To diaper, or not to diaper

So the NYT had this op-ed piece earlier in the week about a new trend in Western parenting: the diaper free baby. Apparently, there’s a growing group of parents who aim to be “free by three,” meaning, no more nappies after three weeks. You heard me. Weeks. The author explains:

In this case, parents watch for the kind of fussiness, squirming and funny faces that come before a baby urinates or has a bowel movement. Caretakers should also pay attention to any daily routines that the baby follows, like urinating after feedings or when waking up. At that point, it’s a simple matter of holding the baby on the pot, and pretty soon he or she connects the toilet with its function, and the pattern is set.

Hmmm … not having been an actual parent per se, I guess I’m not fully qualified to assess the merits of this method. But I did help to raise five younger brothers and sisters, and I gotta say I’m a tad bit suspicious that it would be a “simple” matter to read the signals and get the kid to the pot before multiple, upholstery destroying accidents happen. Especially when you’re sleep-deprived and struggling to even get dressed before suppertime. Of course, this may just be my ingrained ethnocentrism:

Most babies and toddlers around the world, and throughout human history, have never worn diapers. For instance, in places like China, India and Kenya, children wear split pants or run around naked from the waist down. When it’s clear that they have to go, they can squat or be held over the right hole in a matter of seconds.

Yeah … but … it’s not that I’m a huge fan of diapers or anything; I mean, they’re essentially gross objects, no denying. And I know that the widespread use of disposable diapers has led to children being potty trained later and later (which is one reason why we still haven’t decided whether we’ll use cloth or not) … but three weeks? I mean, forget what the kid is capable of – I’m not sure I’ll even be fully conscious yet at three weeks. Plus, I’m basically a lazy person: I don’t know that I have the discipline to be that vigilant all the time! And it’s not like potty training them that early makes them walk any earlier or anything – I mean you’re still stuck carying them back and forth whenever they have to go, right?

So overall: Meh. But I’d love to hear from anyone who has experience with it. Anyone know any stories?

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