Posts Tagged ‘pottytraining’

When Your Toddler has Outgrown Cloth Diapers but isn’t Ready to Pottytrain

Tuesday, June 21st, 2016

potty training cloth diapersI have two boys. Both of them were very large from birth, both were cloth diapered, but one of them was ready to toilet train fairly early, and the other’s arm had to be twisted to start using the toilet at a later date.

My reluctant potty user had grown out of most of his cloth diapers before he could use the toilet. I wasn’t very keen on purchasing disposables, so I had to do some research. I didn’t want to have to buy a bunch of stuff just for him to toilet train, either. Here were the options I found:

  1. Suck it up and buy disposables. If your kiddo is older or quite large for her age, you may have a hard time even here. Diapers meant for overnight use often have a larger size range, but they also tend to be pretty expensive.
  2. Purchase cloth trainers. Trainers can come in larger sizes and some systems have side extenders, but they aren’t typically designed to hold much volume. If your child is not ready to use the toilet, these won’t be the best option.
  3. Buy sized cloth diapers. My son’s overnight fitted diapers fit until the end because they were sized. Many covers also come in sizes (vs. one size covers), both in PUL and in wool. If you’ve been using cloth for any amount of time, you are probably aware of which brands tend to run smaller or larger by now as well.

What did I end up doing? Well, besides the overnight fitted diapers I mentioned before, we ended up going back to our old premium sized prefolds (these come in toddlers sizes now as well I hear) or sized terry flats underneath either PUL or wool covers. The only thing I needed to buy was the larger PUL covers, so it was a fairly inexpensive outlay. If it’s been a while since your kid has used prefolds, you may be a bit surprised at how much more they are peeing, even during the day. If the prefolds aren’t quite enough anymore, you can add an insert inside the fold (you can use a flat, a specially designed insert, and even the inserts to pocket diapers). If your kid is super sensitive-to-wetness, you can cut up fleece or purchase stay dry liners to put on top up against his skin.

Meaghan Howard is a stay-at-home mom to two little boys who have both been using the potty for some time now. These days, the toileting issues seem to deal more with aim than anything else.

Cloth Pottytraining Options

Thursday, April 21st, 2016

potty trainingMy baby sister was learning to use the toilet at about the same time that Pull-Ups first hit the market. After cloth diapering me, my mom swore never again to wash a diaper and used disposables for both of my younger sisters. When Pull-Ups came out, my mom jumped on board right away, thinking she wouldn’t have to wash stinky accident undies, either. Unfortunately for my mom though, in my little sister’s case, Pull-Ups were not a potty training tool, but just a diaper that was pulled on instead of being taped in place. They definitely didn’t work as a toilet training device.

Fast forward a zillion years to now, and not only are Pull-Ups and several competitors still around (apparently they do work for some kids), there’s a whole new market of cloth trainers out there. So what’s the deal with these, and do they work?

First up, the old school Gerber training pants. These were around in my day. They’re basically undies with a two-ply crotch and front area. These aren’t designed to hold back a flood; rather, they can absorb a little trickle if the child has waited a bit too long to go potty. They’re thin so they fit easily under pants. When I was little, mom would put little vinyl pants over the top as well if she needed them to be waterproof. Nowadays, you also have the option of wool as a waterproof cover; some people use lanolized underwoolies over training underwear, which are thin enough to fit under pants and come in cute colors to wear under dresses. Gerber training pants are useful with children that are already for the most part toilet trained, and just need a little extra barrier now and then.

Next up are modern training pants. These are often sold by cloth diaper companies and are more absorbent (and have more bulk) than the thinner gerber pants. They usually come with a layer of PUL sandwiched inside, so they are waterproof with smaller accidents, but they don’t have the gussets and whatnot of a regular diaper so they probably won’t contain major floods or explosions. Pants should still fit over these (though with more of a diaper-like fit due to their bulk) and they pull up so the child wearing them gets practice with this. These are useful if you aren’t fully confident in your child’s toilet-using abilities when going out of the house especially, and also for naptime insurance.

Finally, the closest option to both a cloth diaper and a disposable Pull-Up is a hybrid trainer, which use inserts and operate similarly to an AI2 diaper. These are waterproof due to their PUL outer, and you can customize the inserts depending on any fiber sensitivities or absorption needs. They have a non-bulky fit (thinner than a cloth diaper). Because they look and perform the most like a diaper, this can work for or against you. My oldest was night trained using these because they looked and felt like diapers and he didn’t want to have to wear a diaper to bed like a baby. I offered him the option of these or using the toilet only and he decided on the toilet. On the other hand, my youngest decided they were diapers and used them as such, with absolutely zero hang-ups on them being “for babies.”

Meaghan Howard is currently a stay-at-home mom and enjoying living overseas with her husband and two young children. She enjoys traveling, running, and the most excellent sport of all time, dragon boat.

Methods for Beginning Pottytraining

Monday, April 18th, 2016

pottytrainingOnce you decide you and your child are ready to start pottytraining or learning, where do you even begin?

For starters, in my experience most children like using a potty their size to start. I was not too keen on the thought of cleaning a little plastic potty all day at the beginning and bought the child-sized ring for the regular toilet. My kid was terrified of it. Many feel they are going to fall in. Second, if you have a multiple story house, I’d buy a potty for each floor. Nobody wants to be carting around tiny toilets all day if they can help it (your hands are probably always full anyway).

One method of toilet training is the potty sticker chart. After showing your child the mechanics, you set up a sticker chart. Each successful potty visit results in praise and a sticker (accidents are generally not reprimanded, the goal here is potty learning through positive reinforcement). When enough stickers are earned, the child can trade them in for a prize. Other options for this method are little treats in a jar (my friend had an M&M jar in plain sight for her son; each success was rewarded with a candy), or some people will put the stickers right on the small potty.

Another method is elimination communication, or EC. This method involves conditioning your child at an early age to pee or poop in the potty, by the parent learning to watch for the child’s signals. Some parents will purchase or make special potty pants like what are used in other cultures to allow for potty use before a child is able to pull up her own pants.

The most popular successful method I’ve used and seen used (though there are tons of other techniques out there) is the three-day potty training method. Generally speaking, you must clear your schedule for three days (and have somebody else help keep an eye on other children in the house if possible). It’s basically three straight days of one-on-one potty learning boot camp. The method says to do night training at the same time, but when I used it I did not follow that rule; my son still has to get up at night to go to the bathroom at age 4, and he was still sleeping in a crib then so it just wasn’t going to happen).

An even more intense boot camp type potty learning experience is the potty party, or 1-day potty training. This utilizes some of the methods from the three day method, but condenses all of the education and training into one day (it does not promise to also have your child night trained in a day). It sounded goofy to me at first, but it was incredibly effective at toilet training both my super stubborn oldest son and my super stubborn nephew.

One final note, many people choose to start little boys using the potty exclusively sitting at first, then working on their aim later on after potty learning is well established. My sons were allowed to stand if they wanted, which worked for us, but it was a surprise to our childcare provider. Child care providers usually are very helpful in reinforcing potty training ideals, but you may want to mention that or any other technique they may not be familiar with.

When I felt that my son could be using the potty but just didn’t want to, we used the same 1-day potty party method my sister used with my nephew. It works similar to the three-day method, but it’s condensed into a day and includes a lot of rewards and teaching (and of course, a party). It sounded kitschy to me, but it really did work for both boys. My husband actually is the one that trained my oldest, as we had a very young infant at the time and taking frequent nursing breaks didn’t seem very easy with this method.

Meaghan Howard is currently a stay-at-home mom and enjoying living overseas with her husband and two young children. She enjoys traveling, running, and the most excellent sport of all time, dragon boat.

Pottytraining without Pull ups

Thursday, April 14th, 2016

potty trainingPotty training is not for the faint of heart! No matter what you do or which method you chose it’s going to take a while and probably some bribing to get it figured out. So take some deep breaths to mentally prepare yourself and know that you’ll be picking up a lot of messes! And then remember that this too, shall pass.

For many people pull ups are a natural transition from diapers to regular underwear but I’m here to tell you they might be an extra expense you can avoid. At least you can avoid using them during the day. In my opinion, letting kids wear pull ups is confusing. You’re telling them not to go potty in their diapers anymore but you’re giving them something to wear that feels like a diaper and absorbs moisture like a diaper.

The whole point of potty training is to get them to get in touch with their bodily functions and recognize what it feels like to have to go potty. If they’re still wearing something that keeps them relatively dry like their diapers did then it makes it more difficult to learn. You want them to know as soon as they wet themselves and that means realizing that they’re wet!

Going straight to regular underwear might seem like a bit of a leap but it’s not. First you’ll want to buy the thicker underwear–that way they’ll know that they’re wet immediately but it won’t be quite as much of a mess to clean up. It’s a win win. The sooner they can recognize the feeling that happens right before they pee the better and the quicker they’ll learn.

Get the kids to have some fun with it! Take them to the store and let them pick out their own potty. Decide on what kind of reward you want to use, if any, and let them pick their own too. We used stickers as a reward so I let my daughter pick what kind of stickers she wanted. It’s pretty unbelievable how excited they can get about stickers!

Make sure you’re getting your child to the potty pretty often to practice sitting on the potty and recognizing what it feels like to pee on the potty, too. Most important don’t make the potty training a transition–you have to rip the diapers out of your life like a band aid. If they’re still around you might be tempted to use them. Just stock up on the thick underwear, and use the pull-ups only for overnight or long car rides and nothing else. May the potty training force be with you!

Jacqueline Banks is a certified Holistic Health Counselor and online fitness coach. She works with women in all stages of motherhood, from mothers struggling with conception to those trying to get their grove back after pregnancy to ensure the best health and nutrition for both mom and baby.

Pottytraining Readiness

Wednesday, April 13th, 2016

pottytrainingIs your kid ready to potty train (or potty learn)? Are you?

Potty training readiness comes at different times for each kid and parent; this is definitely not a one-size-fits-all type deal. I was really hoping to have my oldest son potty trained by the time my youngest son was born (don’t laugh, but I was terrified at the thought of two in diapers), but while I was motivated to put in the work, he just didn’t seem quite ready yet. Likewise, if you know you don’t have the energy or time at the moment to potty train your child but she seems ready, it’s probably also not a great time to start. Sometimes, the thought of your child growing up (or maybe growing out of their adorable cloth diaper and/or wool stash) is hard to come to terms with.

So how do you know your child is ready to ditch their diapers? Is your daughter showing an interest in other family members using the toilet? If you don’t have an open bathroom door policy in your home, this may be a good time to temporarily change that so your child sees their family members using the toilet.

Additionally, does she recognize when she is peeing or pooping? Does she go sometimes for two hour or longer stretches with a dry diaper? Also, can your child pull her own pants up and down?

If you’re finding you’re ticking off mostly ‘yes’ to the above questions, your child is probably ready to learn to use the potty.

“What if my child is never ready?” For some children, this is a legitimate concern. For instance, both my oldest son and my nephew are very stubborn little boys and both are a little gunshy over new things. I always joked that my son would go to college in diapers if we let him.

In this case, you can evaluate the other checklist items (for instance, if your child is not interested in the toilet and also has fine motor skill delays that make pulling their own pants up and down difficult, it may be better to work on dressing themselves first before tackling the potty) and see where you’re at.

If you think your child could learn to use the potty but has just mentally blocked it (ahem, eldest child of mine), you may want to research different potty training methods to find one that will be the best case. In my experience, the full-on potty party bootcamp is what did the ticket (fairly painlessly, too)  with my stubborn boy.

Keep in mind that no child is the same on this, and even siblings may show readiness at very different ages. Try not to let the potty become a stressor in your house. Keep in mind that children that train earlier often have more relapses or accidents and that it can sometimes lead to issues later on like chronic constipation. Waiting until the time is right for your family can make a big difference in your successfulness.

Meaghan Howard is currently a stay-at-home mom and enjoying living overseas with her husband and two young children. She enjoys traveling, running, and the most excellent sport of all time, dragon boat.