Babies need diapers

Little Sarah is sitting on the potty. "Sitting" is actually said too much. Sarah can't do that yet. She is a baby and only a few months old - her mother has to hold her on the potty. The father is also busy with Sarah's business: he films the matter for minutes and keeps saying: "I think she's finished." Finally, a zoom into the potty: Sarah has now actually made big business. What other children only manage to do when they are two or three years old, Sarah already masters as a baby.

Sarah's parents belong to a movement that wants to raise their offspring without diapers. Other parents, whose children only pee on the potty at the age of three and still need a diaper at four at night, may be astonished. But basically life works without Pampers when parents and babies practice "excretory communication", as the method is called.

In English one speaks of "Elimination Communication" (EC). The parents use signals from their child: They watch out for grimaces or movements that the baby makes shortly before urinating or defecating, and then quickly hold it over the potty or grass strip. Every time they go to the toilet - for babies up to the sixth month this is around 20 per day - nappy-free parents accompany them with a key sound.

"Growing up in a species-appropriate manner"

This is how you condition your child: after a while the babies react to this sound, the parents can encourage them to urinate at regular intervals and save themselves unpleasant situations, for example in the subway. In addition, parents keep records of eating, sleeping and emptying in order to filter out regularities and prevent wet pants.

This way of growing up is particularly "species-appropriate", say the journalists Nicola Schmidt and Julia Dibbern, who explain the "species appropriate project" on the Internet. "Babies are 'dense' from birth. When children can get clean has more to do with the convictions of their parents than with the children."

There is no doubt that primitive peoples have no leak-proof pampers, and every second child around the world is clean before the age of one, because diapers are not the norm in Africa, Asia, Latin America and even in Eastern Europe. The talk of the physical maturity that must exist before a child can be clean is nonsense, say Schmidt and Dibbern.