We haven't touched a diaper for a couple months around here, and we have the Japanese to thank for it. In the chance that anyone out there is still struggling with potty training, I might suggest a steady diet of bing cherries and a cappella in-bathroom renditions of the songs from this video:

And just in case your kid is confused by squatter toilets in public restrooms, this video should help:

I know these videos made the rounds long ago, but many of the links I've seen have been of the insulting "those wacky Japs!" variety. Personally, I don't think they're that out there. I think they are just more helpful, honest stuff from the far more civilized culture that brought us Everybody Poops. Has anyone else found these videos useful in potty training their non-Japanese speaking kids?

It turns out that a huge part of successfully potty training Juniper was not using a system of rewards, but cultivating a sense of mystique and ritual around the excretory functions themselves in the context of the bathroom. Long before she was ready, a friend of ours let Juniper watch her kid use the potty and then put on big girl pants. Ever since, Juniper has considered the porcelain shrine in our bathroom the site of an important rite of passage after which you get to wear special underwear (so, not unlike the Mormon temple). The Japanese potty training videos have been an integral part of further cultivating this mystique. She doesn't understand a word of what those crazy-ass tigers say, but that never stopped her from being mesmerized, and---as with any religious-experience worth its salt---a bit terrified by it all. Every time the live-action chubby kid at the end of the first video gets up on the pot and starts his grunting, Juniper shakes her head "No" and jumps off my lap and runs out the door of my office to watch the end of the video from the doorway. "No, no, Juney don't like that part," she says, but then asks to watch it all again. Luckily, there are plenty more Japanese toilet training videos, these ones starring a heroic hippopotamus named Pantsu Pankuro:

If only we'd had that constipation song six months ago., we never would have needed all that Miralax. Consider also the zen-like disposition of the anthropomorphized toilet, Toire-sama, a true sensei of the shitter. Note his wise resolution of Pankuro-kun's dilemma here:

I just don't know if I could pee with him looking at me like that. It would way be worse than those bathrooms with the mirror right above the toilet. The Buddha-like squatter toilet, too, seems to give excellent spiritual advice, and you don't have to look him in the eyes:

Squatter-san does seem to enjoy the flushing a little too much, though, if you ask me:

This last set includes the all-important "it's no big deal when you piss your bed" song for those mornings right after the nighttime diaper becomes history:

For months, Juniper has instituted a moratorium on scatological humor in our household. I am no longer allowed to laugh when she farts. She loves these videos, but she is deadly serious about them. She is constantly on guard for even the faintest hint of a smile on my face when we watch them together. "Dada, don't laugh! It's ridiculous!" She said the other day to my astonishment. How do you then not laugh at a toddler trying to pronounce ridiculous (At least she didn't say ridicurous).

"You are right Juniper-chan," I say, emulating the wise old toilet. "Pooping is a very serious matter. Even when it involves singing toilet paper dispensers. And jazz hands."