Wednesday, May 8, 2013
Is your baby sending you signals that they are ready to potty-learn? Exciting day, Mama! Of course- you might be a little sad that you won't be able to put your cute cloth diapers on them for much longer, but never fear, there are some adorable training pants out there to help both you and your baby transition out of diapers and into undies. The great thing is- these training pants will help your baby feel wet so they will want to use the potty- but they'll also help contain the inevitable messes that go along with potty learning. Luckily for you, there won't be a huge learning curve as far as cleaning and caring for your baby's reusable training pants.
Washable cloth training pants are a lot like cloth diapers, and you'll care for them in much the same way, which should make you feel relieved, because I bet by now you've gotten your washing routine down pat! Most reusable potty pants have a waterproof layer of PUL to help keep messes in and an absorbent layer to help absorb most of any accidents. Basically what that means is that you can stash your toddler's used cloth training pants in a wet bag for a couple of days and wash 15 to 20 at a time like you would with cloth diapers.
To start off your washing routine do a warm rinse with no detergent. This will help remove as much pee and poop as possible before you add in your detergent. The reason I recommend a warm wash if at all possible is because it will get any solids back to a more "body temperate" type state and lift off a little more effectively. Don't worry about staining. For the most part a warm wash isn't going to cause your toddler's training pants to stain, but if it does, a little time in the sun will fix that. If you're using a trainer with snaps like Kissa's Pocket Training Pants, just unsnap them and lay them flat to sun them. If they are pull up trainers like EcoPosh Recycled Organic Training Pants, just turn them inside out and stick them in the sun.
Once you've run the warm rinse (if you can't force your machine to do a warm rinse, cold is ok too), add your detergent and run them through a long cycle on cool with an extra rinse. If they're super gross, warm is ok here too, but with PUL or TPU (the laminated waterproof cover) you just want to be careful that you don't use hot water.
I know there's always a big debate about how much detergent you should use when washing cloth diapers or cloth trainers, but here's my two cents- use the recommended amount! You're washing bodily waste- don't use less detergent than you'd use to clean a tomato sauce stain off of your t-shirt. That being said- don't overload on the detergent either... too much can cause stink issues. My advice is to use the minimum recommended amount and add to it if needed. If your washable trainers still smell dirty out of the dryer, add a little more next time. If they smell like detergent still out of the dryer, use a little less. It can be a little bit of a trial and error process, but once you get into a routine that works for you you will know.
Once you've done a detergent cycle (don't forget to turn on the extra rinse!) I like to do a short wash cycle with no detergent. I just want to make sure all of the detergent is fully rinsed out. It doesn't take too much water and it doesn't take tons of extra time, but for my family (we have extremely hard water) that extra cycle is the difference between mostly clean diapers and potty training pants, and completely clean ones! You might have perfect water and not need that extra rinse cycle, but if you find your trainers are starting to smell a little bit, try adding that in!
Ok. So let's recap.
1. Don't let your washable trainers sit dirty in a wet bag for more than two or three days tops! They will be super smelly if they sit longer than that!
2. Run a warm rinse cycle with NO detergent
3. Run your longest wash cycle with the recommended amount of detergent, making sure to turn on your washer's "extra rinse" option
4. Do one last rinse cycle, NO detergent
5. Dry! Line dry, or in the dryer, either will work, just make sure you dry them on low heat, and never use fabric softener sheets!
Not so bad, right!? So hopefully now you can feel confident that you can tackle using cloth training pants for your little guy or girl. Stock up on some cute prints, try a few styles, and hold on to that cloth addiction for just a little longer! So take a deep breath, prepare yourself for the inevitable accident or two (or thirty), work up your patience, and enjoy the fact that your baby is about to do something new and exciting!