Can you raise a baby without a diaper?

Font: Di Kozak_O_O / shutterstock

How many diapers in the first three years of a child's life! They consume an infinite number of them and often end up in the general garbage, filling the Earth even more with garbage. What alternatives would there be though? Raising a child without diapers?

This is the question posed by two doctors from Los Angeles, who have decided to raise their third daughter "diaper-free", without a diaper, and using an approach as ancient as the world called Elimination Communication, EC. A method that certainly is not for everyone and that would not work for example in a kindergarten. But that it might be of interest to someone and that, according to the doctors who tested it, Jeffrey Bender and Rosemary She, can be tried. The two have published the results of their research in the journal Pediatrics, explaining the practice put in place on their third child.

"When we started planning to have our third child, we made an ethical choice: not to use disposable diapers. We regretted having already contributed to polluting the earth with our first two children. Unfortunately, wash and dry. In our opinion, diapers were not even the right choice, not only for the extra work for us, but also for the energy that is consumed and the water that is wasted "explains the couple. Here is the solution: try not to use the diaper thanks to the EC, Elimination Communication.

For those interested, here's how it works.

Read also: In Vietnam, the diaper is taken off with a whistle

Elimination Communication, la EC

EC is not a new concept. In fact, humans have been using it for millennia and it is still used today in regions of the world with few resources. It is a method that follows the times of the children and their reactions to recognize when they have to pee and poo. For example, recognizing facial redness or grimaces.

If you learn to recognize these signs, you can take your baby to the bathroom rather than letting him pee and poop in the diaper.

Also you can help us, associating their urge and the act of defecating or peeing with a whistling or murmur: many children learn to do it precisely in this way.

Position + sound stimulus = evacuation

"Contrary to popular belief, babies do not evacuate their needs randomly during the day, but eliminate naturally and at certain times. For example as soon as they wake up and after eating," explains Bender.

"We started with EC as soon as we got home from the hospital with our daughter," continues Dr. She. "I tried to change her nappy and I noticed it was dry, so I took her to the potty, as I had read in some books, and she peed." In the first few weeks, the two took the child to the toilet every time she woke up and after eating, accompanying the gesture with a whistle. "We were pleased to find that our daughter responded automatically to this stimulus."

At the end of the first month, they made a mistake in understanding the baby only a couple of times a day and around the sixth month they could go around much lighter with her, perhaps bringing just a change for some accident, but using it rarely.

When motherhood ended, they left the task of educating the child with CE to their babysitter. "A nursery may have trouble handling such a situation," admit Bender and She. Like the babysitter, she may be a little reluctant to adapt to the method. They were lucky that their nanny's grandmother was from Taiwan and used this method with her. A real coincidence.

"It's a problem in our society, with a lot of children in one kindergarten. And with little flexibility," Bender explains.

“At 18 months of the baby, the little one was ready and was able to use the bathroom on her own,” adds She.

As Bender says, babies often spend hours in dirty nappies, with the risk of skin irritation or urinary tract infections. All of this could be avoided with this technique.

From birth we teach babies to do it in the diaper. For them it becomes really difficult to understand that instead you have to do it in the potty and toilet. According to She and Bender, all of this could be avoided with CE in the baby's first six months.

“When we talk to others about CE, many are left baffled and don't think it's possible to teach a child to potty so early,” She explains. "While grandparents and great-grandparents are more understanding with this technique".

Read more about the paper on Pediatrics by the authors of the study on Elimination Communication

Journal Reference: Jeffrey M. Bender, Rosemary C. She. Elimination Communication: Diaper-Free in America. Pediatrics, 2022 DOI: 10.1542/peds.2022-0398

Updated on 23.05.2022

  • remove the diaper
  • without diaper
  • ec
  • elimination communication
  • 1-2 children years
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