Archive for the ‘AB4C’ Category

This article was originally posted on on November 29, 2012

There is no comparing today’s modern cloth diaper to the cloth diapers that your mom and grandma used. In the last 10-15 years cloth diapers have made revolutionary changes! Today’s cute and fashionable cloth diapers are fitted, contoured, pinless, come in tons of print choices and are as easy to use as a disposable. Read more: How to Use Cloth Diapers – Modern Cloth Diapers Are Easy to Use
Today's cloth diapers come in a variety of types, styles, colors, and patterns.

15 Reasons to Use Cloth Diapers on Your Baby

  1. COMFORT – Cloth diapers are soft, breathable and comfortable for your baby. Also see: The Benefits of Cloth Diapers
  2. SAVINGS – Cloth diapers can save you about $4104.40 for a family of two children. The cost of laundering has been factored into this estimate. Read More: Cloth vs. Disposable Diapers – Cost
  3. EASY TO USE – Today’s cloth diapers are just as easy to use as disposables. How to Use Cloth Diapers – Modern Cloth Diapers Are Easy to Use
  4. EASY TO WASH & CARE FOR – Cloth diapers are so much easier to wash & care for then they used to be – no need to dunk, swirl and soak!Washing Cloth Diapers
  5. THEY GO ON & FIT LIKE A DISPOSABLE – Today’s choices in diapers come in adjustable sizes or are sized to fit. They are fitted, contoured, pinless and simple to use. They are much CUTER than disposables! Cloth Diaper Styles
  6. LEAK-FREE – Mother-ease Cloth Diapers are leak-free diaper systems. The Mother-ease slogan is “Leak-free cloth diapers” because they have been designed to be a truly leak-free diaper system that you can depend on!
  7. CHEMICALS – Disposable diapers contain toxic chemicals, drying agents, dyes and fragrances. The chemicals in cloth diapers have caused or been linked to many toxic responses. Read more: The Harmful Chemicals in Disposable Diapers
  8. FASHIONABLE – Today’s diapers come in cute, fashionable designs and styles. There are so many designs and styles of diapers to choose from it makes cloth diapering a fun fashion statement. Cloth Diaper Styles
  9. ENVIRONMENT – About 18 billion disposable diapers enter our landfills each and every year and it is estimated that it takes 300+ years for them to decompose. Read more: Disposable Diapers and The Environment
  10. LESS DIAPER RASH – The chemicals in disposable diapers have been linked to diaper rash. Read more: Diapers and Your Baby’s Health”
  11. REDUCED CHANCE OF ASTHMA – The results of a study published in 1999 demonstrated that some types of disposable diapers emit chemicals that are toxic to the respiratory tract and that disposable diapers should be considered as one of the factors that might cause or exacerbate asthmatic conditions. If you haven’t read it yet: The Harmful Chemicals in Disposable Diapers
  12. EARLIER POTTY TRAINING/LEARNING – Many parents report that children who wear cloth diapers potty train earlier than children who wear disposable diapers. Potty Training vs. Potty Learning
  13. CONVENIENCE – No trips to the store when you are out of disposables.
  14. FABRIC OPTIONS – You have a choice of many fabrics including organic and bamboo. Read about: Mother-ease Diaper Fabrics
  15. THEY HOLD THEIR VALUE – There is a market for used/pre-owned cloth diapers so you can resell them when you are done with them.

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This article was originally posted on on August 1, 2011.

This article was the most popular article on It was the most visited, read, commented on, and shared article on the site. It was also the only article that resulted in a reader calling me. This reader had worked in a disposable diaper factory and had contracted cancer from the chemicals used in manufacturing the diapers.


Sodium Polyacrylate - the absorbent gel in disposable diapers

Your baby will be wearing diapers 24 hours per day for about the first 2 ¾ – 3 years of his life.
The type of diaper you choose will determine what, if any, harmful chemicals your baby is exposed to through skin absorption and breathing. Disposable diapers contain toxic chemicals, drying agents, dyes and fragrances.

This article will cover dioxin and sodium polyacrylate. I believe that the health effects of these two chemicals are enough for any parent in considering their choices of what type of diaper to use on their delicate baby’s bottom.

I have used reputable sources in my research. These sources include government websites and medical and science journals such as: the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), the American Journal of Epidemiology, the Archives of Environmental Health, the Archives of Disease in Childhood, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), the Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry, the National Center for Biotechnology Information and material data safety sheets for each chemical.

Dioxins and sodium polyacrylate, two of the chemicals found in disposable diapers, have either been linked to or have caused the following toxic responses: cancer, reproductive & infertility problems, asthma & respiratory distress, hormonal problems, developmental & cognitive problems, suppressed immune system, diabetes, endometriosis, allergic reactions, chemical burns, Chloracne, and Toxic Shock Syndrome (in the use of tampons).

There have also been reports (on sites all over the internet) that diapers may contain many other chemicals. I haven’t taken the time to research and confirm that these chemicals are indeed present in disposable diapers. I will leave the option of researching these chemicals up to you, the reader. If you do investigate whether or not these chemicals are in disposable diapers I would appreciate you sharing your source and findings by leaving a comment below. Some of these chemicals include:

  • Tributyltin – This is toxic to humans and environment, is a persistent organic pollutant, causes irreversible damage to aquatic life, and is linked to obesity in humans (triggers genes that cause the growth of fat cells).
  • Xylene – This is toxic to the respiratory and central nervous systems. Breathing
    high concentrations in an enclosed space can cause irregular heartbeats which can cause death.
  • Ethylbenzene – This chemical is listed as possibly cancer-causing. It is mutagenic (capable of causing mutation). The substance may be toxic to the central nervous system. Repeated or prolonged exposure to the substance can produce target organs damage. It may cause central nervous system depression, is an aspiration hazard if swallowed and can enter the lungs and cause damage. It causes eye, skin, and respiratory tract irritation.
  • Styrene- This substance is cancer-causing and is toxic to the nervous system and upper respiratory tract. Repeated or prolonged exposure to the substance can produce target organs damage. It is very hazardous to the eyes.
  • Propylene – This chemical is an anesthetic at high concentrations. Inhalation may cause central nervous system depression producing dizziness, drowsiness, headache and similar narcotic symptoms. Extremely high concentrations can cause asphyxiation and death by displacing oxygen from the breathing atmosphere.
  • Toluene – The substance may be toxic to blood, kidneys, the nervous system, liver, brain, and central nervous system (CNS). Repeated or prolonged exposure to the substance can produce target organs damage.


Disposable diapers contain traces of Dioxin. Dioxin is an extremely toxic, cancer-causing chemical that is found in disposable diapers as a result (by product) of the chlorine bleaching process.

According to the Environmental Health Perspectives: There is “No Evidence of Dioxin Cancer Threshold” and “the range is consistent with a threshold of zero” – meaning there is no evidence of an acceptable or safe level of exposure to dioxin. Dioxin is cumulative and slow to disintegrate.

Of all the dioxins and furans, 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) is the most toxic.

Dioxins induce a wide spectrum of toxic responses in experimental animals including reproductive (infertility or decreased ability to reproduce), endocrine (changes in hormonal systems), developmental (developmental delays and changes in the development of the fetus), and immunologic toxicities (suppressed immune system) as well as carcinogenicity (the ability or tendency to produce cancer).

Associations between TCDD exposure and non-cancer health effects such as diabetes and developmental (cognitive) delays have also been reported.

Evidence suggests that increased exposures to dioxins are associated with increased incidence of endometriosis in humans.

High doses of dioxins cause a skin disease called Chloracne.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its Dioxin Reassessment in draft form in 2000, which concluded that dioxin should be classified as a known human carcinogen.

The American Journal of Epidemiology, Volume 154, Issue 5, Pp. 451-458, states that the International Agency for Research on Cancer recently concluded that 2,3,7,8 TCDD is a human carcinogen. This data supports recent conclusions by the US Environmental Protection Agency.

Sodium Polyacrylate

Sodium polyacrylate is a super absorbent polymer (SAP) that can absorb 300 times its weight in tap water. It is the “diaper gel” found in wet diapers. It can absorb 800 times its weight in distilled water because of the lack of minerals. This super absorbent polymer is added to diapers in its granular powder form and turns into a gel-like substance once the diaper becomes wet.

Health Effects:

Workers working with this chemical are supplied with material data safety sheets specifying the first aid for exposure. You can find many sources of these sheets on the internet by doing a search for: “sodium polyacrylate material data safety sheet”. The first aid for each exposure is listed below. This is for ONE EXPOSURE. Babies that wear disposable diapers are exposed to this chemical 24 hours per day for about 3 years. No “first aid” is given to them for each exposure or for their LONG-TERM exposure.


Sodium polyacrylate is a skin irritant. It is a drying agent responsible for absorbing moisture in the diaper. It also absorbs (leaches) oils and moisture from a baby’s skin, causing abrasion irritation and drying of the skin. Exposure to the dust may aggravate existing skin conditions due to the drying effect.
First Aid: Wash the skin with soap and water.


The respirable dust is a potential respiratory tract irritant. This chemical has a recommended eight-hour exposure limit of 0.05 mg/m³. Exposure to respirable dust may cause respiratory tract and lung irritation and may aggravate existing respiratory conditions.
First Aid: Remove to fresh air. If not breathing give artificial respiration. If breathing is difficult give oxygen. Contact a physician.


Dust may cause burning, drying, itching, and other discomfort, resulting in reddening of the eyes.
First Aid: Flush thoroughly with large amounts of water for at least fifteen minutes. If irritation persists consult a physician.

A Study by Anderson Laboratories, Inc.

National Center for Biotechnology Information – US National Library of Medicine – National Institutes of Health – a Publication

A study published in 1999 by Anderson Laboratories, Inc. found that lab mice that were exposed to various brands of disposable diapers experienced asthma-like symptoms, as well as eye, nose and throat irritation. The results demonstrated that some types of disposable diapers emit chemicals that are toxic to the respiratory tract and that disposable diapers should be considered as one of the factors that might cause or exacerbate asthmatic conditions. Exposure to cloth diapers did not cause these symptoms.

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This article was originally posted on on July 21, 2011

Modern Cloth Diaper with Velcro closuresIf you haven’t seen the revolutionary cloth diapers that have been introduced in the last 5-10 years you will be surprised at how the cloth diaper has evolved. Today’s cloth diaper is easy to wash and as simple to use as a disposable. The more you learn about cloth diapers and about the impact of using disposable diapers, the more you will be convinced that cloth diapering is the best method for your baby and your family. Using disposable diapers has a huge impact on your baby’s health, your finances, and the environment. Once you try today’s modern cloth diaper, you’ll be hooked!

Why Are Cloth Diapers Becoming So Popular Again?

  • The last 5-10 years have produced many choices in cloth diapers that are cute and are as simple to use as a disposable diaper.
  • Many parents are choosing to use cloth diapers for the benefits to their baby’s health. Disposable diapers contain many harmful chemicals and are linked to a significant amount of health problems.
  • Many are choosing cloth diapers to do their part for the environment since about 18 billion disposable diapers enter our landfills each and every year and it is estimated that they will take 500+ years to decompose.
  • Many parents are choosing to use cloth diapers because of the savings. Using cloth diapers, instead of disposables, will save you about $4104.40 for a family of two children. Laundering these diapers are factored into the cost and the savings. This is a substantial amount of money! Read more…
  • In addition to health, environment and economic reasons, the very cute designs and simplicity of use are attracting many moms to cloth.
  • Many parents are taking on that extra load of laundry – and loving it. They’re hooked!

The Old-fashioned Cloth Diaper of the Past

When you think of cloth diapers you may think of the old-fashioned diapers that your mom or grandma used. You may think of the plain white, large flat Birdseye cloth diapers (flats) or the prefolds that are smaller with layered cloth sewn into the center of the diaper. You may remember the stories of the “toilet dunking” that your mom or grandma did to preclean the diapers before they put them into the diaper pail.

Your mom or grandma’s cloth diapers required dangerous sharp pins to secure them, they were bulky, they leaked, they were difficult to wash, they needed to be folded, and they required non-breathable rubber pants over them. Grandma’s story about toilet dunking her old-fashioned cloth diapers and scrubbing and hand-washing them would deter anyone from using them. It’s understandable that the disposable diaper quickly became popular when it came onto the scene in the 1960s.

Diaper rash was a huge problem with the old-fashioned diaper. It was mainly caused by the non-breathable, old-fashioned rubber pants. Heat and moisture built up inside the diaper and caused bacteria to grow and multiply. The non-breathable rubber pants also prevented the ammonia, from baby’s urine, from evaporating.

The Modern Cloth Diaper of Today

The cloth diapers of today aren’t what they were 5, 10 and 20 years ago. They are NOT your mother’s or grandmother’s cloth diapers. They have soured in popularity over the past few years. Today’s cloth diapers have changed dramatically from the diapers of past generations and are suited for the modern parent’s needs. They have transformed into a very convenient option for today’s busy mom. Cloth diapers are making a huge comeback due to considerations for baby’s health, finances, the environment and the fact that they are now so easy to use and cute.

Modern Cloth Diapers Are Convenient and Easy to Use

  • They are as easy to use and as easy to change as a disposable.
  • They are healthier for your baby.
  • They are very cute and fashionable and come in many styles, colors, designs and fabrics (including organic).
  • Fitted diapers are elasticized so they are fitted and snug, yet comfortable.
  • No need for safety pins. They fasten with built-in fasteners (Velcro or snaps).
  • The diaper covers are waterproof and breathable. All-in-ones have the covers built-in/attached. No more rubber pants that cause heat and moisture to build up inside of the diaper which results in diaper rashes and other health problems.
  • Modern diapers are contoured to fit just like a disposable. No folding is required.
  • They are easy to wash. Washing cloth diapers is not the tedious and messy job that our parents and grandparents generations had – no more “toilet dunking”, stinky “wet pail”, soaking, scrubbing, and folding.
  • Today’s modern cloth diapers come in “diaper systems”. Some have a cover with an inner liner (covers don’t need to be washed after each use). Others are all-in-one diapers. Whatever the style, they’re all reusable.
  • They are convenient. You don’t have to make any special or late night trips to the grocery store for disposable diapers.
  • You have two bags less of garbage to haul to the curb each week.
  • You don’t have to change cloth diapers any more often than disposables should be changed.
  • Many moms say that the disposable diaper pails smell worse than cloth diaper pails.
  • Even the old-fashioned flat and prefold diapers have changed. Prefolds now come in different designs and colors and Snappis ™ have replaced diaper pins.
  • Many moms report having to change disposables in the middle of the night or they will leak. Today’s modern cloth diapers are leak-free and very absorbent.
  • Moms also report that “blowouts” occur with disposable diapers and not with today’s cloth diapers.
  • The simplicity of today’s cloth diapers is attracting many moms to cloth.

How to Use Cloth Diapers

How to use a cloth diaper depends on which style you have decided on. There are many different types of cloth diapers available. Everyone has their own preferences. You need to decide what cloth diaper type (or types) works best for you and your family. Using today’s modern cloth diapers eliminates the need for folding the diaper and using diaper pins. They are used and fit much like disposable diapers.

Using Traditional Cloth Diapers

The “Flats” and “Prefolds” that your mother and grandmother used are still available. These two diaper choices do not have Velcro or snap closures. They require pins or Snappis™ to fasten them or they can be left unfastened, held in place by the diaper cover.

Flat diapers (“Flats”) are a large, single layer of fabric that must be folded to the correct size. The manufacturing of these diapers started back in the early 1900s. They require a separate cover to be waterproof.

Prefold diapers (“Prefolds”)are smaller and rectangular. They are made with extra cotton layers in the center of the diaper. They require minimal folding (the center part of the diaper is folded in to fit between baby’s thighs). The manufacturing of these diapers began in the 1950s. Prefolds are now available in different colors and prints. They require a separate cover to be waterproof.

Using the Modern Cloth Diapers of Today

Most modern diapers are fastened using the built-in Velcro or snaps and are contoured to fit your baby just like a disposable diaper.

Fitted diapers come in “diaper systems”. The fitted cloth diapering systems consist of three components: a fitted cloth diaper, an absorbent liner for additional protection at night or whenever needed, and a breathable, waterproof diaper cover. Fitted diapers are available in several sizes to provide a custom fit as your baby grows or in One Size™ that grows with your child (adjusts) and fits from newborn to potty training. The breathable, waterproof cover can be used several times before washing if it hasn’t become soiled.

Pocket diapers consist of a stay-dry, moisture-wicking inner layer (diaper) and a waterproof outer layer (built-in cover) that are sewn together on two or three sides to create a pocket. The pocket is stuffed with an absorbent liner. The absorbent liner is removed from the diaper before washing, therefore pocket diapers dry quicker than all-in-one diapers. Pocket diapers are a perfect choice for the new cloth diapering mom.

All-In-One diapers are as handy as any disposable diaper but are much more leak-proof. The diaper and extra absorbent layer is sewn to the breathable cover. They are the most convenient to use because all the components are combined into a single piece. There is only one item to put on your baby. Since they are “all-in-one” they do take longer to dry.

All-In-Two diapers are the same as all-in-one diapers but the absorbent liner isn’t sewn into the diaper.

See photos of the different types of modern diapers and read the entire article here: “How to Use Cloth Diapers – The Types of Modern Cloth Diapers”

How to Wash Cloth Diapers

Forget everything that you have heard about washing cloth diapers. “Toilet dunking” and “swishing” is a thing of the past. The modern cloth diaper fabrics and modern washing machines have made toilet dunking completely unnecessary. It shouldn’t be a complicated ordeal. Keep it simple!

Don’t be worried about washing cloth diapers. When you have a baby you are going to be doing your share of laundry. Babies spit up, breast milk leaks, etc. Washing cloth diapers isn’t any more difficult than any other load of laundry. The extra load of laundry every 2-3 days is easy. Just dump it into the washer, add the detergent and turn the machine on. It probably takes longer to empty a diaper pail full of disposables and take it out to the trash can.

Today, it isn’t recommended that you use the “Wet Pail Method” like they used to use back in the day. They used to recommend that you use a “wet pail” filled with water and bleach. This method was common in the days before modern washing machines and it is not necessary anymore. It’s messy, hard to carry, and can be a hazard to children. Using the “Dry Pail Method” is now recommended.

The dry pail method is simple. You can use a mesh bag diaper pail liner to line your diaper pail. A breathable, mesh bag, made for diaper pails, contains both the smell and the wet. When it’s time to wash you just throw the diapers and the bag into the washing machine.

Many parents seem to have missed the evolution of the cloth diaper. This is probably due to the experience of their mothers and grandmothers and not yet learning how easy the modern diapers are to use and wash. All the new options in cloth diapers are making cloth diapers popular once again and an increasing number of parents are reconsidering whether disposable diapers are the best choice.

Cloth diapers are a healthier choice for babies. They are simple, convenient, cost effective and better for the environment.

The real question that we should be asking ourselves is: why use disposable diapers?

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This article was originally posted on on July 18, 2011

Potty Training vs Potty Learning – Signs of ReadinessMost parents start potty training between 24 & 30 months. Experts say that potty training takes about 6-10 months to complete. “Complete” means reliable and consistent daytime dryness.

Most children are ready and willing to potty learn at about 34 – 39 months. Potty learning is completed in 0-2 days.

This article is Part 2 of a series of 3 articles.

Part 1: Potty Training vs Potty Learning
Part 3: How to Potty Train Your Child in Less Than 3 Days

Around the age of 18 – 24 months most children show an increased interest in using the potty chair or toilet. They may take their diaper off. They may sit on the potty chair or toilet and they may even urinate in it. They are curious. They want to imitate their parents, siblings and/or peers. Often, parents see this as a sign of being ready to potty train. They may “schedule & catch” as many as 2 or 3 urinations per day in the potty/toilet. They decide to start the “potty training” process.

Unfortunately, this new curiosity is short-lived and almost always lasts for only a month (if that). Usually, the child loses his or her curiosity, willingness and cooperation. What follows is a constant struggle and a lot of wet training pants for the next 6 – 10 months. They were curious but not ready.

WebMD, The Academy of Pediatrics, Kimberly Clark/Pull-Ups, The Medical College of Wisconsin (after a 2-year study) and many other sources say that whether you start potty training your child at 2, 2 ½ or later your child will complete potty training at about 34 – 36 months if a girl and at about 37.5-39 months if a boy. Starting early means 6-10 months of accidents, frustration for both child and parent, time-consuming “training” efforts, clean-up and laundry for parents and caregivers, tension between child and parent/caregiver and low self-esteem for the child after months of “failing”. Read about what theses experts have to say.

Potty Training Readiness

  • Do not start before you and your child are ready. Start when you are able to devote the time and energy necessary to encourage your child on a daily basis.
  • Your child understands and follows basic instructions.
  • Your child remains dry for at least 2 hour periods during the day.
  • Your child has regular and predictable bowel movements.
  • Your child walks to and from the bathroom and can pull his or her pants down and back up again.
  • Your child feels uncomfortable if his or her diaper is wet or soiled and communicates this and/or that he or she needs to be changed.
  • Your child seems interested in the potty chair or toilet.
  • Your child says that he or she would like to go to the potty.
  • Your child wakes up from naps with a dry diaper.
  • Your child has asked to wear underwear.

Potty Learning Readiness

  • Start when your child is ready. There isn’t anything for YOU to be ready for and nothing for you to devote time to.
  • When a child with normal development is approaching his or her 3rd birthday following basic instructions is not a concern.
  • At this age, your child is no doubt remaining dry for 2 hours.
  • At this age, your child is no doubt having regular bowel movements.
  • At this age your child should be independent enough that he or she is dressing and undressing him or herself. Pulling pants down and up and changing pants should not be a concern.
  • Your child feels uncomfortable if his or her diaper is wet or soiled and communicates this and asks to be changed.
  • Your child has asked to wear grown-up underwear or has agreed to the suggestion.
  • During the past 12-18 months, your child has had exposure to the potty chair and/or toilet, has seen parents, siblings and/or peers use the potty chair/toilet, and has been involved in casual conversations about using the potty chair/toilet.
  • Your child almost always wakes up from naps with a dry diaper.
  • Your child (over the age of 2 ½ years) has asked to or agreed that he or she will start wearing cloth training pants (“big girl/boy panties/underwear”) and will start using the potty chair toilet (even if mildly hesitant).

I previously owned and operated Awesome Beginnings Childcare for 18 years. I have 4 children of my own and have potty trained, and later potty learned, MANY, MANY children. I have done it both ways. I’ve learned that the process of a child accomplishing reliable and consistent daytime dryness doesn’t have to be a long, negative battle. If you can pass through (but support) the initial phase (when your child is about 24 months) and wait until the child is truly ready, the process literally starts and is complete in usually ZERO days. Ninety percent of children are accident free on the first day. It is a quick, simple and positive experience. It is truly “magical”!

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This article was originally posted on on July 15, 2011

Little girl sitting on a toilet

Rushing a child through the process of using the potty chair or toilet will result in tears, frustration, negative feelings and stress. Starting too soon can actually delay the process. The process will be “magical” if you wait until your child is ready. Why spend an average of 8 months doing something that you can do in a few minutes by waiting until the child is ready? Yes, the experts say it takes an average of 6 – 10 months of potty training before reliable daytime dryness is achieved.

You might want to read part 1 & 2 first: Potty Training vs Potty Learning and Potty Training vs Potty Learning – Signs of Readiness

This article is on “How to Potty Learn Your Child in Less Than 3 Days”. Most parents will search for the term “Potty Train”. To help parents find this article I purposely used the term “potty train” in the title. Read Part 1 of this article: Potty Training vs Potty Learning. According to the experts, potty training takes 6-10 months for completion (reliable daytime dryness). Potty learning is accomplished in 0-2 days. Ninety percent of children accomplish staying dry (zero accidents) in ZERO DAYS!

The Potty Training Process

The PARENT is in charge of the potty training. The parent brings the child to the potty at scheduled or random times in an attempt to “catch” the urine/bowel movement before an accident occurs. The parent has the child sit on the potty whether or not the child has a physical need to go. The parent is constantly asking, reminding and nagging the child about whether he needs to use the potty. The parent may have a reward chart/system in place. The parent may pull the child’s pants up and down. The parent may change the child’s clothing after “accidents”. The parent may get frustrated and even angry. The parent may yell, scold, shame and even punish the child. It is a long, stressful, exhausting process. Experts say that most parents start shortly after a child turns two and that it takes 6-10 months of potty training before a child has reliable daytime dryness. Refer to: Potty Training vs Potty Learning (Part 1)

The reward chart/system seems to work at first, but then it backfires. Once the child has lost his or her excitement about the reward, he or she loses motivation and quits using the potty altogether.

Potty Training Results

The parent failed. The parent is frustrated. There is tension between the parent and child. The parent failed. The parent feels like a failure. The child feels like a failure. The parent failed. The parent is getting angry. The child feels “bad”. Why isn’t the child cooperating? The parent failed. The parent is exhausted.….Months (6-10) have passed…The parent succeeded (or was it just that the child was finally ready?).

Parents would never spend 6-10 months trying to teach a toddler how to do simple math problems. The parent would wait for the toddler to mature into a preschooler/school-age child so that they would “get it” right off the bat. Why then, do parents think they should spend 6-10 LONG months trying to get their child to stay dry? I’m sure it has to do with the HISTORY behind potty training.

A Brief History Behind Potty Training

In the early 1900’s potty training began when a baby was still a newborn. In 1929 a new mother was instructed to start bowel training at the end of the first MONTH. Bladder training started at ten months. I know that this may seem hard to believe. You will find one source and link below to the “Infant Care Manual” given to new mothers in 1929. Do an internet search and you’ll find many references to the early days/history of potty training. Reader beware: It is TRULY, TRULY SICKENING to read how mothers were instructed to care for their babies and children and not just in the potty training department.

Two excerpts (available online) from the United States Department of Labor – Children’s Bureau – Infant Care – Revised July 1929:

Page 57: “Training of the bowels may be begun as early as the end of the first month. It should always be begun by the third month and may be completed during the eighth month.”

Page 58: “One method of training the little baby in regular bowel habits as follows: Hold the baby in your lap or lay him on a table with his head toward your left, in the position for changing his diaper. Lift the feet with the left hand and with the right insert a soap stick or other suppository into the rectum. Still holding the feet up, press a small chamber gently against the buttocks with the right hand and hold it there until the stool has passed.”

Read page 58 & 59 for bladder training.

I can only imagine the stress that both children and mothers went through in those days with those kinds of “instructions” from doctors – BARBARIC!

That was from the 1929 Infant Care publication. You can also read the publications for other years.

The older generations were instructed to potty train their babies. They thought waiting was just plain laziness. The older generations have influenced the younger generations. They may say: “Haven’t you potty trained him yet? Little Billy was potty trained by 9 months.” The funny thing is that little Billy couldn’t walk or talk – so – who was really potty trained? As new generations are born and older generations pass the average age for potty training has become later and later. My guess is that at least 25% or more of moms are now waiting closer to a child’s third birthday, when they are truly ready to attain reliable (magically instant) daytime dryness.

Potty Learning – The Magical Alternative to Potty Training

Before the Potty Learning Process

During the past 12 – 18 months you have had many conversations with your child about the fact that “someday” he or she will get older and will use the toilet just like Mommy/Daddy/____. Your child has witnessed his or her parents, siblings and/or peers using the potty chair and/or toilet. Your child has most likely used the potty chair or toilet many times during this period.

When your child went through the curious/interested stage at around 18-24 months you encouraged it and supported it BUT you did not place any expectations on your child. You knew this stage would come and go.

Your child is now approaching his or her third birthday. You will know when your child is ready through casual conversation. You may occasionally say: “Pretty soon you will be old enough to wear “big girl/boy panties/underwear” and will go potty on the potty chair or toilet.” You may occasionally ask: “Are you getting excited to wear “big girl/boy panties/underwear” and will go potty on the potty chair or toilet?” You may also occasionally ask: “Are you ready to go shopping for big girl/boy panties/underwear” and to start going potty on the potty chair or toilet?” Your child’s responses and the dialogue of your conversations will let you know when he or she is ready. The average age of potty learning readiness for a girl is about 34–36 months and for a boy it’s about 36-39 months. This is the average age of POTTY TRAINING COMPLETION without the 6-10 months of “training” and accidents!

Recently, you and your child went shopping and picked out cloth training pants and girl panties or boy underwear. You will need at least 6 -8 cloth training pants. Only open one package so that you can return any that go unused. Cloth training pants are padded/extra absorbent and are necessary in case of an accident. DO NOT use disposable training pants! They FEEL like and absorb like a diaper. Your child will forget that they don’t have a diaper on since they feel the same and work the same as a diaper. Wearing the soft, comfy and different-feeling underwear acts as a reminder that the child is now using the toilet.

Recently you had a conversation with your child and your child agreed that on Monday morning (pick any day) when your child wakes up he or she will start wearing the underwear that he or she picked out at the store. Tell your child that the diapers will be given away. Your child will wear cloth training pants day and night, including on outings. Once your child has stayed dry (during the day) for 14 days your child will be able to wear the “big boy underwear” or “big girl panties” that you picked out when you purchased the cloth training pants. Most children will stay dry at night too. Some children will wet during the night until they are 5 or 6-years-old. Many children that wet during the night and wear disposable training pants at night will continue to wet at night until they are 8 to 11-years-old. If your child wets at night, see the tips below to make “life” a little easier.

The Potty Learning Process

The child is in charge of the potty learning process.

When your child wakes up on the morning of the “start day” have your child take his or her diaper off and put on the cloth training pants. ASK your child if he or she has to go potty yet.

Put a pail/basket and a pile of training pants and pants in the bathroom. Explain to your child: “I know you probably won’t forget that you have underwear on, but, just in case you do, here are some pants to change into and you can put the wet ones in the pail.”

Do not use a reward system! When children OR adults are given rewards for a behavior and the rewards are stopped (rewards for going potty have to stop sometime) the motivation to continue the behavior stops. You wouldn’t keep going to work if your boss quit paying you, would you?

Praise your child a few times but DO NOT OVER PRAISE! Your child is ready for this. He or she is not accomplishing a heroic feat. Don’t be fakey or give your child the impression that this should be difficult.

Do not tell your child to go to the potty – unless you are going outside to play, your child is going to nap/bed, or you are leaving for an outing. Explain that you also use the toilet at these times and why.

Remind your child a few times the first day. Do not make it seem like a reminder. Say something casual like: “I bet that your new underwear feels a lot more comfortable than a diaper.” A rule of thumb is “LESS is more”. Don’t nag your child! If you nag you will put an end to your child’s excitement and motivation.

If your child stays dry the first day don’t use ANY reminders after the first day.

If your child has an accident, do not worry about it. Treat occasional accidents as learning experiences. Very casually and in a matter-of-fact voice tell the child: “Oops, you must have forgotten that you have underwear on. It’s okay, you’ll remember the next time. Your extra pants are in the bathroom.” Your child is responsible for his or her potty learning process. Your child should change him/herself. You should teach your child how to wipe his/her bottom and to wash his/hers hands and in case of an accident you should take care of the laundry. Otherwise, using the bathroom needs to be your child’s desire and responsibility. Don’t take that way from him/her. Potty training is a parent’s process. Potty learning is a child’s process. He/she is not a baby anymore.

What If My Child Keeps Wetting ?

I have 4 children of my own and owned and operated Awesome Beginnings Childcare for 18 years. I have potty learned MANY children. EVERY child that went through the “potty learning” process was ready for it and stayed consistently dry within 0-2 days. Ninety percent never had an accident in the first two weeks. If your child isn’t staying dry, he or she most likely isn’t ready – YET.

Around your child’s third birthday, unless your child has a medical problem or is physically delayed, your child is physically ready to use the toilet/potty. Also, unless your child is mentally delayed, your child is mentally ready to use the toilet/potty.

If you have started this process and your child is still wetting a few times during the day after a few days then he or she is probably not emotionally/psychologically ready. It is OKAY!!! This isn’t a race! Don’t let “other people” have a negative impact on your relationship with your child. Who cares what they think! This is a big step, commitment and change for your child. Talk to your child about it. Say something like: “Billy, it’s been 3 days since you started wearing underwear. You’re still wetting sometimes. I’m wondering if maybe you weren’t ready yet? Do you think that maybe you should go back to wearing diapers and you could try again in a couple of weeks?” Explain that it’s not hygienic to go potty (or poop) in underwear. If your child says that he/she wants to continue to wear underwear then give it a few more days.

NEVER yell at, shame or punish your child for accidents. Think of potty learning in the same way that you would if you were trying to teach your child to do a simple math problem. If your child isn’t “getting it” then your child isn’t ready. The day will come sooner than you think. All of a sudden it will just “click”. If you wait until your child is ready it will be a pleasant, positive, quick, simple and ”magical” process. REALLY!!!

All children develop physically, mentally and emotionally at different paces. It’s important to do what’s right for you and your child.

Night Wetting Tips

Tip # 1:
Don’t assume that just because your child wakes up with a SOAKED diaper every morning that your child will be a bed wetter. One of my 4 children woke up with a soaked (and I mean soaked) diaper every morning. In the 5 years after she started wearing underwear she wet the bed twice. She started wearing underwear during the day and at night on the same day.

Tip #2:
There is nothing worse than getting woke out of a deep sleep in the middle of the night and having to “function” enough to change bedding on a wet bed. To make this chore simple and quick you will need a plastic/vinyl zippered waterproof fitted mattress cover. This cover surrounds the entire mattress. You slide the mattress in and zip it at one end. Discount stores such as Target and Walmart sell them. You will also need a waterproof pad. These usually come in a size of about 2 ½’ by 5 or 6’.

On top of the fitted, zippered mattress pad you may optionally put a quilted mattress pad. On top of that put a fitted sheet. On top of that put the waterproof pad. On top of that put another fitted sheet. Have an extra blanket (and optional top sheet) handy and close to the bed.

During the night when your child wets the bed, while he or she is in the bathroom changing, all you have to do is pull the top fitted sheet and the waterproof pad off of the bed. You still have a fitted sheet under that. If the top sheet (optional) or blanket got wet then throw the reserve one on the bed. Takes one minute and now you can go back to bed and deal with the rest in the morning.

Don’t miss part 1 & 2: Potty Training vs Potty Learning and Potty Training vs Potty Learning – Signs of Readiness

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