cloth diapers to thank for it.
Up until a few decades ago, kids apparently potty trained a whole lot earlier than we believe is possible these days – often as early as 18, or even 12 months old. Whilst there may be plenty of reasons why that might have been the case, some theorise that when kids wear cloth diapers (as all children did back then) they learn to recognize at an earlier age that they have wet themselves. Even though my soon has usually worn stay-dry pocket-diapers, I suspect this may have been partly the case with him. We also have done “part-time” Elimination Communication since he was about 7 months old, so that probably helped too.
When my son spotted his older cousin using the potty by herself recently, everything seemed to click for him, and we decided to just jump in at the deep end. For about 3 days, he went about the house with a bare bum. There were plenty of accidents, despite how quick we tried to be at guiding him to the potty! Thankfully, our floor is tiled, so it wasn’t a big deal. This was where all those microfiber inserts came in handy. Rather than using paper towels, my son and I would fetch the inserts to quickly mop up spills. Whilst cleaning together, I would gently remind him that pee goes in the potty. He would go throw the inserts into the diaper pail, and then I’d wash his hands and do a quick disinfecting mop at the spill site.
After a few days, and consistent success on the potty, we graduated to real underwear. It would have been nice to try cloth trainers, but we were caught a little bit by surprise! Anyway, he got used to getting himself dressed and undressed, as well as keeping his clothes dry.
This was also when we started going out and about. It was a little daunting at first, but doable. Again, cloth diapering accessories saved the day! In the car, I laid a wet-bag (turned inside out to stop it from wicking) on his car seat, with a folded prefold on top. The few times he had an accident, the prefold got wet, but his car seat didn’t. Another wet-bag stayed in my handbag for holding wet pants or underwear if necessary. We always took plenty of spare clothes with us (I think cloth diapering taught me NOT to pack light!) and a few inserts to mop up mess, although these were rarely needed.
The few times we’ve had to put on diapers (once we started with underwear, we tried to let him wear it consistently), like at the church nursery or for naps, we’ve opted for a cover and prefold rather than pocket diapers. That way, he can still feel when he has wet himself. Actually, within just a few days, he was keeping his diaper dry during naps, and we were able to start him on underwear then too. We are still using pocket diapers at night, but I suspect that when he starts showing readiness to night train we will follow the same plan.
It’s been encouraging to see that the same products and accessories we have used to cloth diaper our son have been useful in potty training him, too. I may not miss the laundry, but the experience of cloth diapering my son has been an overwhelmingly positive one – good to know I don’t need to completely retire my cloth just yet!