Potty training inspiration: make custom underwear decals!


Becky titled this hack "Inspiring underwear." I say: inspired underwear for those who are looking to motivate beginning potty-trainers:

They say you should let your potty-training child pick out some big-kid underwear at the store so that he/she is inspired to keep them dry for potty training. But when I took my son shopping, all the underwear designs featured characters he didn't know. I thought, "Man, I wish they sold underwear with Winnie the Pooh (his favorite bedtime stories) or Little Bear (his favorite DVD)."  Then I saw a package of plain white undies and was inspired. [Inspiration comes from unlikely places, eh? — Ed.]

I downloaded images of all my son's favorite characters and saved them in a single document using the  Paint program that came preloaded on my computer. I resized the images so they would fit properly on my son's underwear (I printed test sheets to make sure).

Once they were the right size, I printed them white iron-on transfer paper, available at any office supply store.  I cut out each image and followed the directions on the package to iron it onto the plain white underwear I had bought in bulk.  Voila!  A collection of underwear with all my son's favorite characters, made on the cheap, and they looked as good or better than the stuff available at the store. 

The whole process was actually much easier than it sounds.  I'm a working mom and I did it in one evening.  My son loved them!  Now, almost a year later, he's still excited about picking out his underwear in the morning.

Are those tighty-whities adorable, or what?

More: Potty training hacks


  1. says

    Assuming accidents still somehow happen, I can’t help but wonder…how do these iron-on designs hold up in the wash? or is this one of those sacred undergarment “hand wash only” type of situations?

  2. kakaty says

    I did this for my daughter (I got the thick, double-layer training underwear and ironed on her favorite Dora and Disney Princess designs) and they help up very well. I think one of the lighter designs wore off after a few months but I just ironed on another one in it’s place.

    I had the idea at the craft store – I had found a Cinderella iron-on patch on clearance for like 30 cents. They only had one left so I got the iron-on printer paper. She loved them all.

  3. Jenni says

    That and, it looks like you put the decals on the front which is where the SHOULD be considering they always end up wanting to wear their underwear backwards so they can “see spiderman”…I love it!

  4. says

    Oh I completely agree. I doubt the little ones pay much heed to a fading image anyway. I was never very handy with an iron…nor is my wife, but this seems fairly fool-proof.

    I’m about 4 months (guesstimating) from beginning the potty training journey with my now 15 month old, and am trying to soak up as much info as I can ahead of time.

  5. Donna says

    I did the for my daughter years ago when she was into Nemo and had already outgrown the Toddler underware section. I have also done this for my now 4 year old. They will hold up if you follow the directions when ironing them on. I have also made Dr Who iron ons for my husband. He never wore them but I know secretly he thought it was cool.

    Keep in mind that this will only work for ink jet printers and not laser jets.

  6. Heather says

    Thank you, Becky, for the idea! This should solve my no “Linny the Guinea Pig” underwear in his size dilemma. And thank you, Jenni, for the comment about the backward underwear. My son has been wearing Turtle Tuck backwards for months!

  7. says

    My mom did this when I was little, though since they didn’t have iron-on printable paper (or personal computers, for that matter) she painted them with fabric paint. They held up well.

  8. Sarah D says

    I made some this past Christmas for my son. I did He-Man, Pac-Man, and Animaniacs using underwear and paper both from Target. It was super difficult to iron on the front because of all the extra seams on boys’ underwear. Plus, the iron-on paper isn’t really designed for stretchy fabric, so it’s far more cracked than I’d like. My son LOVES them though. And they’ll be easy to replace when he grows out of them, unlike his other favorite clothes.

  9. becky says

    Oh yes, I forgot to mention this when I submitted the hack but (1) they do fade slightly in the wash but my son doesn’t seem to care; (2) I put the decal on the front, like others have said, so that my son could see the character and would stop wearing underwear backward; and (3) if a big accident ruins a particular pair, it’s a snap to make a replacement.

    So glad others have found the hack helpful!

  10. says

    What? I saw a 20-pack of Linny the Guinea Pig undies at Costco for about $5.99.

    Okay, I’m kidding. I just find it so adorable to hear about the creatures kids love! PS. My son happens to be a guinea pig fanatic.

  11. says

    Love the post. underware seem to make a big difference. Builds character, mkes the child feel 10 feet tall. great post.