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Book Reviews

Infant Potty Training by Laurie Boucke

A review by Adi, Melbourne, Australia
I have read Infant Potty Training and thoroughly enjoyed it. I found the book very easy to read and the advice was very practical. It also helped maintain the right attitude and expectations with our progress. It goes through the different phases of pottying from birth until toddler. It also covers late starters (after 6mths of age). It describes all the different methods and has pictures to demonstrate. The book also contains an interesting history and explanation of other cultures and their methods of potty training. I highly recommend this book if you know nothing about pottying (or even if you do).

Diaper Free! - The Gentle Art of Natural Infant Hygiene by Ingrid Bauer

A review by Charndra
Diaper Free! was the book I read to get started. It really helped me to adjust my mind-set from "Nappies are an inevitable aspect of child care, they have no control or awareness until at least 2 years of age" to "babies are aware and communicate from birth about their toiletting needs, and we can respond to their efforts to keep them dry and clean for increasing periods of time until nappies are no longer needed!"

"You don't need to be totally tuned into your baby to begin. You only need to be open and willing to learn" (p 105). This phrase is important. It gives us the encouragement to begin. It emphasises how Natural Infant Hygiene is a gradual process, and that the communication we develop with our babies is an inevitable consequence of practicing this method, regardless of "catches". The book enabled me to develop a trust in the "process" as well as with Maven. It is inevitable that they improve their skills and abilities and awareness of their body at the timely moments needed. We merely help them along the road to independence as best we can.

I also found this statement to be very true: "when you're just beginning, it may feel more like an impenetrable mystery than clear communication". I think coming from a society which is more focussed on the "achievement" of conventional toilet training being minimal accidents, there is this pressure to be perfect and to catch them all, which is patently impossible, and is not actually important to the process. The link with baby ebbs and flows over the months and within a day.

The book gave me a solid background understanding of the development of "readiness" psychology via the disposable nappy industry via doctors who were involved in the development of nappies promoting this! I also had a good expectation of issues I may encounter along the way, and a basic list of signs to look for. Although the list isn't extensive, it is enough to start with for sure.

I was greatly inspired by this phrase: "The baby slept naked between the parents without an accident" (p 114) I wanted that! It inspired me with my nighttime communication efforts, and I have achieved it! This statement was from a researcher of Huron Indians in 1623, and the exact same thing can be said for our baby in 2005. Wow!

I do get the impression the book was written when her baby was older, as I found it more practically helpful at later stages, as well as for just starting, but felt a lack in a middle stage around 3-6 months, once I was past the early stages. For a while it seemed really idealistic and I was in a stage of a big focus on timing and less on "just knowing". The intuitive factor, which is so strong in the book, has grown clearer over time. I still look in the book for insights now on occasion if I am having questions. I'd have liked to read more about the transition to independence as well. My baby is now 15 months, and has been nappy-free at home from 3-4 months.

Diaper-Free Before 3 by Jill M. Lekovic, MD

A review by Sylvan

This book is written by a pediatrician who has three kids of her own. That gives her some insight into doing it as a mother and seeing lots of variance between kids. She starts out by looking at some of the medical research and papers that deal with toilet training. She is also of the consensus that the "wait until they are ready" camp is a bunch of bunk and not based on anything scientific.

She goes into quite a few health problems she thinks waiting too long to potty train may cause. (Remember as a pediatrician she gets to deal with the problems.) She has mapped out an interesting time line of potty training / parenting trends in the U.S. Her method doesn't start with infants but suggests starting with 6-9 month old babies. This might make this book of more interest to a "late starter".

She uses mostly timing and scheduled potty opportunities. She recommends the offerings being quite regular so the child can learn to trust the schedule sort of speak. She also recommends doing away with diapers all together at a certain age (beginning to wean off of them at one year).

In the end of the book she has a section on special needs kids, bed wetting, and advice on diets, etc. The pediatrician showing through....so it is kind of like having a pediatrician on board even if your's isn't. It doesn't have any pictures of the "holds" or quotes from other mothers and only touches lightly on potty pauses.