weekend links

Ten Things

Hello! How are you? It’s Easter Holidays here, and I’m looking forward to some time off work and spending time with my two little people. I am also planning on sending out the Moral Fibres newsletter this coming week, so keep an eye on your inbox if you are a subscriber. If not, you can sign up here. :)

This week’s links

1. This one simple idea can save us from climate breakdown, say campaigners including the teenage school climate strike activist Greta Thunburg, authors Margaret Atwood, Naomi Klein, Philip Pullman, U.S. climate scientist Michael Mann, and environmental campaigner Bill McKibben, but it’s being almost totally overlooked.

2. Legal action has been launched against Shell, for what is seen as the fossil fuel company’s inadequate efforts to tackle climate change. Friends of the Earth have been joined by Greenpeace and ActionAid, as well as 17,000 people who have signed up as co-plaintiffs in the lawsuit. One to watch.

3. An independent coffee chain reported that it has seen sales fall by £250,000 since it banned single-use cups last summer – the first cafe to ban single use cups altogether. The owner of the Boston Tea Party chain, Sam Roberts, is a true hero. Rather than ditching the ban, Sam said they had factored the loss in takings into its plans and would continue with the ban, saying that too many operators were “putting their profits before the planet” – and urged other cafes to follow suit.

Sadly I don’t have a Boston Tea Party cafe near me (there are no branches in Scotland), but if you do then why not show your support by paying them a visit and giving them your custom?

4. Primark and Marks & Spencer have been accused of ripping off ethical footwear brand Veja. Veja’s response was perfect:

I think Primark got it wrong. They should not copy the style of our shoes, they should copy the way we make them. With organic cotton, with recycled plastic, with more ecological fabrics, in factories where workers are paid decently, and are working in secure conditions. We will explain everything to them in court”.

5. From 11th April you will be able to buy clothes made out of discarded orange peels, pineapple leaves and algae in selected H&M stores. Sounds great but it’s not without its problems – these fabrics use finishing chemicals that prevent them from being biodegradable or recyclable. There are other issues too – as always the best solution is buying fewer clothes.

6. David Attenborough’s Our Planet is now available on Netflix. Warning – have your tissues ready – people are tweeting things like “Friday night and I’m in bed thug crying over the Walrus scene in Our Planet“, and another saying “Watching Our Planet is the most beautiful gut punch you’ll ever see”.

7. Remember the Monsanto case I highlighted in last week’s Ten Things, where Monsanto was successfully sued for $80 million after being found to have caused cancer in a gardener?

Well, councils around the UK are now assessing their weedkiller usage, and seeking non-chemical alternatives – actions that could prove massively beneficial to our bee, butterfly and insect populations, and the creatures that feed on them. Here’s an eco-friendly homemade weedkiller if you’re looking to make the switch too.

8. Global CO2 levels will now be available in weather forecasts in the Guardian to act as a daily reminder that we must tackle climate change now. Alongside the daily carbon count, the paper will publish the level in previous years for comparison, as well as the pre-industrial baseline of 280ppm, and the level seen as manageable in the long term of 350ppm.

9. Signed – this petition to install micro-plastic filters on all new washing machines as standard. Share far and wide if you can – laundry is one of the biggest sources of microplastic pollution,

10. Finally, Surfers Against Sewage are running their Big Spring Beach Clean between the 6th and 14th of August – and urging people to volunteer and take part in one of the 600 mountain, river and beach cleans happening right across the UK. Find your nearest clean here.

That’s it for now! See you next week!


Babies, Children, Families

Eco-Friendly Potty Training Tips & Advice

eco-friendly potty training
This post contains affiliate links denoted by *

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!