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!

Children, Families

Food Waste: Should You Clear Your Plate?

food waste

food waste

We’ve been working hard on reducing our food waste and are a lot better than what we used to be (although there is probably room for improvement!).  But one area where we really struggle with, as parents, is dealing with toddler leftovers.

Our local council don’t offer food waste collections (although I have heard through the grapevine that they will next year).  We do compost all of our vegetable peelings and raw food waste, but leftover cooked food is a bit of a problem.

Toddlers and young kids are notoriously fussy eaters, and although our daughter isn’t as fussy as some (although she does have her moments!), she doesn’t always finish whats on her plate.   I try to reuse what I can to a point – however I draw the line at half chewed food or food that has already been reheated and then not eaten.  I feel so guilty at throwing it in the bin when there is probably something that can be done with it.

reducing food waste

Typical lunchtime leftover – uneaten omelette

When I was little my mum wouldn’t make me leave the table until I had eaten everything on the plate.  I can vividly remember being about six and sitting there for what felt like hours trying to eat some golden wonder potatoes which I absolutely hated (and still do!), in tears and gagging with every bite.  Have you had golden wonder potatoes before?  They are very dry and floury, and my mum used to boil them for us even though Wikipedia says you shouldn’t boil them!  I still feel sick at even the very mention of them and their vile dryness!

On top of this, my primary school favoured the same approach.  You weren’t allowed to go outside and play until you had eaten everything.   My school used to serve disgusting hamburgers (aah, the eighties, when hamburgers were considered nutritious meals for children!) – consequently, until switching to vegetarianism, I was probably the only meat-eating young person who did not like burgers!  I also have terrible associations with rice pudding and anything similar.

While my parents and school were only doing what they thought was best for me at the time, I don’t like that I’ve got such bad feelings associated with some foods because of this approach.  I’ve only relatively recently started eating cauliflower after many many years of avoiding it like the plague.

Consequently we have quite a relaxed approach to my daughter’s eating.  We provide her with nutritious food and let her eat as much or as little as she likes.  While I hope this will help avoid future food hangups, it’s not great for our food waste situation!

So parents who have been there before, how do (or did) you cut down on your kid’s food waste?  Offer food in smaller portions?  Reduce snacking?  Or do you just accept it as necessary waste?  Or perhaps we’re being too liberal – do you insist they clear their plate?

Something I am interested in is bokashi.  I found this article on bokashi quite useful – has anyone else had a good or bad experience with it?

 I’d love to hear your thoughts on kids and food waste.  Perhaps you’re a clear your plate proponent?  Or is it just me or do you avoid certain foods after being made to eat them as a kid?