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Diaper-Free Babies

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  • Diaper-Free Babies

    New Movement Toilet Trains Children From Birth

    Oct. 10, 2005

    A new parenting movement is getting children out of diapers almost from birth.

    "It's much easier to sit the baby on the toilet," said Melinda Rothstein. "There's a lot less mess. To me that's less stress."

    Rothstein is the co-founder of, a support network for parents practicing "elimination communication." She has been toilet training her 7-month-old daughter since birth, using a squirm, a kick or an extra babbling as a signal that Hannah is ready for a potty break.

    "It's really just a learning process just like helping your child learn to eat food as they get older," Rothstein said.

    "Elimination communication" is being practiced in 35 states, but some experts worry about the effect on the parents.

    "Children are not motivated at that point to be going on the potty," said Dr. Ann Statler, a pediatrician at the Boston Children's Hospital. "Physiologically, they're not ready and most parents don't have the amount of energy it takes to be able to do this."

    Moms who practice "elimination communication" say it is more sanitary, environmentally friendly and can save money on diapers. Most importantly, parents say, the strategy strengthens the parent-child bond.

    "It's not so much about potty training or not having misses, it's about being with your child," said Christine Babb, who is toilet training her 6-month old.

    "Understanding and recognizing their needs and respecting that."
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