Sewing Training Pants

Our journey to a potty-trained child began over a year ago. Kaelyn became interested in the potty and we purchased a seat to go on top of our toilet seat for her to sit on. After a few months, I bought a pack of 18 month training pants to try. I knew Kaelyn was sized a bit different than normal but didn’t know if it would make a difference. Turns out, it did. They were too tight for her legs.

Training pants, by the way, are underwear with some extra layers sewn in. It isn’t meant to hold a lot in the case of accidents. I doubt it would even hold half of an accident in Kaelyn’s case but she has some bladder control so she can start and then stop before running to the potty (or peeing five seconds later without a diaper on…).

A few more months went by (er, maybe more like 4) and I tried some 2 year old training pants. Let me tell you, it wasn’t easy finding anything less than size 3. Somewhat understandable but if I was going to purchase from the internet, I wanted to be sure they would fit her. Well, the size 2s had a tall rise and the waist was too loose. That told me that I would have to make them.

You get my timeline by now right? Between each step, a few months happened. Why? I wasn’t ready to potty train her. I wanted to capitalize on her interest but I could only deal with so much and during that time period, a lot was happening.

I decided to purchase a pattern and here was my reason… I didn’t want to have to think too much. I know I’m bad at drafting patterns and while I want to get better at that, I didn’t want to do it this time around. The pattern I purchased (February 25!) was from an Etsy store called Sweetelysium. She has some cute patterns. You can find the underwear pattern here. Carisa was so sweet to answer my questions before purchasing and then in one of those “a few months happened”, she resent me the pattern free of charge when I couldn’t find it.

I actually had to print out the pattern to three different sizes and then trace them to create the size I needed for Kaelyn. She measured at the waist of a medium, the legs of an extra large, and the rise of an extra small. I ended up going with a different rise because of her diaper measurement which moved the rise measurement to a large.

Oh! I also bought fabric. My method was great… surf on Etsy (I did look other places but preferred the choices available to me on Etsy), pick out a bunch, let Kaelyn choose four from those. I followed the recommendations that Carisa provided on her pattern. All material was purchased (June 14) from funkaliciousfabrics on Etsy. When the package came, Kaelyn was so excited! She would carry around the material, calling them “blankets”. She loved them all and didn’t have favorites although she only carried around one at a time.

Making sure my sized pattern fit was very important to me after the two fail purchases before. I grabbed an old tshirt and charged ahead. While I only put together one layer and didn’t test the waist and leg bands, one tshirt would have made one full underwear. So you can do this for free (without the soaker layers) if you have a bunch of old shirts laying around.

Kaelyn had been complaining to me that she didn’t want training pants, she wanted a dress. Then she tried them on and she stopped midstream and said “ooooh, they are light”. I’m glad she noticed the difference between them and a diaper!

I cut every thing out so I wouldn’t have to recut. I decided to make twelve pairs. Four of them do not have the soaker layers. The other eight has three soaker layers. The pattern said that to make just underwear, you omit the soaker layers and, if you want to, the second layer. I chose to keep the second layer so that the waistband seam could still be concealed.

Kaelyn really wanted to help me sew since I let her help me on my previous project (a dress for a niece that had lots of long straight lines) but I wouldn’t let her help on this project because there were too many layers, it was knit fabric, and curved seams everywhere. She was happy enough to watch. And use the camera. A lot.

Couldn’t resist that! Well, I started cutting the material in early August so it only took me a few weeks instead of a few months to sew them. I started making them one at a time but decided to switch to assembly line-style and that seemed to go a lot quicker. I’m a fan of quicker!

Kaelyn is so excited about her new training pants and underwear. I can only hope that this excitement lasts while we move into the next stage of potty training.

And just to show that they aren’t perfect… sometimes I didn’t catch all the layers when putting on the leg bands so I just quickly stitched over it. It wasn’t until after everything was cut that I realized that I had cut the leg holes at extra large and the leg bands at large. They are still very comfortable on her which is a relief — I didn’t want to cut more out!

Someone asked me yesterday that when they first saw/heard that I was making training pants, she thought “who would think to make underoos?!” Well, when you want something that fits, making it is the way to go! They are much cuter than store-bought cartoons. And no one else will have quite the same underwear as Kaelyn! Haha…


Pattern: $7.50

Material: $57.74

Total: $64.24

I made 12 training pants which is a cost of $5.35 each. BUT, I could make 12 more double-layered underwear (some could have soaker layers too) which brings the cost down to $2.67 each. More than store bought underwear (which are single layers anyway) but less than training pants. Either way, they fit her and I’m happy!

Comments (4)

  1. Durante

    This isn’t a bad deal at all, and they look just as good as the store bought stuff, and you could definitely not pick and choose which sizes to use in the store bought kind. It makes me want to rush to put up my sewing machine, I had never thought of mixing patterns so that I could get the size that perfect.

    Thank you!

  2. Cynthia Jones

    HI! Does the fabric of the legs and waist hold up pretty good? I want to make my daughter who is embarking on potty training some and thought about putting elastic in the waist and legs on something like this.

    1. Suki (Post author)

      I haven’t had any problem with the legs and waist. I think sizing the pattern to her helped a lot with that. Good luck! We love them!

  3. Jazz

    You should make them and sell them I would love to purchase some my daughter just turned 2 and is a size 9 months-12month in clothes. Size 3 in diapers and I can’t find any training pants to fit her so sad and she keeps taking the diaper off so I know it’s time.


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