General Question

Cupcake's avatar

What are your thoughts about the diaper free (EC) movement?

Asked by Cupcake (15502points) January 7th, 2011
35 responses
“Great Question” (1points)

Apparently for the past few years, there has been a trend of parents training their babies to eliminate into a potty (or potty alternative) instead of using diapers. Here is an article and here are a few organizations.

Thoughts? Experiences?

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classykeyser's avatar

Before the reason of a child’s brain kicks in, you will be dealing with a lot of foul baby clothes if you don’t use diapers.

Cupcake's avatar

From my understanding, @classykeyser, this theory relies on visual and auditory cues as well as behavioral conditioning… not logic.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

I seem to remember that it’s not training, it’s timing – they know when to put the kid on the pot so there aren’t any accidents.

Cupcake's avatar

@papayalily Do you know anyone who did it?

classykeyser's avatar

I have a hard time believing, as a parent, that any parent can know exactly when to put a three month old baby on the toilet. There are factors here which make completely diaper free near impossible:
1. When the parent is asleep, he/she will not notice the cues
2. Anyone you get to babysit or nanny won’t be as tapped in either, and good luck telling them they have to

Seelix's avatar

I’m not a parent, but I don’t see why this is necessary or practical.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@Cupcake No, I read that years ago.

Dr_Dredd's avatar

You’d have to have someone watching that baby 24/7 to respond to toileting “cues.” Most parents I know wouldn’t be willing to do this, even if they think they might be at the beginning.

classykeyser's avatar

If you have a child, you need to be willing to take care of that child’s needs until they can do things on their own. It occurs this way everywhere in the animal kingdom and doesn’t stop with mammals.

Cupcake's avatar

@Seelix I can see that there would be some benefits… certainly environmental (diapers account for a TON of waste), as well as being particularly “in-tune” with your child.

Cupcake's avatar

I have seen a couple implement this practice with their infant… very successfully. I’ll also admit that there’s something about it that feels strange. Perhaps I value mother’s independence too much for this one.

Seelix's avatar

@Cupcake – If environmental concerns are an issue, cloth diapers are an alternative. I just don’t really “get it”, I guess. Maybe as a parent I’d have a different view.

classykeyser's avatar

@Cupcake How much did this couple spend on new clothes for the baby after the others were soiled too badly?

classykeyser's avatar

I have no problem changing diapers and caring for my child when she needs it. No need to rush things.

SuperMouse's avatar

Who is potty trained here, the parents or the baby? I am as environmentally conscious as the next guy but why not just go with cloth diapers? As a parent I waited until my children were ready and the whole potty training process was done in a day. That is not an exaggeration and it happened for all three boys as they turned 3.

Cupcake's avatar

The kid didn’t soil his clothes. The parents picked up on their baby’s cues and made a sound to indicate that it was ok to pee on the pot.

MissAusten's avatar

To each their own! It’s not something I would be tempted to bother with, but there are probably things I prioritize that other parents wouldn’t. My first reaction is that parenting is hard enough without adding something else to work on. My second reaction is to remember what it was like when I had a toddler and a newborn and couldn’t see straight most of the time, let alone watch for subtle clues that one of them was about to pee!

classykeyser's avatar

@Cupcake I call bullshit at least during the first few months of the baby’s life.

Cupcake's avatar

@MissAusten That’s pretty much what I was thinking. If it works for you – cool. I’m wary that this is another way to make mothers feel guilty about their adequacy and parenting approaches. I also think it’s vitally important for parents to be at their best… by getting sleep and taking care of themselves… to be able to take care of the children. This seems to be a huge burden with little pay-off.

Cupcake's avatar

@classykeyser Right… I’m sure they needed diaper back-up for the first couple of months… and probably at night for awhile.

MissAusten's avatar

This reminds of the movie Babies. If you’re not familiar with it, it follows the first year or so of the lives of babies in four different parts of the world: The US, Japan, Africa, and Mongolia. The African and Mongolian babies did not wear diapers. There’s a scene where the African baby poos, and the mom wipes his rear on her leg. Then she cleans her leg. There’s another scene where the Mongolian baby is just laying around and he pees when he has to pee.

bkcunningham's avatar

@Cupcake actually it isn’t a new concept. It’s been around in America since the 1970s. And yes, my oldest sister used a similar technique combined with attachment parenting techniques and common sense with my oldest niece who is now 37 years old. It actually worked and my niece was going to the potty on her own without accidents by the time she was a year old. She used techniques from a book called Conscious Toilet Training, by Laurie Boucke and Attachment Parenting by Dr. Williams Sears.

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
Seaofclouds's avatar

I’ve talked to several women that have done this successfully. During the day when they are home, they lay the baby on cloth diapers naked or dressed from the top up (to help see when the baby is going and to make it easier to get the baby over the “potty” and use the cues appropriately. It takes quite a bit of work from what they’ve described and I personally doubt I could do it. It does fascinate me though. When they go out, they would diaper the baby with cloth diapers.

Coloma's avatar


Just another fad thing to pit parents against each other, aside from the usual stupid competitive stuff that some parents get into. lol

“Oooh MY baby was potty trained at 3 weeks!” Gimme a break!

augustlan's avatar

[mod says] This is our Question of the Day!

incendiary_dan's avatar

I’ve known parents who successfully do that, and there are numerous documented cases of indigenous parents doing this. It’s often part of attachment parenting.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

I’m sorry, but when my children were that small, I had enough other things on my mind. I’d much rather change diapers than be afraid to leave the house and be away from a potty when baby gave the “cue”. I would be too worried about the baby having accidents in public and I’d be a nervous wreck.

Forget potty training a baby, just gimme the diaper bag! A loving mother I am, but I’m also a “selfish” mom who wants the freedom to go hang out at Target or Starbucks when I’m sick of being at home!

jca's avatar

if it works for parents to do it, good for them. however, i would not try it, nor would i feel guilty for not doing it. i was and am a very low anxiety, flexible parent, and luckily my daughter is good and i think part of that is from the fact that i kind of go with the flow. i know there are parents out there that “put the baby on a schedule” and follow it, and google all sorts of stuff, and call the doctor for all sorts of stuff: that’s not me.

jca (36054points)“Great Answer” (1points)
faye's avatar

I have never had that kind of time and I consider it a waste of time. I used cloth diapers and rubber pants. As long as you slip a liner in there for poops, it’s easy. Imagine trying to enjoy a coffee with this woman?

Taciturnu's avatar

If a parent can do it, more power to them. It is truly the most green way to go, but is unrealistic for most people.

Just had to chime in on the cloth vs. disposable diaper issue. I had seen a short documentary (wish I could remember the name) that showed how cloth diapers and disposable diapers were capable of being equally harmful environmentally. Cloth diapers require a lot of water to clean them at home. Disposable diapers take up tremendous amounts of space at landfills. If you choose a biodegradable diaper, they aren’t as gentle on baby’s skin. Knowing all that, what option could be better than Elimination Communication? EC was not covered in the documentary, by the way.

faye's avatar

I used cloth because of cost- I confess. Free supply of huggies and I’d have been right there! Don’t forget detergent involved in cleaning diapers.

Coloma's avatar

Yep, as always…pick your ‘poison.’

And, who knows, maybe the first generation of EC kids will end up being highly traumatized because their earliest memories are fraught with fear of being flushed down the toilet.

I can see it now, thousands of EC adults in hypnotic regression therapy ‘purging’ their toilet traumas. lol

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

If these particular parents are into it, that’s fine – I support them, because the less diapers, the less burden on the environment (yes, I’m a tree hugger). Generally speaking, I think kids in the US are potty trained way later than we used to be, back in the USSR countries so my kids are potty trained earlier as well. Either way, my kids mostly use cloth diapers anyhow to reduce the burden of disposable diapers but we don’t mind using disposable diapers when we really need them like on trips or in the summer.

YARNLADY's avatar

When my youngest son started walking, we lived in Southern California. He spent 90% of his time in our back yard, which I could see from the house. He refused to wear clothes, and pretty much trained himself. At night, he slept with cloth diapers and plastic pants. When I saw him pooping in the yard, copying the dog, I explained to him that people used the toilet, and he used the toilet from then on.

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