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Potty Training From Birth?

I was online today looking around and saw this headline come up for potty training from birth. Now how is that possible? I have never heard of this practice and so I looked into it more. Well it’s an ongoing question to most Doctors and to most researchers. They said that it’s not really possible but then again some of them said it is. Here is the original headline that is finding it hard to believe:

SUTTON, Mass. – Thirteen-month-old Dominic Klatt stopped banging the furniture in the verandah, looked at his mother and clasped his right hand around his left wrist to signal that he needed to go to the bathroom.

His mother took the diaper-less tot to a tree in the yard, held him in a squatting position and made a gentle hissing sound — prompting the infant to relieve himself on cue before he rushed back to play.

Dominic is a product of a growing “diaper-free” movement founded on the belief that babies are born with an instinctive ability to signal when they have to answer nature’s call. Parents who practice the so-called “elimination communication” learn to read their children’s body language to help them recognize the need, and they mimic the sounds that a child associates with the bathroom.

Erinn Klatt began toilet training her son at birth and said he has not wet his bed at night since he was six months old.

“The nice part is … really getting the majority of poops in the toilet versus having to clean that,” Klatt said. “I don’t have to wake up at night and change diapers or have wet sheets anywhere. That’s really nice.

“And being able to travel without a big, bloated diaper bag is terrific,” she said.

Some parents and toilet training experts are skeptical.

“They teach them from birth? Oh, my God!” said 40-year-old Lisa Bolcato, as she held her 5-month-old daughter, Rose, at a park on Boston Common. “When you’re getting two hours of sleeps between feedings, I don’t think that you have the time to do it. You just make sure that your child’s healthy and happy and well-fed.”

Still, the practice is common in many parts of rural Africa and Asia where parents cannot afford diapers.

In the United States, many of the parents are stay-at-home-moms, but there are also working mothers. Some meet in online groups, at homes and in public parks to share experiences and cheer each others’ efforts.

Experts at the Child Study Center at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center say children younger than 12 months have no control over bladder or bowel movements and little control for 6 months after that.

But some parents begin going diaper-free at birth, and the infants can initiate bowel movements on cue as young as 3 to 4 months, said Elizabeth Parise, spokeswoman of DiaperFreeBaby.org, a network of free support groups promoting the practice.

And unlike some methods of toilet training, there are no rewards or punishment associated with it.

Dr. Mark Wolraich, professor of pediatrics and director of the Child Study Center, said the practice essentially conditions young children to go to the bathroom at predictable times or show clear signs when they must go.

“To be truly toilet-trained, the child has to be able to have the sensation that they need to go, be able to interpret that sensation and be able to then tell the parent and take some action,” said Wolraich, who is also editor of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ book on toilet training.

“And that’s different from reading the subtle signs that the child is making when they have to go to the bathroom.”

Parents attempt the early training to forge closer ties with their infants, to reduce the environmental impact associated with diapers and to avoid skin irritation caused by a wet diaper, Parise said.

Others were inspired by observing the practice while traveling abroad.

The practice also enables parents to get insight into an infant’s development since more accidents occur if a child falls sick or enters a new phase such as learning to crawl, walk or talk.

This is because an infant may be too distracted by illness or efforts to master a new skill to communicate the need to go to the bathroom, said Melinda Rothstein, an MIT business school graduate who co-founded DiaperFreeBaby.org.

She says finding a supportive daycare center is the biggest challenge for parents who choose not to use diapers. Other problems include finding tiny underwear for diaper-free infants.

Isis Arnesen, 33, of Boston, has a 14-week-old daughter, Lucia, who is diaper-free. She said it can be awkward to explain the process to people, such as when she helped Lucia relieve herself in a sink at a public restroom.

“Sometimes I don’t know what’s gonna happen and it doesn’t work, and sometimes I feel a little embarrassed,” Arnesen said. “It makes her happy though, right? She smiles, she’s happy.”

Now this is an interesting topic and I just thought that I would put in my two cents I guess. I don’t think that it’s really possible to have a newborn potty trained. I think it’s really up to the child in that case to go forth when they are fully ready. Olivia was ready last year but just had lost her sense of trying so we let her use pull-ups for a little longer. Now she is officially potty trained and even going stink in the potty as well. It’s a nice change compared to having to purchase a ton of pull-ups at a time. It saves money too and the planet!!! Well if you have an opinion on this then why not review this post. Also leave me a comment too and leave your two cents. 🙂 Have a great day!

4 Comments on “Potty Training From Birth?

  1. My 2 cents here…

    My sister’s daughter is 1 year younger than my son, and they were potty traing her maybe not from the birth, but since she was able to sit on the potty them holding her.

    Obviously they gave hard time to me, since their year younger was potty training BEFORE our son was. Well, our son was potty trained in two weeks when he was 2 years old, also for nights. My sister’s daughter is 3 yrs 4 months now, and she still needs diapers at nights, she has an accident almost every nigth, even though days are good. She has been without the day time diaper for about a year – so she actually was potty trained around the same age as our son, even though they started a whole lot earlier….

  2. My 2 cents here…

    My sister’s daughter is 1 year younger than my son, and they were potty traing her maybe not from the birth, but since she was able to sit on the potty them holding her.

    Obviously they gave hard time to me, since their year younger was potty training BEFORE our son was. Well, our son was potty trained in two weeks when he was 2 years old, also for nights. My sister’s daughter is 3 yrs 4 months now, and she still needs diapers at nights, she has an accident almost every nigth, even though days are good. She has been without the day time diaper for about a year – so she actually was potty trained around the same age as our son, even though they started a whole lot earlier….

  3. Elimination communication (EC) is vastly different from potty training, and no EC mother would insist that she had her newborn “potty trained.” I think that the article you cited used “potty training” interchangeably with “elimination communication” in order for the concept to be understood by mainstream Americans. ECing is basically about honing communication between mother (or father) and child. This sort of communication benefits the whole mother/child relationship as a whole because it leads to increased understanding of a child’s needs and signals. The article also did a diservice to ECing families by implying that ECing babies pee on trees and in sinks. This is merely a prejudice. The most common way of ECing is to hold the child over the toilet or to put a diaper on the child long enough for them to eliminate. Although I don’t really EC, I have close friends who have. It is the ultimate step towards reducing the amount of waste in landfills. It even saves on hot water and detergent needed to wash cloth diapers.
    Technically, a child is not “potty trained” until they are able to initiate going to the bathroom on their own and can pull down their own pants, etc. So, “potty training” a three month old is ludicrous. An ECing mother simply (well, not really “simply”) can tell when her baby needs to eliminate and takes the appropriate steps.
    The mainstream reaction to ECing is in the same league with babywearing and public breastfeeding. What people don’t understand, they refer to the practice as “strange” or “impossible.” ECing IS POSSIBLE. As the article states, it has been used in Africa and Asia since the beginning of time. And not because they can’t “afford” diapers. Do people in Africa babywear because they can’t “afford” strollers? Of course not. The concept of diapers, like strollers, is ridiculous to them. I highly recommend visiting the sites that Amy posted above for some real information on ECing!

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