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Ass-less Pants, All the Kids are Wearing Them


Please note: I found Creative Commons photos for this post. After attempting to photograph an example of these pants, and feeling quite voyeuristic in the process, I gave up and resorted to stock.

kashgar street boy running

The streets of Kashgar (Western China) fill with children in the evenings when school ends, and the children that are too young for classes make it outside to play with their older siblings. It’s cute how playful Old Town becomes as the locals prepare for the night market meals and kids have their fun.

One evening, as we headed down to find some grub, Pat pointed out a group of small children playing with a ball. They were especially cute, but just as we were about to comment on that fact, one of the small girls fell forward while trying to get the ball, providing us with more than a moon… a straight view of her entire butt spread for humanity to see.

It was shocking. We laughed in a way that was more like feeling sorry for the uncovered little girl. Our Western minds thought that sight was very strange, and we wondered if her pants had been split on accident…

And then we saw them everywhere.

child with assless pants in China

The big slit in the bum... these pants are everywhere.

Bare-bummed toddlers. Little boys with their genitals hanging out of their pants. At the park; at the grocery store.

On the streets, children squatted to relieve themselves, leaving behind little puddles of pee that we had to jump over.

child with assless pants in China in a crowd

Easy access for quick and easy pee and poo wherever they are.

Parents picked up their children, hand on bare bums protruding from open-crotched pants. I mean, how can that be sanitary?

child squatting with assless pants in China

Child squatting with assless pants in China.

Even at the airport, the children running around basically bottom-less is shocking. I started to think that these children might be sitting on airplane seats, and waiting room chairs, with nothing between their bums and the plastic… and nothing between you and a case of pink eye *shudders*.

Yes, ass-less pants – or crotchless pants to be more precise – are all the rage in China.

Photo credit: 2, 3, 4.


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26 Responses to Ass-less Pants, All the Kids are Wearing Them

  1. George May 30, 2012 at 9:52 am #

    I had actually hear about this before and let me tell you it’s not just so those kids can have a wee ….

  2. Shane May 30, 2012 at 11:19 am #

    I thought this was an amusing cultural quirk until your last paragraph. That’s just gross.

    • Brooke May 31, 2012 at 8:22 am #

      Haha, I know! It’s strange in a funny way until you see them hanging out in public places and sitting on top of tables with those ass-less pants. Seriously.

  3. Evan May 30, 2012 at 11:56 am #

    When I was living in a small village in Laos I saw the same thing; all the kids bottomless peeing everywhere. It makes a lot more sense though, over diapers; just take off their pants and leave them outside. Seems like a better idea then thousands of plastic diapers.

    • Brooke May 31, 2012 at 8:26 am #

      Oh my goodness. That’s hilarious! 🙂

  4. Steve @ ImNotHome May 31, 2012 at 1:40 am #

    That is quite strange… I’ve seen small towns in a few Asian countries where toddlers don’t wear pants, but not in big town supermarkets and the like. I guess everywhere is different right? I remember when I was some friends in a small town in Laos, one of the girls with us asked a local woman whose bare-bummed child was running in circles “Why don’t you use diapers?” We then had to explain what one was.

    Her response? “But where does it go? It stays there? Against the skin?” She looked shocked and just a little disgusted…

    • Brooke May 31, 2012 at 8:27 am #

      Bahaha, oh cultural differences!

  5. Tony May 31, 2012 at 10:46 am #

    I can second that. This is a photography task best left to someone else.

    • Brooke May 31, 2012 at 11:28 am #

      If only we released the “behind-the-scenes” action shots for this post… haha

  6. Amanda May 31, 2012 at 11:37 pm #

    Ah yes, the assless toddler pants. I couldn’t believe it when I saw them for the first time, either!!

    My question is, how do you teach a child to use them, and then, once you make it okay for them to pop a squat everywhere, how do you teach them that it’s not actually appropriate when they get older??

    • Brooke June 9, 2012 at 10:17 am #

      Amanda I have the same questions! Especially on the inappropriateness later… but given the Chinese open trough toilets, or no door toilets… perhaps they never view the need to relieve themselves as inappropriate as we might. 😉

  7. Jacqueline June 5, 2012 at 6:13 am #

    HA! I am an expat living in china and 10 minutes ago a grandpa threw his bum waving baby onto his shoulders 🙂

  8. Laura June 5, 2012 at 3:17 pm #

    My aunt lives in China and she has sent me lots of pictures of this very thing. She says they potty train early in that country. See my album with some of the pictures she sent:

    • Brooke June 9, 2012 at 10:13 am #

      Interesting! Thanks for the link to the photos. I’m still very very very torn on the pants…

  9. bethany June 5, 2012 at 5:08 pm #

    It’s interesting. It’s probably great in terms of not using diapers but I’m with you – skin on public area seating is a huge no-no in my book. Too many staph infections and weird germs left behind. I get grossed out when I see a girl in a short skirt sitting on a subway – ewww…

    It was the first thing I thought of when I saw this post. I don’t think it would bother me if they parents threw down a towel for the kid to sit on in a store or public place.

    Must save the parents a ton of time though – no stinky diapers! But what do they do at home and at night?

    It’s interesting thinking about how much you could save in $$ because diapers are not cheap and you need a lot of them!

    • Brooke June 9, 2012 at 10:10 am #

      I understand the whole diaper thing, but I also believe in cleanliness. These kids were peeing and pooing EVERYWHERE and then their bums were everywhere. Why not a zipper? Why no buttons?! And what do they do at home at night? China… we just don’t see eye to eye.

  10. Erica June 5, 2012 at 6:51 pm #



  11. Katina June 7, 2012 at 8:29 pm #

    I think this is one of the best blogs ever written. That’s extraordinary. Oh wow… I don’t know what else to say to that…

    • Brooke June 9, 2012 at 9:55 am #

      Haha! Just one of those cultural differences 😉

  12. Audrey | That Backpacker June 8, 2012 at 8:22 pm #

    I had heard of this before, but no one had ever provided evidence! Ha, that is so strange! I too would be paranoid about sitting down where these children have been…

    • Brooke June 9, 2012 at 9:54 am #

      Haha, I just don’t understand why they don’t have a zipper… or buttons… or something??

  13. Ali July 23, 2012 at 10:38 am #

    Ugh, I’ve heard about this and it sounds so gross! How do they possibly think it’s sanitary or healthy? Accidentally stepping in dog poo is bad enough, I can’t imagine if you were to accidentally step in human poo in the middle of the sidewalk. Yuck.

  14. Dan Thompson July 23, 2012 at 10:45 am #

    I think this was the one thing about the Chinese culture that my wife and I laughed at the most. It is quite odd; but little kid bums everywhere you go got pretty funny after a while. Like others have mentioned, I saw more than one child riding on the shoulders of someone else and it gave me pause… that didn’t seem like a great idea. LOL



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