Potty training is a messy, messy business. This is especially true for those of us that don’t use pull ups. When a child soils themselves it doesn’t always stay in their underpants. For those of us trying to keep our rented home’s carpet from being destroyed this could be a problem that sometimes we feel can only be remedied with a tarp. Fortunately, there are other ways to deal with apartment potty training.
Be Extra Ready
Contrary to belief there is no set time when all children should be potty trained. Let your child build up to the idea. Watch your child for extra signs they are ready. They will tell you when they are about to have a bowel movement. They will be one hundred percent sure what their potty is for and will actually start sitting on it while they use their diaper, or pretending to use the potty. In either case they are building their confidence and it should make their potty training a shorter road.
Soon, it will be the holidays.
Soon, hundreds of thousands of families will pack their kids up and travel.
Soon, parents will be rubbing their temples and buying headache medication in giant Costco-sized containers.
Yes, it’s that time of year again. Parents hit the road (or sky), not necessarily because they want to, as in during the summer, but because of family obligations and gatherings. It can be hard enough to entertain a child when you’re at home surrounded by their favorite toys, but how to do so while travelling, possibly cramped in a small vehicle for hours at a time, without resorting to gluing your kid to the iPad for 6 straight hours? Thankfully, some smart parent before me has solved this problem with the invention of “busy bags”—small bags with a travel-sized activity to keep your kids busy. While there are a million different types of bags you can put together, here are three easy, low-budget ones.
A long time ago people used pins and flat diapers to diaper their babies. One of the biggest concerns with diapers then was accidentally poking the baby with the pins used to keep the diaper in place. Nowadays, with larger, safer pins and other alternative diaper closures, jabbing baby with a sharp object is far less of a diapering concern. Instead, one of the biggest worries I see parents ask is, “I took off the cloth diaper and there are red marks on my baby’s skin! What gives?”
There are many, many reasons for red marks caused by cloth diapers, and most of them are harmless. If you’re using fabric that can bunch up, like flats or prefolds, and the red marks are on the part of the body where your baby has just been sleeping on, there is little cause for concern. You know how sometimes you wake up and you smile lovingly at your partner, pleased at the luxury of waking up together, and he or she looks back at you and bursts out laughing because you have sheet marks all over your face, and then the loving moment is totally gone? Sometimes red marks from diapers are just something like sheet marks, where the fabric folds press against baby’s soft skin while he or she sleeps. They will fade shortly.
Elastic comes in multiple shapes and sizes on modern cloth diapers. It’s pretty good at the whole poop-containing thing.
Diaper sprayers initially seem like one of those cloth diapering accessories that one absolutely NEEDS. For the uninitiated, a diaper sprayer is a hose that attaches to the water line on your toilet. At the end of the hose is a nozzle that’s basically a mini garden hose, so you can hold those dirty diapers over the toilet and spray them off before tossing them in the diaper bag. Genius, right?
This lovely image of a Bumkins diaper sprayer from bumkins.com is not the diaper sprayer I bought. I regret this fact immensely, as you will see as you read on.
For the first few months I cloth diapered my daughter, there was no need for a diaper sprayer. Newborn poop doesn’t really need to be sprayed off, and I didn’t think I really needed to spend $45 on something that I might not use. However, once she started eating solid foods, and each diaper change brought forward new and horrifying substances, I began to rethink certain life choices. Before investing in a diaper sprayer, I decided to try disposable liners. They are thin little paper liners placed inside the diaper to catch solids. Then in theory, you just dump the liner into the toilet, flush it all away, and place your diaper in the laundry, smug at having cleaned out a poopy diaper while barely touching it at all.
However, theories basically exist to be disproven. While using a disposable liner was much easier than doing the dunk-and-swish method of rinsing out a diaper, I quickly found that they often bunched a bit in my now-mobile baby, and thus ended up not covering the entire diaper. I usually found myself dumping the liner in the toilet but having to rinse out the diaper anyway. It saved a little bit of work, but not much time, and I started to feel like maybe I was throwing money at something I *wanted* to work, but wasn’t *actually* working. Finally, I sighed and bought the cheapest diaper sprayer–to the tune of a whopping $9–that I could.
I’m sure there are people who will feel adamantly different, but I am convinced that children potty train whenever they darn well feel like it. I don’t know much about elimination communication, so I don’t consider that when I write this. I have a friend who did it that way and that kid has been trained to potty for a long time. But for those of us not going that route, this is for us.
My daughter is smart. I don’t say that because I’m her mom. I say that because she is always one step ahead of me and I see her wheels working to get what she wants. I started cloth diapers when she was a little over two years and we had a four month old. I didn’t get a ton of diapers because I thought she would be out of diapers soon anyway. Boy was I wrong.
At first, I was casual about it. We got her a little potty and showed her how to use it. She liked the potty, and if I recall correctly, she even used it a couple of times, so I thought this was going to be easy. But after the novelty wore off, she didn’t seem to see the importance of the potty when she had the convenience of a diaper.
I started to take a little more initiative. I bribed her with the promises of M&Ms if she went. She liked the idea and it worked a couple of times, but again, she decided the treat wasn’t worth the effort. I upped it again, making a nice chart with stickers to record how many times she went and another chart with pictures of what to do that also would get stickers. It was fun – for the first two stickers.
A billion years ago (so it seems), the only diapers that were used were flat-style diapers. Many cultures across the world did and still do practice elimination communication, but many cultures also still use flats. Don’t get me wrong, flats have plenty of upsides—they’re easy to wash by hand and quick to dry, and you can make a flat diaper out of almost any spare fabric you have lying around, in a pinch. I totally went through a “flats phase” and understand the benefits. One of the reasons I liked flats for a while was because my daughter did best in cotton fabrics. Anything else she was more prone to getting rashes in, but that good ol’ 100% cotton was cheap and breathable.
Flats: as close to a universal diaper as you can get
However, the upsides of flat diapers can quickly become the downsides as well. They can be difficult to fold quickly, and aren’t as absorbent as some modern manmade fabrics. Another downside I only discovered after my second child was born: Some kids simply do not like sitting in a wet diaper.
All-in-one diapers are very popular, for good reason. Every part of the diaper comes sewn together in one neat piece, rather than having multiple pieces, such as inserts or covers, that must be assembled to make a complete diaper. The convenience comes at a price—they are more expensive than other diaper types—but they are especially well-liked by daycares and other temporary caregivers that may only be familiar with disposables. However, because all-in-ones are all one piece, they require a little different care and look different than other diapers. To make things even more confusing, some diapers that are actually pockets, especially foreign-made ones on eBay, are often labeled as “all in one diapers” even though they are what we call “pocket diapers.” Let’s look at the parts of a true all-in-one diaper below.
Breastfeeding mothers everywhere should be excited for the month of August. First the there is the week between the first and the seventh. It’s World Breastfeeding Week. The fun doesn’t stop there either. The whole rest of the month is Breastfeeding Awareness Month.
World Breastfeeding Week
All you need to do to celebrate World Breastfeeding Week is log on to WorldBreastfeedingWeek.org. There are downloads and contests. There is even a pledge that you can take as a breastfeeding mother. They list their objectives quite clearly, and they really aren’t anything anyone could object to. My particular favorite is getting young people of both genders interested in breastfeeding and how it is still relevant in our changing world today. With the easy access to formula and our fast pace society here in the United States it’s easy for us to want to sweep breastfeeding under the rug. This week is to help keep that from happening. Downloads consist of action folders, calendars, desktops, and even promotion flyers. Plus the materials come in a variety of languages.
I recently wrote an article here about my woes with my cloth diapers in a hard water location, namely the entire state of Utah. Since I had recently moved, I had not yet found the way to clean my cloth diapers and hoped that someone would be able to give me the answer since my research had not found anything that worked. After talking with my sister-in-law, who works at a cloth diaper store, and consulting with many other cloth diapering mothers, I have found what worked for us – Tide original powder and Calgon.
Calgon is a liquid water softener found in the laundry aisle in Walmart. I haven’t found it anywhere else besides online. Calgon contains the active ingredients zeolite and polycarboxylate, which interact with the hard water ions in water to prevent them from forming limescale or interfering with soap lathering. The bottle says that it can also be used as a laundry enhancer, making whites more white and all that jazz. I’m not as fussed about those benefits, but I thought it would be nice if it helped my laundry be better overall.
I started off with a strip where I did a cold rinse to remove all the icky stuff and then added one tablespoon of Blue Dawn Original dish soap and did a series of hot washes until all the bubbles were gone, which took all day. I used a capful of Calgon with every wash. When I was done with the strip, I did one more wash using the Tide Original powder, then threw them all in the dryer for a low heat spin. And VIOLA! It worked.
So you’ve been suckered into the cloth diapering world. Congratulations, and say good bye to your money. But wait! Before you have a small heart attack at the cost of a single all-in-one name brand diaper, you might want to ask the question: Will I be buying my cloth diapers new, or used?
While you may assume you’ll be buying your cloth diapers new—after all, especially if this is your first child, you’re probably buying or being gifted mostly new baby items—there is actually a very large secondhand cloth diaper market (hint – the For Sale or Trade Forum here on DiaperSwappers is the best place to start!), if you know where to look. Used diapers can sound kind of icky at first, but let’s look at the pros and cons of each.