Cloth diapers and the potty training connection

For those of you who are new followers to this blog, my husband and I cloth diaper our 18 month old twins and have done so for exactly a year now. But let me back up.

Like most people of my generation, I was raised in cloth diapers. I was told the story a million times of how I almost swallowed an open pin (eek) and how heavy the bucket of sopping wet diapers would be when it was taken to the washer. Neither one of those things sounded appealing to me. But it saved money. It was so CLEAN – think fresh smelling laundry, drying out on a line in the summertime bleaching in the heat. It’s just what people did. So before I was pregnant, cloth diapering was not something I was scared of and I hoped to do it someday.

Well, we received TONS of disposable diapers as gifts before the twins were born, which we were more than grateful for. Boxes upon boxes. It was wonderful. In the back of my mind I thought, “Maybe someday I’ll still make the switch to cloth.” But honestly – I am SO glad I started out with those disposables. Life was such a blur. My husband and I were doing round the clock double feedings for months. My daughter was a non-stop crier. It was just so hard to be a mom for a little while. Who has time to think about alternate ways of diapering a newborn? Not this mom. I needed to slap on a diaper super quick and whisk it away when it was full of poop. I did notice that the twins got diaper rash a lot but it was still worth the ease.

Life started to become a little less hazy around 4-5 months. I didn’t feel like I was walking around drunk anymore. I could experience normal feelings again that weren’t clouded by utter exhaustion. I could THINK and not just react. Coincidentally, that’s about when our disposable diaper stash ran out. I was actually going to have to start buying diapers. I joined a babycenter.com cloth diapering group just to get a sense of what cloth diapering was all about in this day in age. Yes, there were still people out there who took the white diaper (otherwise known as a burp cloth in our house), folded it up and pinned it to the sides. But for me, that wasn’t going to work. Ain’t nobody got time for that. If I was going to go cloth, I needed to maintain the ease of use factor that came with disposables. I didn’t have time to fold and pin! There were also people who were cloth diaper junkies. More power to them, but they thrived on “fluff mail” (getting a shipment of cloth diapers) and loved to try out various brands, types, and colors. Also not me – and a massive amount of money. No, if I was going to go cloth, it also needed to be cost-effective. What was the point of doing this if I wouldn’t save money? People recommended buying a few types, just to see what we liked more and then buying in bulk after that. This wasn’t an option for me – I wanted to buy one kind only and put all my eggs in that basket.

After much research and consideration and after buying a few more boxes of disposables (which were not cheap), I bit the bullet when the twins were 6 months old and purchased 24 Bumgenius Freetime “snap” cloth diapers. If I had one baby, I obviously only would’ve purchased 12. I feel like this might sound like an advertisement but it’s not – this is the diaper I chose and I’m so glad I did. If you’re thinking about switching to cloth diapers, consider this: If you want it to be EASY, get snaps. My diapers have snaps (I’ve heard toddlers can undo their own velcro diapers). These snaps require adult strength to put together and take apart. The diapers also have thick foldable liners built into them – perfect for alternating the areas you need the extra protection. For B, I fold the top flap over in the front so he has lots of padding where he pees in the front. For C, I keep both the padded flaps stretched out, giving her more protection in the back. And the best part of all is that these diapers are adjustable, from 8-35 pounds, from newborn to potty training toddler. I’d only ever have to buy one diaper. And that’s what I did.

To keep this post from getting crazy long, I’ll skip the details and save for future posts about how I wash the diapers (no heavy bucket! no stains!), handle the poop factor (long gloves! fleece liners!) and some troubleshooting tips I’ve learned in the last 12 months. I can tell you that with two kids in diapers at the same time, this was definitely a smart financial decision for us. If we ever have another child (ha!), we’ll just use these again. And they’re a hot commodity on the cloth diaper market – I have no doubt I’ll be able to sell them for a discounted price, making at least a little money back.

The reason for this post is that I believe these cloth diapers are lending a hand to our potty training beginnings. Not that I’m overly excited for endless “I have to go potty”s and accidents and bed wetting. We’re not there yet, thankfully. But I’ve heard that cloth diapers do speed up the potty training process and so far that seems to be true for us. At a certain age, no toddler wants to be wet. It’s cold and uncomfortable. It’s like leaving a wet bathing suit on for a few hours at a time, except it’s thick cotton. Yuck. In a disposable, its job is to hold the urine so that you can go longer without a diaper change, meaning that the kids won’t feel it. At least not for the most part. In the last few weeks, C has started declaring that she’s “wet” – holding her diaper and announcing “wet, wet” over and over again. And when I’ve gone and checked her diaper, sure enough, she’s been wet. I think she feels the discomfort from this. I’m encouraging her to keep telling me when she’s wet. Her noticing this – I take it we’re at the beginning stages of potty training. And for B, he does not tell me when he’s wet yet, but he is now going many hours without going to the bathroom. In fact, he mostly only pees when he’s napping or in the car. But he’ll hold it for hours. Once he goes, he goes a LOT and sure enough, it’s time for a new diaper. I can imagine that there’s nothing worse than a cold, wet diaper. So perhaps our potty training journey is getting a boost, thanks to our cloth diapers.

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This was soon after I purchased them a year ago.

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These were from over the summer, 6 months in.

And here they are two months ago, 10 months later and they still held up well:

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It was a decision I never regretted and in our journey to potty train these two crazies, I’m finding added benefits from cloth diapering I never knew existed.

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4 thoughts on “Cloth diapers and the potty training connection

  1. JustHeather says:

    Good luck with potty training! From what I have heard, boys can take longer than girls… No experience. 🙂
    My boy was semi potty trained by 2 years and now at 2yr 4-5months he is fully day potty trained. Nights are still hit and miss. He didn’t give outward markers/signs of needing to pee or poo for the longest time. Finally when he did, it was like you’ve been experiencing with your girl, he stated after he had gone. but it is definitely a start!!
    What we did: Bring out the potty, have him sit on it at regular times (when he wakes in the morning, after breakfast, before nap, after nap, after dinner, before bed, etc). Make it fun and not stressful. If they sit on the potty, woohoo! If the pee/poo on the potty even bigger woohoo and maybe a song or dance. 😀 If they don’t do anything or don’t want to…no worries, it will happen another time. Anyway, this is mostly what I did, with one. You will figure it out with your two. 😉

  2. futuresoccermom says:

    Thank you for the advice! It’s good to know when you used to have your little guy sit on the potty. We don’t do it much and it’s definitely not a regular thing, so that’s probably our next step!

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