I love cloth diapering for so may reasons, but I think this one may top them all: getting out of diapers sooner. Among the parental joys of toddlerhood ”precious hugs and kisses, repeated renditions of the ABC song, adorable words and phrases to record in memory books” successful use of the potty ranks right up there at the top.
When I was expecting my firstborn, I had great hopes of using cloth diapers. But when my little pumpkin broke out in a terrible diaper rash the first time I tried them, I conceded to those who had been less than optimistic about my plans, and opted for disposables. In time, I realized that there were so many more options out there for cloth diapering and was willing to try it again. Unfortunately, by the time I got up the nerve to invest in my first set of pocket diapers, my little one was already eight months old.
When my second came along, a mere thirteen months after the first, a new friend introduced me to using cotton flatfolds, paired with a homemade wrap cut from old T-shirts, and wool covers. I only used the covers for bedtimes and outings, so I could see immediately when my little one was wet and change her, preventing diaper rash. The added bonus, I found, was that she never lost the sensation of feeling wetness when she peed. To my chagrin, my firstborn still has difficulty knowing when she needs to pee, though she is compliant about going when instructed to do so.
Now, I am not naïve to the fact that firstborns are typically more difficult to potty train than subsequent children, but I cannot help to think that there is a connection. Consider this: because my children were so close in age, my second didn't really have a successful model to follow when she started training; and yet, she trained sooner. My second also does not need to be reminded to use the potty, often she tells me that she needs to go before it happens.
As with many things in parenting, diapering and potty training have been trial-and-error for me. I feel I failed my first daughter by not keeping her in natural cloth from birth. But, alas, she will learn to toilet herself one day! And I am more the wiser in diapering my thirdborn, a son.
As for the environment, I cringe at the thought of all those diapers we tossed in the garbage those first eight months as new parents! Turning back to cloth brought such greater peace to our consciences. What's more, the switch to old-fashioned cloth decreased our use of water and detergent when our second potty trained early! It's worth a try!