Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Diaper Graduation During Infant Potty Training

One important thing to remember when you're practicing Infant Potty Training is that to get to "graduation day" in the shortest amount of time, you're going to have to get out of that comfort zone.

When you start IPT, you'll definitely be stepping out of your comfort zone. Unfortunately, infant potty training isn't the norm (yet!), and it takes some courage to step out and do something different. The key is to keep advancing toward your goal, which is having a baby who uses the potty consistently with very few to no misses. (Do not misunderstand, this is not demanding perfection from your child when she's 2 days old! It's a process!)

The biggest challenge for you, more than likely, will be diaper graduation. Each time you step down, from disposable to cloth, from cloth to training pants, or from training pants to regular underwear, you're going to face the being out of your comfort zone. There are two possible scenarios:

A) You stay in your comfort zone, with your baby in disposable diapers until "he's ready" to move into cloth. He keeps having a few misses, and you keep putting it off. Eventually you get really frustrated because he's not making any progress toward the goal of being completely potty trained.

B) You step out of your comfort zone. Your baby has a few misses every now and again, but you take off the disposable diapers anyway and put him in cloth diapers. Suddenly, you don't have nearly as many misses! You get a little more confident and think to yourself, if he improved that much by moving to cloth, then let's try cloth trainers! And then let's try regular undies! He's trained! Whooo hooo!

The worst thing you can do, however, is go from Disposable diapers and then "graduate" into Disposable Pull Ups and then wonder why your child isn't progressing. Both products do their job really well: they keep your baby feeling nice and dry. On the other hand, graduating him down into cloth trainers or undies makes him very aware of miss. Granted, cleaning up misses are not fun, but if your kid is going to learn how and why we use a toilet, he's going to need this awareness. Luckily, most kids are quick learners, and it only takes a few misses before they get it.

Here is a quick guide of my suggested timeline for diaper graduation:

Birth-1-2 weeks old: Disposables (Mainly until Mommy is feeling recovered)

2 weeks - 2 or 3 months old: Cloth diapers

3 months - 6 months: Cloth trainers

6+ months: Regular undies

Of course, you can tailor this time line to suit your needs/comfort level. You can even graduate down into undies more quickly, if you want.

Some people have asked me where I find undies that tiny! Well, sometimes you can find training pants size 18 months at Wal-Mart. A quicker, easier option is to simply buy them from Amazon using this link:

Don't worry. Size 18 month trainers actually fit a much smaller baby (around a few months old, in my kids' cases. And you can move on up to size 2T in regular undies way before their second birthday.

Remember: if you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always gotten!


  1. Hi, I have been reading your blog & am very inspired. My daughter is exactly 9 months and I was wondering if you might be willing to share some advice? We have just started offering the potty upon waking and approx. every 2 hours. . .have been putting a cloth in disposable to increase awareness. Baby seems to be very aware of her need to go (sometimes wakes up dry after 8-10 hrs), but I am not able to pick up any signals so have been relying on timing. We are teaching her signing & trying to teach a signal. . .the other day she responded to "wait for the potty" twice when I caught her having a bm. I have been thinking about ditching disposables altogether and moving to trainers. I was thinking it would be messy, but hoping that it would speed up the learning process. I am a SAHM willing to put the time in, but I just wish I had a more specific guide than all these books I've been reading. . .What are your thoughts? THANK YOU in advance!! :)

  2. I'm glad you like the blog! First of all, it sounds like you're doing a great job! You're just starting out, and it takes a little practice, but I promise that eventually you'll start to pick up on her signals. Unfortunately it comes with hindsight a lot of times. You have a miss and then you can look back and say, oh yeah, she got really quiet right before that happened, etc. Another encouragement is that she is 9 months and so she'll need time to adjust to the concept that she should only go on the potty, not in her diaper (as she has been used to doing). I know trainers are a big step, but I really have found that the quicker you can get them in them, the better off you are. I think one thing that happens is that when they're in trainers, as the parent I'm much more aware of what they're doing. One way to ease yourself into that would be to pick out the time of day when you usually don't have a miss, which for us is generally late in the evening. (This makes sense because the body makes less urine at that time of day). Then, as you start to feel more comfortable, you can start stretching that period of time out. Really, ditching disposables altogether is a great strategy (we only use them when we're out at someone else's house because it is easier). Does that answer help? Please ask any questions you have! I am happy to share my thoughts and experiences!