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Duped: How disposable diapers have changed the way we parent

Translations of this post: Italian

Duped: How disposable diapers have changed the way we parent

If you’re not into passion, or this mama right here when she gets opinionated, maybe skip today’s show...because I'm extremely passionate and opinionated about it! :) It's called Duped: how disposable diapers have changed the way we parent. It's all about the messages that have been embedded in our culture that have altered the way we parent...causing us to work against Mother Nature instead of with Her.

The average age of potty training has more than doubled in two generations. But! The blame doesn't belong to parents, so let go of any guilt (yes, I’m talkin’ to you.). It belongs to long-term, strategic marketing campaigns from a $65 Billion industry that have slowly, over these generations, led to dramatic changes in the way we parent.

Mamas and daddies, we are all in this together and we should talk honestly about how we've been duped by these companies - and what we can do about it today!

Today I’ll share:

  • A story from one of my mentors (who worked for Pampers for 35 years!)
  • What moms really thought about disposable diapers when they hit the market
  • How BS advice about “potty training readiness” has led us down the wrong path
  • A rough estimate of how much money the diaper industry would lose if the potty training age decreased by one measly year
  • The innocent beginnings of disposables...that have turned into the demise of our parenting (and our environment)
  • What you can do, today, to take back your parenting and do it from YOUR heart, not their pocketbook
  • A tip from a reader (because we love our readers soooo much!).

Links and other resources mentioned today:

Download the Transcript

If you can't listen to this episode right now (um, sleeping baby!?) and read the transcript here:

Transcript download: Duped.

Watch the Video Version

If you want to watch me record today’s podcast episode, you can do that on my youtube version right here:

Thanks for Listening!

To help out the show and help more parents find out about EC:

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  • Share your thoughts by leaving a note in the comments section below!

Do you have any questions or something to add? Please leave a comment below!

I look forward to chatting with you in the comments.

xx Andrea

Andrea Olson

About Andrea Olson

I'm Andrea and I spend most of my time with my 6 children (all under 12 yo) and the rest of my time teaching other new parents how to do Elimination Communication with their 0-18 month babies. I love what I do and try to make a difference in one baby or parent's life every single day. (And I love, love, love, mango gelato.)


  1. Avatar Meredith on November 12, 2019 at 8:05 am

    Thanks Andrea! Can you link to the studies that show medical damage? In reference to the potty training at 2/2+.

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on November 24, 2019 at 9:07 pm

      Hi Meredith! Look above under the “Links and other resources mentioned today” section to find the links. xx Andrea

  2. Avatar Danielle on November 12, 2019 at 9:41 am

    Hard to hear for a lot of parents, but it needs to be said and shared! Thanks again Andrea for being unafraid to stand up for what you believe in. Know better, do better.

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on November 24, 2019 at 9:06 pm

      Thank you for your kind words! xx Andrea

  3. Avatar Tony Rebensdorf on November 12, 2019 at 12:03 pm

    Loved the rant! It never ceases to amaze me how normalized we have been to the idea of leaving our kiddos in a diaper for 2+ hours. After a great start with EC my 8 month old is struggling with feeling safe on the potty, but I know they will benefit from whatever gentle encouragement we offer.

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on November 24, 2019 at 9:06 pm

      Thank you! You’ll work through the resistance, changing up the receptacle may help. If you’re still feeling stuck after a few weeks I do have a potty pause resolution course to help you get through it. xx Andrea

      • Avatar Tony Rebensdorf on November 24, 2019 at 11:19 pm

        That’s exactly what we did! We are using the babybjorn insert in our bathroom sink and are back to 75% catch rate. We even EC’d while traveling this weekend!

        • Avatar Andrea Olson on December 8, 2019 at 9:21 pm

          That’s fantastic Tony! I’m so glad you kept up with EC while traveling. I find that babies actually do better when traveling. xx Andrea

  4. Avatar J Cruz on November 12, 2019 at 3:49 pm

    I know I have heard you tell the story or your Pampers friend before because recently I was at the store and saw that Pampers has come out with 360 diapers. (Essentially a pull up but they start in smaller sizes) and I thought right away of your conversation and had to wonder if this wasn’t pampers back handed way of supporting mothers who choose to potty train early.

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on November 24, 2019 at 9:02 pm

      I think they market them as easier to get on mobile babies. I do know some EC families use them once baby moves to standing changes. xx Andrea

  5. Avatar GC on November 15, 2019 at 12:30 pm

    I love your rants! Thank you for all that you do, and your awesome heart 😄

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on November 24, 2019 at 8:56 pm

      Thanks! I’m glad you enjoyed it. xx Andrea

  6. Avatar Rebekah on November 16, 2019 at 9:40 am

    It is so easy to start to feel like I am crazy when I hang out with other parents who don’t think this way (yet!), so I definitely needed this encouragement that what I’m doing is right for my baby! Thank you so much!

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on November 24, 2019 at 8:54 pm

      It’s my pleasure Rebekah! You are doing the right thing, don’t let others change your mind. xx Andrea

  7. Avatar Nikola on November 20, 2019 at 7:13 am

    You said you would link the study in the show notes, but I don’t see it anywhere. Can you please link the studies so I can share with my daycare provider? Thanks

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on November 24, 2019 at 8:53 pm

      Hi Nikola! If you look above you’ll see the studies linked under the “Links and other resources mentioned today” section. It’s a great idea to share them with your daycare provider, I hope it helps! xx Andrea

  8. Avatar Luisa Morra Burger on November 22, 2019 at 1:08 pm

    Amaaaaaaaaaaaazing!!! Thank you, Andrea!!

    Lets translate this episode to portuguese for the love of God!

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on November 24, 2019 at 8:45 pm

      I’m glad you liked it Luisa! We definitely need to spread the word!! xx Andrea

  9. Avatar Amanda on January 6, 2020 at 11:51 am

    Hi Andrea! Can you please share the research on how using diapers later affects children’s behavior please? Thank you!

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on January 8, 2020 at 2:46 am

      Hi Amanda! There are several links to research are in this article. The Pampers/Brazelton study is linked above. xx Andrea

  10. Avatar Tamar Rowe on January 9, 2020 at 4:15 pm

    Thanks for this! We started EC at four months, mostly on my aunt’s advice (she used to potty me, my sister and my cousins whenever she changed a nappy), but I only discovered you (and anything contrary to “waiting for readyness”) when my LO was a month and a half shy of two. We started potty training that weekend, me hoping very hard that we hadn’t left it too late to be straightforward. Now people often remark to me that my LO is “very young to be in pants” and I say “No, not really!” before explaining that we did EC and that the earlier that using the toilet is normal for them, the easier it is – and that then you aren’t trying to impose a big change on a two year old.

    I try to remember that a child might be wearing a nappy as “backup” in the situation I’m seeing them, and that most two and three year olds use the potty sometimes even if not consistently. (There are times when dealing with wet pants would be a big pain, for example on a long bus ride.)

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on January 17, 2020 at 2:09 pm

      Congratulations on a successful EC journey! That is wonderful!! It is so great your aunt introduced you to EC, how lucky to have that family support. xx Andrea

  11. Avatar Carrie Staggs on January 23, 2020 at 8:55 am

    Me and my husband are going to try to get pregnant this spring. I’ve worked in childcare pretty much all of my adult life and am currently a nanny (of 2 year old triplets that are not potty trained! I’m trying lol) but anyways my real question is when I have kids of my own, I know that when they wake up they will have to pee. Does this mean that I never teach my child to self soothe? Does it mean I have to get them up immediately for a pee as soon as they wake? I just don’t want to spoil my kiddo. I’ve seen plenty spoiled kids in my line of work. I really want to do EC and plan to do so from birth!

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on January 23, 2020 at 2:21 pm

      Hi Carrie! I’m so happy to hear you are planning on EC in the future! Don’t worry, responding to a biological need isn’t “spoiling” them. When babies wake they usually need to potty, feed, or both. Responding to their needs will just help create a stronger connection. I found this baby care cycle to really work for me. xx Andrea

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