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A chamber pot (also a jordan, a jerry, a guzunder, a po (possibly from French: pot de chambre), a piss pot, a potty, or a thunder pot) is a bowl-shaped container with a handle, and often a lid, kept in the bedroom under a bed or in the cabinet of a nightstand and generally used as a toilet at night. In Victorian times, some chamber pots would be built into a cabinet with a closeable cover.
Chamber pots were used in ancient Greece at least since the 6th century BC and were known under different names: ἀμίς (amis), οὐράνη (ouranē) and οὐρητρίς (ourētris, from οὖρον - ouron, "urine"), σκωραμίς / (skōramis), χερνίβιον (chernibion).
The introduction of indoor toilets started to displace chamber pots in the 19th century but such pots were in common use until the mid-20th century.
In North America and the United Kingdom, the 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 similar to chamber pots. These "potties" are generally a large plastic bowl with an ergonomically-designed back and front to protect against splashes. They may have a built-in handle or grasp at the back to allow emptying and a non-slip bottom to prevent the child from sliding while in use. Some are given bright colors, and others may feature some gentle or unoffensive drawing or cartoon character. In many cases they are used since it is difficult for children to maneuver themselves up onto the normal toilet; in addition the larger opening in the regular toilet is much too large for a child to sit over comfortably and not fall in without some type of aid. Their size means they can be packed away in a bag for days out or when camping with young children, and can be placed near or under beds for sufferers of nocturia or some other form of incontinence.
In the Philippines, chamber pots are used as urinals and are commonly called arinola in most Philippine languages, such as Tagalog and Cebuano. Folklore recounts that giving newlyweds one assures them of prosperity, while President Elpidio Quirino, as part of a smear campaign against him, was falsely rumoured to possess a golden arinola in Malacañang Palace.
In Korea, chamber pots are referred to as yogang (요강). They were commonly used by people who did not have indoor plumbing to avoid the cold elements during the winter months and are commonly used in North Korea to this day.
- "jordan". Oxford English Dictionary (2nd ed.). Oxford University Press. 1989.
- "Shakespeare's World in a 100 Objects: Number 1, a "jordan"". http://findingshakespeare.co.uk.
- ἀμίς. Liddell, Henry George; Scott, Robert; A Greek–English Lexicon at the Perseus Project.
- οὐράνη in Liddell and Scott.
- οὐρητρίς in Liddell and Scott.
- οὖρον in Liddell and Scott.
- χερνίβιον in Liddell and Scott.
- Ocampo, Ambeth (9 March 2010). "‘Mambo Magsaysay’ and Quirino’s golden ‘orinola". Inquirer. Retrieved 26 September 2013.
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