Friday, November 19, 2010

Product Review: Ladder Hill Tinkle Time Trainers

The first trainer that I decided to try is from Ladder Hill Designs. Hope has a licensed pattern called the Tinkle Time Trainer. One of the best things about working with Hope is that she does customs!!!! This means that you get to pick out the fabric and customize the trainer (I can see my husband rolling his eyes and trying not to sigh). This means you can get your toddler much more excited about his new "underwear" and make potty training even more successful. Now Kai may have gotten just as excited about blue or green pull-ups but he truly loves and brags about keeping his firetruck, turtle, etc. trainers dry. The other amazing thing about working with Hope is that she asked me for Kai's measurements and then told me exactly which size would work best.

I LOVE these trainers. They look so "handsome" and they are extremely well-made. The stitching looked very professional and I was very impressed by the style. You can customize them to be "pull-up" style like regular underwear or get them with snaps on the front. I still can't decide which style I like better. I got 3 of each. The pull-ups do a much better job at preventing leaks. The snap trainers are MUCH easier to stuff.

Both styles come with a pocket opening in the back to stuff either a prefold (think Gerber cloth diaper tri-folded but better quality) or you can order the inserts that Hope sells to go with them. The insert is wider, and if you order a doubler (smaller, to increase absorbancy) it comes with snaps to snap on top of the insert. The pull-up style then has a small opening at the front to help pull the insert into the trainer (the snap version does not have nor does it need this extra opening—super easy to stuff).

I really cannot say enough about how much I love the design. The only problems we have had are with leaks. Again, Hope has been a blessing to work with. I cannot say our problem is entirely solved, but her communication and offer to help has been amazing. She has even agreed to replace two of the trainers with a different fabric to see if it helps with the absorbancy issues.

Some things I have tried to prevent leaks by stripping them in hot water to be certain that there was no buildup of detergent or fabric softener (which we do not use anymore on even regular laundry), add another doubler outside of the pocket, and making sure that little boy parts are pointing down.

Some days we have leaks and some days we do not. Some days the trainers are completely dry so it's hard to tell if they would have leaked. Some days the trainer is just super saturated. Other days it seems like they could be more absorbent.

I still think these are well made. I know Hope is now using a different fabric on all of her trainers so I will give an update when I get two of them back. It’s hard to troubleshoot because Kai is starting to wake up dry more often, and we also have 6 different trainers in 2 different designs.

Efficiency: 6—I would rank this much higher if I was certain it we had not had so many problems with leaks. There were days when we had to wash sheets twice a day, and I wasn’t expecting to have issues with leaks from the get go. The issue does seem to be absorbancy related at times when it’s not very saturated, but adding a doubler outside of the pocket seems to help. Some of the leg openings have stretched and aren’t tight. One has elastic, but the others do not. Some are nice and tight but others leave a little gap. All are supposed to be the same size.

Green: 8—I would have said a 10 without all of the extra washes we did after leaks, but all of the troubleshooting and extra work involved factored in a bit.

Photo credit

Cost: 8—These cost about $15-18, which is comparable to other trainers, but then the inserts and doublers are in addition. With an insert and a doubler inside the pocket and another doubler outside of the pocket, the cost does add up. For offering to replace two of them with a different inner fabric that were leaking the worst, I give a lot of respect to the designer!!  Still less than disposable pullups!!!

Overall: 7—I love the look of these trainers, but I wish we had not had so much trouble with leaks. I like that they are thick but not puffy under pajamas. I don’t like having to use two doublers but I am glad that it seems to be working. I wish the fleece on the inside didn’t seem to only absorb in spots. The fleece around the legs seems to be loosening, but it does not seem to make leaks worse at this point. They are extremely well made, and I think the new material will increase efficiency.

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