One Mom's Testimony on Elimination Communication
Email From Customer:
I'm not sure if this is the right email address for this, but if not, I hope you will forward it to the appropriate party.
I followed a link on an email list I belong to, to your "History of Potty Training" on your website. Granted, the disclaimer at the bottom does advise people not to use this history as an authoritative source, but I still felt that it was somewhat culturally biased. Perhaps "A Recent History of Mainstream Potty Training in the US" would be slightly more accurate. Certainly there is little context or cross-cultural information.
Around the world, diapers are still relatively uncommon. Most people today still find themselves in the situation where diapering is not particularly feasible. So the rest of the world still practices an approach much more like how you describe the "1950s" mom, "by learning their children's schedules and observing their signals." Although it's true that 18 months is a fairly typical age for children to meet the conventional definition of potty training under this approach, it has nothing to do with "physiological readiness." Instead, it has to do more with their mobility and communication skills. The physiology of elimination itself is under the child's control to some extent *from birth*, with control increasing as the child grows older. By around three months of age, a child can "hold it" for a short time and wait until they're in a good potty place, using only the method briefly described as paying attention to their schedules and signals. Some people refer to this method as "Elimination Communication" (EC).
My 10-month-old son is currently out of diapers (in training pants), and we usually have 2-3 accidents per day. We've been practicing EC with him since he was about two weeks old. Although we may, as many families do, experience a setback (often called a "potty pause") during developmental milestones, he is doing about as well as many children who are a year or more older than him, and his success is not unusual.
I would hope that a site called "Potty Training Concepts" would embrace the realities of "readiness," which is that children *instinctively* want to stay clean and dry, and it is only our cultural biases which allow them to lose that early awareness when their elimination needs are not met. For more information on how potty training is handled in other cultures, you may wish to check out "Infant Potty Training" by Laurie Boucke (www.timl.com/ipt), and "Diaper-Free: The Gentle Wisdom of Natural Infant Hygiene" by Ingrid Bauer (www.natural-wisdom.com).