Bog Psychology

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.’

What's your poo telling you

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)

kaidangku chinese open pants

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?

4 Responses

  1. There’s a wealth of relevant information and pertinent areas in discussion in this post.

    Firstly, I’m a proxy believer (via my sister) in the Elimination Communication method of ‘toilet training’, which teaches that kids are born with the ability to tell their carers when they need to poo and wee and that nappies are a hindrance to their toilet learning. Hence the Chinese and their open trousers (and btw, if you scroll in just the right way it looks like the baby in the picture provided has a salami for a bum).

    Secondly, I have heard that every adult should have one BEEP a day, a BEEP in this case being a highly user-friendly acronym standing for Big Easy Enjoyable Poo. Who are these people who, as you so disturbingly report, need only poo a couple of times a week?

    And lastly, I read in an advertisement for probiotics that an adult with poor digestive health can have up to 8kg of unprocessed faecal matter in their system. Refer back to my second point.

  2. My family also use Elimination Communication as the first commentor explained so i’ve seen from a Mum’s point of view that toiletting doesn’t need to be stressful or fearful (and an open door policy for children goes a long way in terms of teaching them the basics of going to the toilet, wiping, etc.

    I’m also a registered nurse, and I learnt during my training that the “normal” amount of times humans poo a week is 3-21 times… so there are those like me who go once every 2-3 days, and other people who i can’t imagine what their lives must look like who go 3 times a day!

    Aren’t we just a many and varied species!

  3. Wow, I’d never heard of Eliminination Communication before – that’s really fascinating. I’ll have to read up some more about it.
    Also, the open door thing – that’s so bloody sensible. We have a really unnatural fear of toiletting in our society, for adults as well as children, which doesn’t make any sense to me. Thanks to youse guys for commenting; you’ve given me some good research topics!

  4. I have done “poo psychology” in my own family. I have six and the kids with dairy sensitivities and who were unpredictable as babies(as far as ec goes) are the ones with complex and varied problems. they are high needs and intense. I’ve noticed that the kids that have easier and more solid eliminations and have them like clockwork are more easy going. My suggestion is- probiotics during pregnancy and throughout life. Good gut flora=happy life.
    Coincedently I sell kaidangku in my etsy shop.

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Nat Newman

Nat Newman is an award-winning writer of short stories, content, podcasts, feature articles, drunk text messages and, soon, a novella.


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