Jeff Vrabel: Debunking the 'diapers-free babies' myth

Jeff Vrabel

No matter which side of the political divide they fall on, most people today can agree that newspapers are often full of lies -- horrible, skewed misrepresentations of fact, errors in judgment and gross lapses in the most basic of ethical standards, and that's just in "Hagar the Horrible," and the Sudoku puzzle, which has no answer, because I've been staring at it for 30 stupid minutes and now believe it to be a solution-less hoax. Even before Fox News got in there and ruined objectivity for everybody, there was a sense that you had to look twice, to verify your own facts when you saw something that didn't look right, like that the Cubs are in first place or that people turn up to hear John McCain speeches.

Me, I'm a newspaper apologist, and I'm not just saying that because they're currently responsible for supporting my health care and funding increasingly outlandish three-day poker benders. I like to think that they're valuable services run by good people, who rarely if ever have a vested interest in propagating actual lies, unless they're Tucker Carlson, and that much of what you read in the newspaper is actually true.

Except this.

Last week, newspapers nationwide reported the growing trend of "diaper-free babies" sweeping the nation, state by stinky state (it should be noted that they did this partially because all newspapers are laying off all their reporters but 9, so many of them are relying on the same wire services, so when they say that "a trend is growing" or "a fad is swelling," it's doing so often because 80 of their member papers need to fill space).

But the "diaper-free babies" thing is apparently a thing, as it has its own Web site:, which, I have to tell you, smells terrible. Just kidding. Last odor joke, swear.

Basically, the idea is this: Babies are born with an instinctive ability to signal when they have to take a squeege, and parents can identify this "elimination communication" from the age of about six months and, when they see or hear it, hustle their little squirt machine to the nearest facility. No diapers are involved at all. Everybody wins: no diapers to purchase and dispose of and the process would eliminate some of the more delightful sanitation requirements imposed on the average parent, as well as preclude them from dragging along with them a diaper bag about the size of a Nissan Armada but with more components and, if possible, worse mileage.

Well, I say good for these people, all of whom are liars -- miserable, unconscionable liars who are frankly no better than Hagar (I'm watching you, and Helga, too). And I say that in the interest of factual accuracy, and not for any other reason, like that I have a 3-year-old at home who has mastered the art of going pee-pee in the potty but is steadfastly resisting Step Two as though doing so on a regular basis would get him sent to boot camp for the next 30 years. The boy not only fails to go poop in the potty, he's pretty well mastered the art of lying about it to a sensational degree; it's virtually guaranteed that if he tells you at 8:30 he doesn't need to go poop, but 8:32 he'll be doing the weird half-crouched-over duck-walk thing he does when he's befouled himself. (The other giveaway is that he'll respond to every question with: "Can you don't talk to me?" believing, with adorable naivete, that we'll be utterly befuddled by his sudden misanthropism and walk away feeling terrible for intruding so gracelessly.

The bottom line is the company that makes toddler-sized Lightning McQueen underpants will be handing out some astonishing Christmas bonuses this year. Maybe one of these toilet prodigies can come by and teach my son how to use the potty. In return, my son can teach the kid the duck-walk.

Jeff Vrabel is a freelance columnist wondering how much his son is going to hate him for this column: regular therapy much, or sitting-in-his-bedroom-for-18-hours-at-a-time-and-wear-a-cape much. He can be reached at