There are many different approaches to parenting, and sometimes opinions on them can be diametrally opposite. One topic that often raises heated debate is toilet training. The notion of babies wearing diapers, however, is rarely challenged.
Not in the case of Australian yoga instructor Cindy Lever who believes her 2-week old baby, Chloe, needs to be toilet trained from birth.
The Queensland native uses ‘elimination communication’ to know if Chloe needs to use the ladies room. Since the child is too young to be placed on the toilet bowl, Cindy places her on the edge of a sink. That way the sink becomes a miniature toilet for the newborn.
Cindy, who also works as a freelance journalist is supported by her partner in her decision to not let their newborn wear diapers.
She believes elimination communication is a method unfortunately lost in the western world. There is no doubt in her mind that even the youngest babies possess the tools to communicate their need to use the toilet. She also views this approach as a way of bonding between parents and their children.
“Babies are no different from adults and naturally don’t want to soil themselves,” the yoga instructor explained in a post on Kidspot.com.au.
Cindy believes that diapers actually make babies un-learn what is actually innate to them: the ability to communicate they need to use the toilet.
Elimination communication, also known as natural infant hygiene, is a practice used by some cultures where cues such as cries/grizzling are observed to identify the baby’s physiological needs.
“A lot of people think it is too hard or don’t believe a baby can communicate it’s need to do wee or poo,” Cindy argues.
“However, just as they can let us know when they are tired, hungry or when they have wind, if we slow down and tune in, it is possible to read their toileting needs too. I use a combination of common sense, instinct, timing and listening to my baby. Often if I get it wrong and we have an accident it is because I haven’t listened.”
“I will then kick myself for ignoring her vocal and physical cues. These cues can be lots of squirming with vocal cries/grizzling which becomes more desperate the longer I take to respond to her.”
According to the freelance journalist, parents then start to learn their baby’s digestive routine, which makes accidents a lot less frequent.
“With Chloe, for example, this means frequent wees in mornings. Sometimes I will think to myself, ‘Oh you can’t possibly have to go again, you have just been.’ Sometimes while I’m holding her over the sink she might kick out her legs and push against me away from the sink giving the impression that she doesn’t want to go, but if I stick to my instincts and gently persist (sometimes making a joke about it) she will wee,” the Australian concludes.