Do Children Who Wear Cloth Nappies Toilet Train Earlier?


Family photo

We are all on a journey. For some the thought of using reusable nappies and absorbent underwear feels foreign and for others it has been a choice they have loved. I have already talked about the essentials that every disposable nappy parent should know and interviewed Kate Meads click HERE

This month I interviewed some kiwi Mums whose kids use cloth nappies about their experiences of toilet training. 

Why did you choose to use cloth nappies?

"I chose to use cloth nappies because of the cost savings and the environmental savings. But I was also surprised to find that it was far less gross to have a waterproof bag with cloth nappies in the laundry than a rubbish bag full of poo sitting around for a week.

I knew it was the right time to abandon daytime nappies because my son (who was 2 years 4 months) HATED having his nappy changed and we had introduced the concept of the potty and he seemed ok with the idea of it."

"I had always intended to use cloth nappies as I find the thought of sending huge quantities of disposable nappies to landfill quite disturbingwas prepared for hours of extra washing/soaking but didn't realise how easy the process of using  washing them really is. I found Kate Meads' workshops incredibly helpful and supportive. 

With each baby (I'm up to #3 now) I have upped how much I use cloth over disposables. With #1 I used them pretty much just at home during the day and disposables at night, when out and away on holiday. With #3 I only use disposables occasionally when out, but still one overnight due to the smell and insurance against leakage. I've also started using reusable wipes this time too, after a waste free parenting workshop. They are so much better than wet wipes! I can't believe I haven't tried them sooner!"  Emma 

Potty Training 2 year olds

"We chose to use cloth nappies for a few reasons, we knew that in the long run, especially with more than one child that we would be saving money and saving the planet was a bit of a bonus.

I loved the look of them, they were incredibly cute with so many designs! We had also heard that toilet training might be easier (this was a bit of a hope as we didn't know for sure at the time!) And finally, living on a farm without weekly rubbish pick up actually meant that disposables were going to be an effort to get rid of every week!"  Rachel

Potty Training 3 year old

What is a tip you think every parent should know about toilet training?

"My one toilet training tip - don’t half arse it. When you think your child is ready just go for it. Take the nappies away (except at night) and don’t put them back on. And don’t expect perfection, it can take a while to get to 100% but that’s ok. Don’t stress - how many adults do you know who aren't toilet trained?" Gina  NZ Mum

"My daughter had a lot of nappy free time and was very familiar with using the potty and even the toilet by age two. She announced one day when she was about 27 months old that she didn't want to wear nappies anymore so we had a big chat about using the toilet and decided together that she could stop wearing nappies next week and so she did!" Pennie NZ Mum

"In terms of toilet training, the one tip I would give is that when you're a couple/few days in to it and you feel like it might be time to put it away and try again in a few months, don't, because they have been picking it all up, and whilst it may take a few weeks to perfect, when things feel really tough, you're probably right at the crux of them clicking!" Rachel 

"My advice for other parents would be to try not to put too much pressure on themselves or their children. Give children the opportunity to use the potty/toilet, but if 'toilet training' doesn't happen easily then just try again. If my baby doesn't take to it when I put out the potty for him in summer, I'll just put it away and try again the following summer.

When my girl went through her stage of wetting her pants outside, I resisted the urge to get angry/punish/threaten nappies again, and rode it out while reminding her to use the toilet next time and getting her to change herself each time." Emma

"Don't stress about it - roll with your children's cues and never, ever shame them for accidents." Pennie NZ Mum

Did you use pull ups during toilet training?

"We didn't use pull-ups. I had done some reading to suggest that they weren't that helpful and it was best just to go "cold turkey" into undies. She had chosen her underwear and was very excited to be wearing her digger undies, cat undies and helicopter undies! Pennie NZ Mum

"We never used pull ups, but did use the padded underwear when toilet training, mostly to know that if there was an accident, it wasn't going to be as big of a deal in the clean up! The padded underwear was also good at Daycare for the same reasons - I felt a bit easier that any accidents might create minimal mess for the teachers!" Rachel de Haas

I've tried a few times to get my oldest out of nappies at night, but he's just not able to stay dry every night. He's not worried about it so I remind my self not to. He'll be able to go all night when his little body is ready. We'll just give it a few months then try again. When it's summer and I'm mentally and emotionally prepared for even more washing!!! 

I think the choice to not use reusable underwear is perhaps laziness (?!) on my part, I had 3 under 5 and just wasn't ready to try anything else new, or risk even more washing. Reflecting on it now, I think using a reusable overnight on him could help get him dry overnight as he'll be aware when he goes and less likely to do a 'lazy wee' in it when he's going to sleep rather than getting up and going to the toiletI'll try and see - and let you know! Emma

"I work in ECE with lots of children who have used cloth nappies and my own daughter used them too....the trend I have seen is that the majority of children using cloth nappies show signs of toilet readiness from about 20 months. I think feeling the wetness is a key aspect that is different as plastic nappies draw the moisture away and can hold a number of wee's. Cloth nappies allow a child to feel the wetness bringing about awareness earlier, and they communicate this to the adults so they can have a nappy change" Rachel NZ Early Childhood Educator 

I would love it if you would consider joining the once a day campaign where we put our kids in either a cloth nappy or reusable Wee Pants: Absorbent Underwear at least once a day. Click HERE

What I love about the once a day concept it is totally achievable for every family. Even if you are a working parent and your kid is in daycare then you can still easily put them in absorbent undies or a cloth nappy in the afternoon or evening when you are home.

It saves you money on buying at least 7 nappies per week. Or 365 nappies per year.

If each parent did this throughout NZ, it would save 1 million nappies going to the land fill each week! So each of our little steps can add up to big impact if we work together.

Here's how to join the movement:

1. Decide - Am I going to put on my child a cloth nappy or absorbent undies once a day?

Fudgey Pants Cloth Nappies

With nappies this cute who could resist? Fudgey Pants are offering a 20% discount on everything so you can grab some of their nappies to try. And when you do they will give away a cloth nappy to a NZ family in need. Buy one - give one. Just use the discount code: ONEADAY20 They'll send the ones you like to your door, find the ones you like HERE

Wee Pants: Absorbent Undies 3 pack are a great way to start and they are on discount so if you have a toddler approaching toilet training they are perfect! Find the designs your child will love HERE

2. Choose a time when you are going to start in either June/July/August. Wash the nappies or undies first and go for it.

3. Join our private FB group to share ideas, photos and discuss questions. Join us HERE 
4. Share your journey with your playgroup, playcentre, coffee group or Facebook/Insta friends, to help spread the word.