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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.

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.

Babies, Children, Families, Teenagers, Whole Family

8 Places to Buy Ethical Kids Clothes in 2022

Here are eight great places to buy ethical kids clothes. From super sustainable secondhand clothes to organically and ethically sourced clothing, from birth to age 14.

Something I get HEAPS of emails about is where to buy ethical kids clothes. As a mum of two girls, I understand your frustration in not being able to easily find ethical clothes for your growing children.

There are loads of organic and sustainable baby clothes companies out there. However, when it comes to kids older than toddlers then options for ethical kids clothing starts to diminish. By the time you get to age 10, it’s a pretty sparse picture. What I will say is that if you are thinking about going into business making and selling organic babywear then stop right there. Instead, consider making older kids’ clothing instead, where there is a massive gap in the market.

Where to Buy Ethical Kids Clothes

That being said, there are a number of places to buy ethical and sustainable clothes for kids from birth to age 14. My kids are aged 6 and 10 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

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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 for Ethical Kids Clothes

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 a 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. Here you’ll find sizes ranging from birth to age 16.

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

3. 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. However, 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.

4. 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 (this post explains what GOTS certified, and other sustainable labeling means), which I really appreciate not being labelled as for girls or for boys, is for kids aged up to six years old.

5. Etsy for Ethical Kids Clothes

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. These come in sizes up to age 14, with prices starting from just £8.

6. The QT

The QT* has designed their ethical clothing for kids, aged 2 to 10, with circularity in mind, They aim for their clothing to be as close to 100% organic, natural, recyclable, and compostable as possible. From the fabric – 100% GOTS certified organic cotton – right down to the small details, such as the tags, threads, and buttons. Even the packaging is considered. Each garment comes in a fully compostable and biodegradable bag, which can be repurposed as a food waste caddy liner.

If your kids wear their QT Apparel clothes out beyond repair, then don’t worry. QT Apparel accepts QT Apparel clothing for recycling. You’ll even get a 20% discount voucher to use on your next purchase.

Sign up to the QT Apparel mailing list and get 15% off your first order.

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 offers a repair service. Here 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 them in exchange for a discount on your next order.

Tootsa does fantastic sales, periodically. It’s a good idea to sign up to their mailing list or follow on social media to keep updated.

8. Polarn O Pyret

Catering from birth up to age 12, Polarn O Pyret* makes ethical kids clothes in a range of sustainable materials. From GOTS certified organic cotton to organic wool and more. All of their clothes are designed to last. In fact, Polarn O. Pyret says that every garment is made to last at least 3 children, if not many more.

Polarn O. Pyret also has many great sustainability measures in place too.  They offer a free repairs service to fix zips and replace broken poppers on all of their outerwear garments. This is regardless of when they were purchased.

They have also recently introduced a buy-back scheme. Here, when your child grows out of their Polarn O. Pyret clothes, they will help you find a new owner for it. In return, you’ll receive a voucher to use on new items online. At the moment, this only applies to outerwear, such as jackets and rain trousers. Hopefully, this may expand in the future to all of their clothes. I’ll keep you updated.

I hope this is helpful in your search for places to buy ethical kid’s clothes! Have I missed any of your favourites? And do check out my post on how to buy kid’s clothes that last for some useful pointers.