Potty Training in China

Before I moved to Beijing (China) in 2005, I would have never (EVER) thought that a mother would allow their baby to go diaper-less (unless in the gravest of a diaper rash dilemna and never in public). Once I moved to Beijing, I saw babies around the city in arse-less chaps. Arse-less Chaps? On babies? I learned the slightly disgusting, surprisingly practical and thoroughly different truth about arse-less chaps and babies, quickly! Yes, they exist. Yes, millions of Chinese babies are walking around with their privates waving in the wind.

If you are still reading, please quickly note that I am not a creep of any sort and I hope your internet monitor hasn't blocked my post because it mentions arse-less chaps and babies so close to each other.

I lived in Beijing long enough to realize that arse-less chaps, or split pants as they are actually called, did not startle or surprise me when I saw them on the street. Actually that isn't completely true. Despite my familiarity with them, I was always a little shocked when I saw them 'helping' the environment. Disposable diapers barely existed there. Cloth diapers were only really used during the winter, when split pants were not feasible, but I saw very few little white arses that weren't beat red!

It was not uncommon to turn a corner and see a parent holding a child up over a sewer grate or over bushes or trees and helping them create natural fertilizer, through their split pants. I recall once we were at the park and a child simply squatted and shat right there! Once I was standing in line at the grocery store and a little girl just whizzed right there as stood directly behind me. I so wanted to hand the mom a diaper from my bag, but knew she would never accept it. The mother simply changed the child's clothes right there in line and left the whiz on the floor. I WAS APPALLED to say the least. Seriously, isn't is easier to change a diaper versus an entire outfit, shoes included? To the unaccustomed eye this seems comical at the very least and downright disturbing for the hygiene obsessed. Basically, children in split pants used sewer drains as their own public toilets. And their parents were so proud.

Yes, I realize that to a Westerner, the sight of a three-year-old running around in what is essentially a pair of arse-less cotton chaps can be a bit jarring(believe me, I was the first time I saw it); but there is a distinct reason and method to the madness.

I personally did not ever utilze these split pants on my daughter and happily paid the high cost of diapers while living in Beijing! I am afraid I will never find defecating in public places acceptable! But, you will have to admit, the photos are amusing!

I just want to state that I am in no way stating that the use of diapers are more superior to not using diapers. I have nothing but understanding, compassion & admiration for this culture!