If you hear parents patiently hissing at their baby next time you're enjoying the Philly Peppersteak Stickybuns at the douchiest hot spot in lower Manhattan, don't be alarmed—those parents aren't trying to help their child avoid having an Indiana Jones-like aversion to snakes. They're just trying to make the baby go to the bathroom!
DNAInfo dives into the world of “elimination communication,” aka au natural toilet training—a phenomenon we already encountered at a Pier i cafe recently. The idea is that parents get used to the baby's cues for when they need to go to the toilet, instead of relying on a diaper. On the one hand, this eliminates problems like diaper rashes. On the other hand, there are the messes:
The hope is for the parent to “catch” pees and poops — whether atop open-cloth diapers, toilets, sinks or behind the multitude of parked cars on city streets.
But as Partow learned, often there are “misses.”
“I kept seeing him leave a trail of pee,” Partow, 41, said of her son. “The dog looked at me and said, ‘This isn’t fair. Why can he do that?’”
Parents often make the aforementioned hiss/siss noise (or grunts) when their baby goes to the bathroom in order to help them associate those sounds with feeling relieved. While it's fine for parents to do whatever they like with their kids in their own homes and on their own property, it brings up a question of what happens in truly public locations. Like, say, at a restaurant where other people are eating. Emergencies will happen, after all.
“The other day we accidentally left the house without putting her in a diaper before going to a restaurant,” said Sarah Longwell-Stevens, and early childhood educator and doula. “We peed her on the sidewalk, but she wouldn’t go. Then we tucked a pre-fold [cloth diaper] under her [at the restaurant table]. We were in a place where we didn’t want her to go and we didn’t want people talking about it.”
Other problems with the practice: the availability of toilets in the city. One mom said that at parks and playgrounds, “finding a little area of grass or some bushes was good. I’ve not owned a dog in the city, but I can relate." Then there are those babies who don't find a park area to go in time, and instead pee in the streets—something we were just talking about earlier today.
At the same time, as long as people are respectful of public spaces and other humans and remember that their child is not a puppy, let the Bedford-Stuyvesant lawyers-turned-Reiki healers do what they want to do. But you now what is not okay? Putting up multiple galleries of very graphic photos of babies on the internet. Is it just us, or is sharing your child's baby junk on the world wide web seem like a pretty terrible idea?