Nappy Dash - Babies can begin potty-training at three weeks old

'Babies can begin potty-training at three weeks old'

26 September 2005
By Victoria Bone

Nancy Roberts PARENTS could start to potty-train their newborns when they are just weeks old, say supporters of a new technique.

Christine Gross-Loh, 37, who stopped using nappies for son Daniel three weeks after he was born, said: "Just as babies fuss because they are hungry or tired, they also indicate when they need to go to the bathroom.

"Babies learn to release when you are holding them in a certain position or making a certain sound. You become in tune with each other."

She used "elimination communication" where mums and dads watch out for tell-tale signs that their baby needs to go, like fidgeting and kicking.

They then quickly dangle their little one over the nearest toilet or potty.

The idea was inspired by observing mums in Africa and Asia who carry their babies around all day and instinctively now when they need to use the toilet. Toilet-training children early could save parents thousands of pounds spent on nappies and help the environment too.

And it could mean the end of troublesome nappy rash.

Research shows that it costs £1,126 to keep a child in disposable nappies to the age of three - when toddlers are then potty-trained. Many toddlers start wanting to use the toilet themselves when they are two.

And around 2.4 billion nappies are thrown away in Britain every year creating tons of rubbish to be dumped at landfill sites.

Elimination communication or natural infant hygiene, as it is also known, is sweeping America and many parents are using it in Britain.

Melinda Rothstein and Rachel Milgroom, friends of Mrs Gross-Loh, who lives in New York, set up website so other parents can learn about EC and find support groups.

Mrs Gross-Loh said: "EC is not about the result [potty training] but the process of communicating with your baby about a basic need."

But not everyone is convinced it is a realistic solution.

Heather Welford, of the National Childbirth Trust, believes most parents are too busy to sit and watch their babies intently all day.

She said: "I think it will always be something practiced by a minority of parents doing it for ideological reasons such as being closer to the baby or to help save the environment."

-EXPERTS from all over the world will meet in Belfast this week for the World Toilet Summit. Raymond Martin, of the Northern Ireland Toilet Association, said: "I don't think nuclear war will get us but germs will."

Want to learn more about this, check out our entire section on Baby/Infant Potty Training.

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