When I was first reading about going diaper free, the book I read was full of pictures of cherubic infants, sitting by themselves on their wee pots, so happy to be peeing and pooping in this hygienic manner. The more I read, the more I loved the idea of it -- the babies WANT this! They can tell you so! -- and loved the idea of a truncated diapering commitment. Come to think of it, I loved the idea of a lot of things before Auden was born, like co-sleeping and making all my own baby food. And well, you know, it's all subject to change.
We burst out of the starting gate, eager to see if it really worked; we were mighty vigilant in those early months. We would let Auden hang out on the floor in just a cloth diaper with no cover, and would check on him every few minutes to give him a pee chance. If we took him out, we'd put a cover on him, but I was fairly obsessed with not letting him sit in a wet diaper EVER, so it took up a lot of what little mental energy I had. I was always thinking about it. We would give him pee chances at home, in the grocery store, the bushes, the park, the grass next to the parked car... I mean, we really gave it the ol' college try.
Then we moved, and he learned to crawl, and all was lost.
Okay, not all. But let's just say I've revised my expectations of being totally done with diapers by nine months. Ha! Nine months! Ha ha ha! Where did I get that number?
Instead we've relaxed and decided to work with what we've got. Which is an active baby who would rather play than give any helpful cues. Except for early morning farts -- then I know it's go-time.
I admit I've gotten lazy about the whole thing -- especially now that it's winter and Auden is usually wearing a bazillion layers, which is enough to dissuade me from offering regular pee chances -- but one thing I remember from the book was the emphasis on gentleness, and that goes for the parents as well as the baby. There's no sense in getting stressed out about it. I've talked to other folks who are doing it, and we all agree that you either do the work now, or you do it later, but either way you're going to do the work. I'm hoping that more work on this side of the Terrible Twos can only be advantageous.
So here's what we do:
- For pees, we offer him a chance if we think of it, especially if he's just eaten; offer him a chance if we go to change his diaper and it's still dry; offer him a chance to go in the shower or the sink if he ain't havin' the potty; and let him stand up to pee, like a big boy. (We also let a "no" be a "no" -- there's nothing like trying to force a baby to relax and pee while he's writhing and pulling your hair. So what if he goes the second you get that diaper on; you tried.)
- For poops, we hold him against our stomach, clench our muscles, and grunt (warning: if you do this it will also make YOU have to poop. You and your baby will synchronize your poop schedules. It will be weirdly gratifying).
- Yell "hooray" and clap like maniacs whenever we get it right.
On the up side: we've started signing with him, and I think he's catching on. It's hard to say, though, because no matter what we sign, he waves his hand the same way. The same wave as hello and goodbye. Poor kid's going to think everyone has to go potty all the time.
Maybe once it warms up we'll let him run around with no pants and redouble our efforts, but for now I'm happier if I'm not thinking about it like we're training for the Great Diaper Free Marathon of Aught Nine. I don't mind saying, though, that I had to interrupt writing this to get him up from his nap and feed him, several minutes after which I handily caught a pee. Hmph.
Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to make a huge batch of baby oatmeal and buy a lottery ticket.