Cindy Lever, an Australian journalist and mother, is urging parents to adopt a controversial “parenting strategy” that discourages parents from making their infants wear diapers to make them defecate “naturally” in the sink instead. It’s called Elimination Communication or Natural Infant Hygiene.
Writing on an Australian parenting site, Lever says she uses the method on her two-week-old baby. She posted pictures (taken by her husband) holding up her baby over a sink. Makeup, medication, and soap can be seen strewn about the sink that her baby’s about to make a mess in.
“Babies are no different from adults and naturally don’t want to soil themselves,” she writes. “Using a nappy is something they get used to when their cues to go the toilet are not heard or understood. This instinct is then lost altogether at about six months old if it has been ignored.”
She claims that the nappy-free method she uses is “practiced by many cultures around the world, but unfortunately has been lost in the West.”
Rabies, polio, and yaws diseases have also been “lost” in the West.
“I use a combination of common sense, instinct, timing and listening to my baby,” she writes. “Often if I get it wrong and we have an accident it is because I haven’t listened. I will then kick myself for ignoring her vocal and physical cues.”
Lever says that she brings her infant to the sink in the bathroom when she senses that it needs to go, and likens it to toilet training puppies.
“With my puppies I would take then to the grass and tell them to wee. Now when I need them to go the toilet, for example at night, I just put them out and tell them to do wee.”
Lever isn’t the first mother to advocate for Elimination Communication. The “technique” was established in 2001 when Ingrid Bauer wrote a book about diaper-free baby training after trips abroad to less-developed parts of India and Africa, and noticed that mothers there, who clearly couldn’t afford or have ready access to diapers, carried their infants around without them.