The Ultimate Guide to Eco-Friendly Potty Training
By the time your little one reaches between 18 months and two years old, your child may show signs of being ready for potty training. Whether they will or not is another story! Each child is different and what works for one child won’t work for another.
It’s great to be finally leaving behind nappies, however you have options when toilet training which can be more or less eco-friendly and sustainable. Having potty trained 4 children, here’s my ultimate guide to eco-friendly potty training:
- plastic free potties
- reusable wipes
- reusable pull up nappy pants
- potty training essentials
- what age can you start potty training
- how long should potty training take
- how to encourage potty training
Plastic potties are no longer the only option available to parents. Biodegradable potties are now available. Eco by Naty make one from 96% bio based content, which can be recycled as HDPE. They use flushable bags which means that the potty doesn't need rinsing out and the potty itself stays clean and dry.
The shape of this design makes it comfortable to sit on the potty which is always a potty training success!
You definitely pay more for the eco credentials of this potty, but if it is looked after you should be able to reuse with further children.
Alternatively, the ekoala potty is a less expensive option, made from 100% plant based, biodegradable material.
eKoala bioplastic is made of renewable raw materials such as corn, beetroot and switchgrass. At first sight it is identical to traditional plastic. The only difference is its chemical composition, and it is completely non-toxic, so no BPA, no phthalates.
When potty training starts, it's probably still a little bit too early to do away with wet wipes of some sort for your child. Tissue alone won't cut the mustard still for bum wiping.
Rather than use disposable toddler wipes or toilet wipes, try reusable wipes.
The Cheeky Wipes kit provides everything you need to make switching to reusable wipes easy.
Two boxes, one for your clean fresh wipes so they are convenient and ready to go. And one for your mucky wipes, where you can store them out of the reach of inquisitive little hands.
The mucky wipes box also contains a handy mesh laundry bag. This makes it easy to pop the mucky wipes straight into the washing machine without touching them.
The kit also contains 25 reusable baby wipes in a choice of materials, bamboo or cotton. Two essential oils are also included which make your wipes smell great and start the hygiene process. Lastly, there's two clever out and about bags, one with a mesh wash bag insert. This means you can take your cloth wipes out and about for the day, cleaning mucky hands & faces on the go.
Cheeky Wipes also have a kit specifically for reusable toilet paper. It contains everything the wipes kit contains except for the out and about bags and has 50 wipes instead of 25.
'Love my cheeky wipes, bought a second full set as have another child on the way and my eldest ( who's potty trained) still uses them. I find them better than toilet paper or disposable wipes for him or myself to use,so wanted more boxes round the house. I started using these about 2 years ago, I was sceptical and was unsure how my partner would get on with them, but we use so much less than you would with disposable. They clean so much better too, lasted so well and still look as good as new. We have no issues with rashes or sores you can get from disposable ones . As for the money saved in the long run, unreal! Cannot recommend these enough to anybody, even bought as baby shower presents for friends!!!' Jennifer, Trustpilot
Whilst your little one is making the switch to big boy / girl pants, it's handy to use reusable pull up pants. Whether you used disposable nappies or reusable nappies and wraps, reusable pull up pants are a great idea.
Cheeky Wipes have some great training pants which can be used from 2 to 3 years of age. They can also be boosted for overnight usage. This makes them useful for older children, giving confidence against bed wetting which can be upsetting for children and parents alike.
Our must-have potty training essentials include:
- plastic free potty
- reusable wipes
- step stool
- travel potty
- waterproof book
- reward sticker chart
We've already discussed plastic free potties and reusable wipes.
A step stool is handy when your child is happy to empty their bowel and bladder into the potty. At this point, they may well need a step stool to reach the toilet seat easily.
A travel potty may also be useful when potty training. If your child is making progress in staying dry, you won't want to disrupt this routine when out for the day or visiting friends or family. A small travel potty can also come in handy for years to come. We used ours when camping rather than going to the toilet blocks in the middle of the night!
It's handy to have a book that your child can read on the potty to encourage them. We LOVED 'I want my potty' by Tony Ross.
Children are generally ready to start potty training between 18 months and 2 years! Don't expect it to happen overnight however, potty training is a process.
From experience, 3 of my 4 children were quite happy to sit on the potty from around 18 months old. They were out of their cloth nappies by the age of two - with the odd accident of course.
Number two son however was a different matter and refused to entertain the potty at all until he was more than 3 years old. More about him later...
On average, potty training takes between 3 and 6 months, though this again depends on your child.
Some children are very quick to pee in the potty, but bowel movements take a little longer. Some will sit on the potty for ages and do nothing except read their book.
'Love cheeky wipes! We’ve used the minky bamboo wipes for my son since he was a newborn and they look as good now almost 3 years later when we’re starting to potty train. We’ve saved so much money plus it’s environmentally friendly, so a real win-win. The changing mat and wash bags are great too. Will certainly be back for more when baby 2 arrives' Melinda, Trustpilot
To encourage your children to potty train, you can:
- encourage your child to sit on the potty
- use a sticker chart to record successful wee and poo in the potty
- make it fun, read potty training books whilst you're there with them
- encourage them to wipe themselves - children love reusable wipes for this
Bear in mind that no matter how much you encourage children, they will do in in their own sweet time!
I mentioned my number two son, who point blank refused to potty train in the same way as his siblings. Eventually, I bought the Elmo Potty Training DVD (Sesame St) which he watched a few times and seemed to enjoy but made no difference to him using the potty. By three years old, he was still in nappies, much to my despair!
Until that is one Saturday morning when he arose from the breakfast table and left the room. When asked where he was going, he replied 'to the toilet'. And that was it! He simply didn't want to do it until it suited him....a trait which is ongoing today at 16 years old!
We hope that you enjoyed reading this. If so, we've got some additional stories which might be of interest to you:
- Different types of reusable nappies
- Are reusable nappies hygienic
- 7 Top Tips to save money on toilet paper
- 8 Top Tips for eco friendly weaning
About the Author: Helen Rankin is founder of Cheeky Wipes, the original environmentally sustainable baby wipes kit, founded in 2008. Helen and her 4 kids have been toilet paper free for 8 years now and LOVE having nice clean bottoms, plus helping protect our environment. The Cheeky Team pride themselves on helping people make the switch to reusables EASY, with a range of eco friendly products including period pants and cloth sanitary pads. Cheeky Wipes were awarded the Queens Award for Enterprise for their sustainable development goals in 2021.