I was inspired by Joy and her success with infant potty training long before I was pregnant, so when Frances came along I was determined to give it a try. I read Diaper Free: The Gentle Wisdom of Natural Infant Hygiene cover to cover and was intrigued to learn about life before diapers, and modern cultures that don’t use diapers.
Although I wasn’t ready to let my baby run free without a diaper at all, I wanted to give infant potty training a try. As they say, it really is “parent training”. I have to make sure to put Franci on the potty when I think she needs to go. We started at about 4 weeks, and it didn’t take her long to get the idea. I enjoyed the communication that passed between us, and it felt like one of the only things we could “do together” at that point.
Now that she’s older, things have changed. As soon as she started teething, she went from 6-10 times a day on the potty to 3-6. Luckily, it’s usually the poops that make it into the potty. I can hear her grunting in preparation and can whisk her away in time which makes it much easier.
What I liked most about Diaper Free: The Gentle Wisdom of Natural Infant Hygiene was the encouragement to just start with once a day. Even if all you manage for the first year is just once a day on the potty, that’s one less diaper to throw away or wash. Plus, when it’s time to potty train, your little one is used to the routine.
We have the honor of owning two pairs of these adorable potty-training pants by Kara at Little Acorn Designs, and they are dearly loved. Why? My daughter is extremely sensitive to “wedgies” and cries at any point that she thinks her underwear might bunch in the wrong places. So even though she had these exact cloth training pants since she got out of diapers two years ago, she still cherishes her Little Acorn Designs Undies. (And they are still holding up beautifully!)
Just what makes them so fantastic? Is it the soft, stretchy waistband? The extra-soft cotton knit that comes from recycled t-shirts? Or the padded middle area made from super absorbent Zorb 2 fabric? Maybe it’s just magic of the whole combination. But I do know that these never, ever give my daughter a wedgie. (Which makes all of us happy!)
These trainers are just $9.50 each and the cost helps support another mom entrepreneur. When you think about the ongoing financial and environmental cost of pull-ups, that’s a great investment! And my daughter has worn them well beyond potty-training.
Have you found any special items on Etsy that you just love? Please share with us! It’s such fun to support other moms while finding unique and beautiful items for your babe!
Thank goodness for the greener, cheaper, and far more adorable alternative: reusable swim diapers! Even for those families who don’t want to make a full-time commitment to cloth diapering, reusable swim diapers are incredibly easy.
During our swim diapering years, we owned two reusable cloth swim diapers for each of our kids. If one diaper became soiled while swimming, we popped it into a dry bag, cleaned our baby, and put her into the other one. The total cost was around $12 for both diapers, which we found on clearance at target. They lasted for about five years and saved us heaps of cash and piles of soggy disposables.
At some of our local pools, they ONLY allow reusable swim diapers because apparently their elastic holds in messes better than their disposable counterparts. I love that eco-friendly, budget-friendly cloth swim diapers are also more effective. Does your pool allow reusable swim diapers? Are they a hit in your community or considered a bit odd?
My husband perched our baby daughter on the toilet at about six months when he realized that she had bowel movements at specific times of the day. We had never read a book on infant potty training or ever known anyone who had done it successfully, but we were excited to try anything that would help us avoid poopy diapers.
At first it was just an entertaining event. We found it hilarious that she made the sign for poop to let us know she had to go, happily pooped on the toilet and then sighed in victory every time she finished. But within a few weeks we realized that we had stumbled upon a glorious system.
Jovi stopped pooping in her diaper altogether at about seven months. She did urinate in her diapers, but that was so much easier than dealing with solid waste. Suddenly traveling while cloth diapering (to other states…and to the grocery store) became infinitely easier. She was more comfortable and the amount of laundry we needed to wash on a weekly basis dropped considerably.
I know there are families who never buy diapers, cloth or otherwise, and intend on infant potty training right from the start. I admire them…really I do, but that route seemed really hard for us, especially since Jovi was in daycare part of the day. Just working on getting her to poop in the toilet and use cloth diapers the rest of the time was both manageable for us and empowering for her. Have you experimented with early potty training? Any victories? (Or hilarious stories of defeat?)
The concept of cloth diapers is glorious and hip, until you start thinking of solid waste. Many people can’t make it past the mental hurdle of the toilet dunk and give up on cloth before they ever start.
Here’s a shocking revelation: did you know that ALL poo-laden diapers, even disposables are supposed to be dunked in water? There is actually a written note on every box of disposables recommending that solid waste be rinsed off before disposal. After all, who wants human waste to be sitting in a landfill? (Even greener disposables like Seventh Generation recommend a toilet dunk with solid waste.)
A few toilet dunks are inevitable, but you may be surprised by just how often you can bypass the icky chore in favor of our slacker cloth diapering alternatives. Here are tips for every stage of solid waste your baby will produce.
Milk based poop: If baby dines on breast milk alone, the solid waste does not need to be rinsed before the diapers hit the washing machine. In fact, you can simply store them in a dry pail with a few squirts of Bac Out on each diaper. For formula fed babies, solid waste will have a stronger odor and may need a few extra doses of Bac Out. If you’re grossed out by the fact that poopy diapers will then have to be loaded into the washer, wear rubber gloves or simply dump the pail in the washing tub to avoid contact.
Baby food poop: There are two toilet dunking alternatives. Either use a flushable diaper liner liner to shield the diaper or install a diaper sprayer onto your toilet. My hesitations on flushable diaper liners were that they seemed to ensure that more poop ended up all over my baby’s bottom and I wasn’t confident enough in my plumbing to actually flush them. They are slightly easier to dunk than a diaper and can actually be washed and reused, so you may find them helpful. Many parents find that a diaper sprayer is easy to install and can be purchased for far less if you buy the individual parts rather than a kit. This is a great video on installing your own diaper sprayer will save you about 30 dollars.
Solid food poop: This is the golden stage of cloth diapering. Solid waste is often firm enough to simply be dumped into the toilet with no dunking whatsoever. The diaper sprayer can come in handy at times when baby has loaded up on fruit or popcorn, but poopy diapers are so much easier overall at this stage.
Do you have any genius methods for avoiding the toilet dunk? How have you dealt with poopy cloth diapers? Anyone tried infant potty training? We accidentally figured out how to have our daughter pooping in the potty exclusively after seven months old and were happy to say goodbye to poopy diapers forever. I’ll be sharing her story in my next post!
Tired of shelling out hundreds of dollars on disposables and lugging soiled diapers out to the trash? It’s time to make the switch to cloth! If you’re like most of us, cloth can seem overwhelming. Here is a short list of questions and answers that many new parents have about cloth.
What type of cloth diaper should I use?
In our book, the Eco-nomical Baby Guide (now on sale for less than $8 on Amazon!), we give you diagrams and advantages of each type of diaper out there. If you can’t get your hands on the book, be sure to get your hands on some actual cloth diapers. Go to a local diapering shop or ask around to see if you can find a family that uses cloth. Remember, you don’t have to settle on one type of cloth diaper. At our house we use a mix of pocket diapers, prefold diapers, and all-in-one diapers. If you can’t actually find any of those locally, check out this YouTube video. (One note–the video says that you need pins for prefold diapers, which is absolutely untrue. We never used pins or snappies with our prefolds. We simply tucked our diaper into a cover and placed it on our babies.)
How do I wash cloth diapers?
Eliminate the bad odors that disposables produce by dumping solid waste into the toilet. (If you’re baby’s waste isn’t quite solid yet, you may want to buy a diaper sprayer or make one yourself.) Then store them in a dry diaper pail and wash them in a heavy load. We both have great success with cold water, but some parents prefer to use hot. You don’t need bleach but might want to add an enzyme based stain and odor fighter like Bac Out. Then line dry or toss them in the dryer. Done!
Is it worth switching to cloth diapers now that my child is older?
Yep. If you buy used cloth diapers or new pre-folds, the cost that you invest will still be less than disposables. Plus, cloth-diapered children tend to potty train earlier since they have a better sense of what it feels like to be wet. And if you’re going to have more children, remember that you’ll have those cloth diapers when your next child reaches that age.
Why are cloth diapers so expensive?
Some types, like one size all-in-one diapers and one size pocket diapers, cost more but convert to fit baby from birth to potty training, so you won’t need to buy diapers for different sizes. Also remember that you can get any cloth diaper used. Check out websites like My Used Diapers or Jullian’s Drawers for preowned cloth diapers. You can also check at your local consignment shop or craigslist. Prefold diapers will be your least expensive option in new diapers, especially if you buy used covers. If you do decide to invest a few hundred dollars in new cloth diapers, remember that you’ll never need to buy diapers again! You’ll be all set for future children, or be able to resell them once your baby is done. (Which just can’t happen with disposables!)
What if I try cloth diapers and I just can’t make the switch?
If everyone in your family gets the flu or your washer stops working, you can always use disposables for a few days. The point is, once you do make the change, you’ll see that cloth diapering really is simple and fun. And you’ll save hundreds of dollars and dozens of trips to the grocery store for more diapers. (Plus you’ll keep one ton of waste out of the landfill for each child that you cloth diaper!)
If you’re anything like Rebecca and me, you may actually come to the point where you become a cloth diaper nerd. You start up random conversations with people using Fuzzibunz or inquire about the latest Bum Genius innovations. It’s tough to start hobbies as a new parent, but cloth diapering really does become one for many of us!
Remember today is the last day to enter the Monkey Foot Designs wet bag giveaway!
Rebecca and I survived years of poopy cloth diapers in our households without the help of a diaper sprayer. Still, if I would have seen this video and learned how to make one for so little, I may have taken the leap! (They’re about $50 on many websites but the do-it-yourself version comes it at less than $20 and takes just 20 minutes to set up!) Do you have a diaper sprayer? Have you yearned for one and felt they were too expensive? Check out this link to the video and you’ll have one for much less in no time at all!
DIY Diaper Sprayer for Less!
Here at Greenbabyguide.com, we’re all about simple eco-friendly changes. They have to be things you can do while sleep deprived, nursing, and trying to get at least one load of laundry done per week. That’s why we love
Marcal is a small company that has been making paper products for more than 60 years. Their products are easy to find in mainstream stores, affordable, and high quality. Since we just use rags around here, we haven’t yet given their paper towels a try, but we love
If a family of four switches to 100% recycled paper products, in just one year they’ll save two trees. And in 20 years, they’ll save about 34 trees. (That’s a small forest!) Imagine if businesses and schools switched to fully recycled paper products. It seems like such a small change but the benefits are tremendous!
If you chose to “like” Marcal on facebook, you’ll get a $1.00 off coupon for your next purchase of
Do you buy greener paper products? If so, what are your favorites? If not, what’s holding you back?
When my son still hadn’t potty trained through the night at age four, I wrote a post about trying to keep him dry through the night. (Most of which totally didn’t work at the time.) Many readers commented that bladder control for boys doesn’t developmentally happen until they’re older—possibly around age six.
Giving up altogether seemed rather strange to me. My post on The History of Potty Training in America, shared that potty training ages in this country have gone up across the board—partly because of the ease of disposables. If everyone waits to even attempt night training until their children are older, there are years of waste (and expense) that could be avoided with some effort.
The only two choices for parents certainly aren’t the following:
A. Torture your child with extreme night training regimens.
B. Just wait. It will happen eventually. In the meantime, buy lots of pull-ups.
In our case, the successful solution was to cut off beverages at 5:30pm and give him a chocolate treat each morning. It’s successful about 95% of the time and my four and a half-year-old son feels really excited to wear underwear to bed.
I’m not saying that all kids can night train at five (or sooner), but it seems worth knowing that some of our efforts may help kids get there a bit earlier.
Have you had success or struggle with night training? The best tips always come from readers so please share your experiences from the trenches of early parenthood!
We just returned, browned and blissful, from our nearly two week family reunion in Hawaii. Family came from all over the United States and an aunt even flew in from Thailand to join the fun. It was a glorious, peaceful trip that exceeded our wildest expectations. (I should add that we never, ever could have gone without the generosity of our family. The money we save with coupons and shopping at thrift stores would never add up to enough for our whole family to go.)
Was it packed with green efforts? Yep! We used cloth diapers 95 percent of the time by washing them in the rental home’s machines and later in the hotel Laundromat. Since Jovi is also potty training at 20 months, she wore her cloth training pants a good part of the time. She’s showing off her Fuzzibunz pocket diapers in this photo.
In addition, we passed up new sand toys, since we envisioned piles of sand buckets in Hawaiian landfills, all of them barely used. Now that you can’t carry liquids on planes, how many partially used bottles of sunscreen are tossed into the trash too? If you’re heading there anytime soon, I’d recommend hitting a Hawaiian thrift shop for sand gear (and maybe even sunscreen!) and then donating it back at the end of your trip.
So what were our eco-failings? It was tough to find recycling receptacles around the island. Even in the recycling containers we did find, some items were excluded. That meant that we had to occasionally throw away plastic bottles and paper. So painful! Plus, our party of twelve family members didn’t have access to a compost bin so we tossed several pounds of fruit peels and food waste into the trash.
I had thought that since it is a group of islands Hawaii would be far ahead of other states in terms of conservation, but they are still in process. Still, I think recycling efforts are quickly moving forward.
Nonetheless, we found Hawaii to be an incredible destination. The people were genuine, friendly and helpful and the islands themselves were emerald gems. It was a rare privilege to get to experience “aloha” firsthand—and we still have a bit of it left in us as we make it through a rainy February in the Northwest. My son, Roscoe, is hopping waves with his grandpa in this photo.
Have you been to Hawaii? Are you planning trips to any destination with a new baby in tow?
I just discovered Baby Awearness, a fabulous green baby shop on the island of Oahu. They offer hula classes in children in addition to cloth diapering and baby wearing courses. It looks like a great place to hook into local green baby culture!