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.

‘Poosflash’ A few toilet paper facts & a look at the industry, eco-friendliness and what to look out for when shopping.

Whatever is going on with the panic buying of toilet paper, at the end of the day, or should I say year, you’re not going to end up using 10x more toilet paper. According to ‘Ethical Consumer‘, the average bottom [person] in 2018 used 127 rolls per year! In other words, do the math, there’s enough out there given that people don’t get twitchy and stockpile, and if calm prevails then supply chains remain steady, as does stock. Also, again looking locally at Britain (as the third largest consumer of TP in the world), with the stockpiling ahead of Brexit it has also provided some degree of cushion. ‘To be clear, there seems to be no reason to believe there will be an actual shortage of toilet paper unless panic shoppers simply overbuy.’ Expert advice from Fisher International, and they’re right!

But what about the world of toilet paper? Back in July 2019 ahead of the current virus, there was a fascinating article written by Dan Nosowitz for Vox, so succinctly written and informative, that we barely need to add anything. Take a look here, ‘Disruption has come for toilet paper.Slick marketing, subscription models, and eco-consciousness are changing the TP landscape.

Of course people don’t just use TP for wiping their bums as the cost can make it a cheaper alternative to tissues. It has other uses of course; for wiping your nose if/when they have a cold, clean up water or spills on toilets, tables or floors, makeup removal and other small cleaning tasks like wiping your keyboard, amongst many others. But focussing on the subject in hand (so to speak) here’s a brief overview of the various TP alternatives and what to look out for if you want to be eco-friendly, as we all should.

  1. Traditional TP. The manufacturing process involves, a mixture of softwood and hardwood trees (generally 70/30) water (a lot of it!) chemicals to extract fibre, and bleaches (chemicals e.g. chlorine dioxide) which make it white.
  2. Recycled TP. A method that caught peoples attention and is gaining more and more support. It is far better at saving and preserving the planet. But again chemicals are required, albeit less, to bleach the paper back to the aesthetic white associated with clean soft paper. Positives are: 1.) recycled paper is far more sustainable than virgin pulp. 2.) Look out for unpackaged toilet roll or ones with biodegradable packaging. 3.) Fibres (check the labels) such as bamboo and agricultural waste, if responsibly sourced, are more sustainable than virgin pulp. For bamboo, hemp, sugarcane look for brands like ‘Who Gives A Crap‘, ‘No. 2‘, ‘Bumboo‘ ‘Ecoleaf‘, ‘Greencane‘, ‘Bippy‘ and ‘Cheeky Panda‘, look for the FSC stamp (see below) 4.) Toilet paper made from recycled paper keeps waste out of the landfills and ensures it decomposes properly. Paper (think anything from newspapers to greetings cards) is stripped of ink, then moulded and dried to become a toilet roll.
What to look out for … eco-friendly toilet paper.
  1. FSC stands for ‘Forest Stewardship Council’, an international non-profit organisation dedicated to promoting responsible forestry.  FSC 100% is wood from fully FSC-certified forests. FSC Recycled is wood that must be pre- or post-consumer waste. FSC Mix is most frequently found on toilet paper. it’s a mix of FSC virgin wood, recycled, and virgin wood from ‘controlled sources.’ FSC certifies forests all over the world to ensure they meet the highest environmental and social standards. Ideally, go for brands that do not use chlorine processing at all. Also, look out for the Rainforest Alliance and Green Seal, a mark of environmental responsibility through every stage of the toilet paper production process.

To end on a more humorous note, here’s an old ad we love from Quilted Northern rustic weave 🙂 that would be a perfect leveller for the panic of the past few weeks, and… we’ll be back next Friday.