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How Cloth Accelerated Potty Training for My 2 Year Old

What started as part time panicky necessity, quickly became something that I actually really enjoyed! I’m talking about cloth diapering (which I started during the pandemic, you can read about my first steps here) -- and as I mentioned, the more I learned and got comfortable, the more I was able to enjoy it! However, cloth diapering is definitely something that likely won’t be a part of your life forever -- and for us, we knew the end was getting close as we talked about beginning potty training. All together, our potty training process took about 4 weeks. (6 if you include the two weeks below)

Weeks 1 & 2

We took a gradual approach to potty training -- we started by talking about the potty a lot. Reading books as well as everytime we would do a diaper change we would talk about how pretty soon we wouldn’t need diapers because we would be using the potty! I think just introducing it conceptually was the right first step for us, but every family is different. 

At this point, we were using cloth a little more than half the time -- with the exceptions being when we were out and about for an extended amount of time, as well as naps and bedtime. 

Week 3 & 4

After we introduced the potty “conceptually” we took the initial plunge into transitioning to the potty by just taking a weekend to let our son run around the house totally naked, and putting him on the potty about every 30 minutes or so. We would watch for his queues that he was needing to use the toilet.. and we basically just followed him around the house with our little portable potty. Anytime he would start to pee we would quickly sit him on the potty and have him stay on the potty until he was all done. (sometimes it would take a minute because he would get nervous or upset when we interrupted “the flow”) Additionally -- using a reward system of one m&m every time he was able to go pee in the toilet worked really well for us! We used the method of just being naked (or just a shirt) at home and following him around with the portable potty for a few weeks to help him get the hang of things.

Poops were a little tricky… because he was really particular about being totally isolated when he was doing the deed. Honestly, for us I think the best way to learn that poop needs to go in the potty was by him seeing the poop on the floor. Haha Of course we didn’t intentionally let him poop on the floor, but if he would sneak off and make a quick poo -- we then had an opportunity to talk about how poop needs to go in the toilet just like pee does! For us, communication was key. Kids are smart, and they understand a lot more than people give them credit for. Once we explained to him that privacy was an option for him when using the potty, I think he was more comfortable with using the toilet for poops. And believe me, the first time he made a poop in the toilet there was a huge celebration which I think made all the difference for him being excited and proud of himself using the toilet for poops moving forward. 

So where does cloth diapering tie into all of this? Well, like I mentioned I was only using cloth a little more than half the time...but when my disposable stash ran out, I decided it was time to go all in with cloth. I had heard over and over that cloth accelerates potty training because it really allows your little to feel when they are wet and become more in tune with their bodily functions. 

Week 5

When we made the jump into exclusively using cloth it sped up the process so much, it was truly a turning point -- for my son and for me! I started to realize that doing cloth full time actually DOABLE for “type B”, full time working parents, like my husband and I. And my son started to have consistency in understanding his body and how to make it to the potty in time. 

The next change for us was using cloth for naps and bedtime. I was super nervous because we had established such a great sleeping schedule with my son -- I didn’t want to do anything to mess it up! (mama loves her sleep!) But, the disposables were gone and I decided to invest in a few different all-in-one diapers that had glowing reviews for their absorbency and comfortability. (the LKC Supreme AIO has my golden stamp of approval for overnights!)

I am pleased to report that they didn’t affect his sleeping schedule in the slightest.

Week 6

By week 6 -- we had traded out cloth for undies when we were out and about, and he took to it with ease! We had practiced using the potty when we were out and about before, but had usually left the house in cloth and stayed in cloth while we were out even if there were no accidents. (At about week 4 we started having him at least try to use the toilet while we were out) 

As we transitioned to leaving cloth behind, I was beaming with pride for my little, but was honestly so sad to be ending our cloth journey! I really feel like when I went all in, it gave me a boost of confidence that I didn’t know I needed. I am by no means a cloth expert, but I can say that I went from exclusively disposable, to part-time cloth, to full-time cloth -- and if I had to do it over again, I would believe in myself enough to use cloth much earlier on than I did! 

Potty training is tricky, and there is no one size fits all method in my opinion.. But if you're looking for a rough outline or some tips -- I hope you found something useful for you and your family here! If you have any questions at all, please drop them in the comments :)

Happy Toilet Training! ;)