Infant potty training is not a new concept. It’s been practiced in various forms throughout the world and throughout history. In fact, in many places, it’s not “called” anything- it’s just the way it is.
Did you ever wonder how babies in other cultures or another time did without diapers? Yes, in some places and times, diapers are NOT the norm. Of course, diapers have existed in some form for a long time, but in many cultures, particularly in Africa and Asia, mothers don’t diaper their children at all. For instance, some mothers in Africa keep their babies undiapered in a sling on their backs, and their babies stay dry! Moms just know when babies need to go, and they simply remove baby from sling or hold baby over appropriate potty place when the time arises for a potty break. In parts of rural Asia, babies and kids wear split crotch pants and squat when the need arises. In China and India, it is very common to hold or sit very young babies over a potty, and babies quickly demonstrate bowel and bladder control from a much younger age than when the majority of US children are potty trained.
What’s “normal” for potty training is obviously impacted by what others do in your world. In the US, the majority of people use disposable diapers, and we are given potty training information from the “experts” that set a certain expectation in our minds about when and what our children should be doing at various ages. Interestingly, potty training is so strongly engrained in our mainstream culture to be a milestone that happens well into the third and fourth year of life that many people register utter disbelief about even the possibility of a young baby demonstrating control over bowel and bladder movements. Cultural biases and pressures have clearly played an effect on the norm as it relates to many parts of parenting, including breastfeeding, baby sleep and birthing. What amazing opportunities we have to learn from other cultures and to be able to re-define what is “normal.”
And let’s not forget about cloth diapers. Once upon a time, cloth diapers were the norm in this country, and kids potty trained much quicker for a number of reasons. The most likely reason being that kids can feel their eliminations much easier in a cloth diaper, so they stay more attuned with their body. We also believe that the act of having to wash cloth diapers gives parents that extra incentive to assist in potty learning!
Sadly, we have often heard parents note that potty training is an inconvenience, and disposable diapers are easier, so they delay any potty training effort. Yes, infant potty training will require some work, but so do diapers! In our opinion, we think IPT/ EC may require a bit more “work” initially than conventionally diapering, but potty training is a lot of “work” whenever it’s initiated, so you may as well get started now and avoid years of unnecessary diapering. Furthermore, as you come to realize that babies are communicating to you about their elimination needs, it’s difficult to turn this off and not respond. And IPT has so many other wonderful benefits and advantages, that we really hope you give it a try!
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