Potential embarrassment and squat toilets among factors not conducive to pooping in educational institutions.

The Japan Toilet Research Lab, which also goes by the name Japan Toilet Labo, recently released the results of its annual Defecation and Lifestyle Survey regarding the bowel movements of the nation’s elementary school students. Data on 4,777 children was collected through Internet surveys completed by the children’s parents.

Japan Toilet Labo is primarily concerned with raising awareness on constipation and the importance of consulting a doctor should children develop the condition. As part of the survey, though, it also collected data on children’s pooping habits and discovered that the majority of the kids, 51.3 percent, say they never or almost never take a dump at school.

In addition, 45 percent of the children declared that it is “difficult” to go number two during the school day. When asked why, the most common response, by far, was “I don’t want my friends to know I took a dump,” chosen by 57 percent of this subgroup, followed by “I can’t relax/get comfortable” (49.2 percent) and “My friends will make fun of me” (34.9 percent).

While that last one may seem to point to heartless bullying, the fear of potential ridicule seems to be greater than the actual frequency of such incidents. When asked how often friends made fun of them for taking a dump, only 13.3 percent of students responded with “often” or “sometimes,” and 47.1 percent said “never.”

The remaining reasons on the top 10 list are:
● The school only has squat toilets (29.3 percent of subgroup)
● The bathroom smells bad (29.2 percent)
● I don’t have enough time during my break (26.3 percent)
● The toilet is dirty (24.9 percent)
● I feel nervous (23.9 percent)
● The floor is dirty (20.1 percent)
● The toilet seat is cold (16.1 percent)

A number of these hang-ups could be the result of kids becoming accustomed to high-spec toilets in their homes, restaurants, and shopping centers. In Japan, it’s not unusual to come across toilets which emit sounds from a speaker to cover the sound of your pooping or heat the seat during winter. The lack of such amenities could, in turn, be making it more difficult for children to feel relaxed when doing their bathroom business, which makes the process more time-consuming, makes them more likely to be late getting back to class, and more likely to have schoolmates ask “Dude, where have you been for the last 10 minutes?”

However, it’s not all bad news. Japan Toilet Labo’s survey showed that while 16.6 percent of elementary students met its criteria for constipation, that was down from 20.2 percent in last year’s study of constipated kids. While 56.3 percent of the latest survey’s children said they either often or sometimes choose to just hold it when they feel a bowel movement coming on during the school day, 14.2 percent said they never do so.

▼ It’s also possible that a lot of kids take a dump in the morning, before coming to school, and are good for the rest of the day.

And, if nothing else, since Japanese kids are responsible for cleaning their own schools, fewer kids taking dumps means an easier job for whoever is on bathroom duty that day.

Source: Japan Toilet Labo press release
Top image: Pakutaso
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