Cloth Diapers are a Plus in Potty Training – Even if it Isn’t Earlier!

You may have heard that cloth diapered children potty train sooner. While I don’t doubt this is true with natural fibers (like cotton prefolds) it’s definitely not the case in our house.

Pocket diapers with stay dry micro-fleece or suedecloth linings, and absorbent inserts keep my son’s tush nice and dry. When we get more serious about potty training/learning, I will probably stick to just diapers (or trainers) with natural fiber inners. This will help him feel when he’s wet, and is much less gross than disposable training pants with added chemicals to provide a “feel cool” sensation!

I’ve written about potty training a few times, and I really believe that children do it when they’re ready. I can’t help but wonder if my son’s soft, squishy, minky diapers in all their pretty colors and prints (he has favorites) are harder to let go of than scratchy, crinkly paper diapers. I’ve gotten him some very cool trainers in equally awesome colors & prints, but he wants no part of them. He even gives all new fluff mail the “side-eye,” on the off chance I’m trying to slide some training pants or undies past him!

For some children though, all the available colors and prints can be fun, and cloth trainers can be customized to be a step away from undies, or a step away from diapers. Disposable training pants are pretty much diapers, only more expensive.

Another reason why I think my cloth diapered child isn’t potty training earlier is because of my motivation. No, I don’t mean I don’t want to let go of my fluff; I mean if I were paying $12 for 20-23 diapers, I might not be as keen on my son leading the way! Especially since a disposable diaper is garbage whether it catches a tiny accident, or if it’s totally soaked.

In fact, writing this reminds me of a discussion on a parenting message board years ago. Moms with kids who sometimes stayed dry at night hated throwing away a dry pull-up that was worn for 8-10 hours. Some said re-using them was OK, others said it was gross; they wouldn’t wear undies for 8 hours & then wear them again the next night. (Right, they washed them, like a cloth diaper or trainer!)

For now, I don’t mind changing a few extra diapers between potty attempts, knowing I’m not throwing money away. Without the financial pressure of buying diapers, the whole process feels less urgent, and I’m happy to let my son learn in his own time, avoiding power struggles! edit: literally the day after I wrote this, my son asked for underwear. He is always proving me wrong even if I don’t actually say anything. 😉

How about you? Have you cloth diapered a child through potty age? Did they potty train earlier? Were you using “modern cloth” or prefolds?

About Maria Moser

Maria is a 30-something married mom of 3 kids, including a cloth diapered 3-year old. She began more than 5 years ago when she switched her middle child to cloth diapers, and had no idea she'd fall so in love with fluff!
Tags: by maria,, cloth training pants, potty training, training pants

13 Responses to Cloth Diapers are a Plus in Potty Training – Even if it Isn’t Earlier!

  1. Christy says:

    My daughter is 18 months and wears pocket diapers during the day and a disposable at night. She has been going poop on the potty since 9 months or so as she was really easy to read when she needed to go (and I’m not a fan of cleaning poop off a cloth diaper). Now she has started asking to go on the potty more frequently, sometimes just pee, sometimes both. I think she could be ready for serious training, since there are some mornings when her diaper is almost dry, but I’m just not quite ready for it yet. I think our next step is transitioning to the trainers.

  2. heidi says:

    I just take the diapers awagy its sucks at first and there’s a lot of cleaning and laundry. But they sure as heck feel when they’ve gone potty. Thats how I had my first pottytrajned by 2 years old it took a week of hellish messes but it worked. My second took until 2 and a half I think because I couldn’t give her my complete undivided attention.

  3. Kelisa E says:

    How about you? Have you cloth diapered a child through potty age? Did they potty train earlier? Were you using “modern cloth” or prefolds?

    I have a 2.25yr old right now who is mostly potty trained(he still poops in his undies) who I started cloth diapering at about 5m old. I went with his cues and skipped trainers entirely, since I was already doing diapers for my newborn, I just tossed the dirty or wet undies in the diaper wash. For a boy, I think he potty trained way early considering my husband didn’t potty train until he was 3 and a half. LOL I used a combination of diapers for my son and now also my daughter, we use prefolds and covers during the day and pockets through the night.

  4. Meredith says:

    Couldn’t agree more! Plus, soaking up accidents with a flat diaper is super easy and thrown right in the pail.

  5. karen says:

    I use it all: flats, prefolds, obv layin inserts, staydry pocket, ai2, fitteds. I have no preference about what he wears but it is easier to fold a prefold and lay in or just lay in some inserts. My oldest is 28 months and has no desire to go to the potty. He doesn’t even want me to change his diaper sometimes even if it is wet. I don’t think it matters if it is staydry or not.

  6. Jennifer Perritte says:

    I am so excited to try a couple of trainers and some side snapping diapers that can be pulled up/down when my LO is ready to start training…soon!

  7. Lexi Conklin says:

    im far from potty training but it is good knowing i wont have to waste money buying packs of disposables when the time comes

  8. Thank you for this post! I’m starting to purchase trainers in preparation for my son starting with potty learning and I’m looking for lots of different ways other moms approached the matter!

  9. Jessica Cali says:

    You know, I can totally see how they might want to wear cloth more than they would the plastic scratchy diapers! I’m sure those things aren’t very comfortable at all!!

  10. Nica says:

    great tips! maybe potty trailing won’t be a total nightmare here in a few months.

  11. Katy says:

    The thought of potty-training and leaving behind all of my cute fluffy diapers does make me just a tad bit sad :(

  12. Hilary Parry says:

    Excited to read this!

  13. Julie says:

    I used disposable diapers with my first two girls and potty training them was a nightmare. I didn’t even finish training with my oldest. I was unbelievably lucky enough to have an in-home daycare provider who was kind enough to do it for me.

    Enter baby #3 and the concept of Elimination Communication. We EC’d part time and when my son was old enough to crawl he stopped wanting to be pottied. It just got worse when he learned to walk so I just went with it. I occasionally put him on the potty but didn’t force him. Our family suffered some major trauma and I switched from cloth diapering to disposable diapering just to have one less thing to think about. My son stayed in disposables till he was nearly 4 with a new baby sister on the way. Because of some pressure from a very demanding relative I was essentially forced to start potty training. I use a book called Potty Train Your Child in Just One day and a video called Potty Power. The combination of the potty party described in the book and the video were a huge hit. My extremely difficult son who I didn’t expect to be out of diapers for years was throwing away his ‘sposies and going potty. It took about 3 days before he was completely dry during the day. Not bad at all. It took a bit longer for night time dryness but he has allergy issues so that played a factor.

    We did something very similar for my next child. She was a much easier baby. We switched her from cloth to ‘sposies right before she hit two because we had to move in with my mom who refuses to let cloth diapers be washed in her washing machine. DD was given her potty party when she was about 2 1/2 I think? She took a bit longer to be convinced to go potty. Probably about 3 weeks before she decided she wanted to use the potty. From then on she was completely dry day and night.

    I plan on using the same routine with our new baby due in September. :) Hopefully this time around we can stick with cloth till potty learning. :)

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