An Environmentally Friendly Alternative to Cloth Diapering
Let me start by saying that parenting is HARD!! I am by no means an expert on anything I am just sharing what worked well for me if you are searching for an alternative to cloth diapering or if you want an easier way to “potty train.”
Before becoming a parent I knew I was going to try to be as “natural” as I could be. I wanted to breast feed and I was fortunate enough to have a very successful breast feeding journey, almost too successful because at 2 years old I could not convince my daughter to give up nursing (she finally did with very minimal tears but perhaps I’ll dive into that another time).
I wanted to make my own baby food which I did this but Katie was not a fan of my fancy homemade purees so we switched to the baby led weaning method which in my opinion was way better anyway. I won’t get into this now but if you are interested in learning more about BLW comment below! Finally, I was determined to cloth diaper!! I was adamant about not contributing to the amount of diaper waste in the landfill and we used cloth diapers…to start. Now if you are cloth diapering and you are doing well with it that is awesome, good for you! BUT if you hate changing poopy diapers KEEP READING!! If you wanted to cloth diaper but it wasn’t for you, I get it, KEEP READING. If you didn’t ever plan on cloth diapering but you hate changing poopy diapers (I mean who doesn’t???) KEEP READING!!
After a few months of using cloth diapers Katie began leaking through the diapers in the middle of the night. More often than not we not only had to change her diaper but her entire outfit in the middle of the night. She was not a great sleeper so obviously this made things even worse because she would get fully woken up when we had to change her. I was already so sleep deprived and desperate for a decent night’s sleep that we switched to disposable diapers for bedtime and then eventually full time out of convenience.
Following the switch Katie started getting terrible diaper rashes. Because we were already dealing with thrush we assumed the diaper rash was related to that. We tried creams; yogurt mixed with probiotics and even did a round of medication (which I didn’t love but when your baby is screaming because she can’t even go in the bath without it causing her pain you’ll try anything). NOTHING WORKED.
So at 6 months I started looking into more options to relieve diaper rash which I thought was still related to thrush. What I read most was allowing in air and light was most effective which meant NO DIAPERS.
I remembered something my sister in-law told me about a couple years back. She started “potty training” her son at the age of 4 months, something called Elimination Communication.
I looking into this more during Katie’s naps since she would only ever have a good nap if she was being held, so I had a lot of time to sit and read. I came across a book called Diaper Free Baby. I’m pretty sure I read the entire book within a couple days.
Most of the book seemed pretty straight forward and I took from it what I knew would work for me and knew I could commit to. As with anything consistency is the key to being successful.
Katie was 6 months by this point. She was sitting up on her own but not mobile yet which made to the perfect time to start. I bought a small potty and began the day after finishing the book. The most common times that babies eliminate waste is after naps and after meals so that’s where I started. After every nap and meal I would put Katie on the potty. I would read her books during this time and she loved it. She NEVER cried and actually began looking forward to this time together and so did I. There was ZERO pressure for her. We would read a few books and if she went to the bathroom at that time GREAT, if not it was no big deal. I only focused on her going poop for two reasons, I didn’t mind changing a pee diaper (Or wiping pee off the floor if I had left her out of her diaper which I often did…we also have no carpet in our home) and I read an article written by a urologists stating that teaching kids too early to “hold their pee” wasn’t good for their bladder. I figured the pee would sort it’s self out and it did.
Within a couple weeks I began to know her “schedule” and it became quite easy. She was fully poop trained, as in able to communicate with me that she had to go, a few days past her first birthday. By about 18 months Katie was fully trained (both poop and pee) and wearing panties in the day time and night trained by 2 years old.
What I loved the most about doing Elimination Communication was there was less diaper and wipe waste and there was no pressure at all on her to “potty train.”
I also didn’t put any pressure on myself. In the beginning we did still diaper her at bedtime, when we left the house for long periods and when we went on trips because I didn’t want the stress of trying to get her to a washroom, bringing her potty along or her going in her bed or car seat.
If you are considering trying this DO IT! You won’t regret it!! Here is a list of points that will help you be successful.
- Start early!! It is much easier (though not impossible if your babe is a bit older) when your mini can sit up but is not yet mobile!! By the time Katie had any realization about that fact that she was going to the bathroom she was already pooping on the potty. She never knew any different, that was just where she went.
- Don’t stress about the” misses.” This is a big one. If your babe goes in their diaper do not be hard on yourself (or them) just clean them up and carry on like nothing happened. And of course give lots of praise when your babe does go on the potty.
- Be consistent. You do not need to go full force!! I didn’t. I did what I knew I could commit to which was putting Katie on the potty right after she slept or ate and I didn’t stress about the other times. As I said previously I eventually got to know her schedule and it became very easy.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this! Have you tried it? Are you going to?