Quick Tip – How To Potty Train Your Baby If You Can’t Afford Training Pants

How to potty train if you can't afford training pants

Can I let you in on a secret?   Shhh. Come closer….

Are you ready?

Honestly, if I were to potty train my kids all over again, I probably wouldn’t bother with buying training pants that are only meant for potty training.

Now, I think training pants can come in handy (and I’ll share more on that in a second), but I just feel like people can think it is all or nothing–that if they can’t afford training pants (which can be pricey!) they are stuck with using disposable pull-up diapers. Here are some tips from my own experience, as well as some tips from readers:

1. Try The Naked Approach

When I started potty training my daughter, this was the #1 suggestion I got–from disposable diaperers AND cloth diaperers. Several parents swear by this approach—your child is naked for 3 days and by the end of it, you are officially the parent of a potty trained child! You can find more details in this article over at Growing a Jeweled Rose or this one at Your Modern Family.  Chat with your friends, and I bet you one of yours swears by this. Basically the premise is that your child will start to get annoyed with the feeling of pee running down his/her legs and will therefore start using the potty. BUT this does not work for everyone! I tried this on my daughter and it turned out that I was just a carpet cleaner for three days. She smiled with joy as pee just trickled down her legs–or sometimes she just didn’t even care.

2. Try The Underwear Approach

My mother in law SWORE by this method on all 7 of her children. She took them to the store and had them pick out their first pair of underwear. The kids got excited about the print they chose out, so then when they peed their pants, she would say, “Oh nooooo, you went pee pee in your _____ underwear! That’s a bummer!” Some people might not like this approach since it associates a negative connotation with peeing. Again, my child didn’t really care about peeing in her princess undies, but I have heard this method works for many!

3. Use Side Snapping Cloth Diapers

I swore by using these with my child. I would just fasten them a little more loosely and they would pull up and down quite easily. The more elasticity in the waist, the better it did. I personally had luck with the Peachy Green AI2 for this. The nice thing about this was since my daughter was a normal to heavy wetter up until the very day she could go diaper-free, this allowed me to catch her accidents without it soaking her clothes. From my experience using over a dozen training pants, I found that most on the market only held a small pee (which, in the case of my daughter, meant half a pee—-and that won’t work!). Reader Megan B explained how to do this with front-closured diapers: “When beginning potty training, snap just the outside snap onto the furthest snap and then use like a pull up. Then use the inside snap to get a good fit around the waist.”

4. Use Training Pants That Can Also Act As Swim Diapers

Charlie Banana came up with this for their training pants and I thought it was a GREAT idea. If you are going to buy training pants, it might as well be something that has a dual purpose, since hopefully you won’t be potty training for too long. There are downsides to some of these diapers (for example, you can read in my review of the Charlie Banana Training Pants/Swim diaper that I wish it had side snaps to help me take care of poop accidents) but at least you aren’t buying a stash of training pants that will be used for only a short period of time.


Now don’t go off telling people that I am anti-training pants. I do still use mine regularly. When we go on long road trips, we put my daughter in them just in case. I also use them as a part of my potty training stash. I’m just saying that if you can’t afford training pants, you have plenty of other options before using disposable pull-ups. If you do want to buy training pants, you can read my suggestions for what to look for in training pants. You can also read my article about some unconventional potty training tips that worked for my daughter.


If you potty trained your child, what method did you use?


Have a “Quick Tip” of your own to share? Submit it to us and if we like it we will feature it in an upcoming blog post (and credit you for it, if you’d like!) 


Tara Porter

Tara Porter began using cloth diapers in 2011 when she felt that using disposable diapers was costing too much money. The problem was, a lot of the highly recommended diapers weren’t working for her baby. What she finally discovered was that her baby was skinny and a heavy wetter, and that diapers worked differently for those baby types. Because of her professional work with survey design and statistics, she designed Padded Tush Stats as a way to determine how different cloth diapers worked on different babies.

Tara moved on to other career endeavors in 2014 but can still be found online blogging about health and fitness at Fit Baby Steps.