Just think of it: whatever the culture, whatever the religious beliefs, whatever the living conditions, the world over, parents have to teach their children when and how to go.
Some parents, as is reflected in this new trend, teach their babies in their first months how to go "diaper free." We didn't do this, though I have no doubt that it works. If you have ever watched the movie Nanook of the North, and you are a parent, then you have admired with growing envy the skill of Eskimos in carrying their children on their back without any need for diapers.
It would be fascinating (well, perhaps that's the wrong word -- revealing?) to read a study comparing the techniques of all the nationalities in the world when it comes to toilet training. I am certain that it would speak volumes about each nation's outlook on all sorts of political issues... If nothing else, we might gain new insight into the friction between the "poliics of fear" and the "politics of hope." (That about captures the politics in our home when my wife and I are discussing whether to skip the diaper during George's naptime these days.)
In lieu of such a study, I leave you with this glimpse into contemporary Japanese toilet training techniques. I have to admit that the way the parents talk excitedly of a funny feeling, while rubbing their bellies, is eerily familiar from our house. It's a small world after all: