Local mom of six set to launch a sanity-saving product for parents
● By Steven Hoffman
When Leeah Toto was still a toddler, she was what her mother Laura likes to call a “diaper ditcher.”
A determined diaper ditcher, in fact.
Whenever Laura or her husband Nick would put Leeah down for a nap in the crib in their Lincoln University, Pa. home, the sweet girl would wiggle her way free of her clothes and diaper. A toddler, once diaper-less, can unintentionally create a big mess in the crib in no time. This was the situation that Laura and Nick kept facing back in 2015. It was enormously frustrating, and Laura really wanted to find a solution so that her daughter, and the crib she slept in, would be kept clean.
The first place that Laura checked for a garment that could do the job was Amazon, but she didn't really see any kind of product that would fit her needs. Then she was struck by inspiration: she took a pair of old footed pajamas and cut the feet out. She turned the pajamas around and she put them on Leeah backward and the clothing was securely fastened on her daughter. There was no way for the toddler to slip out of her diaper and make a mess.
Laura recalled saying that Leeah couldn't get “naked no more” when she discovered that using the footed pajamas backwards prevented her daughter from undressing during naps and at bedtime.
“It was a triumph,” she said. “The day was so amazing. “It’s a complete peace of mind knowing that you won't have to clean the crib up.”
Once Laura discovered that footed pajamas could be altered to serve as a way to prevent her child from undressing, she set out to tweak the design a bit, adjusting the armholes and extending the length of the garment to the mid-thigh to go over top whatever Leeah was wearing at the time. This eliminated the need for the constant outfit changes after every nap and allowed Leeah to wear her regular pajamas at night.
Before she found her own makeshift solution to the problem, Laura came across numerous parents on online forums who were struggling with the same issue that her family had been dealing with.
“This is a more common problem than I even realized,” Laura explained. She and Nick have six children, and while the first two weren’t diaper ditchers, the last four were―to varying degrees. So Laura knew that there were plenty of people who needed a garment that would keep their children from undressing when they were napping. She set out to come up with a piece of clothing that would help bring some relief to parents and caregivers dealing with the issue, utilizing her own experiences. Before long, she had some very specific ideas about the clothing.
“It's a very simple one-piece that slips over pajamas and diapers,” Laura explained. It has arm holes that are slightly tighter than normal so the toddler can't slide out of it on their own. It is mid-thigh length, slightly longer than normal, so that the child can't get out of it from underneath. The neck line is also higher in the front than the back, which also keeps the clothing securely in place. It’s a very simple design, and Laura admitted that she was surprised that no one had come up with the idea before.
Laura extensively researched how to take a product to market. She formed a company, Diaper Diva Designs, and incorporated “Naked No More”―the expression that she used the first time that she figured out how to clothe Leeah to keep her clean―as the name of the product. She was able to obtain a patent for the piece of clothing.
She has made numerous online connections with people who have experience in the children’s clothing business who have helped her. She met Shelley Eller through a Facebook group. She also learned quite a bit from Karen Barsky, who created “the Woombie,” a peanut-shaped swaddler that is already on the market. Toto said that Barsky is kind of like a mentor as she has learned how to take her own product to market. Laura enlisted Carrie Carnes, who worked as a designer of Gerber children's clothing, to help with the design. By the end of 2017, she had made a connection with California-based Left in Stitches that did the pattern work and provided some samples of the clothing.
Laura applied to have her product showcased on “Shark Tank,” and also entered Naked No More in the FedEx Small Business Grant Contest. The goal has been to get the product in front of as many people as possible to make people aware of its benefits.
As Laura has gone through the process of getting the project to market, she has become even more convinced that there is a great need for the product. She undertook an online poll and 76 percent of the respondents said that they have, they had, or they know someone who has dealt with an issue where the product could help. And the product’s usefulness extends far beyond helping families with toddlers. Laura heard from many people who have special needs children who were inquiring if Naked No More came in larger sizes to accommodate older children who might also be able to benefit from using the product.
“This is a sensitive subject for parents and caregivers, and I want to provide a solution that they can discreetly employ,” Laura explained. She added that Naked No More might also be useful for adults who are suffering with certain ailments.
The product won’t be useful for every family, of course, but for those that do need it, Laura expects it to have a very positive impact.
It has certainly made a positive impact for the Toto family. With Leeah serving as the first tester of the product, by the time the couple's next child, Mason, came along, they were better prepared for the diaper ditching. Mason was much less determined when it comes to ditching the diaper, so that helped, too. When Madison and Kaden came along, the Totos were able to utilize the product.
Laura said that she’s surprised―and pleased―with how useful Naked No More is turning out to be.
“It really took on a life of its own,” she said.
The product is now being manufactured, with packaging details still being finalized. She is hoping that the product will be available by late summer, starting with Amazon. Then she’d like to also have the product available at retailers, including larger ones like Walmart and Target.
For more information about Naked No More, the website is www.DiaperDivaDesigns.com and there is also a Facebook page for Diaper Diva Designs.