Our little guy turned 2 in April and has been showing signs of being ready to potty train for some time. With a recent move and the busyness of settling into our new home, I have had to put potty training on the back burner. In the mean time, I thought I would share our diapering experience.
We have used cloth diapers (Fuzzi Bunz) off and on for the last 8 years. I started using them with my 4th child. At the time, we lived in base housing and didn’t pay for utilities. We used cloth diapers exclusively with her and had a very easy time potty training her at 2 years old.
With our 5th child, we started with cloth diaper intending to use them exclusively, but moved to Spain when he was 5 months old. The washers/dryers in Europe a made to wash clothes for a family of 2…teeny tiny. And one load of laundry takes about 3 hours to wash and dry. I was always backed up on laundry and the cost of running the washer and dryer so much was outrageous.
Something had to give and I ended up using disposables most of the time. Right after he turned 2 we move to Texas and I started using cloth diapers with him for a couple of months before potty training him.
With our 6th child, I again started using cloth diapers intending to do so long term. Another move and a difficult “washing dilemma” caused me to use disposables throughout most of his diaper wearing years. Now that we have moved back to Texas, I am in the same situation with him as I had been with child #5. I put him in cloth diapers with the intentions of potty training soon.
Why Cloth Diapers
- Cheaper – Generally cloth diapers have a great cost savings over using disposables. The cloth diapers I purchased were not the cheapest ones, but they are very well made. This has allowed me to use them with 3 children now, and they are still in great shape (in case I need to use them with more).
There is an additional expense in water/electricity, but depending on your situation you might even save money washing and drying. For instance, our water supply is well water, so we don’t have a water bill. There have been times we have used a clothes line to dry our diapers (it is actually better for them) to save on the cost of electricity.
- Healthier – Cloth diapers do not contain chemicals that can both irritate baby’s skin or get into their urinary/reproductive tracts. I always cringe when I have to wipe off gel pieces from my baby’s bottom knowing that they just can’t be good for them.
On the other hand, with cloth diapers you really have to makes sure that they get thoroughly washed out so that there are no harmful bacteria left in the diapers. With my 5th son, he had thrush and a yeast rash as a baby. I washed his diapers thoroughly and added apple cider vinegar to the wash to make sure all the organisms were killed.
- Simpler – Some may snicker at the thought of cloth diapers being simpler, but really they are. Yes, they can be extra work, but honestly, I find it to be rewarding work. There is just something so inherently simple about diapering your child in the same way they have been diapered for thousands of years. Everyone may not appreciate the nostalgia but I happen to like it.
Yes, I do have to work harder. Yes, there are times that cloth diapers can be messier. And yes, sometimes they are downright inconvenient. But there is something so sweet about seeing your little one toddle around in their big bulky cloth diaper, knowing that it was the work of your hand that keeps that diaper on their bum.
Cloth Diapers and Potty Training
I have found that using cloth diapers before potty training has been such a tremendous help in facilitating the training. Although cloth diapers absorb the wetness, they don’t completely wick away the moisture like disposables do. Consequently, the youngsters “feel” the wetness against them.
In my experience, this has helped become more aware of the entire act of going potty. By the time my kids are nearing 2 years of age, being wet or dirty really starts to bother them. They will often take off their diaper after they have gone (not always the best thing, but at least they are learning).
Another benefit with the pocket diapers is that you can remove one or both of the inserts (I use 2 inserts for diapers) to use them as training pants. I have also been able to slip the diapers on and off like underwear leaving them buttoned up. Or if they have gone in the diaper, you can always lay them down and unbutton them to avoid the mess of pulling them down.
How-to’s of Cloth Diapering
I try to keep things as simple as possible so that cloth diapering is doable for us. When my babies are little, I try to have about 24 small diapers. As they get older, I move them to size large and just put them on the tightest snap. With the first child I cloth diapered, I used medium when they were young and moved to large. (However, I gave the mediums to a friend, so when I went to buy diapers again I just bought small.)
All that to say that you can get by with just 2 sizes. For the larger size, I keep about 18 on hand but generally just use 10 or so by the time they are 1 1/2 to 2.
What I do is keep a bucket/tub/trash can (I have used all 3) on the dryer. When they wet their diaper, I toss it into the bucket. If they dirty their diaper, I take it to the toilet and get as much off as I can using toilet paper. I then put the diaper in the bucket.
I like to wash diapers every day because they start to smell (worse than normal) if I take longer than a day to wash. To wash, I hold the diaper by the front corners and shake out the inserts into the washer. Then I toss the diaper in as well. I wash the diapers once with cold water/no detergent just to rinse them out and get all the yuckies off. I then wash a second time with hot water/detergent. I use Charlie’s Soap to wash my diapers (I use Amazon’s Subscribe and Save to get my Charlie’s soap cheaper). Once the diapers are washed, I rinse them a second time just to make sure the soap has all been rinsed out. Then I toss them in the dryer to dry or hang them out.
It does seem like somewhat of a process, but really when you get a system down it is not bad at all. I usually wash the load on the small load size setting, so it doesn’t take as long to fill up with water.
Disclosure Policy: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”