I have no personal experience on which to base this statement, but I think I can safely say that changing diapers sucks. The invention of the disposable diaper has made the process somewhat less unpleasant, but what if I told you it could be easier still? What if I said you never have to worry about changing your baby’s diaper again? Well, it’s possible and you can thank China for making it happen. Check out what I like to call the Chinese butt pants:
Often just a regular pair of pants that have simply been modified with a pair of scissors, I have also seen quite a few that looked professional enough to make me think they’re sold in stores as well. Unfortunately, I never bothered to check out a baby section in a department store while I was in China, so I don’t know what these crotch-less baby pants are officially called. I doubt their actual name could top ‘Chinese butt pants’ though.
Put your kid in a pair of these and you’ll never have to touch a diaper again. As long as you teach them to squat (and they do need to learn to squat—I can’t emphasize enough how important squatting is) you don’t need to be involved in your child’s waste excretion activities at all.
Some of you might be thinking, “Don’t I still have to clean the mess up?” The good news is: no, you don’t! Not if you’re in China anyway and judging by the number of people who don’t bother cleaning up after their dogs in the west, I doubt you’d have to worry about it here either. In fact, my personal introduction to the butt pants illustrates perfectly how easy your life could be.
On one of my first few days in China proper (i.e. not Hong Kong or Macau), I went to a Carrefour department store in Guangzhou to buy a few things. Eventually I made my way to the grocery section and as I was riding the escalator, I noticed a family standing and talking at the end of one of the aisles. They caught my eye mainly because their kid was apparently wearing assless chaps.
As if sensing my confusion, the kid decided to take that moment to demonstrate the functionality of his open-seated pants by squatting down in the grocery store aisle and dropping off a little turd. At first the rest of his family didn’t even seem to notice, but it didn’t take long for the smell to register. With a look that said, “Let’s get out of here, something stinks!” the mom grabbed her son’s hand and dragged him off down another aisle.
Now I should mention that most of the other Chinese people who saw this clearly disapproved of this particular potty training method. The family in question had obviously only arrived in the city recently and were not quite up to speed on the toilet policy of your average department store. There’s a good chance they weren’t even aware that toilets exist inside buildings. Still, what a wonderful introduction to China!
I should also mention that this was the only time during my two years in China that I saw a child relieve themselves in a grocery store aisle. Unfortunately, I did see them do it on sidewalks (not just children, adults as well), on station platforms and pretty much everywhere but an actual toilet.
I even got stuck next to a mother with her two daughters, one of whom was rocking some butt pants, on a 50+ hour train journey from Shanghai to Urumuqi and had the pleasure of witnessing (smelling, to be exact) the youngest one putting her bottomless pants to good use on the floor right next to my sleeper berth seemingly every 30 minutes or so for the duration of the trip. You can imagine how pleasant that was and it will most definitely be the subject of a future blog post.
I mentioned people not cleaning up after their dogs and I think that’s actually the key to the correct use of the butt pants. If your child runs around bare-assed, you need to strap a leash on them and always carry little plastic baggies when taking them for a walk. I’ve seen plenty of kids on leashes already and people seem to treat their dogs more and more like kids too, dressing them up in little clothes and sleeping with them and what not. Why not blur the lines even more?