And this is the topic about which I am less pissed. Oh my!
Today Little C went to get my mail and hooray, it was magazine day. My Parenting Early Years came today. Usually this makes for good potty reading material with the occasional decent recipe. It has never made me furious, before. So, boy was I surprised when I flipped it open to the article entitled “Ditch the Diapers.”
Obviously, EC (elimination communication) isn’t mainstream, so I wasn’t expecting it to be part of the article. I figured it’d be all about how three year olds will sell their mom for M&Ms so their poop and pee seems like a fair price. Or, how you should wait until your kid is ready to be self reliant after years of just pissing whenever they want . Or, some other “method” of potty training that essentially amounts to let your preschooler tell you when they’re done pissing their pants. (Why, yes, I am all Judgey McJudgerson when it comes to children who can read and write but still wear diapers. Unless they have a physical impairment, otherwise, I will unabashedly judge the shit out of your lazy ass for not helping your child be independent sooner.) Anyhizzle… I wasn’t expecting EC to be part of this article. It’s not potty training, after all, it’s communication and infant hygiene.
Hmm hmm! I was wrong. It is prominently featured right under the title “Can You Really Potty Train a Baby?” Of course not, if your definition of “potty trained” is “toilet independent.” I am a full supporter of EC and I say OF COURSE NOT. It is completely unrealistic to expect an infant to be toilet independent. That thought alone should have prompted some research, no? Before smearing a perfectly acceptable infant hygiene practice, you should check your assumptions, right? No, it doesn’t look that way. It looks like Parenting Magazine allows content based on conjecture and opinions to be passed off as fact. But you know, it’s hard to take a piece seriously when the entire premise is faulty.
The article gives a basic overview of the mechanics of EC (watching for potty signs, using the pot and cueing), which are correct. But it assumes that the intent is to make your child toilet independent sooner than they otherwise would. Now, don’t get me wrong, that is a well documented possible outcome. BUT, it’s not the reason for doing it. Any literature on the subject stresses that this is not about training, it’s about communication.
The second faulty assumption, which is the one I’ve heard most prevalently, is that the parents are being trained. OK, I will admit, I am totally being trained by my baby. He gives me signs that he’s hungry and since he isn’t able to feed himself independently, I feed him. When he does wet or dirty his diaper he gives me signs that he needs cleaned up and I clean him up. I don’t understand how being trained to help the baby on the toilet is somehow worse than being trained to clean his butt after he potties in his diaper. Please enlighten me.
Now, all other “methods” discussed in this article had pro’s and con’s and firsthand experience stories. Did EC? Guess… You’re right!! Not even close just a statement that “experts” agree you can’t potty train an infant. “Experts” in a national magazine. No, not Dr. McPotty-Pants from We Know Potty’s Inc. or even Mommy Lazybird no, just “experts agree.” In a nationally syndicated magazine. I am so disappointed. They could have at least quoted an EC source or treated it with the same respect as the “bribe ’em to poo” method. (Don’t get me wrong, I don’t doubt the effectiveness of getting preschoolers to do anything in exchange for M&Ms, Lil C would sell his whole family for a mega bag of those things…)
Whether you EC or not, whether you agree with EC or not you have to acknowledge that this treatment is not just a smear job on alternative parenting (alternative! this is how MOST of the children in the world are raised…) and really poor journalism.