By Betsy Verecky, AP Business Writer
The recession is making life a little messier for some toddlers and their parents.
Disposable training pants, long viewed as a staple in potty training children, are becoming dispensable as some parents choose value over convenience in the recession.
These days, an accident here and there has become an acceptable tradeoff for saving some $30 to $100 a month. And many parents say that doing away with the crutch has had an added benefit: surprisingly quick toilet training.
Parents embraced disposable training pants when they hit the market 20 years ago because they made life easier, preventing messy accidents as children transitioned from diapers to underwear. The training pants contain absorbent material just like diapers, but are elasticized and can be pulled up and down like underwear.
Now rising unemployment, stagnant wages and sharp drops in both housing and stock markets have caused consumers to redefine what's essential. As they've pored over their expenses, sales data suggest more parents are finding it's one product they're willing to try doing without.
Darcy Forsell had spent so much on diapers in her daughter's early years — at least $1,500 by her estimate — that when the time came for 3-year-old Liz to potty-train, Forsell decided to skip the training pants.
"It didn't seem like a good investment in terms of time and money," Forsell said.
Forsell trained Liz in a weekend by letting her mostly run around the house naked, an approach she learned from other moms. Similar to just putting kids in underwear, the thinking is that if children wet themselves, they tend to learn quickly that the way to avoid that is by going in the toilet.