What To Do if You Run Out of Diapers (Or you're just sick and tired of buying them)
I don't know about where YOU live, but a friend sent me a pic of her Walmart back in the summer of 2020 that looked like it was Palm Beach or Key West the day before a hurricane made landfall.
Staring at the rows of stripped shelves, my heart went out to those who hadn't yet made their usual grocery runs, and were now facing an even longer stretch without their family's staples.
If you're one of those who was caught between trips and other parents got to the diaper-and-wipes aisle first, this is my heart-into-action for you: what you can do if you're running out of diapers.
Are you ready?
Stop using diapers.
If you're running (or already) out of diapers, stop using them. The diaper source has temporarily been switched off, so switch your mindset to a diaper-free one! Let me explain (and if your brain, like mine, is a wee bit distracted right now, I'm going to recap EVERYTHING in short-and-sweet bullet points at the end).
If your baby is walking
If your child is walking, you can totally ditch diapers COMPLETELY and be DONE. Now. It doesn't matter if she can't talk yet, can't dress herself yet. If she's walking and capable of throwing tantrums when she doesn't get her way, she's capable of getting to a potty and communicating her pottying needs. (Have a “late walker” who's comfortably crawling everywhere and who crawls behind the couch to stealth poop? Yep. He's ready, too.)
If you're in this boat, take a deep breath, pull out that mini potty or potty seat reducer you planned on using at some future date you never quite set on your calendar (fyi: that future date has been handed to you), grab a copy of the Tiny Potty Training Book, and do this thing.
If, after you've ditched those daytime diapers your child takes a bit to “click” into dry nights (because, #heavysleepers), you COULD use cloth diapers at night while you're working through this. BUT, if you don't already have a cloth diaper stash, why go “back?”
For a while, my heavy sleeper used a slip-on waterproof cover over his Tiny Trainers (like underwear, only way more amazing during potty training). We used the nighttime tips in the Tiny Potty Training Book and one day, er, night, he stopped needing a waterproof cover. For good!
Yeah, But What About Younger Babies?
If your child is a wee babe (especially if she's not eating solids yet – that can really regulate the bowels!), you're not doomed by the empty stores, either, though you'll need a slightly different approach for a little while.
First, get a copy of Go Diaper Free. If you have a brand-beautiful-new little one (hello, #sleepdeprivation) and just want someone to SHOW YOU everything you need to know and do regarding elimination (plus amazing tips on sleep and feeding), start with Baby Meets Potty video course, instead. (Just remember this is for babies 0-3 months. If your baby is crawling, check out Potty Time Master MiniCourse if you prefer a video course approach to this stage of development.)
Second, check out Tiny Undies or network with your local EC buy/sell/swap group for cloth diapers, waterproof covers, and anything else you'll need to transition to cloth as a back-up during this stage of development.
If you're in a super-warm climate, you may actually be able to skip any kind of diaper at all and just invest in a couple waterproof mats for sleeping/tummy time – babies all throughout history have been un-diapered and it has worked out just fine! But, for those of us still dealing with chilly temperatures, you'll need a back-up for now.
And yes, you CAN EC part-time, while you're working, just for poops, while you're pregnant, with a non-verbal child, with other children in the house, with a developmentally-challenged child...in whatever circumstance you find yourself.
It will look like YOUR journey, and you'll be so amazed at how naturally it fits in your rhythm (and relieved at how many less diapers you'll be washing!), you'll wonder why you ever felt like you had to stay in full-time diapers before!
Bonus: when you DO reach the time to potty train, you'll wonder why everyone says its such a traumatic rite of passage in childhood development. Because you and your babe will already have awareness and communication open regarding elimination, it will just be the next step. #win!
How to further reduce the laundry/energy/cost burden with your cloth diapers
If you already have a cloth stash or are mid-potty training, I have a tip for further-reducing the laundry/energy/cost burden: if your baby is pre-solid-food/formula, then pee diapers/underwear aren't going to reek like ammonia and if they're cotton, you can simply rinse, hang dry, and reuse!
(I've actually even been able to re-use my “ammonia” cotton diapers/undies when I catch the leak right away and rinse immediately. In fact, I've used the same cotton diaper three times using this method on more than one occasion!)
A brief recap of all we’ve discussed today (and the codes!)
To recap (and find codes, for those who are scrolling from the top)...
If your baby can walk and/or throw tantrums to express desires and/or hides to poop:
- ditch diapers now
- get the Tiny Potty Book to show you how (use code 15OFFLD for 15% off)
- find back-ups for nighttime (if needed) at Tiny Undies (use code TU5OFFLD for $5 off) or use FB to find an EC or cloth diaper buy/sell/swap group
If your baby is brand-new up to about 12 months (though many have completely ditched diapers before this!):
- switch to EC with a cloth backup
- get Go Diaper Free (don't forget code 15OFFLD)
- for newborns, get a clear, sleep-deprivation-proof start with Baby Meets Potty (the code works for this, too)
If you have cotton diapers/undies/pants and need to save energy costs on washing, you can rinse pee items and hang dry to re-use.
Hang in there. We'll all get through this together!
Share below how you've handled diapering during the pandemic. Did you do anything differently? Have you decided to switch to cloth diapers or potty train?
Psst...and if you’re here reading this blog post long after the pandemic is (hopefully) over, remember that you can *pretend* that the stores are no longer selling diapers to get yourself OUT of diapers more quickly!
Big thanks to Laura for this awesome guest post! Let’s mingle below!
PS - here’s the video version of this episode in case you prefer to YouTube it. ;)