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My Baby Almost Never Wears Diapers and Here's How It Works

Photograph by Twenty20

Most of my friends are totally shocked when they learn that we took my baby girl out of diapers at 9 months. I get it. I wasn't on board at first as well, but it has been one of the best decisions we've made in her short life.

It actually happened naturally when we took our baby to visit our in-laws in China, where kids just don't really wear diapers. The other moms quickly scolded me for having my poor baby girl's private parts baking in a hot diaper.

Curious to know how it works? Here are the most common questions I get from my friends.

How did you get started?

We let her pee 'n' play until we figured out her potty groove. Every single kid has a tell before they go potty. Usually, it's getting a little less squirmy and looking like they are having a senior moment. When it comes to pooping, they start grunting a little or pass wind. When we see the signs, we scoop her up and take her to the potty, pull her knees up to her chest—and she goes. It's that simple.

As much as I thought going diaperless might be gross, wiping poop off a squirmy human is so much worse.

Does she ever have accidents?

Sure she does, which is why, if we can't watch her closely, she plays downstairs where there is no carpet.

Does she ever have blowouts?

She has had runny stool once or twice, and when she does, we put her in diapers until things have normalized.

What about other people seeing her butt? And her private parts?

Everyone and their mother has seen her bottom. And you know what? In China, no one cares. All the kids have their butts hanging out, and they're just that: butts.

Her usual outfit is a shirt and a pair of split-bottom pants. We made our own by opening the seam from an inch below the waistband on both sides. (Note: American seams are much harder to open.) If you're uncomfortable with people seeing their bottom, you either have to be extra vigilant, or you can buy a longer shirt that covers it up.

Now that we're back in the States, we usually take her potty before going out and just put her in some pants, or pop on a pair of diapers if we'll be gone for a longer time.

Are you worried about it being unsanitary?

This was my biggest concern, especially being in China, where squat toilets are the norm and the floor can be a lot dirtier. The first time I saw her plop down on the cold dusty floor, I winced. I wanted to pick her up and sanitize her bottom. But then I remembered that everyone in that town had done the same thing, many of them on dirt floors. She hung out there for two months and was just fine. Who knows? Maybe she'll have a better immune system for it.

How do you deal with the puddles?

Back in China, my in-laws have a closet full of old clothes that they use as rags. I went another route and ordered a stack of 10-by-10 microfiber towels. They soak up any messes immediately, then I toss them in a bucket and wash them at night, hang them to dry and start over the next day. I launder them once a week.

What about nighttime?

I'll admit it, I still make her wear diapers at night. Back in my husband's hometown, some moms opt to layer the bed with towels, but I am a sucker for convenience. And you know what? She rarely wets them. When we wake up in the morning, we go straight to the loo and she relieves herself.

Would you do it again?

Since taking my girl out of diapers more than three months ago, we've saved nearly $200 in diapers and wipes and diaper cream, and she hasn't had a single instance of diaper rash since.

Even better than that? I've only changed one poopy diaper this whole time. I have to say, as much as I thought going diaperless might be gross, wiping poop off a squirmy human is so much worse!

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