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Potty Talk

The toilet. The loo. The commode. Whatever you call it - chances are you’ve used a few different types or styles over the years and haven’t put much thought into it. Luckily for you, The New Feed has - specifically around toilet technology and the lack of its adoption in America. 


As toilet paper became hard to come by during recent lockdowns, sales of bidets and bidet attachments skyrocketed. Previous to the bidet-craze, Squatty Pottys were about as adventurous as most would get in the bathroom. Compared to countries like Japan, our toilets seem little more than a bedpan with a flusher.


Japanese company, Toto, is one of the leaders in toilet tech, specializing in luxury features: built-in bidets, dryers, heated seats, efficient water usage gadgets, deodorizers and white noise machines. It's curious why these fancy-loos haven’t taken off in tech-obsessed America. The price tag could be an inhibitor (their latest high-end potty clocks in at $17,300), as well as our cultural stubbornness, which makes us too (pardon the obvious pun) anal to consider there may be another way to clean our bums.


The concept of technology diffusion may help shed some light on the situation. Technology diffusion describes the slow adoption and spread of technology across large geographic distances - even if the technology is superior to existing ones. Geographic distance plays a role in how slow technology spreads from the adoption leader, in this case Japan. But cultural differences may also be a factor. Bathing and hygiene practices in Asian countries are positioned more 'mainstream' when compared to America, so it is no surprise that our attitudes around this subject differ greatly - parallels can certainly be drawn with the adoption of mask wearing.


No matter the cause, our low-tech potties and squeamishness around bathroom hygiene seem ass-backwards in comparison. 


Learn more:

Why America is losing the toilet race

The spatial diffusion of technology

Innovation toilet and barriers of diffusion in developing country

Image by Alexas Fotos

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