Diapers & Toileting
Hey, we get it. It’s nobody’s favorite activity, but keeping little bottoms clean with diaper changes is a necessary evil. Like so many areas of parenting, diapering and toilet training leave you with some decisions to make with regards to what will work for your lifestyle. Knowing the gear, tips, and tricks that have served many parents who’ve come before you well will equip you for diaper blowouts, potty chair patience, and ultimately, victory over the toilet training battle.
The Gear Essentials
- Best Diapers: We suppose it goes without saying, but you’ll be needing just a few diapers to make it through their baby and toddler years. You’ll be able to choose from disposable or cloth diapers, but make sure to pay attention to size when shopping. In fact, although it can be tempting to pre-buy diapers, you may want to stick with Stage 1 if you do. This is because babies bigger than 10 lbs usually require them, and if your baby is on the larger side, they may outgrow newborn diapers quickly.
- Best Baby Wipes: Cleaning up their dirty diapers can be a heavy-duty operation, and you need something that’s soothing, easy to grab, cleans thoroughly, and dries quickly. This is where baby wipes come in. Many trusted diaper brands make companion wipes, but parents should note that the best baby wipes to start out with are fragrance free and designed for babies with sensitive skin.
- Best Diaper Rash Cream: Even with regular changes and baths, red, blotchy, uncomfortable diaper rash is an occasional reality for babies. It’s quite uncomfortable and can make baby fussy, so treating it right away is a necessity. Diaper rash cream creates a protective barrier that encourages healing and eases their discomfort. Trust us, you’d rather have this around than not when you see those telltale patches appear.
- Changing table: While a changing table isn’t an absolute necessity, it’s a very handy addition to your nursery. It creates a dedicated area for changing your baby and storing their changing supplies, which can help to keep things cleaner and more organized.
- Best Diaper Bag: Changing diapers is as much of a must on the go as it is at home, and a good diaper bag has plenty of room for their diapers, wipes, cream, and all those other on-the-go goodies that’d normally go in your purse. There’s many fun, trendy designs out there, so it’s not hard to find one that will fit your personal style. When it comes to structure, the best diaper bags have both inner and side storage, and open from the top down to make access easier for parents.
What About Cloth Diapers?
Disposable diapers certainly aren’t cheap, and many eco-conscious parents blanch when hearing statistics related to their use. The average child uses approximately 7,000 diapers in their journey from birth to toilet training, and it takes about 500 years for those diapers to decompose in a landfill. Meanwhile, they release CFCs, which are destructive to the ozone layer.
With this in mind, it’s not a surprise that those oh-so-old-school cloth diapers are seeing a resurgence in popularity. Their use obviously predated that of disposable diapers, and newer versions are much easier to deal with (and cuter!) than the ones grandma used. You’ll have a few options to choose from if you opt for cloth diapering. One thing to note: while soaker pads are effective, they’re still not quite as absorbent as disposables, so a waterproof cover is always wise.
- All-in-one: As its name suggests, this cloth diaper is styled like a brief that can be pulled on and off easily. The soaker pad, which absorbs liquid waste, is sewn into the diaper, so the whole unit must be washed at once.
- All-in-two: These diapers have a similar brief construction to all-in-one diapers, but soaker pads can be inserted or removed. This offers the option to use overnight inserts with heavier absorbency if needed.
- Prefold: This is the modern name for the old-school folded diapers made of large rectangular cotton panels; the diaper must be folded to fit baby’s body, secured, and then topped with a waterproof cover.
- Hybrid: These are quite similar to all-in-two cloth diapers, but you’ll have the option to choose from a reusable or disposable soaker pad.
Learning to use the potty can be a stressful experience for both parents and kids, but patience and consistency goes a long way toward making the journey easier. Often, kids will let you know when they’re ready to potty train, and may begin showing indications as soon as 18 – 24 months. Other children may not be ready until three — there’s really no need to rush. Wondering how to know if they’re ready?
- They’re able to stay dry for long periods of time
- They’re not using their diaper during their naps
- They’re showing interest in using the adult potty
- They’re able to tell you that they’re going to use, are using, or did use their diaper
- They try to hide when using their diaper
- They seem to be especially uncomfortable in or pull at a used diaper
Important Potty Training Gear
Since toddlers are a bit too small to safely get on and use the big potty without accommodations, there are a few pieces that can really help out in your home bathroom.
- Standalone potty chair: This gives them their very own toddler-sized potty to practice with, which they can often use without an adult’s assistance. The only downside is that it doesn’t flush, so cleanup will be necessary.
- Best Potty Seat: These attach to your standard toilet seat in order to make the opening slightly smaller and more comfortable, and often includes side rails to offer safety and add an extra sense of security while sitting high up. Some have stairs with rails built in, allowing safe and easy access.
- Best Step Stool: Toddlers are likely to need a boost to climb up on their potty seat, making a step stool an ideal addition. Look for step stools with safety rails as well as non-skid steps AND bottoms.
- Best Training Urinal: One for the boys – potty training urinals can be a fun way of encouraging your little guy to improve his aim while having fun. (It’s worth it just for the future time saved on cleaning up wayward tinkles!)