Laundry Tips for the Potty Training Family

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The following is written by LifeasMOM contributing writer, Prerna:

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We are in full potty-training mode at our household. Our daughter has moved to toddler underwear and while we are thrilled about her ditching the diapers, the switch has meant an additional load of laundry to deal with accidental messes and smells.

In true mama spirit, I’d love to share some laundry tips and tricks to help you deal with laundry during toilet-training time.

1. Get the Stains and Smells Out

One of the biggest challenges that we faced were dealing with the poop and pee stains and smells. During the initial days of potty training, accidents were common and getting the stains and smell out were of highest priority. So, here’s what worked for me:

For Stain Removal

First of all, get rid of the solid waste by flushing it into the toilet. Next, swish the soiled underwear in a half-filled bucket of water, rinse, repeat if necessary. Throw away the dirty water. Apply a paste of detergent, oxygen-based stain remover and water, let it sit for ten to fifteen minutes. Use a scrubbing brush to scrub away stains. Toss into washing machine or wash by hand.

Getting Rid of Smells

Soaking the underwear in a vinegar-water solution before washing them by hand worked to not only get rid of the stains but also the smells.

You can also try soaking the stained and soiled underwear in a solution of soda bicarbonate and water and then, washing as usual. I’ve also found sprinkling soda bicarb in shoes that have gotten wet during an accident works well to get rid of pee smell.

2. Laundry Hygiene and Toddler Toilet Training Clothes and Underwear

I wanted to keep her underwear separate from our loads of laundry for two big reasons: One the thought of washing poop and pee-stained underwear with our regular clothes was too icky. Two, washing her toddler underwear with our delicates and undergarments was also, too icky. So, I may be paranoid but I do a separate load of laundry with just her underwear and maybe a mattress cover or two.

3. Have a Toilet Training Laundry Plan

Since moving your toddler to cotton underwear will translate into extra loads of laundry, especially if you haven’t been using cloth diapers before, you want to have a laundry plan in place. You’ll also have to hand wash the clothes that have been soiled due to “accidents” so that they don’t sit around smelling and stain-setting for long. So, hand wash clothes like shorts, socks or skirts that get wet right away and reserve a day for doing your toddler’s underwear.

Since I do several different types of laundry loads, it meant doing her load of underwear on the day I did our delicates and undergarments as well. So, find out what works for you and create a plan. Else, you’ll end up with a stash of dirty toddler underwear before you know it.

Are you a potty training mom?

How do you keep on top of the laundry pile when potty training?

Prerna Malik posing for the camera.— Prerna Malik is a mom, a wife, a writer and woman who believes in parenting with love, being postively productive, and creating a home that invites you to put your feet up and relax. Find her sharing her simple tips and easy-to-do ideas at The Mom Writes or follow her on Twitter.

For Further Reading:

Potty Training in 10 Days or Less
One Clever Potty Seat
A Travel Potty Seat – Don’t Leave Home without It

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  1. Very detailed and super awesome tips. Especially using the detergent paste. I also like how you mentioned washing the clothes right away as they leave a lingering smell if left sitting for too long.

  2. Thank you for sharing this information. I’m grandma and do the kids laundry due to heavy school load for my daughter. Anyway my 4 year old will not poop on the toilet. He pees but not poop. He screams . So I do his laundry. I do just what you said except for the soda and brush part. I will now. But I rinse and rinse and they still smell when they’re done. It’s driving me crazy. So I will try this. Also if anyone can maybe offer some advise on getting him to poop on the toilet it would be so appreciated. Thank you. Linda

    1. Did you have any good tips on getting him to poop on the toilet? i’m in the same boat right now!

  3. What about jeans, my daughters jeans are the heardest to get the odor out , what’s the best way to rid the pee out.. When I run out of laundry soap I use dial antibacterial soap works wonderful on light weight clothes. Not so much on jeans , I don’t know what to do .would soaking them in banking soda and distilled vinnager take the odor out .. I am out of laundry soap , help what do I do?! I have to do laundry at the laundry mat or go to my mothers . my daughters jeans are starting to get a nomonia smell , I tried washing them once already . what do I do ?

    1. I haven’t tried this on ammonia smells, but if there’s a strong odor in clothing, I wash it with added tea tree oil and a vinegar rinse and also set it in the sun for several hours. Hope that helps!

  4. It seems like my kids always have accidents right after the last shred of laundry has been folded and put away. Then there’s nothing else to wash them with. I don’t worry to much about it because there will be a load’s worth by the next day. I just rinse out the soiled clothes and hang them over the edge of the bathtub until there’s a new load of dirty clothes. My husband always has nasty work clothes to wash so I don’t mind throwing potty training laundry in with that.

  5. My tip? Don’t use undies ;). My daughter is diaper-less most of the time so most of what I clean is floors. We have about 5 pairs of underwear and she doesn’t wear bottoms right now, so my laundry has been mostly uneffected. (I do use underwear sometimes, just so she gets used to it. Also, I dont go anywhere in the early stages of potty training so going diaper-less is not offensive 😛 )

    1. I agree Miranda! Staying home in the beginning days can ease the potty training. Also, we are planning on removing the carpets so all we have to do is clean the floors.

  6. That’s the benefit to having a younger one still in cloth diapers. The toddler’s wet and dirty undies just went straight into the diaper hamper to get the heavy duty treatment with the baby’s diapers!

  7. I’m starting to think I may be very, very lazy when it comes to washing toddler undies. Is it weird that I’m not at all skeeved out by washing the pee undies right along with our clothes? I don’t know… maybe? 🙂 Still, I enjoyed reading all these tips!

    1. Ha ha, I’m not either. 🙂 Maybe I’m just worn down from cloth diapering. My 5 y/o still has accidents where he dribbles on his clothes and I usually just through them in the laundry after they dry. Poop, on the other hand, would be a different story. Any item with poop would be rinsed and chucked in the diaper pail.

  8. We have one potty learning and one still in diapers. All of the accident clothes go into the diaper pail–easy peasy.

    1. Hey Karen, does leaving the peed-undies in the diaper pail for too long leave a lingering urine odor? I tried it but it takes a lot of washes to get the urine smell off, so now I try to wash the wet undies right away as to not leave any lingering smell.