EARLY Potty Training?

My wife and I are expecting a baby boy later this month. I live with her family here in Taipei. This past December, her sister had a girl. Since late January, I’ve been introduced to a form of Taiwanese “potty training.” While holding the baby, her grandmother props up her legs over a “bed pan” type object while everyone else watches on, laughs, and encourages her while she goes. My wife’s Mom makes these whistling sounds for #1 or some other bass type sound for #2. This is all taking place in the living room. It certainly appears to be high quality entertainment for anyone present, but me…

I never encountered this in my American roots. Perhaps maybe I had forgotten, so I called my Mom. She was quite disturbed, and said she wasn’t aware this practice existed. I’m not ready to see my infant son put through this. I’m still trying to get used to it.

Are there any other parents out there a little uncomfortable with this?[/u]

Your infant child would be just fine, it’s you who’s disgusted. Your son will be doing his business with all the people around him anyway - it’s just that you prefer him to do it in a diaper. :wink:

But if you’re not a big fan of Taiwanese parenting customs, you should get out of there ASAP. Grandmothers have lots of advice for young parents, and that’s the same all over the world.

So, yeah, your kid will be perfectly fine, but you will go nuts. You don’t have to be a psychic to see that coming. :stuck_out_tongue:

The whistling is harmless. But doing his bidness for the family is odd IMHO. My suggestion is when the kid’s gotta go, you grab the kid and take him into the bathroom yourself.

But your baby is what? a year from this? In the mean time there’ll lots of other stuff that will upset your mom. Don’t worry too much about it.


Notsu, you make good points across the board with this. However, where’s the dignity in this whole situation? I understand the child doesn’t know better, but the entire family and whomever else is over cheering her along is a bit much for me to stomach.

JD Smith, this baby girl is three months old. They’ve been doing it for over a month now.

[quote=“chalouie”]Notsu, you make good points across the board with this. However, where’s the dignity in this whole situation? I understand the child doesn’t know better, but the entire family and whomever else is over cheering her along is a bit much for me to stomach.

JD Smith, this baby girl is three months old. They’ve been doing it for over a month now.[/quote]

So, what they don’t like diapers?

Yes, that IMHO is weird. Very much so. MAKING a kid go even when she doesn’t need or want to is, again, odd in my book. Sounds like they just want to take control of her bodily activities. Whistle = pee. Humm =poop.

Next time grandma holds her, whistle.

I doubt this will lead to any long term psychotic problems, for the baby that is. YOU on the other hand… :wink:

My wife’s youngest sister, who is now 20, apparently was completely off of diapers at three months. No, I don’t believe they have anything against diapers. It’s just something they think is right to do, and they obviously want the maximum amount of interaction with the kid as possible. This is going a bit overboard in my book.

That’s incredible. Well, maybe they know what they’re doing.

Again, from a cultural perspective, I also find it wierd, but is it? Does the child get upset at the attention she receives during the public “outings?” If not, then, yeah it’s just a cultural rough spot.


No, the child seems to be pretty ok with it. I’ve seen her crying once or twice in the midst of the event, but nothing major. Yeah, you got that right about the cultural roughspot.

My kid is 2 years old and he makes us all clap hands when he pees in the potty. And he makes me hold the potty, so it doesn’t look like he needs a whole lot of privacy for that. For a baby, it’s all the same - eating porridge is no more disgusting or shameful than pooping on the floor in front of everyone (and, if possible, they really enjoy smearing the poop all over the place :sick:). While this all-family potty-training might seem disgusting for adults, I think it’s only good for the baby, cause diapers are bad for the kid (as well as for the environment unless you use cloth diapers).

I don’t really believe they make the child pee against her will - babies tend to pee as soon as you take off the diaper. Plus it’s easy to develop new reflexes for babies, especially when it’s obvious that it makes everyone around really happy. :wink: And they hate you when you put the diaper back on, so, once again, I think the child would only be happy if the parents had the time and patience to go along with this early potty-training. Actually we started pottytraining when my kid was 10 months old. He loved it at first and soon got the reflex that whenever he was put on the potty, he peed in it. Then he learned to stand up by himself… and the potty was history. Now he’s 22 months old and relearning those tricks, and I have to admit that it’s much more difficult than it was the first time.

I’d be too lazy to potty-train a child who can’t even sit yet, but I wouldn’t dare judge people who do - it’s a lot of work and if anyone’s ready to do it for their child’s health and comfort (cause kids love being without a diaper), then, hell, that’s great! :slight_smile:

BTW, I’m from Europe, so it’s not a cultural thing. :wink:

Point taken. Thanks Notsu.

We potty trained our son on vacation, when he was maybe 15 months. We were in the hotel room and told him we were out of diapers, so he pooped in the toilet. No stress at all. Never went back to diapers after that. I had given up trying to potty training him after two horrible incidents of willpower war.

The only time he seemed to mind diapers was when he got it soaking wet in a wading pool. If absorbed so much water his center of gravity was totally thrown off.

The poop smeering thing is child specific I think. My son got poop on his hand once and totally flipped out. I said, “Now you know how I feel!” :slight_smile:

Different strokes for different folks.

I wouldn’t worry too much about the potty training thing though in any event. Not too many 5-6 year olds running around shitting their pants. And I’m sure that when the little girl and or your son get tired of being a spectacle, they’ll just go into the bathroom.


and notsu, as always, you have made some great points. :bravo:

Not that JD and Notsu haven’t covered this well enough already but this is very common in Asia. I think it’s called “elimination communication” and believe it or not there is a book somewhere in English about this. Never tried it but it’s worked for others!

Here’s an article about diaper-free babies in the US:

The NYT also had an article on the subject last fall (my mom sent it to me :unamused: ):

nytimes.com/2005/10/09/nyreg … yt&emc=rss

Our girl is two. Maybe it’s time for us to take this more seriously, though at 3 months old seems pretty strange – maybe even emotionally harmful somehow – to me.

Babies actually have to be trained to use diapers. it really is not an instinctual thing to want to poop on oneself. that’s why so many small babies pee when they are being changed. my newborn would wake me up at night crying and the only thing that would settle her was to take her to pee. she hated wet diapers.

and for the family entertainment issue: babies go pretty frequently. at 0-3 months, it’s about once an hour during waking times. A baby whose family gathers around her/him this often, i would consider very lucky.

advantages: saves money, better for environment, less washing (of cloth diapers), no diaper rash, closer relationship to baby.

This is a cultural thing. In China (admittedly, I lived in a rural area) babies don’t wear diapers. They have special trousers with the crotch cut out. They start training the baby from birth, as far as I could see. The parents or whoever is looking after the kid starts to get a feel for when the child will go, and holds the baby over the toilet or a bucket or just the floor, and the child starts to get a sense that he/she should go when the whistling or whatever starts. Once the baby can stand up, they quickly learn to squat when they have to go.
This does mean that there is baby shit and piss everywhere, but rural Sichuan is none too clean anyway.
Your inlaws are just following tradition - which may or may not be appropriate for life in the modern world in a modern city.
I’ll admit this practice freaked me out at first. The first time I found out about it was when my teacher, a recent immigrant from China, was showing me photos of her son. In every picture, you could see his penis. I couldn’t understand it - was I looking at child abuse? pride that they had a boy and not a girl? One of the other students told me that it was just a natural, unposed shot - the baby is not wearing diapers, so you can see his privates.

My friend designed the following site. Here’s the page with some elimination communication clothes.

Had a similar thing to JD with my son. His mother and I started potty training him on a long haul bus in China. We just put the pot down and encouraged him and he went for it each time. We then hurled the contents out the window (believe me, that was nothing on what was sloshing around the floor).

If you note traditional Chinese infant clothes have a flap for flipping open or a slit. You often sdee peopkle flipping on the side of the road and whiste up a pee or a poo. Great idea in my book. Nappies are hideous.


The kids in Indonesia had holes where the crotch should have been. I personally would like to potty train my children as soon as they are able to sit independently. As it has been said already, sitting around in your excrement and urine is not a naturally comfortable feeling. The sooner you, er, eliminate the diapers, the more comfortable your child may feel.

Silly me, I forgot the url. mybeibei.com