The New Diaper Primer

Appendix 2: Training Pants

Diaper Pants (aka "training pants")

In response to those who have asked about "good" diaper pants. Most of the pull on re-useable pants are commonly termed "training pants" since they are made much like the cloth training pants that children used in the old cloth-diaper days. Nowadays, the standard for these training pants seems to set by Babykins (which can be found several places on line including The pants appear to be designed primarily for the AB market in that they are colorful, quite thick and very soft. The filler is a light fluffy poly blend so the weight (using large pants for comparison) is only about 10 oz. I find them safe for only 2 to 3 hours, about the same as a cheap store brand disposable diaper. Of course, they are washable and reusable, so that offsets the cost of around $18.

Moving onto more substantial diaper pants, there may be other available sources, but I know of only two, as follows.

Loving Comfort They offer two types, both of which use 100% cotton soaker materials, not fluffy poly material. The first, called a Pull On Brief is similar to training pants in that the soaker material is a strip running through the center of the pants, leaving the sides of the pants much thinner. The second is what they call a Pull On Diaper and what I call a "good" diaper pant. The soaker material is lined throughout the pants, not confined to the center. It is terrycloth, very good for absorbency. I sampled the three-terry layer style (for a total of 5 layers including the outer birdseye layers). It is expensive at $40, but it weighs in at 20 ounces, or twice what the fluffy training pants weigh.

Bear Bottom (e-mail Diane Sequin at This supplier offers a custom-made pull on pant to suit your exact size. Again, no fluffy filler is used; the absorbency is achieved with actual fabric. Bear Bottom offers a unique design in that their pull ons are actually two pair of pants, joined at the waist. Called a "split pant" the inner pant can be pulled out from the outer pant for washing and easier, quicker drying.

You must cover these with your choice of waterproof pants. I happen to prefer Suprima (European) vinyl pants. Of two basic crotch styles available, I wear the wide-crotch roomy version over cloth diapers and the narrow-crotch, trim-fit version over these diaper pants to provide secure leak-free protection under athletic shorts for such activities as biking or baseball.

You will also find "all in one" styles being offered here and there -- a pull on diaper pant with waterproof exterior. We do not generally recommend these, as the waterproof layer makes laundering more difficult, especially drying. The waterproof layer usually will give out long before the absorbent cotton base pants are worn out. We think it is more practical to wear a separate pair of waterproof pants over your choice of pull on diaper pants.

Having said that, there is one exception we will make. For the user who can use the toilet and urinal more often than not, a custom, all-in-one pant that incorporates a traditional fly front can be made by Bear Bottom. This offers the male wearer the true convenience of conventional, jockey-style underwear while providing some measure of protection. The Bear Bottom waterproof underpants incorporate a soft, silent urethaned nylon for the waterproof barrier.

While these reusable pull on diaper pants are a little more bulky than a disposable, I find that the big advantage is comfort, especially in sports and when riding a bike. By comparison, disposables tend to clump and break up from the movement of pedaling. Pull on diapers remain smooth and more far comfortable in the crotch even during periods of physical activity.

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