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Babies, Children, Families

Eco-Friendly Potty Training Tips & Advice

eco-friendly potty training
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After potty training both of my kids I thought it might be useful if I wrote about our eco-friendly potty training process – from how we did it to what we used in case anyone is about to embark on potty training now or in the near future.

And if this post isn’t for you then there are a ton of other posts in my archives! ;) Here’s a load of food waste tips, for example!

As well as from an environmental perspective, I find potty training kids the eco-friendly way is much easier. In regular pants or washable training pants, your kid knows if they have an accident because their pants are wet. The packs of pull up training pants you get in the supermarket are just nappies, rebranded slightly. As they are so absorbent, kids don’t know when they are wet so it makes the potty training job 10 times harder. Don’t make what can be a tedious job even harder on yourself!

Our Eco-Friendly Potty Training Tools

washable potty training pants
Our Tots Bots Training Pants

A kid doesn’t need much to potty train. Some big kid pants and a step stool is pretty much all you need. The step stool allows little kids to get on and off the toilet, and to reach the sink to wash their hands. You might want a few extras but there’s no need to go crazy.

I personally like using potty training pants for the first month or so after potty training, especially when you are about and about. Most potty training pants hold one wee, so they give you that extra piece of mind that you won’t be standing in the supermarket in a puddle of wee. That being said, they are by no means an essential – if you want to just use regular pants then that is great.

If you are going down the washable training pants route then this is what we used:

L-R: Tots Bots, Bright Bots & Pop In Pants

2 x Tots Bots Potty Training Pants (sadly unavailable)

Sadly the Tots Bots Training Pants appear to have been discontinued, which is a real shame because they were my favourite to use. They button up on both sides, which means if your kid accidentally does a number two then they are easy to get off without getting poo everywhere. I bought these when I was potty training my eldest over five years ago, and tried to buy some more pairs for my youngest. They are well worth looking out for on cloth nappy buying and selling groups.

2 x Bright Bots Training Pants*

A bargain at £3.50, the Bright Bots pants are pretty basic and I found them to be quite tight fitting, but they do the job nicely for not a lot of money. Sturdy too – they held up to two rounds of potty training!

3 x Pop In Daytime Training Pants

I bought the Pop In Daytime Training Pants this time around, when I couldn’t find any more Tots Bots Pants. My daughter really loved the funky prints on them and they did their job quite nicely. You’ll need to cut off the absurdly long label from the back of them as this gets annoying very quickly, and I do feel the pattern fades quickly in the wash, but otherwise a good pair of toddler potty training pants.

As you can see, I had seven pairs of potty training pants which was sufficient for us. I always popped a few pairs in their nursery bags in case of accidents at nursery.

Potty, Kids Toilet Seat and Step

Some people like to get their kids to start off going on a potty, others like to skip straight to using the toilet. I personally started my kids off on the potty and then made the transition to the toilet.

We use a toilet seat at home as it means my daughter can go to the toilet unaided. We don’t carry it with us when we are out and about – I just help her. Depending on your toilet and your kid, you might not need one.

If you need to pick a potty up, then ask around – a friend or family member might have one sitting in a cupboard. If not, then kids charity shops and eBay are awash with second-hand equipment, such as potties and toilet seats. Give them a good clean first, obviously. I have seen some “biodegradable” potties on the market, but I have no idea how biodegradable these actually are, so exercise caution.

How To Get Started

Once your child has started showing signs of being aware, somewhere around age 2-3, that they have a wet or soiled nappy, or an interest in using the potty then cancel all your plans for 3 or 4 days and stay home. Stock up on food shopping – it’s best if you don’t go far.

Strip off your kid’s bottom half, and roll up any rugs. If you have carpets, put something waterproof down and lay out some floor based activities. I then bust the juice out (a treat!) and keep my little one well hydrated.

Every twenty-five minutes (yes, it will drive you completely crazy), ask your kid if they need the toilet. Set a timer in case you forget! It feels a bit of a hard slog, constantly asking about the toilet. For me, the promise of a glass of wine at the end of the day worked for me, but you do what works for you. You will get there and regain your sanity, I promise!

Offer completely over the top praise to your kid for going on the potty. Get everyone in the family onboard in offering praise. Offer chocolate or a sticker on a sheet as a reward for every successful potty usage. I used chocolate. No shame. No regrets.

After a couple of days you can go up to asking every 45 minutes. And after a few weeks your kid will be able to tell you when they need the potty. And believe me, they will. Sometimes when they don’t even need the potty (generally at bedtime).

If after a week or two, and your kid doesn’t seem to be getting the hang of using the potty, then put things on hold and try again in a little while. If they are not ready then it’s really not worth the hassle.

That’s my guide to eco-friendly potty training – I’m happy to help with any questions you have! Some parents have asked me before if using cloth nappies can help your kid to potty train faster than disposable nappy wearers. I would say, from my experience, it all depends on the kid. My oldest daughter potty trained at two, in a day. My youngest potty trained at three, and it took several weeks. Luck of the draw I guess!

If you have any other eco-friendly potty training tips then do ask away!

Babies, Children, Families, Teenagers, Whole Family

7 Places to Buy Ethical Kids Clothes in 2019

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Something I get HEAPS of emails about is where to buy ethical kids clothes.

I started putting an ethical kids clothing directory together a couple of years ago, and the task quickly became out of hand for this one woman band. It turns out there are a TON of organic baby clothes companies out there. It quickly became apparent that pretty much every other baby clothes company is organic, and whilst that is great, it soon became a very laborious and torturous task trying to index these rapidly multiplying shops. What I will say is that if you are thinking about going into business making and selling organic babywear then stop right there and consider making older kids clothing instead, where there is a massive gap in the market.

That directory is still languishing in my drafts, and rather than try to go back to it, I thought I’d round up some of my favourite places to buy ethical kids clothes. And there are still some organic babywear options below, I just haven’t gone overboard with them.

My kids are aged 3 and 7 so we haven’t had to navigate the teenage years yet, but I’ll share as many tips as I can to cover dressing babies, toddlers, kids, and teenagers ethically.

where to shop for ethical kids clothes

1. eBay

eBay is one of my all-time favourites for ethical kids clothing. There’s nothing more ethical than secondhand clothing, so eBay is brilliant if you want to shop ethically but on a tight budget.

eBay is also a great place to stock up on clothes for older kids and teenagers too – just make sure you click the used filter at the side.

One thing I particularly love eBay for is the fact that parents sell bundles of clothes that their kid has grown out of. Just search, for example, “girls bundle age 3 4” and you can find hundreds and hundreds of bundles of clothing. Here you can pick up practically everything your kid will need in one parcel for very little.

If you really want to get the most for your money then my top eBay thrifty trick is to stock up on winter wear in the summertime, when fewer people are searching and bidding on winter wear. And likewise, searching for summer gear in winter is a superb way to grab some great bargains. I’ve also got lots of eBay tips this way.

2. Charity Shops

My other favourite place to shop ethically for kids is in charity shops. I’m really lucky to have a Barnados charity shop near me that exclusively sells kids wear and gear. I’ve come out of there with a pile of fantastic clothes for my kids and spent little over £10.

If the charity shops near you don’t cater much for kids then Oxfam Online is a super place to shop for secondhand ethical kids clothes online, in sizes ranging from birth to age 16.

Delivery is a flat fee of £3.95, no matter how many items you buy, and they also offer free returns making Oxfam Online a hassle way to shop for ethical kids clothes.

3. Treasure House

Another fantastic ethical kids option is Treasure House – an online secondhand shop of quality (often designer) kids clothes ranging from ages 0 to 16.

Here you can shop their very reasonably priced range of quality secondhand kids wear (no Primark or supermarket clothes here). Alternatively, you can trade in your kid’s old clothes, using their free postage service, to gain credit to shop from their range.

What’s more, all new customers can pick any one item for under £15 as their free gift as welcome to Treasure House, no catch – you just have to pay the £3.99 postage costs.

4. Frugi

frugi kids ethical clothing

Frugi is a great stop if you are looking to buy some new ethical pieces. Catering for babies and kids up to age 10, Frugi’s bright and colourful clothes are made from organic and ethically sourced cotton.

All their outwear is made from recycled plastic bottles, which is great, but you may want to buy a Guppyfriend for washing, as these types of materials do release microfibres when washed.

Offering free delivery and an easy returns policy, it’s an easy way to shop from home.

5. Toby Tiger

toby tiger ethical kids clothes

Toby Tiger is another ethical kids online shop that’s big on colour. Their ethical and GOTS certified organic cotton kidswear, which I really appreciate not being labelled as for girls or for boys, is for kids aged up to six years old.

6. Etsy

organic kids tshirts

If you’re looking to shop directly from independent makers then Etsy is the place for you. Here you’ll find great ethical kidswear from makers like Wiltshire based Lost Shapes. Lost Shapes sell colourful kids organic, environmentally friendly and fairly traded t-shirts and jumpers, in sizes up to age 14, and starting from just £8.

7. Tootsa

tootsa ethical kids clothes

Finally, Tootsa (formerly known as Tootsa MacGinty) is a wonderful online shop selling ethical and largely unisex knitwear and other kids clothes in baby to age 10. And Tootsa even does a small adult line if you want to twin with your kids…!

Years ago I bought two jumpers for my eldest – which have since been handed down to my youngest, and these are still going strong, and still looking like new.

If your piece isn’t faring so well, then Tootsa offer a repair service where they’ll do their best to find a solution to keep your favourite Tootsa clothes going for longer. They’ll send you buttons, trims, patches and cover the cost of replacing a zipper if needs be. Failing all of that, you can send your old Tootsa clothes back to then in exchange for a discount off your next order.

Tootsa do fantastic sales, periodically (right now there’s 70% off until the end of today). It’s a good idea to sign up to their mailing list or follow on social media to keep updated.

I hope this is helpful in your search for places to buy ethical kids clothes! Have I missed any of your favourites?