Melinda Rothstein and Rachel Milgroom are out to revolutionize potty training as we know it. While many U.S. youngsters wear diapers until well past the age of three, they are advocates of "elimination communication," staring toilet training in infancy by monitoring a baby's body language and vocal cues. And a growing number of parents - some worried about the environmental impact of disposable diapers - are agreeing.
Milgroom and Rothstein founded DiaperFreeBaby, a non-profit that teaches elimination communication, in 2003. Since then, more than 400 mothers have registered on the group's Web site and 30 chapters have sprung up nationwide.
Practitioners of EC, as they call it, watch their infants closely, learning when a kick or grimace means "it's time." These parents believe that by about 25 months a child should be potty-trained. (But accidents happen.)
While toilet training before the age of two was common at the turn of the century, studies have shown by the late '90s the average age had risen to 33 months for girls and 36 months for boys. The growing gap is largely attributed to disposable diapers and a child-led approach to toilet training.