Cloth Diaper Myth or Truth #3:

Cloth Diaper Myth or Truth #3:

Cloth Diaper Myth or Truth #3:

Cloth Diapered Babies Potty Train Earlier

by Megan 

This is definitely a “benefit” of cloth diapers that is touted quite proudly through the generations, as well as, the interwebs.  In this article, I hate to tell you that unfortunately this Myth or Truth is a MYTH!  Cloth diapered babies do not necessarily potty train earlier.  However, I do have some good news as well, just keep reading…

Cloth diapers have earned a reputation of supposedly helping kids to potty train earlier.  I don’t know of any “scientific studies” proving this but rather believe it all to be anecdotal.  And for good reason, I’m sure!  You see, when the older generations were cloth diapering their little ones, diapers were made of all natural materials and the covers, i.e., rubber pants, were made of lower quality materials than we have today (therefore, not nearly as effective).  This all created an ideal scenario for parents to potty train their children earlier.

Let’s make sense of all of this:

  • Disposable diapers wick moisture away from the baby's skin, therefore the baby does not feel wet when he or she pees in the diaper.  This can delay potty training because the child is not “uncomfortable” in a wet diaper so to speak.

  • Disposable pull-ups wick moisture away from the toddler’s skin just like a disposable diaper.  The differences between a disposable pull-up and diaper is the ease of putting on and taking off the pull up, possibly less absorbent and definitely more expensive.

  • Cloth diapers with wicking materials (“stay dry” fabrics such as micro-fleece) wick moisture away from the baby's skin much like disposables.  This will have the same effect as disposable diapers in possibly delaying potty training.

  • Cloth diapers with natural materials, e.g., cotton and hemp, maintain a feeling of wetness next to the baby's skin, much like the “old-fashioned diapers” did in generations past.  This may aid in potty training.

  • Cloth diaper covers of today are much more effective at keeping leaks at bay as opposed to their earlier forms of rubber pants (which had a high probability of leaking).  These more effective covers may delay potty training because cloth diapering is no less convenient than disposable diapers.

What does this all mean?  There is more at play than what diaper type is being used when looking at the average potty training age. Two main factors are: 1) the baby/toddler being developmentally ready to potty train, and 2) The parents being mentally ready to potty train.  All seven of my children have been in a variety of diapers (ones that they felt wet in and ones that they felt dry in due to wicking capabilities) and they have all potty trained at varying ages.  I have not seen a strong correlation between the diaper they were using and the age they potty trained.  I had a child that potty trained as early as 22 months and another that potty trained as late as 3 years, and everything in between.

I did promise you some good news at the beginning of this article, though.  I want to encourage you that one layer of potty training I have seen with my own children was my mental willingness and tenacity to get through the process.  I’ve gone in with a solid plan and come out the other side victorious, despite what “diaper type” I was using.  I am a believer that part of potty training success lies in the parents hands (and the other part in the child’s development).

You’ve got this,


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