As the very proud mama of a fierce toddler with Trisomy 21, developmental delays are a daily part of my life. As a family, we learn ways to adapt and overcome those delays in our weekly therapy sessions; we celebrate in style when skills are mastered, whether they’re great or small.
As Kerrigan (all-too-quickly) approaches three years old, the questions about potty-learning have started popping up more frequently. Family members want to know when we’re going to start introducing a potty chair, or if we are planning on her being potty-trained by her next birthday. The short answer is, no. Just like we would with any typically developing child, we are planning on following Kerrigan’s lead and helping her learn to use a toilet when she’s ready. For our family, that means overcoming a few extra obstacles like a speech delay that makes communicating a need to use the bathroom tricky. Her fine motor skills will also need work as she learns to un-dress herself for bathroom trips. Children with Down syndrome almost always have some form of hypotonia, or decreased muscle tone—which can make recognizing when they need to use the restroom tricky, and “holding it” even trickier. These skills can and will develop, but they will take time. Luckily for us, we have cloth diapering working in our favor!
Cloth diapering has already played such an integral role in our parenting journey. Parenting a child with special needs can get very expensive as we take on medical bills for specialists, surgeries, and private therapies. Using cloth has saved us hundreds of dollars on diapers and wipes over the past several years, and it means that the likelihood of Kerrigan needing some extra time to potty-learn will not place any extra financial burden on our household. We already own plenty of diapers to carry her through to successful potty-learning! There’s no extra stress on us (or her) to press the issue before she’s developmentally ready.
Once we do get to the potty-learning stage, cloth diapers will remain a key element of the plan. My hope is to initially tackle day-time potty-training while continuing to use our O.N.E. diapers overnight. I plan on utilizing GroVia Organic Cotton All In Ones (AIOs) because they’ll allow Kerrigan to feel when she is wet while still keeping urine inside because of the TPU outer. The generous sizing of the entire GroVia line has given us so much flexibility in diapering Kerrigan, and even at 2.5 years old, she still has plenty of room for growth in her AIOs, O.N.E.s, and Hybrid Diapers! Luckily for us, GroVia even has cloth trainers available as well for the in-between stages.
The benefits of cloth diapering keep on extending, and the benefits as a parent of a child during the potty-learning stage of life are so numerous that it’s almost impossible to list them all. From an environmental standpoint, needing to potty-train later would mean more than an average number of diapers dumped in the garbage—and cloth eliminates that concern. Beyond diapers themselves, Wetbags are compact to carry, but make cleanups a breeze if accidents happen (and we all know accidents will happen).
Potty-learning is often a major stressor in toddlerhood, and we’re determined not to let it be that way in our household. When Kerrigan is ready, with our trusty GroVia systems at our side along the way, we know she’ll be set up for success.