These underwear can go by a number of names. One wet trainers. Training pants. Waterproof underwear. Whatever. The basic point is that your kid can pee in them a little bit, and their pants will still stay dry.
With EC (Elimination Communication), we got to the point where we were on and off the potty often enough that diapers were becoming a pain in the butt (pun intended). I tried out a few training pants tutorials – but most involved sewing on the elastic, which is not something I enjoy.
Then I stumbled on a tutorial that used diaper covers (you know, those ones that come with baby dresses) to make training pants. Loved the idea, but wanted to make it at least a little waterproof. If you don’t care about water proof, then just use her post!
These would also work well for a newly potty trained kiddo for a little extra protection (like longer car outings, etc)
Mostly waterproof training pants:
- Diaper covers. If you have a girl, you probably already have some. If not – check a local thrift store – I got a bunch for about 50 cents each. The sizes are pretty flexible. My 25 lb toddler fits into the 3-6 month size covers (though they are quite snug) as well as the 18 month size.
- PUL Fabric. I bought some at Joann’s where it is always either on sale or you can use their 40% off coupon. It seems expensive, but you don’t need much — with 1/4 yard, you can make 6-10 trainers.
- Absorbent Lining Fabric. This can be old towels, layers of flannel, old burp cloths, old cloth diapers, etc.
- Optional: Lightweight cotton fabric. If you are using microfiber towels, or absorbent material that is scratchy, you may want another layer of cotton fabric.
- Piece of paper, pen, scissors, sewing machine that can do a zig-zag stitch
Take a diaper cover…
And a piece of paper. You are going to trace the general size so that you can create a custom insert. This step seems unnecessary but I found when I just tried to eye-ball it, or cut as I went, it was some what of a disaster. It takes about 2 minutes to make a pattern. But is well worth it!
See the red dots are where I started. Now I’m turning the diaper cover so that I can trace the crotch area…
Then fold the paper in half (this will help with symmetry) and cut out your pattern. If you’re wondering why I don’t have normal scissors…well…when you live with a nurse, sometimes the closest scissors are medical ones, so you make do.
The pattern will look something like this. After experimenting, I prefer the insert to cover the whole front and back up to the waist elastic. But adapt as you like.
Test it out and trim to make sure it works. Mine was too long, so I cut off one end.
Next, cut out your layers.
You will need:
- 1-2 layers of absorbent fabric
- 1 layer PUL
- 1 layer of cotton (if you are doing this) – If you want the PUL visible, you don’t need this. See my note at the end if you are putting your PUL on the outside.
I also cut out an extra rectangle of terry cloth for extra soaking power with minimal bulk. I attached this just to the absorbent layer with a zig zag stitch all the way around. Switching to a straight stitch, I did 3-4 passes across the center so that it bends more easily.
Here you can see a better view of the straight stitching in the middle.
Now take all those layers, pin, and stitch together. Again, I used a zig zag stitch — mostly because it is more forgiving and helps with all the terry cloth raveling.
I’m not that precise of a seamstress, so it always comes out a little wonky. Never fear! Just trim those edges up.
Oh, that looks better!
Whoops, didn’t catch all the layers on the back side — back to the sewing machine for some touch ups.
Okay, now we’re ready for the next step.
Pin inside the diaper cover. With some of my training pants, I pinned on the outside of the diaper cover. Either way works. Whatever you do, you want to position the PUL to be the layer farthest away from the baby’s skin, with absorbent layers closest to baby. Sounds obvious, but thought I’d clarify.
Now slowly sew the insert in. Again, I use the zig-zag stitch.
And you’re done! What I love about these is that if you don’t get it quite right, or your stitches aren’t straight, it is okay.
PUL on the outside: This pair has worked out the best in terms of waterproofness. I followed the same basic steps as above, but put the PUL on the outside.
- Because the PUL was going on the outside – I added an extra square of terry cloth (the turquoise you see here) to the trainers. I sewed this in FIRST, using a zigzag stitch.
- Then I sewed the PUL + absorbent layer together, but skipped the cotton layer
- Last, I sewed that onto the outside of the trainers, rather than the inside