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