It was a very gradual one, this journey, one which Lucy over at the Lulastic blog coined "stress-free" potty training (in a really great and useful post, by the way!). Stress-free and ultimately successful in that the Bean ditched the nappies during the day (and stopped "missing"!) at 2 years and 3 weeks. 4 months later he decided he didn't want them at night anymore either, and that was that.
Stress-free, certainly, but pretty darn messy. In hindsight, would training pants have helped? We did try them once, a pack of disposable pull-ups. I was horrified at them. The expense, the waste, the uselessness of them. They can only hold one wee, and the Bean would always do that one wee. They didn't help "train" him at all (he didn't get the difference between the pull-ups and the ordinary nappies) and they were horrendously difficult to remove when he'd done a poo. We didn't even get through the entire pack before we decided we'd rather go naked. Eventually we persuaded him to wear ordinary underpants.
In hindsight though, I wish we'd thought of trying some washable training pants. Perhaps from 20 months onwards, when he became interested in dressing himself and could start to understand the concept of pulling off his pants before weeing.
Ones such as the 2-in-1 Swim Diaper & Training Pants that Charlie Banana sent us recently. We were big fans of their washable nappies and even though our toilet-training journey is done, I still happily accepted them: they double up as bomb-proof swim pants! Until I know I can trust him 100% in the pool, these will be our pool bag must-have.
2-in-1 Swim Diaper & Training Pants by Charlie Banana
Both the non-snap and snap version of this washable 2-in-1 swim/training diaper is well-designed. The elasticated waist and gusset ensure a snug fit to help contain any messes. The outer lining is waterproof, while the inner lining is made of a soft, organic cotton that is kind to the skin.
Both versions are very easy for a toddler to pull on and off by themselves, and once on they are snug and comfortable. I was concerned about the elasticated waist and gusset leaving pressure marks after a while, but this wasn't the case at all. They allow a complete range of movement, whether as training pants... [ENTER TRUSTY SABOTAGER-SORRY-ASSISTANT]
The waterproof outer lining means that the wee stays in the pants, whether you're underwater or not (nice to know if you're sharing pool water!). On the day we went swimming the Bean remembered to go to the toilet, but if he had done a wee it would have been a small matter to take them off and rinse them under a cold tap (you can then wash them at 40° C).
Although neither child obliged by doing a pooh-nami in the pool, given the snug fit I have no doubt that these swim/training pants would have contained them! I was, in any case, quite grateful for the snaps on the Bean's pants - when we were done swimming he was tired, grumpy and cold and I needed to whip them off fast.
We all really liked both the prints. And if you don't, Charlie Banana have 3 more to choose from in the version with snaps, and 36 more in the version without snaps!
On the bum they look puffier than underpants but slimmer than an ordinary nappy, which is what you'd expect from a swim nappy or training pants.
Last but not least, what do these lovelies cost? The 2-in-1 Swim Diaper & Training Pants (no snaps) is currently available in the UK for around £8.50. The version with snaps will be available later in the summer for more or less the same price (it's currently only available in the USA). I think this is fair for the quality and longevity of the garment.
Charlie Banana recommend you have at least 4 per day while potty-training, meaning an up-front cost of at least £34 if you were to wash daily (they do dry very fast). That's quite a lot, especially compared to the price of disposable pull-ups. However, do bear in mind these can be used for more than one child. If you don't have any more children of your own, they also have an excellent re-sell value. If you're in the UK I can't recommend this pre-loved cloth nappy group on facebook enough.
SO... WOULD I RECOMMEND THEM?
Yes, definitely. They are versatile, comfortable and look great. They are also a much more ecological option that disposable training pants, as they wash at 40° C, can be handed down and obviously don't create enormous amounts of landfill! By opting for Charlie Banana training pants you would also be helping to support two charities, Operation Smile and Project Child Save.