and it could have fit an even smaller child. With 4 layers of zorb and a suedecloth inner, it reminds me of an all-in-one diaper with an underwear cut and side snaps. I did find it a bit bulky and it would probably be better for a child who is inconsistent with making it to the potty and needs more absorbency, or as an easy on diaper for a child that doesn’t stay still for changes!

  • BumUnders Review provided by Tiffany of Just a Little Muchier Muchness (great blog about parenting a beautiful daughter with Down’s Syndrome!!):

    I LOVE BumUnders!! They are by far my favorite training pants. The reason why they are so special? Because they have everything I need in training pants.

    To have trainers that make me happy, they MUST have these qualities:

    1) They have to be padded enough to protect from an accident. I don’t need one layer of terry cloth, I need something that really absorbs and keeps everything DRY. Because to be honest, my delicate daughter urinates like a racehorse.

    BumUnders have some luscious SOFT fabric inner, and it is super absorbant, but is not bulky or bunchy at all. My daughter is the queen of adjusting diapers and trainers that bother her, but she never feels the need to “fix” these at all. There is also a layer of PUL hidden inside in the wet area to help protect, but they still breathe beautifully as it is not in the sides.

    2) Good trainers are all well and good, but if your child hates the fabric and refuse to wear them, it won’t matter how well-made they are.

    BumUnders has some crazy cute prints.* They are the first trainers my daughter picks, her favorites are a cute zebra flower print and an adorable cat fairy print. (And she even has some Disney princess fabric ones vying for attention!!) The biggest trouble is deciding which one she likes best!

    3) The legs cannot cut, or gape.

    This is tricky, as there are so many body types out there. My daughter is very skinny but has a booty and very muscular thighs, so in several other cases to make the waist sizing fit, the legs were entirely too tight…and if the thighs were comfortable, the waist was hanging off of her like a Slim Fast commercial. However, BumUnders measures out dimensions in such a way that my very tall 36-pound-almost 3-year-old can wear both the Small and Mediums and they both fit nicely. She gets neither gapes nor red lines/welts in either size. (As a random anecdote, my 5 year old borrowed a pair after an accident out, and while they were tight, her skin was not bothered at all! And she loved the interior fabric!)

    4) They must hold up in washings.

    If I am going to spend so much money on each trainer, I want them to last forever. Seriously. BumUnders were a little pricey. So to be honest, I bought a few used first, before I added to my stash. They have held up beautifully to the previous owner’s and my own constant washing. They are a smidge pilly, as I tend to throw them in with towels in a pinch, but the elastic and fabric is still spectacular. (*2 The previous owner’s daughter caught her mother packaging them up, and “got all nostalgic…funny what they get attached to…” according to her mother!)

    5) I like to have options.

    Don’t we all love having options?? BumUnders can be purchased in pull-on and snap-side styles. The pull-ons can be ordered on any stocking day and some off days, too…but if you really are set on having snap sides, they can be custom ordered. I found that, just as they say on the website, the snap-sides are a little more difficult to pull up and down, but they are a nice option to have, especially in the early stages.

    DO check them out and consider trying some!! I cannot recommend BumUnders enough!!

  • Eco*Posh. One of my favorites for a few reasons: soft all-around, gentle, small size fits early potty trainers and tiny toddlers and moderately absorbent (similar to Blueberry Trainers in many ways).Eco*Posh Trainers are made out of recycled water bottles, bamboo and cotton with a thin, hidden layer of TPU.  I have used this on Sterling with the newborn portion of the bamboo 6r soaker lain in at night with great success — which means he peed and the sheets remained dry.As far as sizing goes, Sterling with stick legs and a tiny waist fit just right in a small. Eco*Posh Trainers are trim fitting and even with the adding newborn insert were not too bulky. They are available in 5 beautiful earthy colors. At $15.95 they fall in the middle price range for trainers.
  • Flip Trainer. I love bumGenius products but me and the Flip Trainer are not compatible.  I found the system to be complicated and awkward.In theory this is a great system: side snapping shell, inserts that velcro into cover, flexible, interchangeable snap-in side panels, bumGenius quality.  However, the inserts are narrow and move around more than expected.I also found that the snaps would come undone when pulling the pants on. This is frustrating to try and resnap while the child is standing.Flip Trainers are $34.95 for 1 cover and 5 inserts.

  • Fuzzi Bunz Trickle Free TrainersThe Fuzzi Bunz trainer is fun option for your child.  The bold, unique designs are exciting for potty training toddlers to pick up and wear.  Sterling loves his hero “diaper”.  When he wore it at night he always called it a diaper.Not only are they cute on the outside but the inside is lined in minky!  Who wouldn’t love soft minky next to their tush?  Sterling always smiles and says he likes it when I put it on.  With side snaps you can easily open it up when a solid accident occurs.The size medium fit great around the thighs and waist of my skinny 2 year old.My only fit complaint is the poofy ballooning that occurs with this style of trainer.Fuzzi Bunz Trickle Free Trainers vary in price depending on print (Amazon).

Part 2 includes (subject to change): Gerber, GroVia, Happy Heinys, Imse Vimse, iPlay, Kawaii Baby and Kissa’s (Kissaluvs) training pants.

Part 3 includes (subject to change): Little Beetle, Otter Puddles, Super Undies, Snap EZ and Tinkle Time Trainers


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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. Autumn enjoys writing but would choose camping with her family any day!

View all posts by Autumn Beck

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30 Responses to “Ultimate Guide to Cloth Trainers Part 1”

  1. Trisha W. Says:

    Autumn, for your next go-round you should look into WAHM “WunderUnders Hybrid Trainer”. She’s on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/WunderUnders) and has a really neat product. They are a bit similar to the Flip trainer but they snap in at the front, back, and in the middle. The middle snap really helps with shifting of the insert. She also makes a few different absorbencies.

    Reply

  2. Jill Caywood Says:

    I used bumbledoo with my last two kids and they are my go-to shower gift for new moms! Check them out at bumbledoo

    Reply

  3. Kristen Says:

    I have several different type of trainers due to picky and stubborn little one. Here’s my input…

    Ecoposh and Blueberry-very similar to each other. Both very soft, sizes similar. Great if you want more protection than regular undies but not as much as a diaper. Not able to stuff or add absorbancy. Great for preschool or daycare particularly if they don’t allow cloth, you can sneak some extra protection. Bluedberry has awesome prints.

    Flips-I like the idea of 5 inserts to 1 trainer so technically can save some money there. Insert is a little ackward if you have it snapped to smaller setting. Child might need help pulling it up and down. If your child doesn’t like seeing insert or feel of insert, this a no go for you.

    Ansty pants-Similar to Grovia trainer. Has elastic sides and a vertical slit to add a booster to add absorbancy. Not really a fan of the vertical slit. Waterproof. Cotton terry can get rough and elastic stretch over time. One of my favs.

    Super Undies-fit is not great on my little one and gives him plumbers butt. We have the pocket ones so you can add absorbancy and I like that he doesn’t see the insert due to it goes in the pocket. I think they might run on the small side.

    Wunder Undies-wahm made. She has several styles from hybrid similar to flip to pockets. You can design yourself with fabric selections. They are made to measurements you send in.

    I haven’t found any that are really nap or nighttime worthy yet.

    Reply

  4. Tina Says:

    Our 3 1/2 yr old son is not potty trained. He has just adjusted to sitting on the regular toilet and will pee in it. This has been huge for him, just getting to the point where he will sit on the toilet without being scared do death of it, and actually peeing in it. He has autism and so struggles to communicating his needs, and is very sensitive to things that don’t bother typical children. In addition, he is undergoing chelation therapy which requires him to take oral doses every 3 hours round the clock with some water (even through the night). We need something that will hold up to a disposable through the night. Any ideas?

    He is currently in a size 6 pampers pull up trainer, it is getting expensive, and his diapers are running us around $140/month. He weighs roughly 39 pounds.

    Any ideas?

    Reply

    • Autumn Beck Says:

      check out some of the recommendations in part 2 or 3. there are a couple that are for larger sizes.

      Reply

  5. Jordan Says:

    Going to try a few of these! But about how many trainers are needed per day/night. I change diapers every 2 hrs and almost never need more than one at night.

    Reply

  6. Taryn Says:

    Yes, I agree that the Flip Trainer has its quirks- the snaps open everytime I (but not my daughter) pulls the trainer up and it drives me crazy. But you know what? I still love ‘em. They really do function as both undies and diaper, depending on what you need. My daugther can wear the same pair all day if there’s no accidents, and when there are accidents she stays dry. And they’re cute. And my daughter loves wearing them. Fits all my criteria!

    Reply

  7. Rachel Says:

    My 3 year old is fully day trained, including naps. However, we’re still working on the night training. We use the Flip trainer because we can add a doubler underneath the insert so he can still pull them off and on without the doubler falling out. This has so far been the best trainer for night time because it holds the most liquid of everything we’ve tried, but it still leaks about 30-50% of the time. Does anyone have any recommendations of a great night trainer that my 3 year can still pull off and on and still contains all the liquid so I’m not changing sheets in the morning? Any advice or help is greatly appreciated!

    Reply

    • Kim T. Says:

      I HIGHLY recommend Magz on hyenacart for night time. I LOVE LOVE (did i say LOVE?) her trainers. They are absorbent (especially after a few washes) but not too bulky. They are dry 95% of the time for night time.

      Reply

    • Trisha W. Says:

      FuzziBunz Perfect size worked great for my 3 y.o. I swapped out the MF insert for a pad folded flat and sometimes added a Baby Kicks Hemp insert for extra absorption.

      Reply

  8. Kim T. Says:

    Can someone talk about trainers for larger/older children? My 6 year old still wears pullups to bed and I HATE buying the disposables…but I have only found one type of trainer that is her size and they are hard to get. Anyone have any experience with this???? Thanks!

    Reply

    • Trisha Says:

      We have prolonged night time wetting issues in our family. My 6 y.o. is such a deep sleeper and heavy wetter that sometimes even the disposable GoodNights don’t work for him. I am currently working with Kristin at Diapeze.com (She’s also on Facebook.) on a custom item right now. The first three items we tried did not hold in his output. If your child isn’t a heavy wetter, I suggest you try Kristin or another WAHM who does customs.

      Reply

    • Autumn Beck Says:

      I know there are 2 or 3 in the next posts that have sizing for bigger kids.

      Reply

    • Ita Says:

      I have the same problem. After I started cloth diapering my little ones, I realized that it was silly to buy disposables for him (which were leaking anyway). But I also didn’t have money to spend. And the trainers all say they are intended for less absorbency than he needs.
      Here is what I did (not a perfect solution, but it works for us for now):
      I made him thick “nighttime underwear ” (ie a pull-up, but he doesn’t like to call it that) from rectangular sized pieces of old towels and t-shirts. (About the thickness of a prefold — in fact, you could use a prefold as your base if you want). I added elastic around the top.
      I ordered a pair of Dappi Nylon pants in the largest size (yes, this fits him) and told him that they were plastic underwear to wear on top of the nighttime underwear to keep him dry.

      If your child wakes independently to go to the bathroom in the night, this may not be a good solution. But mine does not wake on his own. I take him to the bathroom once in the night (2 hrs after he goes to sleep). If he’s wet I give him dry underwear to put on.

      Good luck!

      Reply

    • judi Says:

      I’ve had a few that wet at 6 and beyond and by age 6 they might be ready for a cessation program. The urologist’s office put together a program to help my dc stop wetting that includes some daytime behavior modification. They’re not being punished for bedwetting! It’s not their fault but they might unknowingly be causing it through their daytime toileting habits. Heavy night time wetters might not be using the toilet often enough during the day. Try having your over age 6 bed wetter use the toilet at least every 2 hours during the day. Also, if there is constipation involved deal with that. After about age 6 your child should be having at least one bm a day that is formed about like a banana. The urologist explained the physiology of the process and it made a lot of sense. My oldest wet until age 13 and if I’d known then what I know now she would have been at the urologist way younger!

      Reply

      • Trisha W. Says:

        Thanks for the information, Judi. I wish this would work for my child. He does go to the bathroom regularly but seems to have a small bladder and/or isn’t fully voiding. We’ve tried to explain double voiding to him, but that hasn’t helped either. He’s due to go back for a well check, so I will bring the issue up again to see if his doctor has anything further to say.

        Reply

  9. Jess Nye Says:

    I just got 12 Grovia Trainers for daycare and 6 Omaiki trainers for home. I don’t have the Omaiki trainers yet (they’re OTW) but I LOVE the Grovias! I’m lucky in that my son is a super light wetter, so lots of trainers will work like a diaper for him (which IMO ISN’T good if you’re potty training at home because it extends the process, but fantastic for daycare or if you’re a slow, easy-going potty trainer with a kid who wants to feel more like a big kid by stopping diapers.)

    Reply

  10. Melissa Says:

    I’ve just begun my search for cloth trainers so this couldn’t have come at a better time! Thank you!!

    I just ordered a few Blueberry trainers off of Baby Steals last week at a great price – they might still be in their archives :) Nice to get the deals when just starting to try them out!

    Reply

  11. Trisha W. Says:

    BLUEBERRY TRAINERS ~ These are a little bulky under clothing especially when compared to a disposable pull-up. I think they run a tad bit large and I do agree that the PUL does not keep a full on accident off of the child’s pants. It is good for just a few drips though.

    Reply

  12. Trisha W. Says:

    FLIPS TRAINERS ~ My baby isn’t potty training/learning yet, so I decided to let her big brother test out the Albert print for a night time replacement. (He just turned four and has an occasional night time accident.) We haven’t had any issues with the side snaps coming undone. In fact there have been a couple of days where my son just left the Flip Trainer on for the day since they were dry. (Silly boy.) I will say that if he is sleeping so soundly that a full bladder doesn’t wake him up to use the toilet, that yes, I will be changing sheets in the morning. Even Flip has said they aren’t intended for that type of volume. I do wish the insert was a bit wider and that Flip would come out with a ‘super’ insert — perhaps sewn in a loop for ease of washing and drying — for night/nap time use.

    Reply

  13. Danielle Says:

    Thank you! The 2 I have for my LO are both on part one. You covered some here that I’ve never seen. Looking forward to the next couple installments!

    Reply

  14. Angie Luby Says:

    Don’t forget Imse Vimse. I loved these with my daughter. They really felt like real underwear with out the leaks.

    Reply

  15. Lois Says:

    LOVE this idea! I have been wondering what trainers to start making an investment in and I can’t wait to read all the parts of your guide. We are not ready to potty learn just yet, but when we do, I will know what brands to try out!

    Reply

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