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Toilet training information

Toilet training with less waste comes down to two key decisions:

  • When you toilet train
  • The toilet training products you buy.
 

When you train

The average age for a child to be fully toilet trained in New Zealand is the highest it's ever been at around three years. But, for those who have the time and inclination, it can be done much earlier. Whether you're using cloth or disposable nappies; earlier toilet training will help reduce your impact on the environment.

There are three broad approaches that parents can take to toilet training:

  1. Elimination Communication (EC) or nappy free. This can be started with young babies but is very intensive. See the separate article on EC
  2. Three day potty training - which suits young toddlers
  3. Child-led toilet learning - which requires an emotional and physical readiness that commonly won't occur until around 2 ½ years old.
 

Three Day Potty Training

Note "Three Day" is a misnomer. It STARTS with three intensive days of training at home with pants off and the potty very close by at all times. While your child will likely have success in the potty and learn a lot over that period, becoming accident-free will take longer.

It certainly does work and is probably similar to the way you and your parents were toilet trained. The biggest advantage is, of course, to have your child out of nappies much earlier than the average age.

 

Child-Led Toilet Learning

The child-led approach is the most common method used today in the western world. It hinges on parents waiting until their child shows clear signs of physical and emotional readiness and a real keenness for using the toilet. It's very gentle and well suited to parents with busy lifestyles.

The downside is, of course, that the child-led approach results in much later toilet training - commonly after 3 years. As parents, we should be wary that the research behind this approach has been heavily funded by Pampers (US disposable nappy manufacturers) so, while it does work, the research that has made it so popular has been accused of bias.
 

What you use

 

Disposable or Reusable Trainers

The biggest environmentally conscious choice you can make when potty training is to avoid disposable training pants. They're an unnecessary strain on landfill and they're so absorbent that we believe they're actually not the best at teaching our children to use the loo!

The best option (if it's warm enough) is to go pants free when at home. If you have carpets and furnishings you want to protect you can set up a temporary play space in the bathroom, on a waterproof play mat or in a shaded area outside.

When out and about use washable training pants. There are huge advantages to them over the disposable versions:

  • They don't wick away accidents so the child really feels it when they're wet
  • They look a lot more like real undies
  • They come in a huge array of fun colours and patterns
  • Like the disposables there are options with plenty of absorbency, waterproof outers and side openings for easy changing.
 

Recycle or compost

When toilet training you'll likely buy an array of products including a step stool, toilet seat insert and potty. While most are made of plastic for ease of cleaning, there are environmentally conscious options:
 

  • Look for potty training products made from recyclable plastics.
  • Check out the Beco range. It's made from a farming waste product compressed with organic resin and dye. All of their products are compostable.
 

One more thing

It's worth noting that children who wear cloth nappies toilet train around one month earlier than children who wear disposables. Yet another great reason to go for cloth!

 

This article was written for The Nappy Lady by Bath and Potty Time

Here are a couple of great online resources in NZ for Toilet Training:

http://bathandpottytime.co.nz/

http://www.looloo.co.nz/