Eco-Friendly Potty Training Tips & Advice

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eco-friendly potty training

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.

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 overboard on your eco-friendly potty training journey.

I personally like using potty training pants on my kids 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 peace of mind that you won’t be standing in the supermarket in a puddle of wee. That being said, they are by no means essential. If you want to just use regular pants then go for it!

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 eco-friendly potty training pants to use. The 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 to no avail. However, 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 each, the Bright Bots pants are pretty basic and I found them to be quite tight-fitting. However, they do the job nicely for not a lot of money. Sturdy too – they held up to two rounds of potty training! I would stock up on these if you can’t find the Tots Bots pants.

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 eco-friendly 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 kids 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 or eco-friendly these actually are for potty training, so exercise caution. There is a world of difference between the words biodegradable and compostable, and these words cannot be used interchangeably.

How To Get Started

Once your child has started showing signs of being aware, somewhere around age 2 to 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. It’s time to start eco-friendly potty training! 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, 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 inner balance, I promise!

Offer completely over-the-top praise to your kid for going on the potty. Get everyone in the family on board 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 your kids are anything like mine!

If after a week, 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 age two, in a day. My youngest potty trained at three, and it took several weeks. It really is luck of the draw I guess!

And, as always, if you have any other eco-friendly potty training tips then do share away in the comments!

The ultimate eco-friendly guide to potty training.

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  1. We had a biodegradable potty for our first child and he managed to break it! He dropped it (not from a particularly great height, and on carpet) and it just split in two. So that to me was not a win. We ended up buying a plastic one, which of course has been used on our second child too, and can be passed on. I wish we had asked around for second hand though – that would definitely have been the best option.

    1. Oh, that does not sound durable at all Heather! I’m really wary of these types of biodegradable products – biodegradable doesn’t mean the same as compostable – and they can be tricky to dispose of correctly, if at all.

  2. Just discovered your blog and loving it, thanks for the great advice Wendy! Saving this for when my bambino is ready for potty training :)

  3. This is great advice, thank you! I’m planning to potty train my little boy in a few weeks and getting things all ready. Did you use the washable training pants for naps and nighttimes to start with or just stick with cloth nappies until they were dry all through sleep time?

    1. Hi Alice, we used washable training pants for during the day in case of accidents (especially out and about, which can be quite nervewracking at first!) and naps. We still used a nappy at night – being dry at night time both times took us longer to achieve. Good luck!