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The Best Ways to Wash Clothes During Potty Training

by Susan Revermann, studioD

The adventure of potty training doesn’t stop at the toilet -- it involves soiled clothing, too. The urine and feces stains must be handled appropriately if you don’t want them to be permanent evidence of your little one’s potty training misfortunes. With the right laundering procedures, you should be able to keep those clothes around long enough for him to actually grow out of them.


Although it’s not feasible or economical to wash every piece of clothing that your little one soils as soon as the deed is done, you can rinse the clothing before the stain and smell set into the fibers. The longer the mess stays on the fibers, the harder it will be to remove it and more likely it is that it will become permanent. Turn the clothing inside-out and use cold water to rinse the fabric. If the mess is poop, try scraping the clumps into the toilet first. You can also firmly hold a corner of the clothing while you dunk the soiled area into the toilet and flush. This helps rinse the poop away without you having to touch it -- just don’t let go or you’ll have a bigger mess to deal with.


You’ll want to pretreat your child’s clothing before you toss it into the washer. Add some liquid laundry detergent that contains enzymes into some cold water and let the clothing soak for at least a half hour. Old, set-in stains should soak overnight. Don’t soak the material in hot water, as that will just cook the icky stuff into the fabric.


After you’ve pretreated and soaked the fabric, it’s time to wash it. Take a look at your child’s clothing tag and see what it says about the temperature you should use to wash it. Use the hottest temperature you can on that particular fabric, as hot water washes out potty messes better than cold water. Use a liquid laundry detergent and some oxygen bleach to wash the clothing.


Once the wash cycle is done, you’ll need to inspect your child’s clothing. Check the fabric over thoroughly to see if the stain and smell are gone before tossing it into the dryer. The heat from the dryer can set the stain or smell to the clothing fibers if it’s not washed out completely first. If you still see the potty evidence or it still has an odor, toss it back in the wash for another round. If not, run your normal drying cycle.

About the Author

Susan Revermann is a professional writer with educational and professional experience in psychology, research and teaching. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Washington in psychology, focused on research, motivational behavior and statistics. Revermann also has a background in art, crafts, green living, outdoor activities and overall fitness, balance and well-being.

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