Bare-bottom babies

Well, now I know how a friend of mine claimed that she had her kids potty-trained by 10 months. Only, she wouldn't share the secret with the rest of us. I dream of a time when I could have had Joy potty-trained by six months. It would save the headache that I have now ever time she reverts and claims to be a diaper-wearing, pacifier-sucking, not-able-to-walk baby -- who happens to be able to talk and tell you exactly what she wants.

A small but committed number of parents shun diapers for their infants, saying it just works better
Sunday, July 17, 2005
The Oregonian
Keila Rawlinson remembers the exact, life-altering moment the idea of not diapering her baby crossed her mind: National Public Radio broadcast a story about struggling sales of disposable diapers in China, where many parents don't use diapers at all.

Rawlinson quickly began surfing the Internet for more information. And that same day started holding 3-month-old Jane over the bathroom sink after naps. Soon, Jane was wearing miniature snap-on underpants in lieu of diapers.

Today, Rawlinson has half a dozen potties strategically placed throughout her Woodland, Wash., home for the now 22-month-old Jane and the newest addition to the family, 3-month-old Helen.

Rawlinson wouldn't have it any other way; the Western norm of diapering babies seems so wrong to her.

"Our culture is inclined to tell you you've got to wait for your children to pee or poop on themselves and then go clean them up," Rawlinson said. "But why make them pee and poop on themselves? They're not born to want to do that. . . . Really what happens is they end up marinating in it."

Rawlinson and her daughters are part of a tiny but growing number of families in the United States, Canada, Germany and other modernized nations around the world that are ditching the diaper and embracing the way humans had raised their babies for millennia.

Their reasons vary.

Some parents want to avoid the environmental guilt of contributing thousands of dirty disposable diapers to landfills or consuming countless gallons of hot water to wash cloth diapers.

Some are interested in saving hundreds of dollars a year in the cost of diapers, supplies or professional diaper cleaning services. [snip]

History of the Western Diaper 101

Pre-1800 Personal hygiene is not a chief concern. Babies are swaddled in cloth that is seldom washed.

Mid-1800s to mid-1900s Cleanliness becomes a virtue, especially as people begin to accumulate expensive clothing and furniture. Babies are held over pots at regular intervals throughout the day.

1950s-'60s Some historians say infant toilet training falls out of vogue because it's seen as unhealthy for the baby or is parent-centric, especially because of parents who tried to force their babies to go on demand.

1970s Disposable diapers gain widespread use.

1980s Concerns grow about environmental effects of disposable diapers. Cloth verses disposable becomes a debate for many parents.

2000s A very small but increasing number of parents raise their babies without diapers, through a respectful method that is different from past, more forceful toilet training of infants, they say.

©2005 The Oregonian