In some of my earlier posts, I wrote about the diaper-free movement – something I heard about early on in my parenting days with Gavin. Although I did attempt to do this with Gavin, I confess that I wasn’t particularly active with it. We had some successes and lots of regressions, and eventually ended up with Gavin still in diapers – hence the recurrent need to toilet train him as a toddler.
Despite our failure to have Gavin diaper-free before the age of two, I still believe there are tremendous merits of this practice. In addition to the economics of doing without diapers and the environmental aspect of reduced washings (in the case of reuseable diapers) or reduced waste (in the case of disposable diaper), the diaper-free movement can also be a method of facilitating a better bond between parent and child.
Because it requires parents to be more intuitive and active in listening to a child’s needs, it helps parents to learn to understand their babies from the moment they are born. If fathers assist with the practice, which invariably happens when the diaper-free practice is active in a household, it also encourages earlier bonding between father and child where normally fathers only really begin to bond with their children when the children are older.
Although I have already written about the diaper-free movement in earlier posts and covered much of the information listed below, I thought I would consolidate it all in a series of posts for easier reference. Firstly, let’s take a look at exactly what the diaper-free movement is all about.
What is the Diaper-Free Movement?
The diaper-free movement, also referred to as elimination communication, natural infant hygiene, or infant potty training, is the practice of potty training a baby from infancy rather than waiting until your child is two or three years old to begin. The general theory is that babies have a natural instinct for elimination and do not want to soil themselves. If parents are able to understand the baby’s elimination cues, there is no need to wait until that baby turns two or even three to begin potty training.
The theory of the diaper-free movement believes that the main reason why potty training toddlers can be so difficult is because we have already conditioned our children to pee and poop into their diapers. When potty training a toddler, what we are really attempting to do is put a stop to a habit that we created in the first place. So rather than train your baby to pee and poop into a diaper and then have to un-train him or her again at the age of two or three, why not capitalise on the elimination instinct from birth and save the environment and money on diapers?
In the next post, we’ll examine how parents can learn to read their babies’ eliminations cues.