If you’re a convert to ‘squat vs sit’ or ‘wash vs wipe’ what’s the plan for educating your children?

Guts, Butts and Better Health. If you were ‘Born to Run’ then you might think of Bruce Springsteen or Mo Farah. But if you’re ‘Born to Squat + Wash your butt’… you’ll be one of billions of people around the world who have that process built into their psyche from birth. Even, if you were ‘Born to Sit + Wipe‘ then either way the likelihood is that that’s going to be your pooping plan mapped out for the rest of your life. But, as the Korgis sang, ‘Everybody’s Gotta Learn Sometime’ irrespective of whether you learn or are taught to ‘wash or wipe, sit or squat or decide to swap the way you go and clean up at some point along the way.’ Ninety nine percent of the time, the first option is going to be habitual and relate to your childhood experience – and it’s rare (or unusual) for people to change. This effectively means the ‘influencers’ on your toilet time are your parents, with their habits usually having been passed onto them by their parents. ‘Sitters‘ can’t head far back through their family trees to trace the origins of why they are ‘sitters’ and who taught them, because stand-alone sit and flush toilets are a relatively new thing, having been introduced as recently as the 1890s. To find any mass take up of the seated option you’d have to leap frog 1000s of years to your Mesopotamian, Greek or Roman relatives for examples of the original bums on seats.

Wipe or Douche and Dab, Sit or Squat. Appreciably, nowadays many people are opening their minds, and behinds, to new possibilities, as has been illustrated by the increased popularity of bidets, attachable or built-in, and switching from only wiping to wash and wipe. The differences are often not the subject of much discussion – but wash and wipe is more ‘douche & dab‘ – the wiping part (and use of toilet paper) is greatly reduced. Meanwhile going from sit back to squat is taking a little longer but gaining an increasingly loyal following. To make or persuade someone to change the habits of a lifetime is some achievement. TUSHY have led the way by converting thousands of people who wipe to using an attachable bidet. The manufacturers of toilets where bidets are ‘built-in’ are already well established so this achievement by TUSHY is quite a coup. If you wipe? Well, to be more precise you are going to wipe if you’re a sitter, squatter or washer no matter what, but you’ll ‘be more dabber’ if you wash.

Where squatting’s concerned toilet manufacturers are not addressing the issue themselves by making it an option for their sit on loos, in spite of growing evidence that sitting isn’t good for your health and wellbeing. The changes are happening through companies like ‘SquattyPotty‘ who are cleverly marketing and selling freestanding ‘foot-stools’ to raise your legs and mimic a squat. One final point to add before heading onto the original question about our kids is about the environment – not your personal environment for toilet time, but options to help planet earth. Options about what you use for the way you choose to wipe or dab. The new choices of bamboo tp [toilet paper] vs traditional and what’s out there these days – that’s the best for you, your children and their future in regard to less plastics, biodegradable products and other eco-factors that lead to a safer more sustainable world.

Elimination Communication vs Toilet Training. When researching the topic of washers vs wipers, from the bottom up so to speak, I came across the phrase that best distinguishes what happens in the countries where for children squatting is the norm [Asian countries; India, Indonesia and more] vs as a generalisation the ‘western world’ where sitting has become the norm. ‘Elimination Communication vs Toilet Training.’ Both train your children when, where and how to go, but while the nappy – potty training – sit down on the loo is one method. The other is no nappy, with a cloth under the bottom while being carried for example. It involves no potty, is all squatty and also relies on parents’ ‘sixth sense.’ In simple terms, those parents learn to read their babies’ cues such as; squirming, turning pink, shuddering, making faces or certain noises and (eventually) the babies learn to hold back until their parents give them the signal by whatever means works best for them but usually vocal. Whatever the method each success may have a reward element for the child too. Having said all that, the ‘free bum’ is thought to be the better choice for a child, its health and environment with fewer non-biodegradable disposable nappies, plus no rashes or potentially related infections, nor having to cajole kids out of their nappies as they grow older.

More of a Question than an Answer. What all this boils down to is a few questions that we’ve been bouncing around, and after reading this maybe they’ll be your questions too? These relate more to sitters and wipers than squatters and washers, in spite of the increasing crossover between both. Let’s use millennials as an example. Assuming I’m a sit and wipe kinda guy, grew up that way and have three children, two are in, or about to exit the world of potty training, and the other one is 5yrs old – so now a fully-fledged sit down wiper. My partner and I decide, after looking at the options after the ‘paper shortage‘ during coronavirus, that it’s time to go the washing way. We buy a bidet and start doing the ‘douche and dab.’ What do we tell the kids about this new accessory? Do we re-train them? What might they tell our parents when we go visit next, or vice-versa, or do we go for the ’embrace all methods’ and cover all circumstances. What are their friends going to think and say? What if it comes up at school where there’s unlikely to be a range of bidet options available? How about public toilets and restrooms which would not have bidets or ‘bum guns’ either? Just some of the sudden burst of thoughts that may either boggle your mind or possibly change your mind in making the switch. No kids? Then no problem. But, if you’ve had, or are thinking of having them they need to be part of the plan in your toilet making decision process… somehow.

Wipe Butt Squat. The same applies to a lesser extent with the squat adoption to a foot-stool, i.e. you are sticking with wiping but have bought the ‘squat’ accessory. That should be easier to explain as the new ‘leg-raiser’ that’s just appeared in the bathroom won’t necessarily be used by children until their bodies are fully developed. A thought for adults is, if it’s spotted by visiting friends and relatives, which it will be unless you hide it, it is certainly bound to be a talking point, or if not mentioned at all, by default it becomes the ‘elephant [foot-stool] in the room’… your bathroom to be precise.

Hardware, Software, Compatibility, Great Instructions and Aftercare. In conclusion, may we therefore, initially ask for answers to our questions, from manufacturers and the many brilliant disruptors who have brought eco-friendly, healthier, sustainable and environmentally friendly alternatives to our attention and are converting more and more people each day. How do you see the short, medium and long term plan and/or marketing and educating the children and other newbies needed to turn this ‘Tushy Tots Train’ into a locomotive? We love bamboo products, biodegradable materials, saving trees, saving water, the squat, helping people stay healthy and for longer. There’s a target audience that can help achieve that given your help but its this transition period and a wave to ride to keep that momentum. Maybe it’s about inclusive, educational, engaging and entertaining books for kids that show the new normal is normal, and taboo less taboo by opening up about how the whole world poops rather than ignoring other cultures? Do please reply to the article and to those many people who may be having the same thoughts – we’ll come back with the responses in another post. Also, any consumers who may have had a few thoughts or experiences sparked by all this, do throw over any questions to be answered and we’ll endeavour to get those Q’s answered.

The children’s charity ERIC has an excellent Guide to Children’s Bowel Problems it’s a must for new parents! You can download the guide here (and do please support their charity and good work). Have a great week! Want to ask any questions or add comments: contact us here.

‘Beauty Spots’ where to go when there’s nowhere to go? This week’s news on loos & no. 2s.

Getting out and about as lockdown eases. Illustration from the children’s book ‘All Animals Poo & We Do Too’ copyright Hendriksen & Hopson

Scoop the Poop. The past few weeks have seen more and more people out and about in the sunshine at parks and beaches. But at the same time public toilets have so far remained shut. This has led to a number of headlines highlighting the growing problem of ‘where to go when there’s nowhere to go’ and what’s subsequently been happening to these well-loved beaches and beauty spots. We’re used to the ‘scoop your poop’ signs and doggy doo’s bags and bins for our pets, but as for us humans? A more tongue in cheek sign at Trinity Bellwoods Park in Toronto, Canada recently served to highlight the issue, one that we felt needed to be discussed in this week’s post. Here’s that exact article by Jenny Yuen for The Toronto Sun in which she said, “Ten thousand people, no bathrooms, you do the math.” So we did – see below!

Facebook | Ira Samuel Cohen

Scoop on the Poop. To focus on one country as an example, the UK has approximately 9 million pet dogs. One in four households in the UK has a pet dog, and they produce 1,000 tonnes of poop a day, or 365,000 tonnes a year [Hansard UK Govt.] and that’s about 85,000 times as heavy as a Hippopotamus [The Measure of Things.] Now that your imagination is ignited… That would mean that in theory if the UK population still had to poop their average 4-500 grams a day outside [LiveScience] then at 68 million people, we would be depositing the equivalent weight of approx. 68 million adult Pandas of poop in the open each year. That’s without accounting for the use of tissue to clean up after, which would mean mountains of mess throughout the land and widespread disease. Fortunately for us that’s not the case, but remarkably it is still the case for 1/3rd of the world population.

To be in the Loop. This may seem rather abstract but it helps us to add a perspective on outside pooping, and also introduces the more serious and less publicised point that open defecation (rare in the toilet owning world), is a huge problem for over 1 billion people worldwide [WHO] that still have to ‘go outside.’ An even higher figure if you add those without access to basic sanitation or water, which brings the total to 1 in 3 people globally. Add to that the extraordinary number of diseases associated to this scenario and you may be surprised to learn that those diseases include; cholera, diarrhoea, dysentery, hepatitis A, typhoid and polio. According to the WHO diarrhoea remains a major killer (432,000 diarrhoeal deaths annually). So far 380,000 deaths have occurred worldwide from coronavirus. But, better water, sanitation, and hygiene could prevent the deaths of 297,000 children aged under 5 years ‘each year’ from said diseases.

The Big Necessity.‘ There are many resources you can access if you want to know more, and plenty of statistics and eye-opening stories but our ‘take home on this’ is that while the problem is being addressed through a number of determined passionate people and organisations, this is nowhere near enough supported to stop the tragic and yearly consequences from being anywhere near adequately addressed. For what we consider to be one of the most ground-breaking, informative and unforgettable books on the subject, go buy Rose George‘s, ‘The Big Necessity‘ – it’s a fascinating read as she exposes the biggest single unexposed health problem on planet earth.

When Nature Calls. Meanwhile back to where we started, and a few links to get you through the weeks ahead until the public toilets reopen. Stay safe, stay aware and please leave no trace when pooping outside to keep other safe too. As an addendum, we just spotted an article in the Evening Standard by Lezlie Lowe, published today 5th June, entitled, ‘As lockdown eases we need to talk about toilets.’ Here, Lezlie reiterates the comments we’ve made and also those we discussed about improving public toilets for women, link here. Well worth reading as she’s researched the subject far more than we, and do buy her book too, ‘No Place To Go: How Public Toilets Fail our Private Needs.’ The other article that’s popped up since we published was in HuffPost on 6th June, where Sophie Wilkinson writes for ‘Opinion’, ‘Public Toilets Are An Equalities Issue. Why Don’t We Care?‘ Great to see these expert views on the subject.

  1. Huffpost: How To Pee And Poop Outdoors If Provincial Park Washrooms Are Closed.
  2. Road Trippers: Nature is calling: Here’s how to poop properly in the great outdoors.
  3. A classic list from Adventure Journal: Seven Ways to Poop Outdoors.
  4. The Manual: How to Poop in the Woods: A Guide for When Nature Calls.

We’ll be back again next week.