It's been a busy month for diaper-free babies.
vetted in The New York Times, maligned in Slate, written about and discussed on NPR blogs, and unearthed from my past with an op-ed I wrote for The New York Times in 2005.
And yet, with all that exposure, so to speak, they still aren't wearing diapers.
I first heard about Western babies going diaper-free from a neighbor who had "trained" her new baby to poop and pee over the toilet. In reality, the mother held baby over the toilet first thing in the morning, last thing at night, and whenever she felt a certain indicative wiggle while holding the baby.
I was stunned, and only sorry my kid was already heading into the bathroom on her own and slamming the door. I had carried my daughter all the time and I knew that wiggle, but I just ignored it and then changed her diapers.
I was also stunned that I hadn't even thought about the contrast between the West and other cultures in how kids learn where to "go."
Some cross-cultural parenting expert.
My only excuse is that like anyone, I carry a lot of my culture with me and apparently I had carried it into the bathroom.
I, too, figured I would need to "train" my child and understood that it might patience and endless repetition, and that the process might take months, maybe years.
But all I had to do was think of all the kids I had seen across the globe, most of them without diapers, let alone pants. Sure, mothers were sometimes stuffing cloth under the babies' bums, but the walking ones weren't exactly doing their business all over the place. What were they doing?
Later, people told me that toddlers were sometimes held over holes where adults go (like my friend) and once they walked, even tiny kids headed that way by themselves. And in every culture it was private business.
I wish I had done this with my child, put her over the toilet so she wouldn't have to be "trained" to find it two years later. That would have made for a much neater childhood for both of us.
I also wish someone would potty train all those adult men in Western culture who seem to be arrested as young toddlers unable to make it to the toilet and seemingly unaware that it's impolite to pee in public.
Perhaps those shocked about a little baby pee could get diapers on those guys as well.