Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Infant Potty Training -- Uhhhh, No

In fact, Hell no
Learning to read your baby's elimination signals correctly involves watching them closely. It requires divining an infant's "timing patterns and rhythms"—zero, five, 10, 15 minutes after nursing; in the morning; in the afternoon; in the evening—and her "body language and signals"—frowning, squirming, fussing, tensing. Once you've keyed into the right cues, you hold the baby over a potty at the appropriate moment, go "hss-hss," or "wss-wss" to trigger the desired association, and then repeat 10 or 15 or 20 times a day.
"Most babies and toddlers around the world, and throughout human history, have never worn diapers," Small writes. In China, India, and Kenya, she continues, "children wear split pants or run around naked from the waist down. When it's clear they have to go, they can squat or be held over the right hole in a matter of seconds." Right, because presumably those babies live in rural villages or in cities where peeing down a hole or in the gutter isn't viewed as unsanitary or unseemly. That's not the sort of diaper-free culture likely to catch on in the United States in 2005. "Babies without diapers" in this country sounds to me a lot like "mothers without lives." Maybe America would be better off without diapers. Maybe we'd be better off without dishwashers and washing machines, too. But before we get too taken with that all-natural vision, let's remember who did all the work before the hardware came along—a lot of very tired women.

Tired women who died in their 30s of old age, if not from cholera they got from water contaminated with their neighbor's kid's waste.

China's even dropping it. Try to imagine why.

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