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Thread: are babies incontinent anyway?

  1. #1

    Default are babies incontinent anyway?

    As a father of three, I have a suspicion that a lot of people posting here are chasing a totally unreal state of affairs anyway. Because in the sense I think most people mean it, I don't think babies are actually incontinent.

    Anyone who's actually spent time with babies knows very well the funny little face they make when they're pooping. They very often have to make an effort. SOmetimes they get quite red in the face. And peeing is the same - it doesn;t dribble out continuously; it builds up to a point, and then they let it go. Babies have sphincter muscles just like adults. They aren't incontinent - they just don't know any better. Toilet training consists of teaching them that when they need to go, they should go in the toilet. Not in their pants. Incontinence is a medical condition in which people lose control of their sphincter muscles. Babies simply haven't learnt yet that they have such control - but it's there pretty much from the moment they're born.

    So what people are talking about is not really loss of control. It's more like loss of knowledge - or re-training. This is what Darkfinn means I think. You have to train yourself to believe that the diaper is the right place to go. BEcoming incontinent is actually a different thing altogether - and actually it isn't really what babies are anyway.

  2. #2
    Darkfinn

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    You make an interesting point there Timmy. I believe that infants are only IC for a few months after birth... beyond that they do develop some sort of control and holding mechanism... at least while they are awake. Noone can deny that infantile sleep wetting/messing is incontinence.

    Toilet training is a matter of getting the conscious mind to recognise a signal from the subconscious part indicating that the bladder/bowels need to be voided... then developing the sphincter muscles to be able to retain the urine/feces until a socially acceptable time and place is reached. It becomes a game of mind-over-matter from that point on... as evidenced by the people who can hold their bladders for an unbelievable amount of time, possibly causing damage to themselves, rather than urinate in an "inappropriate" setting.

    Those of us who have committed to wearing 24/7 aren't so much addicted to the idea of becoming incontinent as we are simply going through what I will call "Diaper Training"... conditioning our minds and our muscles to accept the fact that we are now wearing our toilets and that retaining waste is unnecessary and will only make things less comfortable in the long run.

  3. #3

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    You know what, I have actually wondered about this in the past. After reading Timmy's post I think it makes sense that babies aren't actually incontinent. I might take a look at this on wikipedia later on.

    Craig.

  4. #4

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    I think Darkfinn's right too though - there is a stage at which they are truly incontinent. I just don't think it lasts very long. Certainly by the time our kids were four or five months old you could tell that they actually had to make an effort to poop - and it was always funny watching their faces when they did.

  5. #5
    Darkfinn

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    Quote Originally Posted by timmywimmy View Post
    Certainly by the time our kids were four or five months old you could tell that they actually had to make an effort to poop - and it was always funny watching their faces when they did.
    I maintain that a parent never forgets the "Hang on a minute, I'm messing my pants." face. So kids... be careful before you decide to do #2 in that diaper in public.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Darkfinn View Post
    I maintain that a parent never forgets the "Hang on a minute, I'm messing my pants." face. So kids... be careful before you decide to do #2 in that diaper in public.
    Boy, did this thread bring back memories of our two when they were babies. Especially about the pee building up to a point and then being let go. Our daughter was really good at giving my arm a good soaking when she decided to let go after holding pee for a loooong time. No diaper that fit her at the time would hold what she let loose with. We always knew when she was having a BM as a young toddler. She'd go into the kitchen, open one of the base cabinet doors, hang on with both hands, and start grunting with some redness in the face. Our son would just stand in one place almost motionless with "that look" on his face. Only time he'd move is if you went to pat his bottom to check for a load. He'd push my hand away letting me know he was in the middle of taking care of business.

    Honestly, I've never thought about babies being, or not being, IC before. It does make sense they're only kind of IC for the early time right after birth from what I recall about our children.

    ~Pramrider

  7. #7

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    It's true, they all have their own special little rituals or whatever. It's certainly not the case that it all just slips out ... so all those of us who seek to emulate the babies must NOT learn to be incontinent. Instead they must learn to go to the bus stop, or pause in the office, or over there in the aisle beside gents outerwear, and they must squat, or assume a momentarily hulk-like pose, or just stand there and push with their faces contorted until the deed is done. Only joking. I've known a baby who would only do it behind the sofa ...

  8. #8
    Darkfinn

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pramrider View Post
    Our daughter was really good at giving my arm a good soaking when she decided to let go after holding pee for a loooong time. No diaper that fit her at the time would hold what she let loose with.
    Too bad they didn't make those youth sized ATNs or X-pluses at the time eh?

  9. #9
    Peachy

    Default

    I think we first have to define what "incontinence" is.

    If it's simply the fact that urine / feces come out of a person's body at inconvenient / inappropriate time, then babies are indeed incontinent. They go no matter where they are, even if that means a diaper change on a train across the aisle from where I'm sitting

    If it's the inability to control their muscles down there, babies are still incontinent. Technically, it doesn't matter why anyone can't control their muscles - the fact that they can't do it would define incontinence.

    Or is it required to have had control in the first place before you can become incontinent? Then babies are not incontinent because they never had any control and still haven't gone through potty training. But what about people who are adults but have never had control?

    See, it's rather difficult. No easy definition for "incontinence" can be worked out without either declaring babies incontinent or declaring obviously incontinent people not incontinent.

    Peachy

  10. #10

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    Ah but Peachy that's just my point! After a few months, babies DO have control. They just haven't learnt yet that the place to let go of either load is the toilet, not the diaper. Seriously - you only have to spend a day with a baby aged more than about six months to realise that when they pee, it's in a large quantity, and when they poo, it's an effort. It's instinctive I think. (AN animal that goes around leaving a trail of really obvious smell soon proves too detectable to predators.) If they go around diaperless, they don't leave a little trail behind them. It happens in puddles and heaps, once every few hours! The more I think about it the more I think Darkfinn is absolutely right - it's all about re-learning. But what it's about learning is not to care or mind. It's not about learning not to have a sphincter!

    I suppose what I'm trying to say is that most of the ABs who post here about how, or whether, or how long before they can become incontinent are just on the wrong track and wasting time and money (for the ones who buy hypnotapes or laxatives) - all they need to do is just do it. Because that's what babies, apart from newborns, do.

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