September 6, 2009

Diaper free baby

Recently, when reviewing the Diaper rash section of “The Baby Book” by Dr. Sears, I read a line which disturbed me. Dr. Sears said that diaper rashes are just a common problem in a civilized society which diapers its babies. I don’t disagree with him. I just think it is ironic that as “civilized people”, we teach our babies it’s normal to sit in a urine-soaked diaper or a pile of poo. Then, we wonder why they resist toilet training later in life.

Shouldn’t people in a civilized society be able to do better than to teach their kids to sit in their own excrement? Of course, the answer is yes. There is actually a movement of people in “civilized” society to eliminate the use of diapers on small babies. Now, before you “poopoo” the idea, hear me out.

The concept is simple. Babies can be taught (from birth) to eliminate into a sink or toilet and thus, greatly reduce or eliminate the need for diapers. This cuts down on landfill waste if you’re using plastic diapers and on water usage if you use cloth. Parents learn to pay attention to their baby’s cues and make a little sound (like Pssst) when he or she starts to eliminate. Soon, the cue sound actually helps the baby to “go”. Families can choose to do diaper free full time or part time, whichever works for them.

I was a little skeptical of the idea at first, though I’d read that this is what people in third world countries do. After all, they don’t have the money to buy Pampers. But, driven to desperation by a daughter plagued by a bad diaper rash and wanting to avoid having to wash a million cloth diapers, I tried it.

AMAZING. Going diaper free with a baby WORKS! Now, she regularly uses the toilet several times a day. We haven’t figured out all her cues because she’s a little sneaky in the number two department but it really does work!! She still wears a cloth diaper in between trips to the toilet in case I miss one but I’m washing a lot fewer diapers.

It’s funny how people respond to this idea. The director of a large, prestigious preschool near my house had never heard of it but loved the idea. She wanted to see it but, of course, my daughter didn’t oblige her at the time. Another friend laughed at me and said she believes this practice just trains the parent, not the child. ??? I’m not sure what she meant by that. When given the choice between wiping up and discarding a poopy diaper in your trash (which smells GROSS all day), and training your baby to use the toilet early, what would you pick?

I’m convinced that the whole idea of “civilized” people teaching their babies to sit in their own waste is pretty gross. I’m going to keep working with my baby on this and maybe we’ll even be able to toilet train early!!

If you’re interested in learning more about Diaper Free living, check out or join the groups on Facebook and Yahoo.

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