Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Toilet Training by Cloth

So I haven't had much to blog about with regards to cloth diapers in a while.  Our system was working and felt I had had a lot to say on that already.   Over the past while 2 issues have cropped up. One is a decent diaper bag for cloth diaper moms (I'll blog on that one later) and the other is potty training with cloth.

We tried a sort of part time Elimination Communication with our guy starting at about 6 months.  I had problems in the early days with breast feeding so wasn't really ready to focus on the EC until later.  So while we never quite figured out the pee thing, we did get pretty good at knowing when a poop was coming and getting the guy to the toilet.   Then the little guy started his habit of only pooping during naptime... so we let it go for a while.

As he approached 2 years old we got more disciplined.  And I am happy to report that at 26 months we haven't had a poopy diaper in about 3 weeks (and that was an accident during nap time).  He tells us most times before he has to go... although once in a while he doesn't say anything but it is obvious.  He is proud of pooping on the toilet and loves to high five before he flushes. 

The pee is another thing.  He is getting better at telling us - but this is usually simultaneous with actually peeing (it is easy to tell because he spreads his legs out and sort of starts to crouch).   If he runs around naked it is better, as he doesn't like peeing on the floor.  If he is wearing a diaper and we ask him if he is wet he says 'no' most of the time.  So while we have had progress we have a ways yet to go.

Our approach, for what I will call Phase 1 of training, has been:
  • Follow his lead.  I made the mistake of trying to ramp up the training last month by moving him to real underwear and quickly realized that was a mistake.  So we just try to be consistent and take his lead.  Thus Phase 2 and real underwear has been delayed for now.
  • Regular toilet time.  As soon as he gets up, before lunch, before nap, after nap, before bathtime, before we get ready to leave the house, etc. 
  • Books on the toilet.  He loves to read on the toiler - his favourite is the Lego Holiday catalogue.
  • Change him as soon as we know he is wet.  We want him to like the feeling of a nice dry diaper. 
  • When at home he runs around in just a pull-up, cloth without a cover or nothing.  That makes it easier for us to see what is going on.
  • Good positive feedback.  We haven't started using any 'rewards' other than the high five and letting him flush when he has done something.  Might be part of phase 2, but we'll see.
The products we have been using:
  • Motherease sandy's make great pull-ups.  Once snapped they pull right up or down (just remember to unsnap before washing or they take a while to dry).  And he feels more like he is wearing underwear.
  • So far I've used both motherease and bummies training pants.  The bummies were received 2nd hand from a friend, but the motherease was bought new.  If I had to buy more I'd get more motherease as they are softer.  They seem to absorb about the same.  Our problem is that the bummies are a bit big for him, so we've had some accidents with them moving around or gaping. 
  • Naptime and bedtime are regular cloth diapers. 
  • Regular toilet, with stepping stool and seat (no space in our little place for a potty).
Interestingly since we are paying more attention to when he is wet we are going through more diapers.  Newandgreen.com  suggests having about six sets of training pants of pull-ups.  We have 5 pulls-ups and 6 sandys (plus we use other cloth diapers for out of the house and naps) and find this amount works well for us.  Otherwise I'd be doing laundry everyday. 


  1. Sometimes I wish I had used cloth my second time around but since hubby was not supportive of the whole thing I decided not to push it. IF we ever have a 3rd I will push harder for using cloth. Our garbage while both kids were still in diapers was insane!

    I'm curious if it's true what they say, that kids in cloth toilet learn sooner than those in disposibles simply because cloth doesn't hold as much or keep the kid feeling as dry. My oldest just started using the toilet one night about a month before she turned 3. There have been maybe 2 accidents in about 5 months and she is always dry through the night. I'm using the Easy Ups disposibles at night and it seems like SUCH a waste since she is ALWAYS bone dry in the morning but I have this horrible suspicion the first night I let her wear regular panties to bed she will pee everywhere! Murphy's Law you know ;)

    I suspect my youngest will toilet learn sooner. She is already using the buzz words of pee and poo and watches her sister like a hawk. Oh, I am SO looking forward ot the day of my last diaper!

  2. Carrie - I've heard the same thing about cloth. Since this is my first I have not way to compare.

    You could get 1 or 2 pair of the cloth training pants for night. They would help minimize the mess of an accident, and alert her that she has had an accident.