Potty training isn't usually the most pleasant part of child rearing, but it can be easier-and over and done with much more quickly-than in the past. This, according to an organization called DiaperFreeBaby, whose founders believe that the key to successful potty training lies in paying attention to your child's cues. We spoke with Melinda Rothstein, Co-Founder and Director of Diaper Free Baby, to learn more.
Q: When did DiaperFreeBaby start, and what is it all about?
A: The first official DiaperFreeBaby meeting was in January 2004 in the Boston area. Rachel Milgroom and I founded the organization because we believed that families interested in and/or practicing Elimination Communication (EC) would benefit from in person support from other practicing families. We established a system of Mentors, parents (usually mothers) who have practiced EC and have enough information and experience to guide meetings and provide information and resources to participating families, and to run local group meetings and/or other public events.
DiaperFreeBaby did not invent EC, but we have developed a set of philosophies that explain EC in a way that we believe is important for interested parents and caregivers to understand. Although EC has been practiced in many cultures for thousands of years, it is sometimes challenging to adapt these practices to our "modern" daily lives.
We have local groups around the world and run a website and online shop that provide information, educational materials, resources, and helpful products. The organization is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization and is run entirely by volunteers.
Q: What are the benefits of practicing elimination communication with your baby from infancy?
A: A few of my favorites reasons to EC are:
- increased communication between parent/caregiver and infant
- better understanding of baby's needs and explanation for "unexplained" fussiness
- respect for the baby's body and bodily functions
- discovering how amazingly capable babies are
- enjoying baby's body and natural self without being bound up in diapers
Q: What are some ways a child might communicate that (s)he has to go to the bathroom?
A:The ways a child will communicate depends somewhat on his/her age, but some common signs for infants are:
- wiggling or fussing
- passing gas
- sudden agitation after periods of peaceful quiet
- flailing arms or legs
- refusal to sit in car seat, stroller, sling
- signing (commonly starts after 8 or 9 months of age) ASL sign for "potty" if parents have been using the sign with their baby