6

votes

How did paleolithic peoples deal with potty training?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created March 31, 2011 at 12:57 PM

Anything we can glean from archaeology and/or modern hunter-gatherers?

Do hunter-gatherer kids wear diapers?

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on February 10, 2012
at 10:23 PM

Man, that just reminds me of my first psych course when we learned the basis of the expression "anal retentive" and the extreme approaches that some people took (particularly popular in Germany). Oh potty training, how you confuse society!

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on February 10, 2012
at 09:51 PM

Check out the movie Babies. Pay close attention to the African babies and how their mom's deal with a lack of diapers. Didn't seem like a big deal at all if you spend most of your time outside.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on February 10, 2012
at 09:38 PM

If you don't have carpeting the kids can go pretty much anywhere without problems, just have to be willing to clean it up if it is in a living area

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on February 10, 2012
at 09:38 PM

If you don't have carpeting the kids can go pretty much anywhere without problems, just have to be will to clean it up if it is in a living area.

Medium avatar

(19469)

on February 10, 2012
at 09:30 PM

I think this is probably the closest thing to "paleo" potty training. Let's see if any parent's on here give it a shot.

29686e6867f73a7deee8bf0578cb2107

(68)

on April 02, 2011
at 01:51 AM

If I remember right, Nina Planck writes about doing this with her own child in her book Real Food.

04293f705870e1837b8670d3c1cd5f67

(2261)

on April 01, 2011
at 01:35 AM

During the potty training, I would use a cloth diaper sometimes so they "don't like the wet feeling." Potty trained during the summer so they were bottom-less more easily (worked for two kids) My 2nd child was potty trained at 16 months, and that was the earliest of my kids. I used a potty chair in the bathroom and/or stool for getting up on the toilet. I have heard of people giving lots of liquid and hanging out near the potty chair all day/weekend...helps for reinforcement. umm if I think of something else I will add to this. Biggest method in all the parenting is consistency/reinforcement

Medium avatar

(12379)

on March 31, 2011
at 04:44 PM

I am researching into potty training right now for my son. I have found a method that kinda describes what you are talking about. Do you have any tips?

Medium avatar

(12379)

on March 31, 2011
at 03:27 PM

great question - i am curious to know how the modern paleo's deal with diapering and potty taining too!

Medium avatar

(12379)

on March 31, 2011
at 03:15 PM

Definitely more attainable when there is help - it really does take a village. Too bad most of us don't have a village around to help.

03fa485bfd54734522755f47a5e6597e

(3944)

on March 31, 2011
at 03:07 PM

Now I find out there *is* a better way--but it can only be done by primitive people. In the West (according to a doctor on the Wikipedia page) it's dangerous because it'll damage their precious little psyches, or impractical because day-care workers couldn't possibly keep up with it. Ah, civilization.

03fa485bfd54734522755f47a5e6597e

(3944)

on March 31, 2011
at 03:05 PM

Wow. That's funny, because (as a non-parent) I've always been amazed at how long children stay in diapers. I mean, they're walking, talking, and sometimes even reading, yet still pooping their pants? Why don't we have NASA working on this? Heck with putting a man on the moon; figure out how to get kids on the toilet sooner! It's always seemed like there had to be a better way than changing diapers for 2-3 (or more) years.

531db50c958cf4d5605ee0c5ae8a57be

(8878)

on March 31, 2011
at 02:11 PM

Fascinating. Never knew newborns have to urinate every 10-15 minutes (according to Wikipedia).

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8 Answers

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7
D3ff004d4a0c42b67cc2c49a5ee9c0f3

(5801)

on March 31, 2011
at 02:26 PM

My wife is from a pretty undeveloped area of South America and told me that people from her village never used diapers.

My wife used elimination communication with our daughter. She (daughter) wore a diaper as a backup, but was never allowed to wear a diaper that was soiled so that she would not get used to sitting in her own waste.

At 5-6 months our daughter was able to sign (American Sign Language) when she was going to urinate or have a bowel movement with enough warning for my wife to take her to the toilet. Prior to this, my wife had our daughter on the toilet on time about 70 - 80% of the time.

In a hunter gatherer tribe, I would expect higher success rate because of the extend family living with the children and a larger group of people working with the children.

Medium avatar

(12379)

on March 31, 2011
at 03:15 PM

Definitely more attainable when there is help - it really does take a village. Too bad most of us don't have a village around to help.

3
04293f705870e1837b8670d3c1cd5f67

on March 31, 2011
at 03:35 PM

I am a stay at home mom, and my kids were potty trained pretty early using some of the above methods,,, because I was there watching for clues constantly and in the summer they wearing no pants to make it easier to hop on the potty--(of course they had a shirt and/or dress on..and wore clothes in public..) It just takes a bit of consistency.

Medium avatar

(12379)

on March 31, 2011
at 04:44 PM

I am researching into potty training right now for my son. I have found a method that kinda describes what you are talking about. Do you have any tips?

04293f705870e1837b8670d3c1cd5f67

(2261)

on April 01, 2011
at 01:35 AM

During the potty training, I would use a cloth diaper sometimes so they "don't like the wet feeling." Potty trained during the summer so they were bottom-less more easily (worked for two kids) My 2nd child was potty trained at 16 months, and that was the earliest of my kids. I used a potty chair in the bathroom and/or stool for getting up on the toilet. I have heard of people giving lots of liquid and hanging out near the potty chair all day/weekend...helps for reinforcement. umm if I think of something else I will add to this. Biggest method in all the parenting is consistency/reinforcement

3
5ec57be80f7efb62514f178009239e5f

on March 31, 2011
at 02:14 PM

Really? Hahaha!

Well, if how the people of remote villages in Afghanistan live now is indicative of that era-ish, they have a designated hole in the ground in the corner of a compound. However, that was adults. The children I saw merely stopped where they stood, lifted up their dress (girls) or pulled down their pants, lifted their smock (boys) and went where they stood. The children too young to know what to do didn't have anything under their top and they literally eliminated what they needed to where they stood.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on February 10, 2012
at 09:38 PM

If you don't have carpeting the kids can go pretty much anywhere without problems, just have to be willing to clean it up if it is in a living area

Medium avatar

(19469)

on February 10, 2012
at 09:30 PM

I think this is probably the closest thing to "paleo" potty training. Let's see if any parent's on here give it a shot.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on February 10, 2012
at 09:38 PM

If you don't have carpeting the kids can go pretty much anywhere without problems, just have to be will to clean it up if it is in a living area.

3
D54290f91bd8c2ff9fdf2f519933bf3e

(1231)

on March 31, 2011
at 02:02 PM

they ec'd. google elimination communication.

03fa485bfd54734522755f47a5e6597e

(3944)

on March 31, 2011
at 03:05 PM

Wow. That's funny, because (as a non-parent) I've always been amazed at how long children stay in diapers. I mean, they're walking, talking, and sometimes even reading, yet still pooping their pants? Why don't we have NASA working on this? Heck with putting a man on the moon; figure out how to get kids on the toilet sooner! It's always seemed like there had to be a better way than changing diapers for 2-3 (or more) years.

03fa485bfd54734522755f47a5e6597e

(3944)

on March 31, 2011
at 03:07 PM

Now I find out there *is* a better way--but it can only be done by primitive people. In the West (according to a doctor on the Wikipedia page) it's dangerous because it'll damage their precious little psyches, or impractical because day-care workers couldn't possibly keep up with it. Ah, civilization.

531db50c958cf4d5605ee0c5ae8a57be

(8878)

on March 31, 2011
at 02:11 PM

Fascinating. Never knew newborns have to urinate every 10-15 minutes (according to Wikipedia).

29686e6867f73a7deee8bf0578cb2107

(68)

on April 02, 2011
at 01:51 AM

If I remember right, Nina Planck writes about doing this with her own child in her book Real Food.

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on February 10, 2012
at 10:23 PM

Man, that just reminds me of my first psych course when we learned the basis of the expression "anal retentive" and the extreme approaches that some people took (particularly popular in Germany). Oh potty training, how you confuse society!

2
F040035b2008ec80b205481afbd39ad4

on March 31, 2011
at 03:19 PM

Another ancient skill lost to modern life! How could nappies ever be 'the only way?'

The modern term is 'Elimination Communication'. "Elimination communication (EC) is a toilet training practice in which a caregiver uses timing, signals, cues, and intuition to address an infant's need to eliminate waste. Caregivers try to recognize and respond to babies' bodily needs and enable them to urinate and defecate in an appropriate place".

I have read of it being used extensively in Africa and in Western Europe. The latter involved parents holding their baby over a sink/toilet and making a "pssssssss" sound which (eventually) acts as a Pavlovian cue for the child to urinate/defecate.

I didn't use it with my own children as it was bad enough getting Mrs A to allow me to go 'paleo' without the addition of me going against the conventional wisdom in childcare as well. Oh, and we have carpets....! ;)

UPDATE: One thing keep in mind is that once a child has spent 3 years (or 100%) of its life using nappies, is it any wonder that it gets used to the convenience etc... of this way of defecation? No wonder the 'habit' can be hard to vreak. On the other hand, early adoption of elimination communication means such a dependence can never form.

1
51e901bef68fc93a801b60d5eef413a6

on February 10, 2012
at 09:24 PM

My daughter is almost eleven months old. I have been teaching her to use potty since she was a little over four months old. She doesn't poop in the diaper since she was eight months old. BIG relief. I could always tell when she was going because of the visible effort she was making. I just felt weird watching her poop all over herself when I could just take her to the bathroom, do it the civilized way and thus stay clean. Peeing is a little more difficult. Depending on the day, I would say that she pees in the toilet/little potty between 70-90% of the time. So I guess it's not bad. She doesn't signal yet when she has to pee but she goes when she sits on the potty or when I hold her over the toilet and make the "psss..." sound. It takes some effort but it's worth it.

0
95eda9fa0cec952b482e869c34a566b6

on April 01, 2011
at 07:28 PM

I would imagine our savvy ancestors figured out the diaper idea at some point. What did they use? Who knows, perhaps softened leather lined with absorbent wool of some sort (mammoth, rhino, etc.). I don't think diapers are some sort of definitive mark of "crossing over to neolithic".

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