I am absolutely thrilled to share this guest post with you today from Sean Platt (Writer Dad). Sean is a gifted writer who shares inspiring, powerful, and profound thoughts on all things family, and today he speaks on much-discussed, often-debated topic in the parenting community - infant potty training:
~ R. Buckminster Fuller
Considering the countless tons of “disposable” diapers sitting in piles under heaps beneath mountains of trash, each taking an exponent of eons to evaporate, it’s a good thing infant potty training is something that is slowly catching on again in this country.
It’s a slow creep for sure, but with every year that passes, more parents are starting to realize the multiple benefits of starting potty training early. Not just in saved dollars from unneeded diapers, but for the ease of the training and benefit to the child as well.
Getting your child to see things your way becomes exponentially harder as they grow older. Why wait? Why make it harder for yourself or your child? Why continue to change diapers day after day, year upon unnecessary year? Why continue flushing money down the toilet with the expense of diapers, when you could be flushing your child’s elimination instead?
After over four decades of moving in the opposite direction, the United States is now witnessing a growing trend to embrace the potty training principles already displayed by much of the world. Parents are learning a multiplicity of invaluable techniques that allow them to encourage their infants to eliminate inside a toilet, sink or otherwise appropriate receptacle.
Their babies may be too young to walk or talk, but they are certainly old enough to observe and respond. One of the triggers leading to the abandonment of early potty training, at least within the United States, is that it lies in direct opposition to the strategies articulated by the most famous child development expert of all time, Dr. Benjamin Spock.
Dr. Spock spoke the gospel for many American families throughout much of the last century. His final word on potty training was clear - hold off until the child had demonstrated readiness on his own. Something that doesn’t happen before the end of the first year. Early potty training, according to Dr. Spock, would only lead to eventual rebellion, digression and bed wetting. Dr. Spock’s theories are easier to question after decades of distance.
Humans have potty trained their infants for thousands of years. For 99.9% of that time it was in a tribe’s best interest to get their child trained efficiently, a practice that has continued across most of the globe without the slightest bit of damage to worldwide psyche.
Yet infant potty training has a rich tradition and a wide body of knowledge, experience, and recorded data to articulate the best direction. Parents in over seventy-five countries, including India and China (sharing the largest proportions of world population) wholly embrace the practice of potty training their infants. Chinese babies, for example, are most often found in split bottom pants that allow for simple squatting and easy elimination.
These countries not only believe in the practice of toilet training their infants, they believe that early potty training helps contribute to early cognition. By stoking the skill set of their children at the earliest possible age, they are adding fuel to a fire they hope to burn in perpetuity.
We never want to force our children into something they are not ready to do, and we mustn’t ever skip our steps. But our children deserve the credit. We should always assume they are able until we find out that they’re not.
Writer Dad writes about family often, and potty training sometimes. Subscribe to his feed or follow him on Twitter.
Infant potty training is also referred to as elimination communication, and it is an approach practiced by a growing number of families in the natural living community. Intrigued? Come back tomorrow for more potty talk. I look forward to hearing your thoughts!