Posted by: dave | December 1, 2011

House training

Anya’s still nowhere near the age where we can really potty train her, but she’s old enough that we’ve been trying to introduce her very gradually to the concept.

In practice, this means rolling up our good rug so she can run around a bit nappy-free and trying to sit her occasionally on the potty to get her used to the thing without it being a big deal.

She certainly loves that potty, but unfortunately she’s only marginally interested in sitting on it. Oftentimes she goes into the bathroom, grabs hold of it and carries it out to the lounge room like an oversized wedding cake, before setting it down purposefully and proceeding to tip random objects into it (we get through a lot of disinfectant).

Occasionally we can coax her to sit on it; but being the live wire she is, she’s up after about two seconds and exploring the room again.

It’s no big deal: we’ve got literally years to sort this one out. But as parents who’ve always used disposables nappies because most of the eco arguments for reusables don’t really stack up when you factor in water and energy usage, we’d still like to get her out of this resource-intensive stage of her life soonish. I mean, it’s not like Australia’s full of huge holes in the ground that can be used as landfill. Oh, wait…



  1. Hmmm. The research that I did on reusables showed pretty clearly that the eco arguments do stack up if you are looking at the whole life cycle of the nappy. Don’t forget the energy and water used to manufacture the disposable nappies. The other big advantage is cost – we bought fancy modern cloth nappies so there is a high initial outlay but the hundreds of dollars we spent is nothing compared to the thousands you can spend on disposables.

    If you are line drying the nappies then there is a clear eco advantage over disposables. This would probably all go out the window if you were using a clothes dryer of course. But we don’t have any outdoor drying space and our modern cloth nappies dry in a day on an indoor clothes rack. We use a little more water because we have to rinse them first but they can then go on a wash cycle with other clothes. The other advantage to the model we chose (Itti Bitti) if you buy extra liners you don’t have to wash the shell every time you change the nappy.

    By all means use disposables because they are convenient. I would never judge anyone for that – parenting is hard enough! (If you can afford it, you could buy Little Takas. They are fully biodegradable but are admittedly pricier than the average disposable nappy).

    But for any other parents out there considering what to do, I would recommend doing your own research because I believe the eco arguments DO stack up. We have twins and I’d estimate they’re in cloth about 75% of the time and I haven’t really found it that much work, compared with all the other stuff you have to do as a parent.

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