Monday, May 25, 2009

The business of poopoo

Here's an excerpt from the weekly mail I get from

When I first read it, I was quite shocked that they could say something so obviously wrong in their mail. On closer attention, I noticed that this was an advertisement by their partner (no surprise) "". Its a classic example of the propaganda used to make consumers believe that they can't do without certain products, even if it means making absolutely false statements like the one underlined above. Growing up in India, I didn't know a single child that wasn't potty trained before the age of 2. The statement above could be true for the US, but even then, I take strong objection against the use of the term "developmentally able". If kids in rest of the world are able to start using the potty before 2, I can't see why American kids would lack in their inherent abilities. What's probably true is that due to the brainwashing by mainstream advertising, most parents in the US aren't ready to give their kids a chance at the potty before they turn 2 (or almost 3 in many cases).

To be fair though, I can now claim to know many friends who have explored diapering alternatives not typically advertised in the mainstream media. My next door neighbour, who's a mother of 4 (and American, I may add), has already day-time potty trained her 18 month old girl. Another neighbour of mine, Sara, uses cloth diapers with her son and practices EC (a fancy name for infant potty training) at home with him. Three of my close friends are at various stages of cloth diapering/ECing with their kids.

In case of Kabu, he has been mostly out of his diapers since the last month. In fact, it was he who initiated the process. He decided he didn't like wet diapers so he started taking his diaper off himself everytime he needed to pee! Finally I caught on and got some cotton training pants for him. So now, he's stopped wearing diapers at home and has even started signaling to us when he needs to use his little potty. We still do use diapers at night and whenever we go out (although he now goes diaper-free to our community park). Needless to say, there have been many accidents along the way. But the reward has been well worth it. Kabu is evidently more comfortable and happy without his bulky diaper and it is heartening for me to know that I've prevented thousands of disposable diapers from going into landfills.

However, it would be unfair if I took all the credit for this. Kabu's dadi has always asked me not to make him wear a diaper after he turns one. She and my mother have spent a lot of time using/washing his cloth diapers, getting desi diapers from India and showing me how to watch for cues while practicing EC. I also have the advantage of having a nanny at home who has been open to following my instructions regarding cloth diapering and potty training. Without this support and knowledge, I'm not sure if I could have done this! I realize most other moms do not have this support available to them. Yet, I feel that it is possible to have a middle ground. No matter what your situation, all you need is an open mind and a willingness to try an alternative approach. And whatever little you are able do, you should be happy in knowing that it will be many times better than the standard approach to potty training.

No comments: