Letting your toddler run around the house without a diaper is usually a weekend-only adventure in American potty training. If the accidents are too much to handle—or baby hasn’t gotten the hang of using the toilet yet—then it’s usually back to pull-ups. Not so in rural parts of China and India, where kids as young as 6 months are encouraged to go sans dipe 24/7. Instead, little ones often wear special pants with a generous opening in the crotch, called kai dang ku, which allows them to empty their bladders whenever and wherever the mood strikes.
Here’s how it works: Typically, if a caregiver spots a baby exhibiting some need-to-go cues (often involving touching or pulling on the genitals), he or she will help the baby squat, then whistle or make a hissing sound to help move things along. The unusual process is rooted in a method called elimination communication, which teaches babies to go potty on cue when they hear a certain repetitive sound.
Sure, the on-the-go bathroom breaks may mean sidestepping puddles and piles on the ground, but this au natural method also gets children using the toilet long before their U.S. counterparts. And—big bonus—there’s no mountain of disposable diapers clogging up landfills.