Oh, Great: Now We’re Apparently Doing This Wrong, Too

July 9th, 2010  |  by  |  Published in Uncategorized  |  5 Comments

The latest thing we’re (purportedly) screwing up? We should’ve been toilet-training our son at six months. So says Salon’s Heather Turgeon, who reminds us that much of the world wraps up the diaper phase by then. Fear of Freud has Americans all screwed-up, apparently: We have been told that early toilet training leads to personality problems later on. (“Anal-retentive” is the key word.)

What’s interesting (and by “interesting” I mean “notably slipshod”) is that Turgeon doesn’t actually attempt to refute Freud, or cite the slightest bit of medical or scientific research, or do anything except ask a couple of friends what their families do overseas. The only science cited here involves whether a six-month-old can hold it in, and the results are semi-conclusive. Essentially, she just says “well, we Americans are silly about this.” To which I say, well, maybe we’re not. Clean up all the poo you want, ma’am. I’m waiting awhile before the diapers come off.


  1. Accidents says:

    July 9th, 2010at 8:48 pm(#)

    We did something akin to “elimination communication” for awhile, in a part-time capacity, and like baby sign language it’s one of those things that when it clicks you’re like, “holy shit, that actually works. huh. would you look at that.” But you know what else works? Diapers. And around 6 months EC was just so impractical for our lifestyle that the potty became an ultraparttime thing, and now it’s just offered every once in awhile because Hank thinks it’s funny to go on it. We’re down with him very slowly making his way towards real potty training, so having the potty around and talking about it, etc. is something we’re doing, but we are no way near expecting him to use it consistently.

    I’m all for looking at parenting practices cross-culturally, but I’m frankly annoyed at the “Americans are so silly! They’re children sleep in cribs! They use diapers!” stuff I encounter on the inter-tubes.

  2. Accidents says:

    July 9th, 2010at 8:49 pm(#)

    (I should fess up that I didn’t even read the linked to article, but I assume she was talking about EC)

  3. Tim says:

    July 11th, 2010at 10:38 am(#)

    I lost track after she said that it was the primary method pre-1950 in the US. Which considering the amount of indoor plumbing in the US pre-1950 colors me extremely dubious.

    You really telling me that in the age of outhouses parents were seeing a sign on their kids face and making a hundred yard dash outside? Really?

  4. karen says:

    July 11th, 2010at 10:41 pm(#)

    I’m so bored by this “debate” mostly because it becomes silly, or vitriolic and self righteous before it even comes close to being scientific or intelligent. Most people who’ve tried EC are amazed to find out their kid doesn’t really want to poop in their diapers, or sit in a puddle. Those who haven’t tell us that our kids are going to be fucked right up, or that we’re going to be cleaning up shit all over the place. Uh … ooookay. If you say so …

    Here’s the truth: After going all out on my first with EC from birth, together with my husband who loved that connection, we did a modified diaper-free (with cloth diapers and some disposables) where if we knew they needed to pee we would take them, but we were open to hear all 3 when they needed to poop and, as a result, had no need to potty-train any of them for poop.

    I estimate I cleaned roughly 10 poopy diapers for each in their second year of life (mostly on bad teething days when the poop is more difficult to control because it is runny, you’re welcome). I ensured that I cleaned it up without a negative comment. I never had the power struggles, and never, ever experienced any of them hiding behind furniture to poop, smearing their poop on themselves, in their rooms, where-ever, or requiring a pull-up to poop even once they are trained to go in the toilet.

    We each make our choices, and I think those who don’t choose EC have the right, just like those do, to pick the method that works for them. Without the bullshit judgement.


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