Were potty training for real in my household. It started ages ago. The kids paternal grandmother is originally from Finland and claims to have gotten her first son (the babes uncle) trained at twelve months. As with most grandparent claims (AKA family myths) this isnt entirely true. No matter.
Starting sometime around twelve months we took a little potty brought to us as a gift from a trip to Helsinki and put it with her toys. All of her favorite stuffed animals would sit on it and she became so interested in what they were doing there (and what we, her parents, were doing on the big girl/boy potty) that she managed to produce some, um, items in the potty at around 15 months. We have plenty of pictures of the rare events but she clearly had no concept of when she had to go, or muscle control, until recently (shes now 2 years 4 months). This coupled with a very crucial factor -- desire/willingness -- has lead to serious training. Shes still in a diaper for naps (we learned this the hard way when an underweared stroller nap was sadly interrupted forty minutes in by a relaxed bladder) and overnight. The amount of potty talk (and potty related books and progress update phone calls to grandparents and rewards for "producing") is staggering. Thankfully both of her parents have puerile senses of humor and find scatological things amusing. Its been a hilarious process and as I type this, were concluding our first week where she spent most if not all of the days outside in the real world (as opposed to in our apartment) in big girl underwear. Shes thrilled and proud and so are we.
Shes a "holder, as opposed to someone who has to "go" all of the time, which has made this process, arguably still in its infancy, much easier than I expected. What hasnt been easy? Finding said big girl underwear. Its pretty simple these days to find the green parenting items I want and need at stores around me. Even in New York City, I do have to go out of my way for certain toys or creams or glass canning jars but eventually I locate what Im looking for. So when my daughter announced last week that she was done with diapers, I was shocked to discover that its impossible to find tiny, all cotton (preferably organic and lacking marketing/ads for Disney characters) undies in downtown Manhattan. It wasnt a total emergency. We did have one three pack of Oko-Tex Standard 100-certified Hannah Andersson training unders (also a gift from the paternal grandmother).
But we needed quite a bit more.
I called all around town to no avail. Giggle has a brick and mortar store in SoHo that sells Under the Niles organic cotton version. We have a few Under The Nile things and are big fans -- theyre so soft. Sadly, they were out of stock. "This is indicative -- it's hard to find and keep in stock great, all organic trainers," explained Giggle CEO/ Founder Ali Wing. "I love the Under The Nile trainers for their simplicity. Too many styles try to do too much. At the end of the day, when you're training you need simplicity for your little ones -- not a bunch of extra parts/pieces."
I figured I could order some online and while I waited for them to arrive, Id get some back up panties at a store near me. But the big chains like Old Navy or Gap only carry enormous sizes. Other big box baby gear places I normally avoid like the plague for fear of dire parental overstimulation (not to mention toxic kiddie overload) only carried training pants wrapped in vinyl, which is clearly not an option in my household. "For someone who favors organic/green, there aren't great waterproof options," notes Wing. "And realistically, even for the most waterproof, there's very little to that reality when a toddler wets under pants. They need changed, and soon." These stores offered plenty of disposable diaper pull-ups, also not an option. The point is to get her out of diapers, not prolong it with a new stage of landfill cloggers. I did see some padded training pants with a mix of conventional cotton content and a lot of polyester padding.
I rarely buy any new clothes for my daughter -- were fortunate to be the grateful recipients of several hand-me-down wardrobes, which we in turn hand down to our younger friends -- but when I do buy new, I like to buy organic cotton. Not only does it keep a tremendous amount of chemical gunk out of the environment, but I feel better about non-synthetic, organically raised, well-processed cotton next to her softest skin.
As it turned out, the paternal grandmother (who I now refer to as our potty fairy godmother) was going to be near a Hannah Andersson brick and mortar store later in the week, and we were seeing her over the weekend. So she snagged some more pairs, we did without until we saw her, and the story has a basically happy ending. But the experience left me feeling ... wet in the pants? Which is to say, uncomfortable. It has been a long time since I had to do that much work to get the better product for a pretty run-of-the-mill need. It shouldnt be so hard to find 100 percent cotton (preferably organic) training pants anywhere -- there are only TWO brands I could find making what I was looking for. And I especially dont expect, living in New York City, to have to shop online and have things packaged up and trucked in only to me. If I do wind up ordering more, Ill be sure to post on my local parenting message board beforehand. Maybe we can all put in a huge order together so the delivery only has to happen once.
But Ill walk over to Giggle to see if the Under The Niles are in stock yet, first.
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