Thursday, February 17, 2011

Just say no to pull-ups?

If you have read any of my potty training posts, you know that we neglected to buy any pull-up disposable training pants for our son. Oops. It wasn't an accident, of course. I started my potty training plans with big intentions toward cloth training pants, since we used cloth diapers, and spent a fair bit of time poking around my favorite cloth diaper shops online and looking at the training pants offerings. I wasn't surprised at how many options there are, nor that many are pretty expensive. With all the cloth diapering options out there, it stands to reason that there would be a lot in training pants as well.

Months ago I bought a three pack of Gerber training pants, thinking we would try them out and see if we really needed to unload so much cash to get our son potty trained in a eco- friendly way. However, by the time we really embarked on our first full-on potty training week, I had determined that the best course of action was to stick him in big boy underpants and skip any kind of training pant. We bought 10 pairs of character undies and used a few Gerber pants when we ran low. As an aside, I don't recommend the character undies. They were falling apart after a few washes. I have since purchased some from Carters and they are much higher quality. Cuter, too.

Yes, I did a lot of laundry that week, and for another week or so the loads were still more frequent that I would like. Now, we do maybe an extra load but the loads are a bit smaller. He does have accidents and I don't like to leave pee-soaked clothes sitting, but really he doesn't go through enough extra clothing that it's a burden.

But our trash? The same.

When I wander around one of those big club stores and see the giant cases of training pants, I can't help but wonder why people would spend that kind of money on something they are going to HOPE their child won't pee or poo in and so they can throw it away, essentially unused. Best case scenario, you are wasting your money. Worst case, you may as wekk just stay in diapers.

Then I see that they go up to a size 5T.

Now, come on, people! Okay, I get it. I do! I know that when both parents work, potty training the way we did it is not easy. Probably pretty difficult, in fact. Disposable trainers do make it easier by avoiding the mess. But they may just drag it out over months or even years, costing you time, money, and more than a little frustration.

Consider this:

Huggies offers the following training pants features:

  1. "easy open sides", which basically means you can continue to lie your child down to change him, which only confirms his suspicions that he is wearing a diaper. Call it whatever you want, it's still a diaper.
  2. Nighttime absorbancy. DIAPER. The goal is not for you child to sleep comfortably through nighttime urination.
  3. "cool alert". In what universe does it make sense for a child to feel coldness as a result of peeing? This seems confusing and ultimately, since they have already begun to urinate, probably not terribly effective.
  4. Character designs that fade away when wet. Presumably, your child is also wearing pants so I'm not sure what the point is, except that they'll be excited to get their diaper changed…

Pampers offers:

  1. Claim they hold 25% more than Huggies training pants. Do I need to say it?
  2. Claim to help make potty training "make sense". There is no further explanation. I have no idea what this means.
  3. "feel and learn" liner. They say that children feel wetness, helping them learn to stay dry. BUT I would argue that this is likely temporary, and not terribly uncomfortable, as the diaper itself absorbs most if not all of the liquid, so the discomfort does not compare to being naked or in just underpants, which leads to pee running down the leg, which leads to self-awareness and an understanding of where the pee comes from. But of course I have never peed in one so I wouldn't know.
  4. When you click on "Helpful Hints" under the product description, it explains the basics of…changing diapers.
  5. Pampers trainers also have designs that fade when wet. They are located below the cool Diego design that kids like so much. Diego doesn't fade. I think girls get Dora.


The first review that came up when I clicked on the tab at the Pampers site stated that the writer loves the product, thinks it is awesome, and wishes they came in a size 7. The second reviewer only bought them because a coupon made them cheaper than diapers and she recommends skipping them and going right into underpants because her child would rather use the training pant than the potty. She also says they look and feel and work just like a diaper, only with tear apart sides instead of tabs.

At the Huggies website, a rather annoying song plays that repeats itself in my head while I try to go to sleep at night. You know the one.

Yes, potty training is messy and messier if you skip these products. But it's cheaper and faster if you just grin and bear it, and the earth will thank you. Kimberly-Clark and Proctor & Gamble probably prefer if you keep your child in diapers until they outgrow the biggest size. Can you blame them? The price per diaper for training pants is much higher.

Both sites have long lists of things to look for for potty training "readiness". Ignore these. Your child does not have to be able to do the entire potty process without any assistance before he can be potty trained. You will be wiping bums for a while, so you may as well help pull clothes up and down, too. It isn't as gross as changing diapers, I promise. Especially when the tradeoff is getting rid of a stinky diaper pail.

Not a stay at home parent? Consider taking a week of vacation, and if you have a partner, have him or her take a second week following yours, and potty train with just underpants. Use whatever method makes sense to you, but be consistent. Then stick with undies as much as possible, using disposable pants only if your daycare requires it. Make sure to ask. It's possible that yours expects it, but understands that they prolong the process and they may be happy to skip them, too. If not, consider a greener option. Seventh Generation makes training pants, or your daycare may be willing to work with waterproof cloth trainers. Cloth trainers have excellent resale value!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

I LOVE automatic flush toilets and so does my toddler!! Yeah, right.

I thought it might be interesting to share how our potty training has been going. It only took Jack about a week to really catch on and he was even starting to tell us when he needed to go by the middle of the second week.


Being cautious, I was skeptical that this would really stick so quickly, so…well…easily. But he has really been doing great. Yes, we do have accidents but he is at about 85-90% accuracy and almost always lets someone know when he needs to go. We have to closely monitor Yo Gabba Gabba time because frankly, he would rather pee himself than pause it for two minutes to use the potty. But can you blame him?


So things were going great after the first two weeks. He was even using public toilets like a champ!


And then we went into a bathroom at the mall, armed with a cushy fold up potty seat, and dared my happily-peeing-in-public-potties toddler to get through two rather harrowing experiences. The first was incidental. The second was entirely my fault.


See, there was a young mother in there changing her tiny daughter's diaper. On the counter, obviously, because there was no changing table. She had, of course, every possibly piece of baby gear with her and since the bathroom was small, it took up most of the room and blocked us in. I watched in horror as she not only changed the baby without a changing pad under her, but also piled up used wipes on the counter. All the while, she apologized and told us indignantly that, "there's no changing table! So I had no choice," and not moving a muscle. I admire her commitment to changing that diaper in a timely fashion, but that's about it.


Now, new mommas out there, I GET IT. I have been there. I have needed to change a poopie diaper and been unable to locate a bathroom with a changing table. In such cases, I have:

  1. Gone back out to our car and changed him on the seat.
  2. Continued to look for a family restroom (which, by the way, was only about a two minute walk away from this one).
  3. Used the stroller, though this is awkward.

So I implore, please consider these options first. Now, I digress. Back to my story.


So while we tentatively waited for New Mommy to make some kind of attempt to move something out of the way, Jack backed up and stood under the automatic hand dryer.


Yes, the automatic hand dryer.


Those of you with toddlers know what happened next, but I'll indulge those without. The dryer turned itself on and scared the bejeezus out of my son, who all but leapt out of his pants. After seemingly soothing my little guy, I quickly told New Mommy that my son needs the potty, can I move her things? She suddenly seemed to realize that we had come into the bathroom in order to use it's facilities, rather than in search of an adorable little 10 week old baby girl to oogle. Though, admittedly, she was pretty cute. But what baby isn't? She said something along the lines of, "omg, of course!"


So I shoved her stroller, topped with an infant seat and with at least one shopping bag from every store in the mall strapped, tied, and piled on top of it out of our way. Immediately upon entering the stall, I noticed (as any over-read mother would) that the toilet had an automatic flush. I deftly placed the fold up seat on the potty, pulled down my son's now-too-big pants and undies, scooped him up, and threw one hand over the sensor while placing him delicately on his throne, where he kicked his feet around contentedly and wondered why I had responded to his repeatedly saying, "potty? Momma, potty?" by taking him to a potty. Silly Momma.


Before I continue (and, again, at least the novice moms out there know where this is going), I should mention that only the day before I had purchased, for this very occasion, a roll of black electric tape. I, over-read that I clearly am on relevant parenting topics and most recently on potty training, knew that savvy mommas carry a roll in their diaper bag to cover the sensor so the automatic toilet does not flush and scare the living poopie out of their skeptical-about-public-potties-already toddlers. But you see, my toddler was already using public toilets like a pro, #1, #2, whatever. He was golden. So I figured, since my own mom was there wielding the somehow heavier diaper bag, that I should go ahead and have her dig out the tape for me so I can tempt fate a little and free my numb finger from its rather uncomfortable and weird angle. Because, you see, that's what I was supposed to do.


While reciting, by heart, "Hippos go berserk!" to keep my son entertained, I used my teeth and free left (aka useless) hand to rip off a piece of electrical tape, which I then slipped in place, sliding my finger out of the way.


Oops. Turns out I'm not so deft. It flushed, Jack cried out and flew off the potty. And he has not used a public toilet since.


Okay, so it's only been a few weeks. But I should mention that, again, being waay over-read, I knew that some savvy moms also keep a spare potty in their car and just let their kids use the potty before going in the store or before getting buckled back in. I have no idea where I read this, but some clever mom out there paved the way and now I barely even look around to see if anyone is watching before I dump pee on the parking lot and sing our new favourite song, "Pee Pee in the Potty," which literally goes:

Pee Pee in the Potty!

Pee Pee in the Potty!

Pee Pee in the Potty!


So I didn't exactly invent the wheel there, but since I'm not a fan of pre-sliced bread, I will go ahead and pat myself on the back for my potty training prowess and pretend that whole ugly mall incident wasn't my fault.