Quoting Quiverfull: Child Training From Day One?

Quoting Quiverfull: Child Training From Day One? August 18, 2014
So training horses has little  to do with training children, but if you use the Pearl's method on either you'll be using a switch to teach by pain.
So training horses has little to do with training children, but if you use the Pearl’s method on either you’ll be using a switch to teach by pain.

by Shalom (daughter of Michael and Debi Pearl) Brand from No Greater Joy magazine – Training Starts at Birth

Realize from day one that you are training your baby in everything you do! When you put a diaper on your baby and allow him to mess in it, you are training him to go in his diaper. Yes, it is the norm to place a diaper on your baby, but it is still training. Many others, myself included, have trained our babies to go in the toilet from day one, so it is possible to train even if it is outside the norm. It is just a matter of deciding what you want for your little one and then following through with that training.

Remember, you are conditioning your infants unto obedience. Training an infant is all about conditioning them early to be obedient so when they are old enough to respond to commands, they will obey. They go where you take them, they lie where you place them, and they eat when you feed them. They are in your hands to guide and protect.

Make a plan as to what you want them to learn. I wanted my walking child to come when I called, to sit when I said sit, to stop whining when I told them no, and to sleep when I said “sleep”. I wanted them to stop touching when I said “don’t touch!”, and to stop when I said “stop”, and to go potty on the toilet when I said “peepee.” I don’t like to spank. I am soft hearted, and spanking is not my favorite thing. Because I wanted obedient children, I made a decision early to condition them to obey so that I would rarely have to spank them as they got older. For all you young mothers out there like me who want your children trained to obey when they are still young, make a plan now and stick with it. That way you do not have to retrain them later, making it harder on both of you.

QUOTING QUIVERFULL is a regular feature of NLQ – we present the actual words of noted Quiverfull leaders or their followers/enforcers and ask our readers: What do you think? Agree? Disagree? This is the place to state your opinion. Please, let’s keep it respectful – but at the same time, we encourage readers to examine the ideas of Quiverfull honestly and thoughtfully.

Comments open below

NLQ Recommended Reading …

Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement by Kathryn Joyce

13:24 – A Story of Faith and Obsession by M Dolon Hickmon

"Yeah that logic doesn't hold water. According to them, we didn't "create" our own bodies, ..."

Larry Solomon Loves Racist Misogynistic Rush ..."
"Yes, he didn't even care about making it a good experience for his wife."

Quoting Quiverfull: Michael and Debi Pearl’s ..."
""Have fun with it"?!?!? Sickening."

Michael and Debi Pearl and That ..."
"Holy 6crap9, is this "how to raise a child" or "my favorite bar fight moves?""

Michael and Debi Pearl and That ..."

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Nightshade

    ‘Many others, myself included, have trained our babies to go in the toilet from day one.’ I’m calling bullshit. A day-old infant learning to use the toilet? S/he has no ability to control bowels or bladder, there is simply not enough physical maturity for that.

  • Edie Moore McGee

    I had to laugh at the potty training stuff, too. When we were getting ready to go to China, we learned about “split pants” toilet training, which is the method used by the people who can’t afford diapers. Infants and toddlers’ pants are split and they run around with bare bums going potty just anywhere. Supposedly, the mothers will hold them over the toilet and make a whistling sound, and the kid will pee or poop, but in practice, training isn’t really accomplished until the child is about 2-2.5 years old — about the same age most of us here quickly and easily switch our kids from pull-ups to regular underwear. That’s because bowel and bladder control isn’t fully developed until about 2-2.5 years of age!
    It’s the same for dogs, BTW. In one of my dog e-groups, new puppy owners will complain about 8-week old puppies having accidents in the house. Guess what: doggy bowel and bladder control isn’t developed until about 12 weeks of age. Just suck it up and prepare to clean up after the puppy for a few weeks.

  • Mel

    Literally. The motor cortex is still forming at that age.

  • kim

    Elimination communication is cool and all, but! Seems like one more way to make you better than everyone else! Now,lots of people breastfeed and cloth diaper so lets take it up another notch and be BETTER THAN EVERYONE ELSE BECAUSE GOD!

    I wouldn’t be friends with her.

  • Nightshade

    This strikes me as another source for child abuse. If the reader of this crap accepts that a child can begin toilet training from birth, and their infant continues to do the natural thing, it may not be seen as natural but as stubborn willfulness in need of punishment. The baby will not be able to comply with the demand, therefore will be punished even more for what s/he has no control over. As if the Pearl family hasn’t done enough to encourage beating children…

  • Nefercat

    Ha! I was going to write the exact same thing, although I called it horseshit!

    The only thing trained from Day 1 might be the parent who will be trained to rush the infant (or do they train them to walk from day 1 also?) over to a toilet when they see the signs that the baby might be ready to pee or poop.

    The child is not trained at all at that point.

  • kim

    I just read the actual article! Poor children! My oldest was colicky and needy when she was small. She needed constant physical touch… It was hard, but it was what she needed. Once, I put her in the crib and left her there to cry, just like the cry it out method states to do, and she cried until she threw up. NEVER again. Fussing sure, but I couldn’t do that to her again. That being said- she isn’t like that anymore. At seven, she sleeps in her own bed, takes care of her own person and doesn’t cling to me. She hasn’t since she was about 3.5 Oh, and BTW, my husband? Wanted her to be happy and omfortable too.
    They do grow up. This too shall pass.
    Oh and our second kid who was also a girl wasn’t as physically needy. She had other needs that we also met.

  • That’s not child-rearing.
    That’s dog-training (and a very poor quality one, of course).
    They just want endless generations of “orthodox”, fundamentalist watchdogs.

  • Except for the potty training from day one – everyone already commented on that – that is really a recipe for stunting mental growth. She wants to learn them to stay put and be afraid to do anything, so she can teach them. But the overwhelming majority of what children learn is actually through looking and experimenting:
    > Can you eat sand? (No- don’t taste right.)
    > This stuff is the same colour as my blanket – does it feel the same? (No, my blanket is soft and this thing is hard.)
    > How is the fridge different from the cupboard, if both hold food?
    > I noticed her pushing a button and a light went on. Will it happen again if I push the button? Do the light and the button have anything to do with each other?
    > What happens when I swing my arm and let go of Teddy at the same time?

    A child who has to stay put and learn only what the mother deems to teach him, and is afraid to do his own learning because he will be beaten if he touch the light switch or throw Teddy, simply cannot progress right. And a mom who think a newborn can be potty trained won’t even have a realistic idea of what the child is supposed to learn.

  • Independent Thinker

    ” I am soft hearted, and spanking is not my favorite thing” Soft hearted people don’t hit infants.

  • Trollface McGee

    Not even, puppies can’t be toilet trained until they’re a some weeks old. Kittens, who typically are taught by their mothers to go to the litterbox, also require a bit of time. It just makes no sense.

  • Trollface McGee

    If you break your prisoners early, you won’t have to beat them so much and they’ll be more amenable to work and to serve your needs, because you are a selfless parent who hates spanking but still thinks a gulag operating manual is fine to use on children.
    Obedience is not and should not be the end all and be all of child-care, pet-care, hell, I wouldn’t treat a virtual pet in this manner, it’s just sadistic and sick.

  • That_Susan

    I learned about elimination communication a little late too try it with my own daughters — but I actually heard of it not as a means of teaching the baby “obedience,” but as just being really in-tune with your baby’s signals and holding her over the potty when she needs to pee. It’s really more about the parents training themselves.

    Some parents really want to do this as a means of living in a truly sustainable way, as even the production and washing of cloth diapers creates some pollution. For a mother with this mindset, it seems she’d be inclined to have her children really far apart, because how can you be that in-tune with your baby when you have other young children constantly needing your attention?

    My own girls are nearly five years apart, and I carried them pretty much constantly. I was very much in-tune with when they wanted to nurse, and could often notice when they were about to do something in their diaper — but not necessarily fast enough to make it to the potty.

    And even though a five-year age difference is significantly larger than the age difference in many Quiverful families, I think a five year old still tends to feel displaced and to need a lot of attention, so it seems to me like it’d be hard to meet older children’s needs while being so attentive to the signs that the baby in your arms was about to pee.

    But also, a mother who’s ecologically-minded probably wouldn’t be having more than one or two biological children anyway, so maybe she can handle it better.

    What’s scary to me is the use of this method by anyone who believes in spanking EVEN A LITTLE. And who sees it as a CHILD-TRAINING method. It’s a PARENT-TRAINING method, and I respect parents who are willing to go to such extreme measures to minimize their families’ carbon footprint — but I don’t fault those of us who weren’t able to contribute in this way.

  • Astrin Ymris

    You beat me to it about the elmination communication! ;-D

    It’s not about “discipline”– it’s about how millenia of human mothers managed before the invention of cloth diapers and soap– and up to fairly recently in the Kalahari.

  • Squire Bramble

    This doesn’t sound like EC to me at all – she makes no mention of prompt sounds or traditional Eastern split pants/ no pants babywear. I read this as she hits her children until she achieves the goal of having them piss on command.

  • Jenny Islander

    Actual EC is apparently very useful. I didn’t hear about going “pssh-pssh” whenever a baby pees (so that going “pssh-pssh” will make him/her pee on cue) in time to use it, but I did discover that those cute little vibrating reclining baby seats will shake the poop right out. Useful trick when you’re headed out of the house for a while.

  • Nea

    Hmmm… The child of the spanking gurus doesn’t like to spank. That’s more Freudian than she knows. Also, “beat them often now so you don’t have to beat them later” is not logic. I know it’s what Daddy says, but it still doesn’t make sense!

  • Nea

    She doesn’t want to be friends with anyone. Read her “advice” on how to judge and then freeze out anyone who wants any interaction with her that isn’t centered on being Super Mommy. Then she pats herself on the back for being nasty just like Momma.

  • Astrin Ymris

    Some of our regular posters on NLQ have told of using corporal punishment and TTUAC because they believed they were obligated to– like it or not.

    That being said, Shalom Pearl’s bragging about having total control over her kids, up to getting them to sleep and eliminate on command doesn’t seem consistent with being soft-hearted. She doesn’t seem interested in having kids– she wants well-programmed robots.

  • Astrin Ymris

    Not to mention that it doesn’t seem to work, because the Pearls HAVE referred to using corporal punishment long past infancy on their kids. This discrepancy is never explained.

  • Christine in Australia

    Also, what day old infant has the simple physical ability to sit on the toilet seat, even if someone put them there?

  • Nightshade

    None. It’s a totally unreasonable expectation.

  • Independent Thinker

    I read To Train Up A Child years ago after being given a copy of the book by another homeschooling mom. I literally cried when I read it because I realized the person who gave me a copy of the book did this to her own kids. It explained a lot like why her kids didn’t make eye contact with adults. Hitting infants makes you a monster not a soft hearted person. If you hit a baby you are a child abuser. No excuses.

  • Em

    My sister practices natural horsemanship, no beating the animal. Some horses get treated better than children.

  • MizzKittay

    We got a bingo!! Stunted mental growth and other effects too. How about fear, an unreasonable amount of fear of both parents and the natural world around them. Children are naturally curious to stunt that attribute in early childhood likely stunts it for life (or until the child grows up and has to undo that toxic teaching themselves). Not going to lie that takes a lot of courage to undo something like that. I’m almost certain that an overdose of fear will spawn other negative emotions like anxiety and depression and confusion. These children don’t stand a chance with what’s going on around them. I sincerely hope more legal action and more psychologists/psychiatrists/doctors and etc take a more aggressive stance on these things. Heck, I’d love to do more activist things myself. I should start asking around about this sort of thing.

  • Nea

    Never explained but incredibly obvious, and I wonder that no one ever asks them about it to the point that they have to explain that problem. Because To Beat Up A Child is just FULL of how often they had to pound the stuffing out of their kids, and this after Michael crosses his heart and swears that you won’t have to do that very thing.

    Or maybe they do get asked about it and are actively avoiding it, because it’s not like they have an answer.

  • Nea

    It also bolsters authoritarian and punitive thinking. When the authority arbitrarily and randomly gives punishment, then you lean on the authority for all things to stay on its good side. Or Else.

    And the idea that others get to decide things for themselves without drastic consequences incites both jealousy and worry.

  • MizzKittay

    Sadistic and sick is right. To treat a child worse than many average people treats their pets is just… cruel. These “parents” must somehow be so distant from their little ones to be able to do these things to them.

  • MizzKittay

    I’ve had the unfortunate pleasure of reading that book too. I found it in a QF bathroom y’know just to have some reading material around the toilet. I figured they’d placed the book in the right room but lacked the courage to rip the pages out into the toilet water and flush.

  • Saraquill

    I’d ask why she’s not advocating to train fetuses, but I think I know why. Instead I’ll ask why the Pearls oppose abortion, when they think nothing of harming infants.

  • Saraquill

    Or someone brought it in to use as toilet paper, but realized that ey didn’t want to disgrace their feces in that manner.

  • MizzKittay

    I’d also imagine that with arbitrarily and randomly punishing a child would make that child emotionally unstable. Lashing out as well. Unable to deal with or learn how to express anger and other “unsuitable” emotions. Thus wouldn’t be as successful at friendship making and potentially closing out any support system that could form in latter years. Certainly would become a hinderance to any support system that could form.

    Authoritarian thinking… yeah someone else can think for me! Sheeple me!!!

    Also that others get to decide for them would make them jealous and worry quite a bit I’d imagine. That was brilliance right there.

    Yeah, I didn’t think of those examples but I’m glad you posted them. I truly believe that if we can learn to understand the variety that people come in we can learn to build bridges and help them to help themselves a lot better.

  • Independent Thinker

    It’s blatantly obvious that the Pearl family doesn’t even being to understand the basics of psychology, mental health, human development, and/or sociology. High school kids in public school have a better understanding of the human mind than Mike or Debi ever will.

  • Independent Thinker

    The person who gave me the book has recently started making Quiverfull propaganda videos on You Tube. She currently has seven kids. She is only 35 so I doubt she is done growing her hoard. In two of them, she mentions Debi Pearl by name.

  • Nea

    It’s blatantly obvious that they ought to be prime examples of What Goes Wrong in any psychology class, instead of flogging books about flogging kids.

  • Joy

    Maybe she wants well-trained robotic children because that’s what she was trained by her parents to want. In a sense, she’s a robot too.

  • Sharla Hulsey

    Kittens can’t do it themselves at all until they’re 3-4 weeks old. Mama has to stimulate them to go. That’s the hardest thing if you have an orphan; anybody can stick a bottle in a kitten’s mouth, but doing what needs to be done so stuff comes out the other end is a challenge.

    I wish there was some way to haul all the folks advocating this BS in books and magazines and online up on charges of child abuse.

  • Sharla Hulsey

    Near as I can tell they are abusers (and abused, in Debi’s case) who are advocating their abuse as what should be “normal” for all families. No. It. Isn’t.

  • Independent Thinker

    Remember Debi Pearl states having female friends puts you on the path to lesbianism.

  • Astrin Ymris

    I think biblical literalists train themselves NOT to see internal inconsistencies in what they believe.

  • ConcepcionImmaculadaPantalones

    All the more reason to look for an older dog that has been housebroken. As my current dog is my very first dog (I only had cats before…) I adopted her from a local shelter when she was 4 months old (the youngest age permitted by local law/municipal code that animals can be adopted from any of their government-run/funded shelters is 4 months) so that I could go through the learning process from the beginning (more or less) with her. I lucked out with her thanks to employing the strategy of puppy pads with a chemical attractant and her willingness to potty in her doggy litter box sans litter/plus newspaper. I have never had to deal with any accidents on carpet, though in the beginning and if her box is dirty she will pee on the linoleum right next to it. It’s easy to clean up though – wouldn’t want it to happen on hardwood floors. I definitely don’t recommend white carpet and dogs…if I’d really thought about things I would have picked gray carpet instead of beige for so many reasons, one of which is that thing dogs do…dirty dog feet wiping 😛

  • lh

    My parents weren’t severely authoritarian, and they’ll claim til they’re blue in the face that they let us ‘be ourselves’, but they were authoritarian enough, and unpredictable enough with punishment (for me as a small child who didn’t understand what I had done wrong) that I have ended up as a pretty emotionally unstable adult. If I’m not careful I unconsciously suppress any anger, sadness, or other “negative” emotions and it causes a lot of stress on me. I’m learning how to express these emotions in a healthy way now, but it’s a lot of damage to undo.

  • Nightshade

    Rarely has lesbianism sounded so appealing as when Debi talks about it.

  • SAO

    This is beyond scary.

  • Looking at this objectively… i have to wonder if Debi secretly wishes that she had the courage to be a Lesbian… ’cause, hell, I’m seriously considering it just reading this stuff second-hand!

  • Multi-generational child abuse. There is no other way around it.

  • Renee Martin

    They cannot sit on a potty, you hold them over it. This is also called “EC” Elimination Communication, and this version has ZERO to do with obedience. You learn when baby goes, and hold them over the potty, and they use a diaper too. If you do the whole baby wearing, breastfeeding thing, this is no extra effort at all. I don’t think my DD pooped in a diaper until she was about 11 mo, because she was so regular it as easier to hold her over the potty than clean up poopy diapers.

    It is more about MOM noticing, or “being trained” LOL. It is not the baby at all.

  • Renee Martin

    She does NOT do EC! EC is about watching for cues, and knowing when your kid goes, not making them obey your every whim! EC and her baby potty training crap are two totally different philosophies, and completely different in practice as well.

    I can see EC being used as a one up thing, but IRL, those that do it are either just trying to be as AP as they can, or like me, find it easier. My DD was SO regular, I could set a clock to her. Seriously. No big deal, less messy diapers. She quit around 11 months, because she didnt want to be held over the potty anymore, and that was fine.

  • Nea

    True. What’s one more cognitive dissonance?

  • Nightshade

    If sexual orientation truly was a choice I’d be sorely tempted after reading this garbage.

  • texcee

    Soft-headed is more like it.

  • Rebecca Horne

    Early toilet training IS parent training. Very openly. They learn to recognize when the baby needs to go and hold them over the toilet (Or sink, I think). The idea is that the parent gets more attuned to the baby’s signals, and the baby develops an association between the toilet and what’s happening in their body, which makes it easier for them to transition to doing it themself later.

    Not having kids myself, I don’t know how well it works, but that’s the idea: nobody is expecting the newborn to make the decision themself and hold themself up. From what I’ve read, not even the pearls expect that.

    I’m actually pretty surprised that they do it at all. Its usually practiced in hippy-mama, homeschooling, crowds.

  • Astrin Ymris

    The Far Left and the Far Right have a lot in common in their day-to-day lifestyle.

  • Mary

    This is reassuring to me, since my one year old is also very clingy/needy compared to my older daughter.

  • kim

    Your mileage may vary, but really, just fill her needs. And take time for yourself too, because the constant physical touch will drain you dry! Take care, and I know it sounds trite, but this too shall pass!

  • kim

    I was a crier and not allowed to be angry EVER. So now I get mad when I am really sad. And mad when I am frustrated. And mad when I am confused. Therapy is making a difference, but there needs to be some moderation in parenting!

  • thisone

    There’s a reason people say it’s impossible to spoil an infant. It’s because they don’t have the ability to comprehend or manipulate. Something feels off so they let you know. This training from day one is really detrimental to a baby because they need to know that they will be cared for.

  • Sara Lin Wilde

    This person has a fundamental misunderstanding of children’s learning and development.

  • MizzKittay

    I feel for you and with you. My parents were fairly authoritarian. I do know a little of the stuff I was talking about because I’ve been through it, I’ve seen it in the children of others and now other people who have been through it are confirming via comments like yours.

    I’d like to thank you for coming forward on this 🙂 You helped me come forward too. Others also. You also have really good advice about self awareness. It’s important to remember to be aware. To not let emotions of the past bubble up in a current situation and consume the moment. It IS a lot of damage to undo but personally I’ve found the healing to be like a waterfall of happiness. To be able to look back and say we don’t want to be like those people. We don’t want to be caught up in the same cycle of abuse. To have the courage and strength to break those chains is highly admirable.

  • gimpi1

    I agree. Nightshade. If most men were like Mr. Pearl, sign me up for the lesbian duplex – I’d never give a man the time of day.

  • gimpi1

    Yes, I’ve raised orphaned kittens, and you have to rub their little bums with a warm washcloth, to simulate their mother licking them. They do their business on the cloth. Fortunately, they’re so small, it’s not much, and you just wash the washcloth. When I was taking care of an abandoned litter, I got 20 shop-cloths for the duty. But they all made it, and found good homes, so hooray!

  • gimpi1

    Good point, Nea. I hadn’t thought of that.

  • Sharla Hulsey

    I only had one orphan, and that was hard enough. I would get those underpads that are used in hospitals and nursing homes, the small ones, and cut them into six pieces, to use for that part of her care. I also bought a large pack of washcloths. But my technique irritated her little backside. When she was about three weeks old I was having to anoint it with Preparation H a few times a day, and after she did her business I took to holding her under a warm running faucet to get her cleaned up. Somehow she survived my clumsy ministrations and is now a healthy 11-year-old.

  • gimpi1

    Kittens can differ hugely. We were lucky, the litter we raised were fairly resilient. One little fellow wasn’t so lucky, he had been blinded by an infection, and was more frail. I used a linen hanky on him, and vaseline. We wound up keeping him, and he was a wonderful little fellow. He finally passed away at the age of 18, about 6 months ago. Frankly I still miss him.

    I’ll remember the Preparation H trick, should it ever come up again.

  • Sharla Hulsey

    Poor little guy. But I’m glad you were able to save him and keep him.

    It was my vet who suggested the Preparation H, just a tiny bit, rubbed on the sore parts. But I’m sure she was as relieved as I was when she got old enough to use the litterbox.

  • ILoveJellybeans

    These people don’t seem to realise that they are raising a human being who will one day have to make their own decisions in the world. You cant condition someone to obey for their whole life, and then expect them to drop all that when they are adults. When they have their own house, there isn’t going to be any parents around telling them what to do, so what will they do? In their job, they wont have to blindly obey their boss, who wont have time to tell them what to do, as they are adults and expected to do things independently and make decisions. If you teach them to be afraid of failure and making mistakes because they are afraid of being beaten, they are never going to grow up into healthy adults (or will, but will need a ton of therapy)