You researched, you rallied and you've even managed to sell your toddler on this whole potty-training scheme. Then came the accidents. "After a few days of wetting and soiling her clothing, your child will logically choose to use the toilet," claimed the book. However, you can't just toss soiled or urine-soaked clothing in the hamper like an applesauce-covered shirt. Keeping up with the laundry your sweet angel produces while mastering potty training can make returning to those gel-filled disposable diapers look even more appealing.
1. Skim the Solids
Nobody likes handling poop-filled underwear, but that's what disposable rubber gloves are for. Empty the solid waste in the toilet and scrub the material together in a bucket filled with cool water -- a bucket you'll clean with bleach immediately afterward. Remove any and all solid particles before the clothing goes in the washer. This will prevent your washing machine, and the other clothing, from being contaminated by fecal particles.
2. Store and Wash Separately
Letting soiled or urine-soaked clothing sit for any period of time will leave your home smelling like an outhouse. To avoid contamination, you should wash any clothing dirtied during toilet-training immediately and separately from your toddler's standard yogurt-covered garments. Keep several zip-seal plastic bags on hand and in the car in case you can't wash the clothing immediately.
3. Cleaning Agents
The problem with bacteria -- particularly the kind found in feces -- is its resistance to detergent by itself. This is why the Oxford County Child Care Guide recommends a combination of bleach and a commercial detergent to thoroughly disinfect soiled clothing. According to the guide, you only need a 1/2 teaspoon of bleach for every 4 cups of water in your washing machine.
4. Hot and Clean
While hot water might reduce the long-term durability of your toddler's clothing, unlike the cold-wash cycle, hot water ensures a clean pair of pants and underwear. It also is far less likely to remove color from clothing, which is a consideration with bleach. According to ABC.com, the water must be at least 140 degrees Fahrenheit to effectively kill the bacteria. Wash your hands with hot, soapy water after handling the soiled garments, too.