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If pigs can use the potty, we can too

If the Taiwanese can do it with pigs, why does potty training in the Hillyer house seem like such a challenge?

Yes, that’s right. As part of their effort to become one of the greenest countries in the world, Taiwan wants its population of six million pigs to flush the toilet, like its 23 million human citizens do.

It seems that one Taiwanese farmer has already succeeded. Instead of contaminating the nearby river with pig waste, he has trained his 10,000 pigs to use the bathroom in specially made toilet areas on his farm.

Apparently pig potty training reduced this farmer’s wastewater production by up to 80 percent.

As well as making the farm cleaner and less smelly, the effort reduced the illness among his pigs and increased fertility by up to 20 percent.

Read what you may into the story, but it seems that even pigs hate living in a pig sty.

Elated by the farmer’s success, the Taiwan Environmental Protection Agency has just recently pledged to cut pig pollution by potty training the rest of the island’s pigs.

Good luck, I say, having spent the last couple of weeks introducing the concept to our nearly 2-year-old son.

I wouldn’t be fixating on this issue had it not been for the potty training peer pressure.

Potty training must rank high on the lists of baby achievements for parents. My wife and I were happy when Gibson took his first few steps. We were excited when he mouthed his first few words. In each case I never felt I was in a race against time or in some weird competition with other parents.

But when I watched one of my friends jump up the other day in the pottery studio and do the “happy dance” as she announced that her granddaughter had started using the potty, I felt an immediate sense of jealousy.

“Her grandchild is a few months younger, and she is using the potty?” I thought. “I must get more serious about this potty training thing.”

Unfortunately, she wasn’t the only parent who was touting her child’s potty proficiency. Recently, my wife noted that another of Gibson’s friends was also succeeding.

After 18 months and countless numbers of Huggies, I too was ready to ditch the diapers. The thought that other parents were already on their way to diaper independence left me envious and in a competitive mood.

The rest of the pottery class I spent quizzing others in the studio about the best techniques and tricks to use when toilet training your child. I was determined to figure out the secret to this potty training thing by the end of the night.

I am sure most of the women in the class, who had already been through the potty training years with their children, were chuckling to themselves as I quizzed them on the subject.

Armed with a few good ideas and a determined spirit, I returned home to begin toilet training boot camp.

A week later, I must admit that we have not had much progress. While Gibson goes through the exercises, not much has been produced as a result.

Once again, I had to endure the “happy dance” in pottery class. Instead of amusing the other women in the studio, I returned home for a little research of my own on the Internet.

That is when I learned about the pigs in Taiwan who evidently have taken to toilet training very quickly.

Surely if pigs can do it, we can too.

Ben Hillyer is the web editor of The Natchez Democrat. He can be reached at 601-445-3540 or by e-mail at ben.hillyer@natchezdemocrat.com.

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