Infant Potty Training: Diaper Free Babies?!
Image credit: White-Boucke Books
Diapers: reusables or biodegradables? Until recently, I had assumed that was the only options for a coming eco-parent like myself. But somehow I had completely missed Warren's post on infant potty training (aka Potty Whispering, aka Elimination Communication, aka EC), or Kyeann's post on Diaper Free Babies. But conversations with my neighbor, who has practiced 'Potty Whispering' with her now 18 month old son, has gotten me all intrigued. I mean can it really be possible to train an infant out of diapers? Certainly the benefits are undeniable. As Erik Blachford over at Terrapass pointed out, the sooner you potty train, the less waste you'll create - whether you do go reusable or disposable. And proponents of Elimination Communication would argue that it is the most natural method out there. One commenter on Adam's post put it this way:
Babies are born with the biological urge not to soil themselves. That's why they fuss or cry when their diaper is wet or poopy. When we put them in diapers, we essentially UN-TRAIN them from their natural urges, and then two or so years later, we force them to stop doing what we trained them to do -- soil themselves. Elimination communication trains the parents; the baby already knows what to do and simply has to be shown where to do it. Wearing the baby in a sling or other front carrier facilitates EC, as it promotes close communication for everything from nursing to elimination.
Now of course EC seems to require pretty close attention to work, so for parents working away from home it may not be an option. (It's unlikely you're going to find a daycare that specializes in EC...) But it does seem like it's not an all-or-nothing kind of deal - our neghbors' kid wears diapers as a precaution, but most of the time he's able to tell his mom when it's time for him to do his business, and she'll carry him over to the toilet. It's pretty amazing stuff. Infant potty training expert Helen Boucke has a basic introduction to Elimination Communication here, including a useful piece on whether or not EC is right for you.
Now whether a work-at-home Dad like myself can make it work, or convince my wife it's worth a try, remains to be seen - but I can't say I'm not tempted. Any readers out there who have tried it for themselves? (Or for their babies...)