Cloth Trainers

We have a potty trained little boy on our hands! As of May, S has been potty trained. However, he cannot go through the night without having accidents. He tries so hard, but is just not able to. And when his sugars are high, he has even more struggles.

Meanwhile, T, who is far from potty trained, wants to wear underwear like his big brother. He wants to be big too! But he ONLY wants to wear McQueen. Sigh. :/

For months we were buying pull ups. First we were using them just for S at nighttime and when we were out on long trips (like our 2 hour drive up to Philly). But then T started wearing them.

I’ll admit, in some ways it was just easier. I didn’t have to wash diapers as frequently, and when we were out I didn’t have to lug around wet diapers.

But I hate disposables. They leak (my kids just pee too much), they cost too much ( 30 cents a piece is about the going rate around here), and I know they are filling the landfills, leaving our children with a legacy of dirty diapers. Yuck!

So I went on a search for a cloth alternative. And let me tell you it was a challenge.

Sure, there are some patterns out there, but very few that were helpful for my issue. I needed heavy duty and most of the trainers are for light accidents. Others looked too much like diapers. Here are some patterns that I came across.

The Tinkle Time Trainers by Ladder Hill Designs had great reviews. I really debated buying the pattern. And if the pocket soakers hadn’t worked, I probably would have. But I read that there are a lot of pieces involved and that it is time consuming. Considering the number of trainers I needed, I didn’t really want to mess with that. However, these are super cute, have great print options, are trim, and my understanding is that they really hold up well. And they have a pattern for larger sizes which is awesome for older kids who are still struggling with night training.


The next most talked about trainer on the cloth diaper forums is the Trimsies cloth diaper/trainer patterns. I went around in circles about this one. But to be honest, I just didn’t want to spend the money on the pattern. I’m sure it is a great pattern, but I knew I had similar patterns already and I couldn’t get myself to break down and spend the money on yet another similar pattern.


A lot of people have pinned this trainer that a mom whipped up and that can be found on various blogs. I tried it myself. It did not even come close to being absorbent enough for my kids. I added extra flannel, scraps of PUL, and even went back and added more to it, but they were still far too light for my kids. This is a great option though if you aren’t a big sewer, and have a child with just small leaks now and then.

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Finally I came across a post on a cloth diaper forum on babycenter about adding a pocket into a Katrina’s Soaker. Now, if you don’t sew diapers you probably aren’t familiar with Katrina’s pattern, but it is, perhaps, the most used soaker pattern out there. And its free! I had three soakers from her pattern. One I made myself, so I knew that the pattern was simple to make, and two that I had bought used from a local cloth diaper mama. So I knew how absorbent they were. Adding a pocket allows me to make them into undies that can be pulled up and allows me to customize the absorbency based upon my kiddos.

If you do a search on etsy for fleece soakers you will see tons of mamas who have made their own version of Katrina’s pattern. She has graciously allowed for all of us who sew to use her pattern for profit as long as we donate to a charity or a mama in need. How awesome is that!

(NOTE: At this time I do not make these to sell. I will happily let you all know if that changes in the near future.)

Here’s a picture of a soaker made by Katrina (from her facebook) and a link to her blog. Be sure to check it out for all kinds of instructions and pictures, as well as for the pattern pieces.


Here is the latest soaker that I made. For my 36 pound, 3 foot tall 3 year old, I need the XXL size. My 2 year old who is 31 pounds and also around 3 feet wears a XL but it is a bit big on him. I find that the measurements on the pattern tend to be fairly accurate.



Stay tuned for a tutorial on how I sew up these trainers in just a short period of time. I promise, it takes very little time, and is perfect for a novice seamstress.

If you are tired of wasting your hard earned money on pull ups, consider making your own trainers. Whether one of the patterns I listed above, or your own variation, I would love to hear how you have handled night training for those kids who just can’t make it through the night.


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2 thoughts on “Cloth Trainers

    • adaynasmile says:

      Hi Ania! I honestly have searched and cannot find the pattern anymore. Bummer because it was such a cute pattern! Seems the designer is now doing embroidery patterns instead.

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