Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Potty Training Tips and Gear

Oh boy.  Today we're going to talk about something I am personally dreading.

Potty Training.

My daughter is 23 months and just about ready to graduate from her diapers.  I may not be quite as ready as she is.  Shh.  Don't tell.  I'm not looking forward to puddles on the floor and pulling pee-soaked pants off of her at the grocery store.  But, I am excited, because my little girl is becoming a big girl!  Let's explore this unknown land of potty training together, along with a few hints from my girlfriends who've been through it.

Let's start with some affirmations to get ourselves through this.  This won't last forever.  My child will potty train (eventually).  I won't have to clean up messes and wash dirty diapers forever.  I can do this!!

Ok.  Now onto the nitty gritty.  How do you know when your child is ready to start potty training?  There are plenty of ways your child might clue you in to their readiness.  If your little one starts to tell you before or after they go potty, if they become agitated in a wet diaper, they might be ready.  If they show an interest in what you are doing when you go to the bathroom (because let's be real here- you know they are always in that darn bathroom when you have to go!) they might be ready.  If they're able to go at least two hours in between going pee, they might be ready!

So if your child is showing one or more of these signs, how in the world do you go about potty training?  I've had friends that let their kids lead- slowly but surely their little ones use the potty more and more often.  They shower them with praise (and sometimes treats) each time they go, and that works for their children.  I have also had friends who do the three-day-naked-time method.  Pick a warm week, and spend three days watching your child like a hawk.  Keep the diaper-less and pant-less.   Offer to take them to the potty every half an hour or so, and just keep sitting them on their little potty.  If they have an accident, they will feel the consequences of it immediately.  Most kids, when they're really ready to potty train, will not like the feeling of their pee running down their little legs.  This method requires some hard-core dedication, and it can be messy.  I've had several friends swear by it, but just be careful not to push it before your little one is ready.

Another thing to think about is how your child is going to be most comfortable.  Some toddlers like the feeling of sitting on a big potty.  If that's your toddler, consider getting a little seat that sits inside of the full sized seat on your toilet such as the Kalencom Potette Plus which does double duty as a portable potty and a potty trainer seat.  For my little girl, the big potty is fun to climb on, but it freaks her out to sit on the open toilet seat.  So we went with a little mini-potty.

We've got some great, compact little potty options here at Thanks Mama, perfect for your little one when they start potty training.  The My Carry Potty looks like a potty when it's opened, but is also small and portable with a convenient handle so you can take it on the go when you need to.  It has a leak-proof seal that will keep in fluids, moisture, and smells so that you don't have to dump the potty when you're on the go (though I'm sure most of you probably wouldn't want to lug around a potty full of pee... but it's nice to know that you can if you absolutely have to)!  This is a great option if your little one needs familiarity in order to feel comfortable enough to use the potty.

If you like the idea of a portable little potty for time away from home, but think that something like the My Carry Potty is just a little to big to carry around, or if you plan on keeping a spare potty in your car, the On The Go Potty is perfect.  It's small.  Really small.  It folds up flat enough to fit into most diaper bags, and has its own little carry bag to keep your diaper bag clean.  When your child is ready to potty, just unfold the legs and pop one of the disposable liners on it.  The liner will catch everything, and give you super easy clean up.  When you are ready to get rid of it, you simply tie the liner closed and toss it in the nearest garbage can.  Then all you have to do is fold up the potty, put it back into it's carrying bag, and you're ready to go!  It's really a great option if you and your little one are out of the house often, or if you travel quite a bit.

Obviously potty training can come with a lot of headaches and trial and error, but picking a great potty for your child doesn't have to be stressful.  We have options for you, not matter what way your child is most comfortable going to the potty.  So good luck to you, and to me, because we are about to embark on one of the quintessential rites of passage for both parents and toddlers.  Don't worry if it doesn't go smoothly at first, and remember- this too shall pass.  Soon we will have potty trained toddlers and less diaper laundry!  Hooray!  Now that thought is enough to keep me going.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Mother Ease Cloth Diapers: From Canada with Love


For a lot of cloth diapering families, where products are made have a big impact on the brands they choose to purchase.  Buying cloth diapers made in North America is something that gives quite a lot of moms and dads peace of mind about the quality, safety, and high standards of production in what they've bought. Of course that's not to say that there are no ethically and lovingly produced diapers made in China, but if buying North American products is important to you, I think you will love Mother Ease Cloth Diapers.

Created by a mom who felt that there must be a simpler way to cloth diaper her fourth child than flats, pins, and plastic pants, Mother Ease was born. After all, they say necessity is the mother of invention, and that is how the Mother Ease all in one diaper came to be in 1991. Now with thirteen years of modern cloth diapering experience behind them, you can be sure that you're getting some great products that you can trust.

If you're looking for simple, the All in One is just about as simple as it gets. No stuffing, no folding, no pinning, no snappis, these are just as easy as disposable diapers. They have an absorbent terrycloth inner, side snapping closures, and elastic all around the legs and tummy for a really great fit. This is an excellent option for babies prone to acrobatics... that tummy elastic will keep everything in, even if your baby is practicing their downward dog pose (as mine seems to love to do!). The All in One comes in three sizes, so you are sure to get the absorbency you need as your baby grows without the bulk. Size small fits babies from 10-20 lbs, large fits from 20-35 lbs, and extra large fits from 10-45 lbs, making this a great option for those sweet babes that just aren't ready or able to potty train right away.

If you are looking for a really breathable cover for your fitteds or prefolds, Mother Ease has a unique Air Flow Snap Diaper Cover that vents air through area around the side snaps.  It's a innovative design that is perfect for babes with sensitive skin as it keeps air moving around, lessening the chance for bacteria to grow and develop.  It also comes in six sizes- yes, six- so you are sure to get the perfect fit without the bulk.  The xs fits from 6-12 lbs, while the XL fits from 35-45 lbs, and there are four sizes fitting weights in between. This is a great choice if you are tired of bulky covers that don't quite fit well around your baby's legs because it fits too wide a range of sizes.

One more product I want to spot light for you are Mother Ease's wonderful Training Pants. Potty training is something we're going to talk about in the next couple of weeks, and something I'm personally gearing up to do, so I'm always on the lookout for a great training pant. Mother Ease's training pants are pull-up style pants that give light protection against accidents. There is a double layer of terrycloth sewn into a waterproof pant that will help keep your house free of puddles, while also allowing your toddler to feel when they've had an accident, which really is key to successful potty training. They're available in three sizes, and come in white and cute eco-prints. They're an affordable and reliable option for training pants.

If you've never heard of Mother Ease cloth diapers before, I hope you'll consider them now. They've stood the test of time with their North American made products, and are made with love and care. What's not to love?

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Kawaii: Affordable Cloth Diapers

Hey Big Saver!  Looking to save some green while you're being green?  Not a problem!  I've got an awesome, reliable, and affordable brand that you are going to want to know about.  Kawaii diapers, wet bags, and trainers are consistently well loved by cloth diapering families both on a budget and by those looking for high quality.  Obviously it's a great mix.  Quality and affordability can't always be found in one cute package.

The diaper Kawaii might be most famous for is their Goodnight Heavy Wetter One Size Pocket Diaper.    Heralded by moms of heavy wetters as one of the best night time diapering solutions around, this pocket diaper also comes in at an amazingly affordable $10.95.  The outer cover of this diaper is three layers, meaning that you really aren't going to have to worry about leaks.  It also comes with two extra large microfiber inserts that are super thirsty, and perfect for night time.  This one sized diaper fits babies from 8-36 lbs.  It's a really great option at a really affordable price.  I think you'd be hard pressed to find another diaper in this price range that is this well loved.

Kawaii also has a couple of pocket diaper options- the Kawaii Ultra Soft Cross-over Square Tab Pocket Diapers have a big pocket opening, soft microfleece inside, and plenty of cute colors to choose from.  Kawaii's Bamboo Minky Pocket Diapers have a soft minky outer and absorbent bamboo inner.  The insert is also made of bamboo, so it's really absorbent.  This is a great option for parents who prefer to use natural fibers.  Both of these diapers are made to fit babies from 8-36 lbs, have a waterproof layer of TPU, and offer a nice customizable fit for your baby with three sets of rise snaps.  They  also have cross-over tabs which means you will be able to get a nice snug fit even on a skinny little baby.

If your baby is starting to potty train, Kawaii Training Pants are pull-on pants with three layers of flannel inside.  They're soft and will hold small accidents while still letting your child feel the sensation of wetness.  They are only $10.90 per pair, and are made to fit toddlers 30 lbs and up.  These are great training pants that allow your child to learn to pull their own underpants up and down, while giving you that extra peace of mind you need when you're out and about.  They also have cute prints that your little one will be excited to wear- after all, even big kid underpants should be fun!

Kawaii has a lot of fantastic products to offer, so make sure you check them all out here.  Don't be nervous about their small price tag.  While it is often true that you get what you pay for, these products get great reviews and are one of the exceptions to the rule.  I think that if you purchase a few diapers or wetbags to try for yourself you'll see why.  So if you or someone you know is looking to round out their stash but is on a tight budget, Kawaii diapers may be exactly what the doctor ordered.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Fitted Diapers: Night Time Diapering Solutions

Ah, nighttime cloth diapering. It is the bane of some parents' cloth diapering existence. But there is hope. You don't have to pull out your hair and wallow in self-pity anymore mamas and papas. I'm going to tell you about some of the best fitteds for overnight cloth diapering. Pair it with some fabulous wool, and you've got a bullet-proof system. You can rest easily tonight.

Let's start with a fitted you've probably heard rave reviews about.  Sustainablebabyish Organic Overnight Bamboo Fleece Fitted Cloth Diapers are pretty darn amazing.  Soft, squishy, crazy absorbent, and made in plenty of sizes to fit every babe, these fitteds are well loved and sought after.  A perfect choice for overnight diapering, these organic diapers will be gentle and soft on your baby's skin while making sure they are able to sleep through the night with maximum absorbency.  One thing to keep in mind with these, as with most fitteds, is that the natural fibers they are made of will not wick moisture away from your baby's skin.  If that's an issue for your baby, don't worry.  You can easily fix that by purchasing half a yard of microfleece (make sure it is microfleece or it will simply repel the moisture), cut a nice long rectangle out of the fabric, and lay it inside the diaper before putting it on your child. If you want to get super fancy you can lay your fitted down and trace around it so that you get full coverage for your sensitive babies. Now you can enjoy the perfectly absorbent squishiness of Sustainablebabyish (also commonly called SLOOMB) diapers.

Another great option for overnight diapering is EcoPosh Recycled Organic One Sized Fitted Pocket Diapers. These are awesome because they are super fluffy with lots of absorbency on their own, but you also have the option to add a hemp doubler (or any doubler of your choice, really) if you have a super heavy wetter. That is good news for parents who deal with babies that wet through absolutely everything.  Made by Rumparooz, these fitteds are made out of organic cotton, bamboo, and recycled water bottles. They also have the beloved Rumparooz inner double gusset, which is great for containing messes. These innovative diapers will make your overnight diapering easier, and you can feel great about using diapers that are made from recycled materials.

The last amazing diaper that I want to tell you about is Kissaluvs Organic Hemp Fitted Diapers. These lovely anti-bacterial hemp diapers are nice and trim, so if you have a babe that simply cannot seem to sleep in a massive fitted, these may well be the diapers for you. Don't let their trim fit fool you though, these diapers are thirsty, and they will keep your baby nice and dry. These diapers have two sizes; newborn which fits from 5 to 15 lbs, and M/L which fits babies from 15-40 lbs.

So if you're discouraged with your night time diapering, pick up one or two of these diapers and make your life easier. I really don't think you'll regret it.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Planet Wise Wet Bags

Cloth diapering without great wet bag is like going to the pool without a towel.  They just go together.  You don't want to jump in a pool and then have to air dry in your car on the way home.  You also probably don't want to change your baby's dirty diaper and then have to stick it straight in your purse or diaper bag.  Yuck.

So that brings us to wet bags.  Those cute, functional little zippered bags that keep the smells and wetness in, and your diaper bag clean and stink-free.  One of my favorite brands of wet bags is Planet Wise.  Lots of size choices, tons of really adorable prints, and even the perfect little wipes bags.  Really, whatever your need is, Planet Wise has you covered.

When it comes to cloth diapering on the go, I love the Planet Wise Wet Bags because they come in three sizes.  A small wet bag will hold one, maybe two diapers and cloth wipes (if your little one is out and about in super fluffy fitteds, this bag will probably only hold one.  Pocket diapers that aren't crazy-stuffed and most all in ones will probably let you fit two diapers in a small bag).  My personal diaper bag is ready to go with a medium sized wet bag in it at all times.  Medium bags will hold eight to nine cloth diapers and wipes, which is probably more than you'll need to put in it, but I do love that I don't have to worry about shoving dirty diapers in a smaller bag.  Large bags are probably more than you'd need for a day trip, but would be the perfect weekend-away bag as they hold 16 to 17 cloth diaper and has a coordinating handle.  Large wet bags are also perfect for those trips to the pool we were talking about.  They're the perfect size for a wet towel and swim suit.

Another on-the-go solution that I think is genius is the Planet Wise Wipe Pouch.  These pouches are the perfect size for your folded in half wet wipes.  Just pop them in the Wipes bag, zip it up, then fold down the top and snap it shut.  Folding down the top zippered area keeps the wet wipes from wicking through the zippered area of the pouch, keeping your diaper bag or purse nice and dry.  Genius I tell you.

For storing dirty diapers at home, I'm personally not a big pail-person.  I prefer to hang my wet bags from a hook on the bathroom door off of my daughter's room.  It keeps the diapers out of her reach, and I don't have to worry about a stinky pail.  So you can see why I love Planet Wise's Hanging Wet Dry Bags.  These beauties have two zippered pouches; the main pouch is meant for your dirty diapers, the front pouch is perfect for dry items or any accessories you use to take care of your diapers when they are dirty.  The handles let you hang the bag from a door knob or a hook on the door.  These hanging wet bags hold 20 to 24 cloth diapers, which is perfect for going two to three days in between washes.

There are several more great wet bag options from Planet Wise, so make sure you go check them out here. And if you needed more reasons to love Planet Wise beyond the fantastically functional bags, amazing prints, and many size options, everything is also made in the USA.  These are great products that you can really stand behind.

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