Saturday, January 20, 2007

Kāi Dāng Kù

Picture originally uploaded to Flickr by Poagao.
I was reading through my old journal from when we were in China and I found a post about an interesting cultural aspect - splitty pants!

Chinese babies do not generally wear nappies (diapers). Instead they wear kāi dāng kù, which translates as 'open crotch pants'. Oooh all those cute little bottoms!

To traditionally toilet train a baby in China you 'ba' him or her. This means holding the baby gently by the hips and whistling softly in his/her ear. This conditions the baby (hello Pavlov) that whenever s/he hears a whistle they go to the toilet. We found this so fascinating! It was not unusal for us to walk down a street and see a baby being held over the footpath being ba-ed.

I'm just not sure about the implication later in life and how whistling might affect them as adults. Heh. Maybe when we go back I'll start whistling a tune while on a bus and just see what happens. Niao niao (wee wee)!

Anyway, I was just reading about splitty pants on a few websites to see if I actually had my facts right when I wrote about this in the first place, and it seems that it's becoming more fashionable to go for disposable nappies. A China Daily article from 2004 (you can read it here) suggests that modern parents, particularly in the cities, seem to think that splitty pants are old-fashioned and inconvenient, and only really used in rural areas. Disposables are on the rise!


a&mg said...

I think I will love if Jade has split pants on when we get her. What a great thing for her to have when she is older! One of my students last year was adopted from China, and her mom shared a whole bunch of her things from when she was a baby and she LOVED those split pants:)

~*~Sandie~*~ said...

We saw splitty pants in some departments stores. Many baby outfits came with the option of Chinese or Western style pants. I was going to buy some but the whole international credit card thing was just making it too hard to buy anything on a whim. Still, they are easily accessible.

Also, an interesting point, when a racehorse has to give a urine test, they whistle to it. I wonder what it is about whistling?

Fanny A, London, United Kingdom said...

I do that with my baby, except that I don't whistle, I say "pssss". My daughter is 7 months and she wears those plit pants and doesn't need diapers (except as a back-up). It's called ELIMINAITON COMMUNICATION in the West and it's great! No diaper rash, no baby left in her waste in plastic diapers, no need to potty train at 2-3 years old! You need to get to know her peeing/pooing pattern and then hold her when you feel she has to go. Check out those links: you are on the home page, then click on DISCUSS and:
Go Back MotheringDotCommune Forums > Natural Family Living > Diapering
Reload this Page Elimination Communication
this yahoo group is very active: