Chamber pot  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

A chamber pot (also a john, a chamberpot, a thunder pot, a jordan, a po (from French "pot de chambre") or simply a potty) is a bowl-shaped container with a handle kept in the bedroom under a bed or in the cabinet of a nightstand and generally used as a urinal at night. In Victorian times, some chamber pots would be built into a cabinet with a closable cover.

Chamber pots, usually ceramic, often had lids.

A peculiar form of chamber pot, the Bourdaloue, was designed specifically for females. The oblong rectangle or oval shape of the vessel, sometimes with a higher front enabled the woman to urinate from a squatting or standing posture without much risk of mishap, and also to help deal with the clothing of the day. The name "Bourdaloue" allegedly comes from that of a famous French Catholic priest, Louis Bourdaloue (1632 - 1704), who delivered such long sermons that females of the aristocracy attending them had their maids bring in such pots discreetly under their dresses so that they could urinate without having to leave. However, this explanation is probably a myth.

Chamber pots remained in common use until the 19th century, when the introduction of inside water closets started to displace them.

Chamber pots continue in use today in countries lacking indoor plumbing such as rural areas of China, and have been redesigned as the bedpan for use with the very ill.

In North America, the affectionate term "potty" is often used when discussing the toilet with small children - such as during potty training. It is also usually used to refer to the small, toilet-shaped devices made especially for potty training, which are quite similar to chamber pots. These "potties" are used since it is difficult for children to get up onto the normal toilet; in addition the larger opening in the regular toilet is much too large for a child to sit comfortably over without falling in or some type of aid.

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Chamber pot" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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