August 28, 2007 in Nation/World

More babies going ‘diaper-free’

Associated Press The Spokesman-Review
 
Associated Press photo

Erinn Klatt holds her 13-month-old son, Dominic, over the toilet at their home in Sutton, Mass. Associated Press
(Full-size photo)

SUTTON, Mass. – Thirteen-month-old Dominic Klatt stopped banging the furniture in the verandah, looked at his mother and clasped his hand around his 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.

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 “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 since he was 6 months old.

Some parents and 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.”

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

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 six 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.

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

Get stories like this in a free daily email


Please keep it civil. Don't post comments that are obscene, defamatory, threatening, off-topic, an infringement of copyright or an invasion of privacy. Read our forum standards and community guidelines.

You must be logged in to post comments. Please log in here or click the comment box below for options.

comments powered by Disqus