Monday, September 9, 2013

Semi DIY Cloth Training Pants TUTORIAL

We have done a form of "early potty learning" with W that for the most part has been really relaxed.  Essentially we just put him on a potty whenever we feel like it/have the time to/he expresses interest in it.  It has recently gotten to the point where if I remember to ask him if he would like to use the potty at regular intervals (and since I'm pregnant and pee all the time anyway it has been easier to remember to also offer it to him) he can go a whole day with only dirtying a diaper during naps.  So, I plan on trying out the three day potty training method (more on that after we actually do it) starting tomorrow!  Hopefully at the end of three days the only time he'll be in a diaper is for naps and overnight!

The potty is so FUN!
Since he is only 17 months old and can't actually ask (verbally, he does have physical cues) to use the bathroom I wanted to get him cloth training pants which are essentially reinforced undies.  Some have a waterproof layer, others do not.  A friend of mine recommended Hannah Andersson training unders, but oh-my-effing-golly-gosh, I'm not spending $26 (before tax and shipping) on only 3 pairs of freaking underwear.  I looked into some other, less expensive options (like Kawaii baby) but seriously dude - they're just underwear with extra layers in the crotch, I'm not spending a small fortune on them!

So obviously I decided to make my own.

There are tutorials all over Pinterest for using a pair of undies to make a pattern and adding extra layers to the crotch section, but all I could think while reading them is, "why don't you just keep the underwear you buy intact {as opposed to deconstructing it to make a pattern} and just sew extra stuff in the crotch??"  So that's exactly what I did.


  • Underwear - I got these from KMart.  They're still a little big on W, but they don't really make underwear in infant sizes so we'll deal. They're $13 for 7 pairs, or $1.86 each 
  • Some sort of absorbent material.  You could even use old t-shirts (you'd probably need like 4 layers if you go that route) but I chose to use pre-fold diapers that I had originally used as burp cloths for W.  These are the ones I have and with a pack of four you could make eight training pants.  Those are $6, but you could make 8 training pants with the whole pack so $.75 per training pant but this part could actually be free if you just used old t-shirts you had on hand. 
  • Waterproof material (optional).  I had left over from an old project, but this is what I used.  Be sure to use a coupon and you'll only need about a 1/4 yard (so you'd spend $1.95 to make a bunch of training pants).  I can't say exactly how much it'll cost per training pant, but it isn't much.
  • Parchment paper to make a pattern
  • Permanent marker
  • Pins
  • Sewing machine and thread
First you'll want to make your pattern for your insert.  To do this I turned a pair of the underwear inside out (after washing and drying them in case they shrink) and pinned a piece of parchment paper to them.

 Then I outlined the crotch area.
 And unpinned it from the undies
 It was a little wonky and not symmetrical, so I picked the side I liked more and used that to make a more symmetrical pattern (I folded a piece of parchment paper in half, lined up the good side of the original pattern, and cut out the new pattern).  The original is on the left and the one I actually used is on the right...
 With the pre-fold diapers the center section has more layers of fabric.  So I figured I could use the middle section for one, and double up the outer sections for another (making two pairs of training pants with each pre-fold).  So you have to cut the pre-fold into thirds.
 I used the pattern I made to cute out the waterproof PUL but the pre-fold sections weren't quite wide enough.  So I just sewed the pre-fold material down to the PUL...
 ...Then I trimmed the extra pre-fold material off.  I'm not concerned that it doesn't quite reach the edges of where I initially wanted it to be.

You'll notice I doubled up the pre-fold in the front section.  The pre-fold is more than long enough and since boys need extra absorbency in the very front (since they have penises) I just went with it.  It isn't completely necessary, but why waist the extra absorbent layers, right?
 Then you pin your insert into your undies (obviously with the waterproof PUL against the actual underwear)
 And you sew it down.  This step can be a little awkward, but it's totally possible!  Just take your time.

And you're done!!!

Like I said before, these undies are a little big on W (they're size 2T/3T - the smallest size I could find) but they work just fine.  They obviously won't save his outfit if he has a full on accident, but they'll definitely minimize the damage.


  1. Been all over pinterest this morning looking for the right DIY training underwear idea and found it here! Thanks for sharing :)

  2. I had this eact idea stuck in my head and wanted to know if it would work. thanks for posting it! Now I know I won't be wasting my time.

  3. Thank you, I can use what I have and go from there.

  4. This is my first time using PUL. Will poking pins through the material make it possible for the pee to go through?? Or does the PUL "self heal" if you (does that make sense)?

    1. ***I know this is old, but I'm responding for anyone who may read this in the future.***
      It's best to avoid sticking holes in the PUL because it does not self heal and can leak (although the amount would probably be negligible) if you must use pins, try to use them around the edges where you'll be sewing elastic or closing the trainer anyway. You can also use clips instead of pins (wonder clips work well) OR you can use a regular old children's glue stick to glue the pul to the other material.
      It works amazing! Just make sure to wash the item after sewing it! I Hope this helps!!

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. This is my first time using PUL. Will poking pins through the material make it possible for the pee to go through?? Or does the PUL "self heal" (does that make sense)?

    1. For Rachel or anyone else who reads this later like me, this is what is on Babyville Boutiques FAQ page....
      Why do I have to seal PUL after stitching?
      Because PUL is a laminate, needles and pins leave tiny holes in the fabric where leakage could occur. To re-seal these holes after sewing, place the PUL in a hot dryer for 20 minutes and you’re good to go! Occasionally, you may need to repeat the 20-minute cycle to completely seal the holes.

    2. These aren't going to be totally waterproof even without holes they're just to minimize the flood

  7. Rachel I just read an article about how to sew PUL. It said not to pin it, use certain kind of thread, and use rounded needle in machine because it will leave holes in the material it does not heal.

  8. I’m sure you will provide the more awesome blogs like these blogs that I’ve enjoyed a lot.
    is bubblegum casting legitimate

  9. Waooow!!! Really very cool site of blogs. You can imagine what you have done for me.
    bubblegum casting reviews

  10. Love this tutorial! I zig zagged around the edges of the liner to keep them from fraying, and then just attached at waistband, leaving the middle loose. They work the same, but dry much faster in the dryer, plus they are quicker to make since you don't have the fussy part of sewing inside the underpants :)

  11. Love this. I made these last night with a twist. Instead of putting the pull on the inside i had some really cute pul scraps and put it on the outside. I curved it at the top front to make it look nicer but really your idea worked great.
    Like you said not going to stop him from ruining his outfit if there is an accident. However it does solve the dreaded pee on the carpet problem. :)
    Thanks so much

  12. aku paling suka celana training yang paling bawah berwarna hijau. great

  13. I will be doing this as well, but instead of trying to sew the insides like that, I am cutting down the seams on the underwear, tracing a pattern, and when its time to sew them back up, I will use velcro so if we have a blowout, its easier to get the underwear off.

  14. This is so great, thanks. I do EC or elimination communication, part time. Which is basically what you described, only starting much earlier. (We started at four months old. Now, at 7 months, between EC and keeping her in cloth diapers that we change with every wet, we are ready for trainers and she's going dry for hours. It's amazing.) Anyway, I just signed on to give some information on smaller underwear. Tiny sells 3 pairs/$14, with a nice low rise fit. Just mailed their first delivery. This is a project of the author of a great and helpful eC book. Don't remember the book name, but the website is GoDiaperFree. That might actually be the book name, too. Another resource is eBay/Amazon. I guess UK kids train earlier or are smaller, because you can easily find 12-18 months underwear. I just ordered 5 pairs for $9, shipped. My plan for all of these was to reinforce without deconstructing, which is how I found your post. Oh, and also if you don't want to DIY, there are $18 A PAIR (ugh) very small trainers on They are very thick and take a while to dry, but nice quality. Got these to use for when we are not paying enough attention. Another great trick is a small potty wrapped in fabric so the plastic doesn't give them a cold shock. My favorite is the Pourty potty with a cover ("cozy") from You can also use a rubber band and an old t shirt with the neck over the opening, but it's a lot more work to empty. The cozy was only $10 and completely worth it because I offer more now that it's easier, and she uses it more because it's warm on her bottom. Good luck, all!

  15. any one tried with girls panties?

  16. So glad I found this! I do like the idea of undoing the seams and adding Velcro or snaps to make them easier to undo in case of blowout, but I think I'll start with a few pairs and follow the instructions of the author. Since I trained so quickly, I hope she can, too. She's still quite young, but like another person said, European kids train much earlier.


I always love getting some blog love...