Vacation Diaries: Poop on the Road

Posted by Becca on 7/22/2010 to Cloth Diaper How-To

Since we bought a diaper sprayer, poopy diapers have been a non-issue in our house. It is a convenience necessity we just don't think about, and definitely can't live without, much like the toilet to which it is attached.

When we go on vacation, using cloth diapers is the only choice for us. Vacations can be expensive enough as it is without the added cost of a couple of boxes of disposable diapers.

But what about the poop? What do you do with the poop when you're on vacation and you don't have a diaper sprayer at your disposal? It's not like we live in Europe where bidets are commonly found in every dwelling place. As my husband put it, it's one thing if your baby poops when you're gone for a day. At least then, you can put the mess in your wet bag and deal with it properly when you get home. But when you're away for a span of time, saving the poopy diapers until later is just not an option.

My husband, daughter and I have gone away three times already this summer (it's not even July when I write this) and we still have a couple of trips left before the summer is out. This means, that we've had plenty of time to experiment with alternate ways of disposing of poop from our cloth diapers, and plenty of time to decide how we will be taking care of said poop in the future.

Here are the options we've discovered in our journey

Shake it off. Sometimes the poop really does just "shake off" the dirty diaper and into the toilet. I've found that this is true mostly with diapers that have microsuede, rather than microfleece, as an inner fabric; sometimes it works for my fleece-lined diapers too, depending upon the texture of the poop and whether or not the diaper was also wet.

Pry it off. When the poop won't just fall out into the toilet, we've found that using wads of toilet paper to pry it off by hand also works. Yes, this is disgusting, I know, but when it's all you can do, you're willing to do it.

Dunk it off. While dunking your prized diaper in a public bathroom (or even the bathroom in a hotel or your host's house) may not be ideal, it can effectively remove most of the offending poop. I grab both the top and the bottom of my diaper tightly and dunk it while flushing the water. The pull of the flush seems to remove a good amount of the poop. I generally need to do this at least twice. Be careful, though, to have a good hold on your diaper. I couldn't imagine how awful it would be if I accidentally flushed one, or got it jammed. *shudders*

Spray it off. I don't know why, but I always have a spray bottle with me when we travel for an extended period of time with cloth diapers. One particular day, when I was just tired of trying to extricate the poop on a soiled diaper using the methods listed above, I figured it couldn't hurt to use my spray bottle. I adjusted the spray so that it came out forcefully rather than in a mist, and aimed it at some of the worst clumps. Granted, it was a lot of work getting the poop off just a little bit at a time, but with no other option, it worked.

Use a diaper liner. This, is by far, the best option. I promised myself I'd get some of these before we went on vacation after some of the poop experiences we'd had in our previous trips, but alas, I forgot! What a bummer! There are lots of different options of cloth diaper liners. All of them involve a thin barrier between the diaper and the mess.

You can get disposable disposable bioliners which just slough off into the toilet with the poop leaving your diaper washing machine ready. You can also get or make cloth diaper liners out of a bit of microfleece or microsuede and just deal with cleaning the mess of cleaning off a thin strip of fabric rather than the creases and folds of your diaper. Either way, these seem like the absolute best option for traveling with poop. If I can get my act together, I will remember to buy some of these before my next trip.

We Only Travel with Cloth

Despite the challenges of traveling with cloth diapers, my husband and I still refuse to buy disposable diapers even if it is just for trips.

We've dealt with poop just about everywhere you can imagine - in the car, in gross gas station bathrooms, in nice gas station bathrooms, in Wal*mart, in fast food restaurants, in hotel rooms, and even in friend's houses - and in none of those cases did we have our beloved diaper sprayer (one of our best cloth diapering investments, by the way!)

Overall, we find that the rewards or using cloth everywhere we go far outweigh the difficulties. We've discovered that with a little bit of problem-solving, even the difficulties of cloth diapering can become non-issues after practice.

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