Diapering & Potty

The most indispensable of children’s products are those designed to manage lavatory issues. And manufacturers answer the call with all the tools you’ll need, from an array of high-performance cloth and disposable diapers and training pants to an assortment of thoughtfully designed potty chairs and accessories, such as diaper bags, changing pads and potty-training books and DVDs. These must-haves will likely hold a prominent place in your home for your child’s first three or four years of life. Learn from other parents’ experiences with the products shown here.

Diapering Basics

  • Change your baby’s diaper often and immediately after every bowel movement.
  • Before you start, be sure that all of your supplies are within reach: clean diapers, warm water, baby washcloths, diaper cream/ointment, and a change of clothes for your baby.
  • Place your baby on his back on a washable changing pad or towel. Even if it may be months before your baby is able to roll over, keep a hand on him at all times when he’s on a diaper-changing surface. Don’t leave him alone, even for a second.
  • If your baby is wearing a diaper, remove it. For a boy, place a baby washcloth over his penis to prevent him from using you for target practice.
  • If your baby has had a bowel movement, use the unsoiled parts of the old diaper to wipe away as much as possible. Then, using another baby washcloth moistened with warm water, wipe your infant’s diaper area from front to back, being careful to clean inside all the creases.
  • To prevent diaper rash, let the area dry completely before putting on diaper cream and/or a clean diaper. To speed the process, dry with another baby washcloth.
  • If any areas appear pink and rashy, apply diaper cream or ointment.
  • Lift your baby’s legs and place the back half of a clean, correctly sized diaper under his bottom. For a boy, make sure his penis is pointing downward. Pull the front of the diaper between your infant’s legs and secure the attached fasteners comfortably around the waist.
  • Try talking, singing or make funny faces to distract your baby as you change him.
  • Wash your hands with soap and warm water when you’re finished. For more diapering information go to: New Parent Newborn Guide

Potty Training Tips

Don’t start until you see these signs of readiness:

  • Your child shows interest in the process, watches or imitates you in the bathroom
  • He has some awareness of when he’s filling his diaper or acts uncomfortable when his diaper is soiled
  • He is able to follow simple instructions
  • He can walk to and from the bathroom and help undress himself
  • He has regular, predictable bowel movements
  • He stays dry for at least two hours at a time

When your child is ready, follow these training guidelines:

  • Use a potty chair so your child won’t be afraid of falling.
  • Because at first your little one won’t always be able to tell you when he has to go, ask him sit on the potty chair when he wakes up, right after eating, or before bed. Read to him or give him a special toy to play with to keep him entertained.
  • Offer encouragement and praise, but don’t push or force him.
  • Staying dry at night is usually the last thing children master. Limiting your child’s fluid intake after dinner and having him use the potty right before bed helps.
  • Keep your expectations in check. Accidents are a normal part of the process—react to them matter-of-factly. Expect potty training to take at least six months. Click on this link for more information: New Parent Guide to Potty Training.