There are so many nappy systems out there to choose from, but when it comes to helping your baby use a potty, my favourite by far is the simple cloth and nappy belt. Cloth and belt has so many advantages when it comes to elimination communication. This practical how-to guide will tell you all you need to know.
What is a nappy belt and cloth?
A cloth and nappy belt is basically a belt which your baby wears around his or her waist, which you tuck a cloth into at the front and back. The belt keeps the cloth in place. When you need to offer the potty, you can simply untuck the cloth from the front or back. If you need to change the cloth, you can do this without removing the belt. Here’s some pics:
There are many nappy belts available online, but the Little Bunny Bear adjustable nappy belt can fit from birth to around 3 years, and because it opens, up, it’s easy to put on and off. If you don’t have one (and want one) you can make your own with this pattern. Alternatively, you can use a piece of elastic or any little elastic belt which you have at home (although they won’t be quite as comfy).
When worn with a cloth, the belt looks like this:
What are the advantages?
First of all, its incredibly cheap. Its also easy to wash and quick to dry. The nappy belt doesn’t need washing much, and muslin cloths (as pictured here) don’t build up ammonia like cloth nappy fabric can. The humble muslin cloth is an incredibly versatile item of baby kit. Using it as a nappy is perfect for pottying because it can be folded in many different ways and always in a way which precisely fits your child, no matter how big or small they are (I’ll show you how to fold below).
The muslin cloth is not waterproof and this is actually a huge bonus when it comes to pottying. If your baby wets the cloth, you won’t have ruined your outfit or the floor, but you will know immediately. This means you can respond quicker when it comes to teaching your little one what’s happening. However, if you do need a waterproof cover (and sometimes you do want this peace of mind), fear not, as Little Bunny Bear has designed that as well (pattern coming soon):
When used without a cover, you will know straight away when it’s wet, you will change it quicker than a nappy with a waterproof cover. This teaches your baby that being dry and clean is the norm. In this way, it makes so much more sense for pottying that any nappy with a waterproof cover, whether or not you catch the elimination in a potty. It can be used from birth, when eliminations are frequent and small, but it’s also a great tool at the beginning of potty training, when you need to help your little one recognise wetness straight away.
In terms of actually catching the elimination, it takes seconds to untuck the cloth, making it infinitely easier to respond to your baby’s cues. If they miss, you can use the timing method to help you anticipate the next elimination. Using a cloth and belt is also a great way to practice risk-free nappy-free time.
Because you can tuck it in at the front OR back, it’s more versatile than other drop flap nappy designs (oh, and did I mention cheaper? Oh yea I did).
How to fold the cloth
Some people use a prefold nappy (diaper), but in fact you can use any water-absorbent material (an old T-shirt cut into a foldable square works great!). For me, a simple muslin cloth is perfect because they can be folded to fit precisely and they are cheap and readily available (you’ve probably got some already).
Here I describe my own method for folding the cloth but there are countless ways!
1. Fold the cloth down to create he correct length for your baby. The length is the distance from their tummy button to the same place on their back. Here, I have folded it down to fit my 8 month old.
2 & 3. Now, fold the cloth inwards at the left and right sides, to create a soaker pad around 10-15cm wide.
Because you folded it down at the top first, you have extra layers at the front. This is good for peeing, especially for boys.
If you are worried about poo, you can fold the sides inwards but then fan them out at the back to create a sort of “poo holder”. But in my experience, this is not necessary.