The funny thing about potty-training: either a lot happens very quickly, or nothing happens for days… weeks… or months, sadly.
We are only on Day 3 of our adventure with the Baby Signs Potty Training Kit, (read about our triumphs and struggles of day 1 and 2 here!) and I’ll admit it’s been an eye-opening experience.
Yes, Noah used the potty again today, and while good parents don’t compare their children, our success rate this time around is, ahem, noticeable. I’ll give the credit to Baby Signs for even convincing me to start at 13 months, and also to Big Brother Joseph’s help. Not only has Joseph asserted himself as household spokesmodel for potty-training, he is poised and ready to demonstrate the American sign language taught on the kit’s DVD. While only yesterday he was determined not to share his old potty with Noah, today he insists Noah use it.
As you can see, toilet activities are on everyone’s mind at our house. In my previous blog entry, I nicknamed this program, “antique potty-training” because never in history have mothers trained their children so late. With many countries beginning the first month, and several others completing the process by 18 months, it would seem the biggest obstacle barring cherub’s little tushie from big-kid underwear was the advent of disposable diapers. This, in turn, causes me to ponder whether the whole process might go faster if Baby Noah were wearing old-fashioned cloth diapers: the discomfort of wetting himself would encourage his use of the potty, and the poopy laundry would keep me consistent with my support of him.
I can confidently say we are greener than most households, yet I’m embarrassed to admit we’ve always used disposables. This potty program has made it glaringly clear to me that the sooner Noah is out of diapers, the less impact we’ll make on landfills. According to John A. Shiffert, executive director of the National Association of Diaper Services, the average baby goes through 5,000 diapers before being potty-trained. The EPA reported nearly 3.4 million tons of diaper waste, or 2.1 percent of U.S. garbage, in landfills in 1998. Diapers in landfills in underdeveloped countries are especially problematic because they often aren’t properly disposed, and excrement leaks into the local water supply.
However, no one can say definitively whether cloth diapers are better for the environment. A new study released in England by London-based Environmental Agency concluded that disposable diapers have the same environmental impact as reusable diapers when the effect of laundering cloth diapers is taken into account. (Not to mention washing extra outfits, and laundering bedding more frequently.)
Before I calculate wasted water, environmentally-friendly detergent, and electricity from using cloth diapers, I still have to wonder if it might be the right path. My son uses approximately 5 diapers a day currently. That’s 35 a week, or 1820 yearly. If he finishes training by 2.75 years old, he will have used 5,000 diapers. Gasp!
If I can complete his training by 18 months, as Baby Signs contends is possible, we would only use 700. (That still seems outrageous.) Perhaps it would be worth it? Is our biggest obstacle to getting him out of diapers merely the comfort of a stay-dry lining?
Read more about our adventure: Early Potty-Training Success!
If you have attempted (or succeeded!) at early potty-training, I would love to hear from you!