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Diaper-Free Baby

There's plenty of things I don't like about diapers - they're expensive, they often leak, and they cause bum rash because babies sit in their poo for too long - but I can't imagine taking care of babies without diapers (my parents told me that they raised me without disposable diapers not because they didn't want to - but because they didn't have disposable diapers back then when I was growing up. So they used cloth diapers, which leaked but it wasn't as bad as wearing no diaper at all they said).

Anyways, apparently there is a movement of sort of promoting a "natural approach" (i.e. diaper-less) to this whole baby poo business:

Elimination Communication, Infant Potty Training, Natural Infant Hygiene, Potty Whispering...whatever you choose to call it, it all refers to the modern adaption of an ancient method of childcare. Traditionally this method was seen and practiced by the whole community, learned naturally over a lifetime. This aspect has largely been lost, yet you can rediscover it on the Practicing EC pages. Think of these as the wisdom of your grandmother, the support of your aunt, the encouragement of your best friend. Celebrate undertaking a journey where caregivers and babies learn and discover together.

Shenanigans or not, to learn more about "potty whispering" (I just love that term!), check out DiaperFreeBaby - via The Zeray Gazette

As with a lot of things, it's just about how much time/energy you can/will devote to your kid/pet/self.

There's no physical reason most babies couldn't be swimming, communicating their needs, etc. in the first year or two, except that life is consuming for parents. Playpens and nannies and, to a lesser extent diapers, are basically measures that bridge the gap between what parents could theoretically do and what they can manage now.

I have a couple friends who brought their baby up mostly without diapers, but they had to be present and engaged pretty much all the time. And it wasn't always pretty.
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I know a few parents who have done this very successfully. Generally after the "training" it's 2-3 days of accidents and that's it. Given we're potty training one of ours right now, I think of the fortune we'd have saved on diapers if we'd done this.
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My mother and father in-law went to China this past fall. My mother in-law had several pictures to show that she was eager to share - local women holding their infants and toddlers over garbage cans doing what they needed to do. The child's pants had a opening, a flap that exposed the bare bottom. As a new parent I'd love to know how in the hell I could teach my 9 month old that trick.
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Yeah, this can totally be done. And btw cloth diapers are not the awful leaking disasters they used to be either. They are pretty cool actually compared to the toxins/garbage/poo in the landfill Pampers.
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I'll stick with cloth diapers, thanks. They're relatively inexpensive (I paid maybe $250 one time only, versus... I have no idea how much other people spend on disposables over the course of a couple years. $1000?), don't give diaper rash, and don't go directly from the store to the landfill (with a brief stop on the kid's butt). And, of course, I don't have to hold my kid over a trash can while she poops.
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My cousins in Bangladesh are raised that way. Before they can talk they learn signs to tell their parents or nannies to take them outside or to a toilet. They are only in diapers a short time. Cuts down on trash. But I don't have kids so I can't really talk.
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Eh...If it makes mommy and daddy happy, go for it, but I'm not terribly convinced. One could make an argument against diapers based on cost and landfill space, maybe, but--as parent of three--I gotta say that the whole diaper-changing / potty-training experience was not that big of a deal, and my kids don't seem to have been warped for life for having gone through it, either.
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Luckily, you don't need to be convinced.

If you are interested, curious, give EC a shot - you might just prevent just one diaper a day from going into landfill, or through your washing machine.

In the 'west' we use baby potties, not trash cans, use diaper back-up between potty visits, or special small training pants or 'EC Pants'.

Misses don't mean messes, you can EC part time, just like our grannies used to do, without it even having a name back then.

Ec is really the leading edge in environmentally friendly diapering practices - it is about REDUCING your reliance and use of diapers.

Being 'diaper free' happens in time, isn't the goal, the communication with your baby is. In a short while you can confidently have your baby diaper free in certain situations - in a baby sling, when in-arms at home, that sort of thing.

A few 'potty breaks' in the day, you've 'saved' a diaper or two - good for the environment too.

It's not a better way - but it is a better way for those who do it, enjoy it, love the connection it brings between them and their babies!


P.S Pop over to my site on part time EC for a fun guided introduction to this ancient practice.
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I used cloth diapers and washed them myself. I do have a couple of friends who mostly use the no diaper method. It's only doable if you pay very close attention to the child. They would take him out and hold him over the rail so he could piss on the flower garden. He got to know what was expected of him, and he did it.
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This sounds like something that would work great for parents that can be stay-at-home parents or for full-time nannies. But if you have to put your little one in daycare, it's unlikely that the daycare is going to go along with it. Most daycares in this area are unwilling to accomodate even using cloth diapers instead of throw-away ones. I can't imagine being able to find one that would be willing to make all the extra effort to use the diaper-free method.
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1. This would definitely be a full-time job.

2. Children do not have proper control of their rectal openings until they are about two years old.

3. In China, they use human excrement as manure. So a child in a farming community can simply take a dump anywhere in the fields while his parents are working.

4. Excrement is a biohazard. You can't legally have your child defecate into a garbage can. You also can't just leave it on the ground.

5. Here in California, we have a water shortage. It is currently environmentally better to put disposable diapers in a landfill than it is to wash diapers or flush the toilet extra times from every time you set the baby on it.

6. Babies poop more often than adults. A new baby can go through one to two dozen diapers a day. If you feed a baby six times a day, the baby will have at least six poopy diapers a day.

7. Even when I was home full-time, keeping up with my son's feedings, baths, play, etc., not counting diapers, used up a large chunk of my day. Having to keep an eye on him all the time to notice his "signs" would have made it impossible for me to do anything else.

8. People who come up with these ideas have way too much time on their hands.
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This method isn't actually only used in China. Although I do admit it takes time and patience to get it going, it is rewarding when it clicks. After being trained by my mother, my nephew went into kindy being able to let one of the minders know if he needed to go number one or number two. Needless to say the teachers there were mighty impressed, and my nephew didn't have to sit in a diaper for any period nof time while he was in kindergarten. Most the comments seem to chuck this method straight into the too hard basket. Although it takes focus - it isn't impossible.

Not too sure about the talk of number ones and twos into trash cans - from what I've seen it's always been done into a potty and then flushed down the toilet.
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Sorry to all those doubters. It does indeed work. My 3 year old daughter spent far less time in diapers than any of the other babies I've known.

Babies make certain faces or stiffen when they need to go. We got a little training potty and held her over and 95% of the time (when we caught it) she went. We had periodic poopy diapers, but they were few and far between.

It isn't about the baby controlling their bowels. it is about the subtle signals they give when they are ABOUT to void their bowels. Though later on she was able to hold it until we got her to the potty.

We weren't religious about it. Probably could've done it more, but it was much nicer for her and for us than using diapers exclusively. We also put her in diapers between poops/pees. We didn't just let her run around naked all day, though part of that is living in New England. :)

This isn't a perfect solution. Accidents happen. And all it really requires is paying attention to your baby. No magic. No miracles. Just look for that squished up face and get them to the potty. :)

And I must say that formal potty training went really smoothly when we got to that point.
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Wow, it's amazing how people can only pick out the oddest parts and extrapolate that to the the whole concept. I can see a few people don't even read the comments of people who have or are practicing EC part time with backup, using potties and toilets.

The folks on here who are calm and have done it certainly sound more relaxed!

My friend does EC and her kids are in childcare. Her daughter was pretty much potty independent at 18 months.

She did it part-time, no worries at all!

babies are smarter than we give them credit for, and parents are more adaptable too.

"2. Children do not have proper control of their rectal openings until they are about two years old."

Absolute rubbish!
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i am only 14 and i help raise my three year old brother who, i am very happy to say has never worn a diaper!

its not that difficult and the results are fabulous!
absolutely no diaper rash! no diapers to wash, and no mental trauma of having to go through the pain of diaper rash!

uh who ever said that baies dont have sphincter control needs to do some research, or raise a diaper free child because they definitely do. they are born with it, but they lose control when they dont need to use it. also it is very confusing for a child that is potty training because for their entire life prior to this, they are told that they can just go where ever, whenever they want.

yes there may be accidents, but not nearly as many as you think.

i am very proud to say that i have helped raised a diaper free kid because i learned so much,and it has helped me be a big part of his life
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I did it with my son. Nothing mind blowing about it, you just have to pay attention to the kid. They do give cues, especially if you don't ignore them from the get go. Sure we had accidents, but overall it was well worth it. By at one he'd consistently request to go potty and seek it out himself for #2. He's now 2.5 and fully potty trained, to the point that I can just leave him to his own devises and he will seek out the potty when he has to go, pull down his pants and do his thing. He has also been dry through the night since age 5 months. Now if he'd only wipe his own butt already! :)

It's not rocket science, people have been doing it like that, well, forever. Do you really think back before people had diapers they'd just let their babies go where ever? I saved myself a lot of money and stress with this method, and I'll certainly do it again with my future child(ren).
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Eeee gads....... I see three babies wearing old-fashioned rubber pants in the picture, which is exactly what I used on my kids, and there were no leaks in my house and few cases of diaper rash.

I double diapered--with cloth, fastened the diapers with pins, and put rubber pants on over top. Simple. I know for a fact that I'm not the only mother who had such great success with cloth diapers.

What we need in our society today, is to go back to all things old-fashioned! Diapers being one of them.
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Ah, you people are just being hostile because it's something you're not familiar with. EC is awesome! I totally have ECed two kids, no problems. You just get a sense for it without having to consciously think about it all the time. My 9 month old has never been in a diaper, and I don't get pooped and peed on. She very much has control of all her functions, including the ability to "hold it". Even if you can only do it at night or on the weekend, it's still a great system.

When it comes to your baby's toilet functions, your choices are: 1) Diaper and let the baby sit in his own waste until you feel like changing the diaper or the smell gets too gross for you to stand.
2) Diaper, and change right after the baby poops or pees.
3) EC, and put the baby on the toilet when he needs to go.

If you just let the baby sit in it, that's gross and lazy parenting. Seems like choices #2 & 3 are an equal amount of work - if the baby pees 15 times a day, that's either 15 diaper changes or 15 potty breaks. And I can tell you, it's way easier to just wipe with a piece of toilet paper.

Next time your baby has a "blowout" and poop shoots up his/her back and out the diaper, and you're getting it all over your hands, just think: if you had let the baby poop in the potty, you would be doing something else less disgusting right now.
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