The Nappy Lady Ltd

Potty Training In Cloth Nappies

Potty Training In Cloth Nappies

Is it too late to start using cloth nappies if your child is close to potty training?

Absolutely not! It's never too late to use reusable nappies for your child, if you are about to start potty training you should only buy a small collection to prevent the need for a large financial investment.

Modern washing machines make using cloth nappies or trainers very simple, no need for soaking or boiling you just rinse and then put them on a long wash. Many families put the potty training pants through a quick rinse cycle and then add the rest of the household washing.

Some children potty train very quickly and others it is a much longer process taking many months. It is common that being reliably dry at night time can take a lot longer.

The use of 2 part nappy system is these allow you to reuse the outer shells and replace just the inserts.

Do reusable nappies make a child potty train earlier?

If you DO NOT include a stay dry liner in your reusable nappy the nappy fabric will feel wet and remain feeling wet once the child was urinated on it. The wet sensation promotes the child's awareness between weeing and wetness. I've seen disposable nappy brands start to promote a "wet feel" in their potty training range of disposable nappies, however this wet feel is only brief and then they go back to feeling dry. Reusable potty training pants will keep your child feeling wet until they are changed.

My experience cloth nappies v disposable nappies

When our daughter was potty training we would usually use Flip Trainer Pants which do not have any liners in them so they will always feel wet. We went on holiday and didn't have access to a washing machine so we took disposables. In the week away she would tell us every morning that she hadn't wet herself that night and was dry. When we checked the nappy each morning the disposable nappy was heavy and she had wet considerably. As a parent who had only ever used reusable nappies or reusable potty training pants this reinforced to us how much better our reusable nappies were for supporting her journey to becoming potty trained.

How do I know when my child is ready for toilet training?

Every child is different, so look for some tell tale signs that they are ready to start potty training!

  • Maybe your child shows an interest and curiosity towards the toilet.
  • Maybe they show an interest in wearing big-kid underwear.
  • They can differentiate between the feeling of being wet and dry.

It has been shown that girls are often ready to be potty trained before boys.

Making Potty training fun

A potty training reward chart is an ideal way to reward your child and help them understand their potty training journey. Use stickers and place them on the chart or even to decorate their potty after every success.

Our first son struggled with doing poos in the potty even though he was fine for wees. What cracked the problem for us was good old Thomas the tank engine! He loved their stories so I bought a boxset of them. The next time he did a poo in his nappy I tipped the poo into the potty in front of him and got all excited and made a big deal about a poo in the potty. I then gave him a new Thomas book due to poo in the potty. Day 2 I did the same again at his pooey nappy. Day 3 he asked to sit on the potty when he needed a poo and then asked for his book. From that point we never looked back but enjoyed new daily Thomas stories for a couple of weeks.

Potty training and regression?

Many parents try to get their older children through potty training before a new baby arrives. It is worth remembering that some children regress when a new sibling is born. A child that was reliably dry with few or little accidents may suddenly need to go back into nappies.

If your child is not showing signs of being ready for the potty training process or doesn't take to it quickly it is worth considering delaying if your new baby is due imminently.

Other life changes or events such as moving house, starting nursery or school may also lead a child to regress. With our eldest son any major changes to routine would lead to night regression for 4-6 weeks.

My advice is to just go with it the regression will end. Time pressure can cause you and your child unnecessary stress.

Going Nappy Free Toilet Training Method

Going nappy free is a popular and reliable training method. We used this to some degree with all three of our kids.

Going nappy free is exactly as it sounds - you don't use nappies or trainer pants or well anything. Only requirement is a warm house so the child can potter about with nothing on their lower half. Some children get confused if they are moved straight into trainer pants as they are still "wearing" something and so they expect wee to still be absorbed. If this sounds like your child try the naked method!

With the nappy free method when they have little accidents it's very obvious to the child as there is either a puddle or a pile of poop on the floor!

Have the potty ready wherever they are in the house. We had a few potties upstairs and downstairs. When children first start training they don't always have long between deciding they need to go and actually going.

Over time there were fewer accidents and more of them taking themselves off to the potty. Once the children were fairly reliable nappy free at home start introducing them to wear training pants with light absorbency. I found that by leaving them naked for longer they learnt to recognise the sensation of needing the toilet early enough.

Do I need to do pull ups when my child is potty training?

There are many disposable pull ups on the market. They are marketed as helping potty training but as I found if they keep a child feeling dry are they really helping potty training?

Reusable pull ups exist but they are not always an essential purchase. If you already have reusable nappies consider if you can adapt how you use them. With our second son I kept using his pocket nappies that we already had. I did his reusable pocket nappy up looser and I helped him pull them down when he asked to use the potty/toilet.

Trainer Pant Options

If you do want or need to buy some pulls ups then here are some options for you.

If you are at the beginning or first few days of toilet training then look at trainer pants that offer higher absorbency enough to hold a full bladder. The Bamboolik trainer pants are often over looked but they are fabulous. Bamboolike trainer pants are sold just as the waterproof outer shell and no absorbency. This way you can reuse older inserts from your cloth nappies, therefore making the system far more cost effective. If you are new to reusable training pants then you can of course buy new inserts such as prefolds to go inside as an add on item. Bamboolik training pants are pull ups and have stretchy sides so that the child can pull up and down themselves.

£11.20  -  £18.40
£1.20  -  £11.99
£1.72  -  £13.59

Motherease big kid pants are the next stage along. They give enough absorbency for a full wee and they have full waterproofing so if they do have an accident clothing will be kept dry. Many families often use these overnight once a child is down to just one night time accident and often continue using them for a child that regularly has dry pants but needs the reassurance of a nappy at night time. They are slim, soft and have wonderful stretchy elastic making it easier for little hands to pull them up and down.

A cost effective trainer product are the Bambinex swim & trainer pants in 1. They offer light absorbency to catch a small accident but once they are no longer needed for training pants they can continue to be used as swimming pants.

For those further along the potty training journey the Bright Bots trainer pants are fabulous. They will catch the odd accident that the child has and ideal if you child leaves the toilet dash too late. Bright Bots will save you a puddle on the floor and time to change their trousers or leggings. They are only suitable if the child will tell you if they are wet as within a couple of minutes the wee will seep through onto their clothing as they are not fully waterproof.

Bed Protectors & Chair Protectors

Waterproof mattress protectors and duvet protectors will save your sanity during toilet training.

I also used a Hippychick flat mattress protector on our sofa. When toddlers or young children are engrossed in a show or playing they can forget or just delay going to the toilet too long. Save your sofa covers from being soiled and save yourself the washing! When they had an accident I just whipped the protector off and washed it. We also took the protector when we went to visit Grandparents too, anything that can reduce pressure or stress on you and your toddler is only going to help. My children are older now and recently I have discovered chair pads which are effectively a small chair sized bed protector!  If these had been around I'd have definitely have used these. Our dining chairs would have been very grateful!

£12.79  -  £18.39

If you would like fitted mattress protectors for your beds we offer a variety of sizes in either cotton or gorgeously soft tencel. We stock them right up to super king size for those of you who are bed sharing with little ones.

Brolly Sheet Bed Protectors

Brolly Sheets are another fabulous bed protection option. They come in a variety of colours and prints as well as traditional white.  These have wings that you tuck around the side of your mattress to keep them in place. When the child has an accident the Brolly Sheet protectors the bed underneath but also keeps child feeling wet which helps with potty training. Brolly Sheets even make a protector especially to go inside a sleeping bag. There is no reason why your little one should miss out on camping with their friends or sleepovers!

Duvet & Pillow Protectors

Duvet & pillow protectors help if your little one is prone to large accidents which go upwards onto the duvet and not just the mattress. This is most common with boys.  The duvet protector encases your duvet in a breathable but waterproof layer. The duvet protector also protects against dust mites which is incredibly helpful if you have asthmatics in the house.




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