It started out innocently enough: A friend brought a pack of cloth diapers to my baby shower, noting, “I saw you had disposables on your registry, and those are just so horrible for the environment. And expensive, so we thought you could use these instead.”
It was quickly followed with, “we’re not planning to use diapers at all when we have a baby—we’re going to use Elimination Communication and cut out all that diaper-changing,” referring to the potty-training method popularized by Ingrid Bauer’s 2001 book, Diaper Free: The Gentle Wisdom of Natural Infant Hygiene. It recommends looking to your baby’s natural grunts, furrowed brows and other cues they’re about to go to the bathroom, then hovering them over the toilet to do so.
My daughter wasn’t even born yet, and I felt potty-training shame. (Still, in the overwhelming first few weeks of parenthood, that shame wasn’t enough to get me to commit to cloth diaper or even attempting Elimination Communication.)
Fast forward two years, when I entered the world of traditional toilet training. Again, it seemed so easy: Parents would turn to me and say, “Oh, Violet ditched diapers completely over Memorial Day weekend—just use the Three-Day Method!” Or, “I dropped Winston off at daycare with underwear and a prayer, and the teachers took care of the rest!”