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Hot Parenting Topic: Potty Training & of Course, DIAPERS!

>Zoe and Ruthie are currently both potty trained, and so I’m just going to write a brief paragraph with the experience with both girls.

Zoe was potty trained in March of last year at 3 years and 4 months.  We decided with buying a new house, we needed to cut costs where we could, and we told Zoe since we were buying a house, we couldn’t afford to buy her diapers anymore, and for her to pick out a pack of panties.  She had a very concerned look on her face, and she picked her panties and she was potty trained pretty much the next day, with very few accidents.  She was okay for a few months, and then for about a 3 or months period period last year where she was driving us insane with having accidents all day every day. We cured her of t hat by forcing her to go bare butt for about 2-3 hours while her panties were in the washing machine and dryer. While I may get some backlash for doing this particular method, please keep in mind that nobody other than our family was home, and we did not publicly announce this; in fact I think this is the first time I’m mentioning it to anyone else.  We had to retrain her after our trip home from Virginia, but fortunately it was just a day or two, versus the months of accidents that we dealt with previously.

Ruthie was actually just potty trained in June of this year at 2 years, 4 months.  It took Ruthie about a week of having accidents and the like before she finally caught on.  She caught on to pooping really quick but had a hard time with peeing, until I finally pointed to the approximate area of her bladder, and told her when it feels ticklish, that it was time to go sit on the potty and she got it! We had issues this summer about her having accidents out of laziness, but that was stopped when we were out helping my father in law at a jobsite, and she walked away in a semi secluded area, and sat down on some concrete stairs and peed without even telling us she had to potty.  I wasn’t about to put her back in the carseat with a wet butt, so I dug around in the trunk of the car, and fashioned a loincloth of sorts from a clean kitchen towel and ducttape. She was so embarrassed, and refused to make eye contact with anyone.  It was just us four plus Jeff’s dad that saw her in it, but it was enough and we’ve not had problems since then, aside from nighttime accidents; which quite frankly are unavoidable, Zoe occasionally still has them as well.

Quite frankly, Jeff and I both feel that we could have potty trained Zoe much sooner. I’m not saying my kid’s MENSA material, but she’s above average in intelligence. We could have had her potty trained much sooner than we did; in fact she randomly used her potty at 20 months, but I never really pushed the issue since we had WAY too many other things going on at that time, and we were just in a stressful living situation, but we moved out of that place when Zoe was just over 2 so moving into our last apartment would have been a good place to do it, and we tried, but the bribery method DID NOT work for Zoe, she was simply too smart for it.  Not saying that the kids that the bribery method works on are not smart.. she just figured out pretty quick what we were trying to do.

The intital reason why I decided to potty train Ruthie when I did was primarily because I had done a really rough estimate on how much we had spent on diapers over the course of Zoe and Ruthie’s life in, and I bugged out at the cost. (My estimate was really rough, and I most likely underestimated the cost) I announced on facebook that we were potty training her due to the cost, and someone suggested I use coupons to buy diapers… I realize that I was a bit thoughtless in my response implying that couponing was a waste of time -I still need to figure out how to apologize to her- but I should have said that at that point, it would be easier for me to go ahead and potty train her; since she had already shown interest in potty training and “being a big girl”.  And I think at 2+ years old, she’s ready for potty training, intellectually and physically.  Granted she’s kind of on the small side and has to use a stool to get on the potty, but she has the physical control to hold it in to get to the bathroom without having an accident, and that’s more important than meeting ‘a height requirement’.

Anyway, lots of hot topics have come up with this pregnancy. We don’t know what we’re having yet -we’ll know in three weeks- but we’ve had the circumcision discussion (I’ll share on that later after we find out what we’re having and only if we’re having a boy); please do me and everyone else a favor and don’t mention your thoughts on it, I don’t want or need a lecture; of course this is generalized and not to anyone in particular. We already see eye to eye on hospital birthing, vaccinations and parenting, so those aren’t going to be brought up again. However, the current topic of discussion is diapering. I want to cloth diaper, Jeff’s not sold on it at all.  For me it’s mostly about cost.. I’m okay with saving money at the flip of convenience of tossing diapers out, and there is an environmental factor involved as well; for me anyway. However, we’re not Al Gore butt kissers, but we do think that hybrid cars and electric cars are a great idea -the technology isn’t old enough for us to make the leap- we use the energy saving bulbs, we recycle more than we throw out garbage, and almost all of our appliances are HE or energy efficient.. With the exception of our fridge, stove and dishwashing machine; those came with the house and when they break we will for sure will be replacing them with HE appliances. And we do believe in Global Warming.

Anyway, after watching a quick video today about the cost of cloth versus disposables, I decided to revisit the cost of diapering.  However, it’s not as clear-cut as one variable for disposable diapering and one for cloth diapering (well, for me there’s only one way to cloth, but still)  There’s THREE for disposables, and one for cloth diapering.  Why you ask.. aren’t all diapers equal? Those who have had kids recently will say NO.  Some diapers are VERY superior over others, and it’s obvious.  Here’s how my diapering needs will break down assuming the following things:

~The baby goes through 8 diapers a day for the first year of it’s life.
~The baby goes through 6 diapers a day for the remaining time they are in diapers.

If it’s a girl: (scenario A)
Huggies diapers for newborn size; these are what the hospitals use, and quite frankly I LOVE the brand.  They aren’t cost efficient in the long run (and while I admit coupons would help, I do not have the patience for it so it’s not for me, I give a big applaud to people who can do it and do it successfully), so when the baby is out of newborn sized diapers we’ll be using the Walmart brand of diapers called Parent’s Choice.  Assuming the baby is potty trained at 2.5 years (being generous, and I draw the line at that point) and we use Target brand wipes -LOVE THEM- diapering a baby girl from birth to 2.5 years will cost us $1,150 (I am rounding up a bit.. less than $3); this is factoring in sales tax as well.

If it’s a boy: (scenario B)
Target wipes again, and Huggies newborns again. Talking with both of my SILs, I’ve come to the conclusion that Parent’s Choice diapers are absolutely horrible for boys, and if I ABSOLUTELY use them, I need to prepare for more changes, so I added 3 extra diaper changes a day.  We also have to factor that boys take longer to potty train, so assuming he’s potty trained at 2.75 years (I’m giving an extra three months here).. and assuming that 3 extra a day is enough, it will cost us $1,540 (rounding up, less than $2); again tax is factored.

If it’s a boy: (scenario C)
Target wipes again, and Huggies newborns again. And again, Huggies are too cost prohibitive to use in the long run; however my SILs BOTH swear by Kirkland brand diapers from Costco.  They both say they are VERY comparable to Huggies, and are more affordable.  If we go this route, and still assuming 2.75 years for potty training PLUS 3 years of having a Costco membership ($50 a year, and I could split it or mooch, but I don’t want to) It will cost us $1,850 (rounding up, less than $4); and of course tax is included.

Cloth Diapering:
This doesn’t change on the gender of the baby.  One of my favorite sites that discuss cloth diapering and reviewing cloth diapers is done by a mom of two little boys, plus a friend of mine with her two daughters does not have issues; they are for the most part equal for both genders.  I draw the line at using ‘rewashable wipes’ so, again I will be using Target brand wipes, and because I think buying newborn cloth diapers is not a smart thing to do, I will continue to use Huggie newborn diapers; however instead of using them for 2 months, I will only use them for one month; and quite frankly who wants to deal with trying to wash the sticky newborn poo off of cloth diapers? There’s a few more things involved with cloth diapering than just buying the diapers.. you also need to buy two pail liners -one to wash, one to use-, two traveling wetbags -again one to wash one to use- plus, you cannot use commercial soaps to wash them because of the fillers and stuff they add to the detergents; they cause buildup that will prevent the diapers from being absorbent and they also will void the warranty of most diapers, so I plan on buying separate soap for the cloth diapers.  To be exact, I plan on using exclusively BumGenius diapers (version 4.0, with snaps, they are all in one size, so they cover a child from 8 lbs all the way up to 32 lbs I think) and the soap I plan on buying is called Rockin’ Green soap… unscented; using a scented soap will violate the warranty.  And what’s nice too is that they’ve got a hard water formula which is PERFECT, and they even sell a magnetic scoop that would stick to the washing machine, so I won’t have to use my measuring spoon from the kitchen!  The cost of supplies (including the wipes and disposable newborn diapers) is going to be… $719.96.  There’s a possibility the baby may be big enough to fit in the diapers right from birth, so we may be able to avoid using disposables after leaving the hospital and that’ll save us about $60.

I won’t have to pay salestax OR shipping so that helps out a TON.  What’s great too is that the site I plan on buying the diapers from has a 30 day, full money back guarantee, so if I decide that it’s NOT for me, then I can go ahead and get my money back.  I’ll just be out of the money on the liners, wetbags and soap.. which I would use anyway.  There’s a possibility that I may end up switching to using it full time anyway.. but that’s still very up in the air. I haven’t been able to figure out how much the extra laundry is going to affect my electric and gas bill, but since we pay a flat rate of $43 a month for water, and we NEVER go anywhere near the threshold to be charged more -it happened once this summer from watering the garden and lawn and it was only over by $6 bucks- it’s not going to affect my water bill at all. And because we have High Efficient (HE) washer and dryer, it’s not going to have a tremendous impact on our gas or electricity bill, but I plan on figuring it out for our electric bill at the very least.. we have also have a HE water heater and a very HE furnace, so that helps too and generally speaking we’re not a high energy consuming family as it is.

To put it simply cloth diapering will save… but how much?
Scenario A (girl):  $426.28
Scenario B (boy, using Parent’s Choice):  $818.43
Scenario C (boy, using Kirkland brand): $1,256.72

Using cloth diapers for a girl.. the difference is highly debatable.. but if we have a boy, That’s a lot of money.  Jeff and I very fortunate in the financial department in terms of not having any debt besides our mortgage, so not pinching pennies and nickling and diming every little thing isn’t going to spiral us into foreclosure or anything like that. Of course, $425 is still quite a bit of money, even of the time period of 2.5 years.  There’s going to be variables involved like if the baby is potty trained sooner than I estimated for (highly unlikely, maybe by 2 months if it’s a girl) or even later than I expected (more likely in the event if it’s a boy) and of course that would drive the cost up higher.  And I did my calculations based on current prices.. what’s not to say that they’ll go higher? One of my SILs said that Kirkland brand diapers recently went up in price, and I know when we started diapering Zoe, the price of Parent Choice diapers have gone up by $1.  The prices on cloth diapers are pretty set.

For Jeff, his biggest concern is with my.. well laziness when it comes to doing laundry and even dishes. I’m honest, I HATE doing dishes and I HATE doing laundry.  I’m not exactly Suzy Homemaker here.. and quite honestly any type of cleaning is the bane of my existence. I do LOVE cooking, I just hate the cleaning up.. the preparation and cooking is usually soothing for me (If I’m not short on time). And I’ve been told I’m a really decent cook (thanks Mom and Dad!) too. Due to the time constraints on the 30 day back money guarantee -from time of arrival not of usage- I have to wait until the baby is ready for cloth diapers to buy them- I can’t just buy them and store them.. so my personal goal is to get into a good washing cycle for both dishes and laundry. I’m not going to share my personal goal, but if I can be consistent with it for the next 24-26 weeks that I have left of my pregnancy, I think Jeff would be more willing to try it out. Hopefully too, we can get to the bottom of my medical issues that I’ve been having, I’ll possibly be more motivated to clean and whatnot more.  Whatever I got, if it’s an Auto-immune disease with depression as a side affect (most of them do), or just some form of clincal depression; having depression lowers your motivation to do well.. anything really.  Hopefully I’ll have answers sometime soon regarding that.

At least one of you may be thinking “Well, why not try X brand? They may be cheaper!” and to that I reply with.. nothing beats the cost of Parent’s Choice diapers.  With the girls we never had a ton of issues with pee leaks and while they did have blowouts -one of the bonuses of using cloth, you rarely get blowouts- that’s unavoidable with all disposable diapers. We tried Luvs, we tried the Target brand diapers, as well as the generic brands from the locally owned grocery stores.. they all suck for us, and if they were leaky and gross with girls, it’s gonna be worse with boys; my SIL confirmed this for me today.

Pampers… well I refuse to use them on principle, because there’s been issues with a very small percentage of babies getting chemical burns due to the reformulating they did recently on the absorbency stuff that’s in them.. and they refuse to own up to the possibility of their products causing the burns.. instead they are blaming parental negligence -newsflash, a dry diaper that’s been on a child for less than 10 minutes should NOT remove the top layers of a child’s skin, that’s by no means negligent- wrong sizing (like putting your child in a diaper that might be one size too small is going to cause a chemical burn), diet (debatable due to allergies and acidity of the food you feed your kid), medication (debatable due to side affects) and other weird factors they’ve cooked up. While I concede that less than 5% (it might even be less than 1%) of the babies that were in Pampers were getting chemical burns.. do I really want to run that risk of putting my child through that pain and trauma… it’s not just a no, it’s a HELL NO. (I make no excuses for using that phrase, hope you aren’t offended) If you use the diapers and have not seen any issue with your baby’s behind.. then that’s fantastic… but the unknowing for me is enough to avoid it, plus their refusal to take any sort of responsibility for their product is what really does me in.. it’s more of an ethical issue than anything else.

If you want links or further information on what I’ve posted or even the exact breakdown of my spreadsheet, feel free to let me know, I’ll just email it to you.  I know this was a lot to read, so if you finished, that’s GREAT!  I spent a ton of time figuring this stuff out, and I just wanted to share.  Keep in mind this is just an estimate based on my personal preferences and the experience of my close relatives in the state of Salt Lake County, Utah.  If you prefer to use a different brand, and/or you don’t live in Utah, the cost WILL vary because of sales tax and just the price differences between brands.

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