Attachment Parenting

Is Anyone Else Doing Diaper Free?

Hi, I am due in February with my first child and my husband and I are going to go diaper free. Diaper free is basically listening and watching for the baby's signals and then cuing him to poop/pee with a sound. I was just wondering if anyone else is currently doing this or is planning on it.

Re: Is Anyone Else Doing Diaper Free?

  • From birth, I will be able to stay at home with the baby, so no one else will have to try to take care of my diaperless baby. haha. The key thing is recognizing the signals. When the baby knows that the parent will respond to his signals, then he will wait to go until the parent cues him.

    It is Elimination Communication. I read some books on it, and they said that one of the resons a newborn will cry is because he is trying to signal his need to go, and he has an innate sense of wanting to keep himself clean. Of course it doesn't always work, and the signals may drop off a bit when the baby is making big developmental growths, but all around this leads to a happy baby and no diapers to worry about.

    MamaMuslima01
  • In theory EC makes some sense. I just think it's hard for the modern family to do. And my son doesn't show any cues of elimination. Do all babies show cues? I mean, he can poop and I have absolutely zero clue.
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    bullybuttExcitedMum2B[Deleted User]blueeyedbookie
  • If you watch the documentary, Babies, they do show elimination in an African family. However, most people here don't want to wipe the poop with their hands or a stick and then wipe it off on their leg.
    BubblyDevilhimymloverSpapeggy
  • We did it part-time.  We also didn't start until about 4 or 5 months.  She definitely didn't cue until then, but I set her up for successes on the potty from birth.  Doing a little potty time a few minutes after she nursed or when she woke up.  We always kept it fun and she picked it up faster than I thought she would. 

    No one in my family or circle of friends had done it, so we kept it to ourselves.  I really think people believe you are crazy when they first hear about it.  ;)  You are right though, it is common outside of the US, especially in Asian countries. Both my sisters were amazed when they saw her cue and poo on the potty at 7 months.  A little tip, if you decide to do sign language, it is very helpful with this.  She started out with a grunt for her cue, and then we transitioned to the sign for "diaper" (it was the easiest and she does her own variation of it with one hand).  She would even crawl to the big potty when she had to go.  That said, she still wears a diaper at night, if we are out in public, and is only "diaper free" certain times of the day.  Even if she doesn't use it, I like that my home and furniture are not being peed on if she does have an accident.  ;)  I say pee only though, because I cannot even remember the last time she went poo in her diaper.  Like I said, we're part time, but it still worked.  She's one now, and once she stays dry through the night she'll be "potty trained." 

    It's not for everyone, but it worked for us.  :)  Let me know if you have any questions. 
    YellowLily2013hamiltks10moroccojade[Deleted User]
  • Kate:
    Diaper free/ Elimination Communication is not the same thing as toilet training. The infants who learn EC don't try to hold their pee in because they think they have to, they just let the parent know when they have to go. If the parent misses the cue, then they pee on the floor or wherever. By the time the infants become toddlers, they know that they can go to a potty (I will have at least one in every room in the house).
    Gulickr:
    In the book Diaper Free by Ingrid Bauer, she mentions quite a few different countries that she personally visited. The time to begin EC differed from country to country, some began at 3 months, and some began at 6 months, ect.
    She mentions that in China disposable diapers have been promoted so much that kaidangku (open crotch pants) have disappeared from the major cities. These types of pants are key to letting the child independently toilet themselves.

    Here is a link with some pictures of the pants. Just ignore all of the text though, because the person who wrote it is pretty misinformed. http://athleticmindedtraveler.com/blog/kaidangku-chinese-split-pants-for-kids
  • Diane:
    Yay! I am so excited that there is at least one other person who is doing this! Unlike you, I have told everyone that I know that I am going to do this, and they all think I am crazy.

    I don't mind if the baby pee's on the carpet, because my husband and I will be moving out of this apartment by the time the baby is 5 months old. The apartment complex steam cleans the carpet after each renter, so they wont mind either. =]

    My sister took her baby to the toilet every time she needed to poop, and so she didn't have to have any poopy diapers since my niece was about 5-6 months old.
  • If you watch the documentary, Babies, they do show elimination in an African family. However, most people here don't want to wipe the poop with their hands or a stick and then wipe it off on their leg.
    Yeah, I'm wondering whether so much of the public health push towards modern sanitation has also given rise to more people using diapers? (not saying that EC isn't sanitary, just that particularly in places where you have a lot of people + open defecation/limited infrastructure it's a bad mix). Not to mention the marketing juggernaut that is Pampers ;-)
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  • I read diaper free baby as well.  Like many things with parenting, it's not as simple as it seems when you read about it and kids keep changing so just when you think you figure out their routine/cues- they change things up.  I did really like and connect with the book though and recommend it to people interested.

    We do this part time with my son.  Not so much the "diaper free" part (though we do give him naked time in the morning and at night), but offering him chances to use the potty when he's been dry for a while or shows cues (he often doesn't).  We are planning to do the same with baby number 2 starting around 2 months/ We are very stress free about it and it's been fun minus some messes.  He makes a psss noise on his own and puts stuff animals on his potty to go and makes the noise for them.  He sometimes tells us after he goes potty (in his diaper).  However he is by not stretch of the imagine potty trained.  There are days he goes in potty and days he uses his diaper every time  (He's in disposables when not naked.)  I am hoping that his early exposure to the potty and understanding that is what his body does will let us start the process of potty training before he turns two.  (But only in the sense that when he needs to go he uses a potty instead of a diaper. . . not so much the holding it part or through naps and at night.)

    You're absolutely right that EC (whether full or part time) is not the same as potty training.  I read a similar article as @KateLouise.    You shouldn't be asking little to hold their pee (heck, I'd even say the same for adults a lot of the time).  ECing should not be stressful for the child; no shaming or disappoint when there are "accidents"/messes, etc.

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    mrs.JL
  • If its what you want to do, hey, why not. 

    I just think back to those fleeting first days where all I wanted to do was cuddle up to my NBs, who $harted about three times during every single marathon cluster feed, which was hourly or less than hourly for weeks.  It would be a shame to add extra laundry and cleaning on your list of things to do when all you want to do is sleep/nurse/eat/pee and repeat (I mean you, the baby of course will do that too). 

    Also,  if this is the way to go, I'd advise you to have a lot of help for the first few weeks, breastfeeding a nb is very challenging and lots underestimate how hard and time consuming it is. (I presume you plan on BFing, even if you are going the FF route, its pretty much the same time commitment)  Good luck :]

    Oh, that's a really good point that I hadn't thought of. OP, I would have been COVERED in poop all the time if I had tried to do this when DD was a newborn (she would poop at least once every time she ate, generally without warning, and often projectile). We had so much trouble with latching at the beginning that I definitely didn't unlatch her while she was eat-pooping (just changed her afterwards). When she was clusterfeeding, she would routinely poop once an hour. I think at this point (4 mo), or even around 2-3 months, it would be way easier, since she's much more predictable. Every baby is different, so YMMV, but our pooping experience seemed to be pretty "normal" (as much as anything with a newborn is normal. hah.).

    Anyway all this to say that I second the suggestion to make sure you've got a lot of help and support if you want to do this in the early days - that would probably make it a lot more doable. At least enlist DH to be the laundry-doer ;-).
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  • I tried EC with my twins from about 2.5 months and we did it part time until about 6-7 months. Then I had a hard time basically doing anything--I had a rough patch in there trying to cope with everything. Now that they are one year old, I'm hoping to get back in to it once we get back from vacation in a couple of weeks. Diaper Free Baby is good encouragement, but the best resource I have come across is Andrea Olsen at GoDIaperFree.com She had a book called EC Simplified, but I think that might have changed.
  • I tried.  DD gave NO cues for peeing, and late cues for pooping.  It really didn't go anywhere for us, but I encourage you to try it!
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    ObLaDi
  • Thanks everyone. =]
  • To the OP--

    This is your first child. You may be running for the nearest box of pampers once you have an actual baby in your arms. And when your arms are covered in poop. That's great that you can stay home, but you will want (and need) to leave the baby at some point, and that's something to consider when you're deciding about going diaper free.

    Bottom line, just don't make any hard and fast decisions before your baby is here. There are  things that just turn out differently than you think they will. Prepare yourself well, and know going into it that there will be changes to your plan. When that happens, be gentle with yourself. 
    Yeah, I read Babywise when I was pregnant and was sure I'd have him on a schedule by the time he was 3 months... yeah... needless to say, that didn't happen. ;)
    jenn43
  • Goodness gracious. Yes, the baby will occasionally miss and pee on the carpet. I'm not going to just not put a diaper on him and let him pee all over the place without cleaning it up. I'm just saying its not as big of a deal if he/I miss, because the carpet will be professionally steam cleaned 5 months after he is born. Don't get so bent out of shape guys.
  • gulickr said:
    LilyGR said:
    Thanks =]

    Most families in third world countries do this successfully. They have to do something, because diapers are way to expensive.
    While I'm sure a lot of people do this successfully, I've spent some time in developing countries, and all of the families I've met use some sort of diapers. The poorer people use cloth (what we'd consider old-school cloth, or else just rags); disposables are often seen as a luxury good (no wonder!).

    Not to say you shouldn't do EC if that's what will work for your family, but I just thought I'd clear that part up.
    I was about to write the exact same comment.  Thanks for clarifying for others.
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  • Huh, I had never heard of diaper free before. This sounds interesting. I guess you train them on the cues like you would for sign language?
    Pregnancy Ticker
  • I read an interetsing article recently written by a padeiatric urologist, who was talking about how babies that are toilet trained early (ir learn to hold their pee) are at risk of developing UTIs, and that in fact you want toddlers to pee freely.


    He talked a little about how it can cause a thickening of the bladder (the technicalities went over my head  a little), and how small children hold their pee for longer because they don't want to stop playing to go toilet.

    It was an interesting perspective that you might want to consider.

    I let my 18mth old go naked a fair bit, but not trying to teach her anything, more just she loves being naked, and I don't mind cleaning up the occasional mess.
    This is exactly what I've heard. In theory I think EC is an interesting idea but It seems like you'll be putting yourself and the baby under unnecessary stress not to mention the effects of holding their bladder.

    Each to their own but it wouldn't be my choice. I would rather saw my efforts to teach something else.
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  • Lolalipsy said:
    I read an interetsing article recently written by a padeiatric urologist, who was talking about how babies that are toilet trained early (ir learn to hold their pee) are at risk of developing UTIs, and that in fact you want toddlers to pee freely.

    He talked a little about how it can cause a thickening of the bladder (the technicalities went over my head  a little), and how small children hold their pee for longer because they don't want to stop playing to go toilet.

    It was an interesting perspective that you might want to consider.

    I let my 18mth old go naked a fair bit, but not trying to teach her anything, more just she loves being naked, and I don't mind cleaning up the occasional mess.
    This is exactly what I've heard. In theory I think EC is an interesting idea but It seems like you'll be putting yourself and the baby under unnecessary stress not to mention the effects of holding their bladder. Each to their own but it wouldn't be my choice. I would rather saw my efforts to teach something else.


    According to everything I've read when you EC you shouldn't be asking them to hold their bladder.  You are just having them go on the potty instead of a diaper when they do need to go; based on noticing and responding to their cues.

    Most animals (humans included) are aware of when they go to the bathroom from the get go and don't want to live in their own ick.  We're actually training babies to go in a diaper and be ok sitting in it.  That's part of why potty training becomes so hard for some kids.  My friend's son wears underwear all day and uses the potty for pee, but asks for a diaper so he can poop in it (not the toliet).  He obviously knows when he needs to go, but over time was "trained" that diapers are the place to poop.   

    In my (limited) opinion, if it is stressful to you, then you shouldn't do it.  We don't even EC full time and use disposable diapers, so it's not like I'm a EC fanatic. But I feel like people are always so critical of it without even understanding the conceptual basis behind it, even on this board, and it bugs me.

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    LilyGRMamaMuslima01[Deleted User]

  • Lolalipsy said:

    I read an interetsing article recently written by a padeiatric urologist, who was talking about how babies that are toilet trained early (ir learn to hold their pee) are at risk of developing UTIs, and that in fact you want toddlers to pee freely.


    He talked a little about how it can cause a thickening of the bladder (the technicalities went over my head  a little), and how small children hold their pee for longer because they don't want to stop playing to go toilet.

    It was an interesting perspective that you might want to consider.

    I let my 18mth old go naked a fair bit, but not trying to teach her anything, more just she loves being naked, and I don't mind cleaning up the occasional mess.
    This is exactly what I've heard. In theory I think EC is an interesting idea but It seems like you'll be putting yourself and the baby under unnecessary stress not to mention the effects of holding their bladder.

    Each to their own but it wouldn't be my choice. I would rather saw my efforts to teach something else.




    According to everything I've read when you EC you shouldn't be asking them to hold their bladder.  You are just having them go on the potty instead of a diaper when they do need to go; based on noticing and responding to their cues.

    Most animals (humans included) are aware of when they go to the bathroom from the get go and don't want to live in their own ick.  We're actually training babies to go in a diaper and be ok sitting in it.  That's part of why potty training becomes so hard for some kids.  My friend's son wears underwear all day and uses the potty for pee, but asks for a diaper so he can poop in it (not the toliet).  He obviously knows when he needs to go, but over time was "trained" that diapers are the place to poop.   

    In my (limited) opinion, if it is stressful to you, then you shouldn't do it.  We don't even EC full time and use disposable diapers, so it's not like I'm a EC fanatic. But I feel like people are always so critical of it without even understanding the conceptual basis behind it, even on this board, and it bugs me.

    I can see why it would bug you and I confess that I don't know all of the details. However between the time elapsed from signally to going surely they are holding their bladder. I don't know about you but my need to pee doesn't build up, it just arrives.

    I'm also skeptical of how effective EC is for during the night. In your experience do you still need a nappy? I ask because most paediatric urologists say that it's pointless trying to potty train until 2.5years because the connection between the bladder and brain just isn't fully there. So basically you can potty train easily during the day but it's night time that's the true indicator of whether they've learned or not.

    All that said, the communication aspect of it is very appealing. I do signing so I understand how fantastic it is to be able to pick up on cues and signals and meet their needs as it makes for a happy baby. However it is still not a practice I see the need for for me personally.
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  • I admit, I didn't quite make it through all the comments, but it sounds like an interesting concept to me. I could never do it, just because I don't think I'm patient enough & it's not something I'm passionate about, but go ahead & give it a try!

    I've never read any info on it (this is my first time hearing of it!) but I'm wondering what kind of cues they say the baby gives? I typically have no idea when my LO is pooping (unless I hear it), and def not peeing. Also, how does this work when you have multiple children in the home? I can barely get my middle one on the toilet in time, and she's normally running toward me holding herself screaming "MOMMY, MOMMY PEE PEE!" I can't imagine having to watch my NB that closely in addition to everything else.

    Just my thoughts... if it's important to you, go for it! Luckily for us, we live in a country where it's not a necessity but a preference. GL!
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    [Deleted User]
  • Lolalipsy said:
    I can see why it would bug you and I confess that I don't know all of the details. However between the time elapsed from signally to going surely they are holding their bladder. I don't know about you but my need to pee doesn't build up, it just arrives. I'm also skeptical of how effective EC is for during the night. In your experience do you still need a nappy? I ask because most paediatric urologists say that it's pointless trying to potty train until 2.5years because the connection between the bladder and brain just isn't fully there. So basically you can potty train easily during the day but it's night time that's the true indicator of whether they've learned or not. All that said, the communication aspect of it is very appealing. I do signing so I understand how fantastic it is to be able to pick up on cues and signals and meet their needs as it makes for a happy baby. However it is still not a practice I see the need for for me personally.

    In the book I read there was a whole section on doing it at night.  I believe people actually get up and take their baby in the middle of the night.  Our family would never in a million years survive doing that.  We diaper at night and that things is plump full in the morning.

    We offer him chances to go on the potty based mostly on timing (after naps or long periods of dryness).  Sometimes we catch cues for peeing.

    Like I said we don't EC full-time, that would stress me out!  But I like that my son has know what the potty is from an early age and doesn't always have to go in a diaper.

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  • I always though EC was crazy, but after reading this board it makes a bit more sense. I still wouldn't do it though--far too lazy.

    I am planning to use GDiapers though. I don't like the idea of disposables polluting our environment, and couldn't commit to always using cloth (not to mention all the chemicals and water used to clean them).

    Apparently diapers are the 3rd biggest constituents of landfills and yet only 5% of the world uses them. They also take 500 years to decompose, so every disposable diaper that's ever existed still exists somewhere on this planet. Gross in more way than one.
    [Deleted User]
  • I can see how this could work with a slightly older baby, but if you do it with a newborn, be prepared to be pooped and peed on all.the.time. Every baby is different, but for the first 2 months, my EBF daughter pooped every time I fed her, as she was eating. It would have been impossible not to get pooped on at least 8 times a day.
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    musicalmama5[Deleted User]cagoldi
  • This thread has me thinking....

    I'm not going to go so far as full-time ECing or anywhere near it, but I might be able to do a bit. DS poops very regularly in the morning. That's his only poop of the day. So, if wouldn't be a hard thing to learn his cues and get him on the potty for that one poop of the day. This would be great since we CD and now that he's eating solids, his poops are more difficult to clean out of the diapers.
    MamaMuslima01[Deleted User]
  • I didn't read the replies, but we do part time ec. Yes, that includes diaper free time, but mostly I leave his diaper on, and just remove it when it's time to potty. I did this successfully with my older son a well.

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  • Did Elimination Communication with my first from about 4 months on, and with my second son from 3wks (csection, so had to heal first) on. We are now currently potty training him at 18months quite successfully. :)

    I am a working mother, so my babies are in diapers part time during the week while I'm at work. At home, I prefer prefolds, fitteds or flats WITHOUT covers, so I can change them immediately after a miss. We typically do not go entirely diaper free until they are ready to potty train, and then it is part time in underwear/part time diaper free. And no, I do not get peed on and my floors do not get peed on all the time. In years of doing this with two different children, I've only ever been peed on as many times as I can count on one hand.
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    MamaMuslima01
  • I am just lurking, but I am baffled by this.  What will you do if your baby has a huge blowout with no diaper?  I breastfed DD every 2 hours or so as a newborn and she pooped pretty much every feeding for a period of time.  This included some seriously nasty blowouts! 

    Will you just do dozens of loads of laundry a week?  What is the point of this?  I haven't read anything on this so I have no idea why anyone would put themselves through this. 

    ????????????????????

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    Altima80[Deleted User]
  • We have been doing it with our now 15 month old boy since he was about 1 month old and love it!  At times he decides he doesn't want to do it, but eventually snaps back.  It's a very low-key, natural thing.  He is wearing briefs now and I think he will be completely done by the time baby #2 comes in February.  It's really not a big deal at all.  You can get more info about it on my blog here.  p.s. he has still always worn diapers but never had diaper rash ;)
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  • Because parenting with diapers isn't hard enough... esp with the explosive poops.

    I honestly think this whole concept is disgusting to be honest... but good luck to you if you try it.

    Btw... we steam clean our carpets after each accident...pee/poop/barf... and god knows there is more thanenough of it.
  • LilyGR said:
    Thanks =]

    Most families in third world countries do this successfully. They have to do something, because diapers are way to expensive.
    I live in a third world country and most people here use cloth diapers (or disposable if they can afford). It isn't until the child is potty training that they let them run around the house/yard with no diaper.
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  • Hey guys. 

    Well, my dd is now almost five months old, and my husband and I have been doing EC/diaper free from birth. 

    The first night after she was born was pretty poop-filled. haha. We both woke up with her and held her over a paper towel which caught most of the meconium. For the first two weeks we always had a cloth diaper under her but, but not strapped onto her. That way, we could see when she went and try to watch for cues. After that, we noticed when she would poop, and would cue her with a grunting sound. I held her on my lap, and held her butt over the toilet, and she would go right into the toilet.

    Night-time pottying was a little rough for the first couple months. We co-sleep, and she would wake me up by kicking me. Then I would take her to the bathroom and hold her over the toilet. She usually went right away, but she woke up about every two hours.

    I have size 18month potty training undies, and that is what she wears all the time. If I miss a cue, then she pees in those and my carpet only gets slightly damp. Then I clean it.

    For a while from three months to four months she would keep her undies dry all day long, but now that she has started crawling, I think she is concentrating on that more, so she will go through probably eight undies a day.

    Night-time pottying was always the best for her and even now, she will rarely wet in the bed. If she does, I have a waterproof lambs wool blanket and a baby blanket over that, so my bed does not get wet. She will wake up to pee about every three hours. I hear her and take her to a little potty chair right next to the bed. she pees and then we both go right back to sleep. She doesn't even wake up all the way.

    She usually wakes up at 7:30 am to poop. I hold her on her potty chair and she sits there pooping for about 10 minutes. after she gets it all out, she is awake for the day. Maybe once a month she will poop in her undies, and even then, it is usually because we are on a long car trip and we can't get off of the highway until she has already gone. I never get pooped on.

    Elimination Communication has been a very rewarding experience. My dd trusts that I will respond to her needs and I believe that we have a deeper level of communication because of it.
    [Deleted User]moroccojade
  • Her dad is helping her use the potty chair. She will happily sit on it when she has to go. When she is done she kicks her legs and straightens them. Then we wipe her bottom with a cloth diaper and put her undies back on. Sometimes when we set her on the potty chair she makes an unhappy noise and kicks her feet. That means she does not have to go and we take her right off again.
    [Deleted User]
  • Actually, she was hardly ever on those carpets. So they were very un-peed on. Also, like I said earlier, she wears little undies and those catch most of the pee. The rental carpets got slightly dampened, and then I cleaned that up. Contrary to popular opinion, I did not hold my baby naked over the carpets and encourage her to pee on them.
    [Deleted User]
  • Wow. I can't believe you actually went through with it.
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    [Deleted User]Kyllarae
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