Diaper-Free? I Doubt It.

January 6, 2006

In the past couple of months, there has been a lot of talk in the media about a new movement, among some mothers, to toilet train their children when they are months, or even weeks, old. According to a website operated by Diaper-Free Baby, a non-profit organization dedicated to practicing early toilet training, babies are aware of their elimination needs from birth and can relate them through a process called "elimination communication." This organization claims young infants can signal—through squirms, squeaks and other gestures—when nature is calling, making diapers unnecessary.


This baby won't be going diaper-free anytime soon.
As a new mother—Caroline Jane McIntyre was born August 18, 2005—and as an observer of the the disposable diaper industry, the mere notion of toilet training my four-month-old daughter seems crazy. In fact, the thought of not using disposable diapers has never even crossed my mind.

This is not the first movement that has challenged the disposable diaper industry during its 40-or-some-odd-year existence. Probably diapers'biggest opponent has been the environmental movement, which criticizes them for their contribution to landfills and consumption of natural resources, which, by the way, has been proven to be insignificant (see diaper story, page 34). And, now diaper manufacturers have this latest trend to deal with?

The media attention that has greeted this new movement has been significant. My favorite was one writer's comparison of a diaper to other modern conveniences like the refrigerator or the dishwasher that make modern homemakers' lives easier. I would have to agree. Sure, diapers can be a little costly, but not really when you consider the technology that goes into them and yes, maybe there is some guilt over environmental concerns, but they have been proven to make babies more dry and comfortable and lessen incidents of diaper rash.     I'd say the pros by far outweigh the cons. This is one mother who will be sticking with disposable diapers.

Karen Bitz McIntyre