A friend of mine, a psychology graduate, entertained thoughts of becoming a Poo Psychologist. ‘So many people’s psychological problems,’ she claimed. ‘Come down to their bowel movements. A healthy bowel leads to a healthy mind.’
It comes as no surprise that I completely agree with her and encouraged her in her aspirations; alas, it was not to be. She still stands by her theory and we both hope that there’s someone out there doing valuable research in the important field of Poo Psychology.
The Children’s Hospital in Boston, USA has a Voiding Improvement Program (VIP – I kid you not) to help the parents of untoilet-trainable toddlers. The problem is not uncommon, and anxious parents pass their anxiety on to their anxious children, compounding it.
All that anxiety is pointless; as Dr Alison Schonwald, supervising paediatrician at “Poop School” poignantly says, ‘No one goes to college in diapers, right?’ But there must be a sense of inadequacy for parents who cannot ‘train’ their child to perform their ablutions. I’d bet a million dollars that their own toilet habits are adversely affected.
In China, there’s no issue with toilet training. Babies and toddlers wear kaidangku (open-crotch pants – seriously)
because relatives are cheaper and more abundant than nappies. This has problems of its own. I’ve seen a 2 year old crap in the aisle of a supermarket, but Grandma was there to quickly wipe it up and clean the floor. I’ve also seen a woman on the bus, laughing and running down the aisle with her grandson who was obliviously peeing, and holding him over the rubbish bin. Children in China learn from a very early age to associate their bladder and bowel urges with a physical act.
But back to those kids at the Toilet Hospital. Many of them actually have a fear of the toilet itself. And no wonder. They have no reference point for it. They might occasionally see Mum or Dad sitting on the toilet, but not often, and probably only in a demonstrative capacity. The bathroom is a strange place where adults lock themselves in and emerge minutes later with damp hands.
Ads on TV for toilet paper or air freshener will never show an adult, unless they are cleaning the toilet. Toilet paper companies use dogs or children to advertise their products, but never adults. Adults curiously never need to use the toilet – it’s something that only children are forced to do; no wonder they are anxious about it.
As a daily bowel mover myself, I can’t fathom those people who only crap a couple of times a week. If their bowels and intestines are so crammed full of shit, how can you trust them?