Chinese Toilet Training
and Children with Crotchless Pants!
Chinese Toilet training involves wearing special pants that are split open in the crotch area - as you can see in the picture to the left. This is to facilitate the act of toilet training. The same pants are available for both boys and girls. In China - you see little naked baby bums everywhere you look!
Toilet training usually takes place right on the street. A parent or grandparent sits on a chair with their legs spread apart. The child is held between their legs (their hands under the child's knees - the child above the ground in a type of squat position but with their legs apart). The parent makes a gentle "ssss" sound to try to encourage the child to go - a type of conditioning that trains the child - when he hears the sound and squats - it's time to urinate. The two of them sit there and wait - until the child does his/her business. The urine and feces drop onto the sidewalk or the street. People passing by just walk around the toilet training area like nothing is happening.
So how do people deal with all this urinating on the streets? Well, sometimes it is washed down with a pail of water, other times a mop may be used - and many times, nothing at all is done. The smell is the worst part. Everytime, when I arrive back in China, that first whiff of air, that unmistakeable odor of China, I can't help but think that the country smells like someone peed all over it.
I would wince when I saw a father carrying his young child (who was wearing toilet training pants) on their shoulders as they walked down the street. It looked like an accident just waiting to happen.
One time, in the Shanghai airport, as I was waiting for a plane, a young Chinese mother and her daughter were sitting nearby. The floor in the airport where we were sitting was carpeted. When I saw the mother sit down and hold her child in the toilet training position above the carpet in the airport - I let out a small scream of horror - and started on the mother in Chinese about how she could not do that here! She was shocked (mostly because I spoke Chinese to her), and quickly took the child away to the washroom.
Other times, I have seen the rather disgusting after effect of Chinese toilet training in restaurants. When you sit down at the table, you can see the urine all over the floor under the table. Definitely a time when you have to tell yourself - Chinese culture is just different than your own!
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