For some lucky parents, potty training comes naturally for the child. But for most of us, let’s be honest... it’s not easy at all and can take months of work (and frustration)! Bottom line is that it doesn’t happen overnight and it can be one of the most intimidating and difficult tasks for parents. Meet Ashley and Sean Wang, SSP parents of a young Milo who was the inspiration behind their new product, PottyPants. These intuitive crotchless underwear lets the child go to the bathroom without the need and fear of pulling their bottoms down in time, and provides a step between being naked and wearing underwear. We spoke to Ashley to learn more about their new product innovation.
SSP: I think the name might give away what it does, but please tell us what exactly Potty Pants are, and why any parent in the process of trying to potty train their child may get very excited about your new product?
PottyPants, as the name suggests, are intuitive crotchless potty training underwear designed by parents who understand how confusing and frustrating potty training a toddler can be. It was also inspired by what Chinese children use to potty train at a very young age(most of them under two years old). One of the most common potty training issues for toddlers (including our shy two-year-old) was the inability to pull down/up their underwear during potty training. The most popular potty training method is to train your toddler naked, but when we tried to train him naked in the house, we noticed he was uncomfortable not having the safety of a diaper anymore and started holding his pee and poop for hours until we put a diaper on him to go outside or before naptime. After we switched to training him with regular underwear, he struggled so much with getting his underwear down when going to the potty and ended up peeing in his underwear most of the time. As soon as we put Milo in PottyPants it all clicked for him. He felt the comfort and privacy that the diaper provided for him but was still able to use the big boy potty without struggling to pull his pants down.
SSP: How was this idea born?
The birth of PottyPants goes back to our son Milo's potty training journey in December 2019 when my husband and I decided to take the plunge into the unknown. In the week that we had time off from work, we spent the entire time chasing our naked son all over our Brooklyn apartment to try to get him to use the potty. We often spent up to an hour at a time with him in the bathroom, trying to coax him into peeing or pooping into the potty with no avail as we found out how stubborn he can be. In the end, he outwitted and outlasted us, and we decided to delay the potty training until "he is ready". Fast forward to the onset of the COVID lockdown, we were both at home, and we thought there was no better time to get him potty trained before starting pre-school in the fall. For almost two weeks, we tried the naked training, and with underwear, only to go through the same motion where he kept holding his pee and poop until one of us put a diaper on him. As a mom, it was heart wrenching to see your child holding his pee for the entire morning and not worry about his health. Just as we were about to give up, my husband suggested that he was potty trained at 15 mo old when he was a toddler in China and told me about these Chinese split crotch pants. He immediately made a prototype, and, to my surprise, within minutes of wearing them, he went to sit on the potty and peed for the first time on his own. That's when we knew we possibly had something that could help him and other children to potty train.
SSP: What do you think makes Potty Pants so innovative, when looking at what is already on the market? How do they work exactly?
When we looked at the products on the market to help with potty training, they were either diapers disguised as training underwear or cotton training pants where children first learned to pee in the pants to make them aware of the wetness of the pee. That did not make sense to us as we thought it would most likely create the impression it's ok to pee in your pants for some children. With the crotchless potty training underwear, it lets the child go on the potty without the fear of not being able to pull down the underwear in time. In addition, for those shy children who simply do not like to be trained naked, PottyPants offer the privacy and comfort of having underwear on during potty training at home. Lastly, the fabric is oh-so-soft! We sourced a bamboo & spandex blend so not only are they soft, stretchy, and quick-drying, but bamboo is one of the most sustainable fabrics in the market.
SSP: I love how you have described these pants as an encouragement based method of training. Can you tell us more about that?
From our perspective, potty training should be at your child's own pace and parents/caretakers should never punish them when they have an accident. In the end, potty training is not a three-day boot camp (at least for the majority of children) but a long journey, which often takes months before a child truly masters it. PottyPants serves as a tool that parents can use along with patience, commitment, and, most importantly, it's about making potty training a bonding experience with your child! We also provide quick videos and a free printable potty training chart on www.pottypants.com featuring our Potty Training mascot, Xander Panda!
SSP: Do you have any other tips for parents who have been struggling with potty training and can't see the light at the end of the tunnel?
Don't give up and stick to a routine that works for your child but be flexible and look for other ways to help your child if a method did not work. Most children will have relapses where they will have accidents even when you think they are potty trained. A child as young as two and younger can be successfully potty trained, as millions of children in other countries have shown us.
SSP: Since PottyPants' launch, how has the reception from parents and the public been?
We really didn't know how American parents would respond to the concept of potty training with crotchless underwear at home. So far, the response has been so positive and encouraging. Parents are really connecting with the process and love the fit and fabric of PottyPants. We are thrilled to take away some of the stress of potty training from fellow parents. We are already getting several requests for expanded sizes and color options - stay tuned. :)
SSP: What words of encouragement do you have for other parents in our community who are looking to follow their dreams and become entrepreneurs?
I am still having a hard time calling myself an entrepreneur- we are just getting started! My advice to the parents out there during this challenging time is to make lemonade out of lemons. PottyPants was born out of desperation - every method we tried before just did not work. Instead of being frustrated and giving up, we created our own method. Despite being locked down at home during a global pandemic, we can all find hobbies or rediscover interests that inspire and motivate us and hopefully help discover the potential we have to help others.
To learn more about PottyPants, go to https://www.pottypants.com/