What Are Potty Training Pants?
This is going to be a long topic. So get ready for the ride. We’ll take you through the diaper machine logistics in the U.S. and why diaper design hasn’t changed much in the last decade. Let’s get started with one thing first:
Potty Training Pants. What are they? The short version is: potty training pants in America are basically the same thing as diaper pants in the rest of the world. Diaper pants are disposable diapers engineered to have the same performance and absorbency as regular disposable diapers but designed to be pulled up like underwear and stay put with a snug elastic waist instead of velcro tapes. Despite differences in construction that can provide benefits to diapering habits, diaper pants in the U.S. have been marketed as exclusively potty training pants. We want to take you on a brief history tour that can help us explore why these types of diapers (which are common in other parts of the world), have only been marketed as potty training pants in the U.S. Sure, the diaper pant design can be good for potty training (and we’ll get to in a bit) but the reason they have only been used in the U.S. as training pants instead of diaper pants runs a bit deeper than that.
Let’s start with a little history of Diaper Design in America.
We can’t talk about diaper design without discussing Pampers and Huggies - the world’s megabrands in diapers who basically shaped the diaper you see today.
According to Euromonitor, Pampers and Huggies are among the top 10 megabrands in the world, right under brand names such as Coca-Cola, Nescafe, and L’Oréal Paris.
In the U.S., big brands like Pampers from Procter & Gamble and Huggies from Kimberly Clark own most of the machinery in the United States used to make disposable diapers and they have since the 1960s. These big companies own most of the disposable diaper market share in America - they basically define the supply as market leaders and many of the smaller companies look to them when defining diaper design and strategy.
Here’s the thing, though. These market leaders have loads already invested in equipment - they own many diaper converting machines where they make their diaper brands. Most of these machines were purchased years ago. Basically these big companies have invested millions and millions on machines that make a certain diaper type: the open diaper. Or what we know in America as just the “diaper.”
Worldwide trends show a growing preference towards diaper pants - this is a phenomenon seen across Asia and Europe. Diaper pants are essentially the same diaper you are used to but it slides on instead of being taped around the sides. This can mean a world of a difference in terms of diapering habits and mobility for your babe but does not need to compromise on absorbency or otherwise quality of the diaper.
The big brands have a vested interest in promoting open diapers in America. After all, they already have millions worth of equipment specializing in this specific diaper design. The term “training pant” was first coined in 1989 when Huggies introduced their Pull-Ups specifically designed as a child potty training aid. Since then in America, the majority of diaper pants have been known and marketed as potty training pants and the megabrands have continued pushing the open diaper design as the prevalent choice for diapering babies.
So what’s the deal with potty training pants?
“Potty training pants,” as we know them, can be so much more than simply an aid to the potty training journey. Marketing diaper pants for babies for exclusive potty training use does not do justice to many of the benefits that parents have already started seeing all around the world. From added mobility and ease in diaper changes to quicker removal and ability to slide on and off, these pants can be a good sidekick to your diapering and parenting style. You can decide for your child which to use when it comes to using training pants vs diaper.
Of course, they can be of good help when you start potty training your child. Diaper pants or “potty training pants” have helped many parents transition their child to toilet use. Its benefits will depend on a myriad of factors including the parent’s approach to training and whether the child is in daycare or not, their environment, etc. but most will enjoy the convenience of diapers being pulled down like underwear right before sitting on the toilet or potty chair. There are many approaches and tips to potty training and diaper pants will undoubtedly be a good resource and can be paired with elimination communication and other training techniques.
Why potty train with training pants?
Training pants feel like regular “big kid underwear”, which gives your child the ability to pull their own pants up and down while they’re going potty. This is especially important while potty training, as they get used to the independence of this action. During the learning process, your child will most likely have some slip-ups here and there and that’s where potty training diapers come to the rescue. They fit the same as real underwear so your child can easily transition but he or she will have the added convenience of its absorbent material and security.
Training pants will provide you with the comfort of knowing that your diaper will have you covered whenever the slip-ups happen.
Why do we think this is of utmost importance? As we discussed, your emotions and the way you communicate with your child during training is essential. And let’s face it, sometimes it’s not the easiest to be the positive and encouraging parent that you are when you’re dealing with a urinated and defecated mess in your child’s underpants. Your child is going to go through a lot of changes during the potty training process which can sometimes be stressful and overwhelming for them. If they sense your frustrations they might develop reservations that will be detrimental to a speedy learning process. Remember, your positivity and persistence will be the key to your child’s potty training.
Once your child starts grasping the idea of using the toilet and mastering it more and more, you can always change to regular underpants- while still slipping on the training pants over them. This way kiddo will know if they’ve had a blunder when they feel the wetness on their skin while still keeping the rest of their clothes dry! This is especially handy when you’re out in public as it prevents your child from possibly getting embarrassed when there’s been a leaky mistake.