5 Steps to Successful Potty Training

Potty training: a cloth diapering mama’s worst nightmare.

Why?  Because you are nearing the end of your cloth diapering days.  The solution?  Have more kids!  Sadly we’ve already ‘fixed’ that little issue and there will be no more babies in our house to swaddle with cloth diapers so our cloth days are numbered.

Potty training can however be quite fun, especially for the cloth diapering mama who has seen all of the hip and modern reusable potty training pants on the market today.  The choices are limitless and include adorable prints from Blueberry (Bloom is one of my favorites), trendy and organic trainers from EcoPosh, new Beeee’uties from FuzziBunz, and some new trainers from both bumGenius, Flip, and GroVia.  2011 was certainly the year for fun training pants in the cloth diaper industry.

5 Steps for Successful Potty Training:

    1. Introduce early and often.  There really isn’t a perfect age to introduce potty training and there are several theories out there about when a child can successfully control their bladder.  The key here is to get your child comfortable with the potty so they aren’t scared of the big white thrown when it’s time to train.  We purchased our first potty seat around 18-24 months with both our children.
    2. Find the perfect potty seat (or two).  Depending on your living space you may even want one in each bathroom unless you want to drag the seat around the house with you.  There are solid plastic seats, inflatable seats, seats that stand alone, and seats that fit nicely on top of your existing toilet.  Potty seats aren’t too expensive so it’s ok to buy a few and find out what your child prefers.  Some parents even carry one in the car with them for emergency pit stops while traveling.
    3. Choose reusable cloth training pants.  Even for the parent who doesn’t use cloth diapers the reusable training pant is quite an attractive idea (have you priced disposable training pants lately – YIKES!).  Disposable training pants are created to keep your baby dry along with their clothes.  With cloth training pants they are designed to keep their clothes dry while still allowing them to feel the wetness.
    4. Consistency is KEY!  Even though you may introduce potty training at an early age, when the time comes to actually begin full time potty training you have to be ready for some consistency.  For a few days (or weeks) you need to have time to follow your toddler and devote many hours each day to practicing this new skill with them.  This means that you will become a toddler and guess when they are going to pee next then constantly remind them to try!  Remember that there will be accidents and every time you switch back to diapers can confuse your toddler.
    5. Patience and an extreme sense of humor are a MUST!  Potty training can be exhausting (so can toddlers) and you will be cleaning up messes frequently.  Your child may have several successful days followed by those challenging moments when you will want to give up.  Without patience and humor you may not survive!!  Looking back one of my best examples of this was when my toddler was eating dinner one evening and says, “Mommy, I pee pee’d” and continued to eat her spaghetti.  When I asked her to come with me to change her clothes she refused (complete with a tantrum) and wanted to finish her dinner first.  Food was obviously more important at the moment.  Just remember to laugh and know that your child will potty train eventually.

Every child and every family is different.  My first child was completely potty trained by 26 months (even at nights).  My daughter has been the difficult one.  We began potty training at 24 months (just introducing her to the potty) and it didn’t really sink in with her for over 6 months.  By that time she was mostly potty trained during the day but would still have random accidents.  Nights and naps remain our diapering times (shhh…I’m actually ok with that because we can still use our cloth diapers) and it’s easier than changing wet sheets every morning.  Some parents don’t even begin potty training until 3 years old.  Your child will lead you in the right direction and when it’s time you’ll both know.

What age was your child potty trained?  What did you do with your cloth diaper stash?  Share your tips with me on Facebook and for tips on how to pack away those diapers for future babies be sure to read How to Store Cloth Diapers on my blog.

About The Eco Chic

Calley Pate is a 30-something wife and mom of 2 with a love for the environment. Her passion led her to cloth diapering and all things related to natural parenting. Calley is a Biologist turned Social Media & Marketing addict who enjoys spending all day online talking about diapers and gets to call it work. You can find Calley on The Eco Chic blog, hosting cloth diaper Twitter Parties at Eco Chic Parties, and working behind the scenes with many of your favorite cloth diapering companies including DiaperShops.com/Kelly’s Closet and itti bitti.
Tags: by Calley, kellywels.com cloth diaper ambassador, potty training, potty training pants, the eco chic

8 Responses to 5 Steps to Successful Potty Training

  1. Katie S says:

    For me, deciding when to start potty training was a really hard decision to make. I didn’t know what to expect and had no idea how things would go. The first day wasn’t too hard, but the 2nd and 3rd days were actually a lot harder than the firs because the novelty was wearing off for my son and he was acting more stubborn. So one of my tips would be not to give up too soon! Give things a real fighting chance before deciding if you need to back off and try again a few months later.

  2. Elizabeth E says:

    These are some great ideas. My daughter is 22 months and usually chooses to sit on her potty 1x a day. A couple times a week she does something in it! I’m not sure whether to do the training pants though…part of me thinks it might be more economical to just switch from cloth diapers to underwear, but a couple trainers might be nice for outings.

  3. Jenene Dyck says:

    The thought of potty training definitely makes me nervous (even though my daughter is months and months away from it). But I’m excited about cloth training pants!

  4. Sarah Jane says:

    My daughter is not yet potty trained, but I’ll definitely keep these suggestions in mind. After my daughter wakes up in the morning, I try to put her on a potty chair, just to get used to the idea. Sometimes she goes, sometimes not, and that’s fine by me. She’s 17 months old, she’ll be potty trained some day. I want to remain low key about it.

  5. Rachel Neufeld says:

    We started potty training at about 22 months with my oldest, I wanted to start before my little guy started to crawl. He is now 24 months and pretty much 100% potty trained, he wears a diaper at night but that is all (and that is dry 90% of the time). We did the naked method and then moved straight to underwear. No training pants here:)

  6. aimee p. says:

    My son is just a few months old, but my husband keeps saying “I can’t wait until he is totty trained.” :) I have heard alot of methods on potty training, but I had never heard of just introducing them to the potty to get them use to it….what a good idea! When my son is close to potty training, I think I may give that idea a try. Thanks

  7. Tara M says:

    Nice to hear a rational summary of potty training tips! My daughter is almost 2 and just this week she has started sitting on the potty with every change at daycare, and then AFTER that, she was willing to do it at home. Not much happening, but we sit and sing songs for a while. Acceptance is the first step, right? :)

  8. Lisa says:

    Great ideas, thanks for posting! I especially like tip #1 as our son is only 5 months old and is already getting used to sitting on the potty! We really liked http://www.diaperfreebaby.org/ for ideas on how to start “pottying” early.

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