How to Use a Squat Toilet Like a Pro

 
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Asian Style Squat Toilet

Though squat pots may not be the choice method of excretion for many, travelers will inevitably face an occasion where nature pushes harder than the ability to select a posh throne.

In parts of rural Africa, toilets are in the form of long drops, a small mud hut covering a mere dark hole into the ground. The rectangular hole itself may only be about the dimensions of an average reading book, a space that forces the need for aiming precision.

South East Asian squat toilets are often of the porcelain variety, gracefully designed to be used conveniently and effectively. There is a nice sizable bowl, and many even come with foot grips on either side.

Squat toilets are made for success!

Get used to a squat toilet and you just may end up favoring it over a sit downer!

In fact, I personally feel so comfortable squatting, that I sometimes lift the seat on a mundane normal sit-downer and squat on the ledges of the porcelain (it’s one of the 17 Reasons You Know You Love SE Asia).

So here it is, after squatting from Africa to Asia, here is my ultimate guide on how to use a squat toilet like a pro. If used correctly, a squat pot can be a more sanitary method of taking a dump!

Necessary Preparation

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Remove bottom section of clothing

Step 1

Do yourself a favor, REMOVE the entirety of your bottom section of clothing.

If there’s no hook, I creatively find a way to hang them somewhere, so they won’t get wet.

Step 2

Position your feet slightly further apart than your shoulders (also depends on the size of the bowl) around the toilet or hole.

Step 3

Squat down till your thighs nearly hit your calves, legs spread over the hole of the toilet opening, feet on either side of the bowl, and arms resting on top or on the sides of the knees.

Do Your Thang

Now you are ready to do your thing.

If one of your legs gets tired or falls asleep during the process, feel free to lean the pressure onto a single leg or even stand up half way to give your knees some relief.

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How to use a Squat Toilet

The Aftermath (Wiping)

Arguably the hardest part of the squat toilet repertoire is the act of cleaning up after the deed is accomplished.

Sometimes there are tools available for assistance (toilet paper, water), but there will inevitably be that time when all the resources have run dry, and it is up to the individual to discover the most effective solution (you won’t learn this in school).

1. Spray Hose Method

After plenty of experience, I personally prefer cleaning up by using a provided spray hose.

I’ve seen all forms of hoses and contraptions that range from garden hoses that emit trickles of water, to high pressure devices with triggers that might make you jump off the toilet upon impact. The method is the same; aim the hose and spray until you are clean.

After spraying, just sort of shake the excess water off your bum and you are good to go – no TP necessary!

2. Toilet Paper

It’s a rarity to be provided with toilet paper in any squat toilet situation (I’ve gotten to the point, where I don’t even like this method). If there happens to be a supply of TP, well, I think we all know how to use it.

Note: If you want to avoid having to deal with water, you might want to consider carrying a roll of TP in your personal pack wherever you go.

3. The Last Resort

I say this is the last resort, but it often is the ONLY resort (depending on where you are in this world).

What do you do if there is a faucet, a bucket of water and a small dipping container?

It’s what I like to call “The Bucket Toss.”

While remaining in the squatting position, put some water in the dipper and just sort of throw it upwards. There’s not a lot of aim, just upwards tossing until you deem the buttocks clean!

You are right, this doesn’t always feel too clean, and YES, your butt might be sopping wet. This is when the LEFT hand can be used in the process of confirmation. I won’t go into this step with detail, but let me re-iterate that the  LEFT hand is used in questionable situations.

That’s why we eat with our RIGHT hand!

4. The FINAL Last Resort

I am not new to this method, otherwise I wouldn’t be here sharing it.

What happens when you are completely empty handed, there is no water, no TP, no bucket, NO anything?

I’ve sadly had to sacrifice more than a few pairs of my favorite underpants in my life. It’s not too sad though, I like to consider it as taking one for the team, a death of honor.

Flushing the Squat Toilet

Squat toilets use less water than a normal sit down toilet.

In Africa or other parts of the world, outdoor long drops don’t take any water to flush; if you don’t believe me, shine your flash light down the hole and let me know what you see!

For indoor porcelain squat pots, simply grab the container of water provided and pour a few containers of water down until it looks clean.

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Flushing a Squat Toilet

As a final word of advice, I normally carry a small bottle of alcoholic hand sanitizer along with me (if I remember), just a little bit of hand cleansing insurance.

If you can master the steps of how to use a squat toilet and get some necessary practice, you may actually begin to prefer the position.

I often think that some of the toilets I use (that are dirty squat toilets) would be frightening to utilize in their same condition as sit down toilets, but the great thing is that you never have to touch any portion of your body to anything when you squat.

Good luck!

Do you like squat toilets? Any personal tips you have for using a squatter?

 

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Comments

  1. says

    this is a unique article and one i think people will definitely find helpful. When I took trips to india and even morocco, I wasn’t as prepared as i should have been. bring toilet paper with you is essential if you know you’re gonna freak out at the squat pot situation.

    :-)
    vitra

    • says

      Thanks Vitra!
      Growing up using a squat toilet all the time, I never really thought much about it. Then after a few friends asked me how to use one, I began to realize that if you had never used a squat toilet, it might not be too easy. Yes, carrying some extra TP is a good thing to have!

    • Liza says

      While in China, I would often wear skirts and dresses. One: because it gets rather hot in the summer and dresses keep you cool. Two: makes using a squat toilet very easy. As far as toilet paper, I would just keep several packs of tissues to use. It came in handy for using as napkins, blowing your nose, and yes, wiping… haha Good luck!

  2. Debbie Beardsley @ European Travelista says

    well, um, I don’t really know how to respond to this except to say thank you for introducing us to the squat pot! I know it will be helpful to those who have encountered a variation of it. The first time is the scariest :)

  3. says

    I can hardly type, I’m still laughing. Yes, even the glamour granny is – more often than not – confronted with the squat loo in Turkey and the Middle East. Removing the entire lower garments is NOT an option for us, but a skirt gets thrown over my head and pants – inevitably- get somewhat wet.. The biggest challenge for me are to keep my shoes dry. And, as far as the ‘after’ goes..I always, always carry wipes drenched with lemon cologne around with me. I can by now attend to ‘business’ even in heels!!! How’s that for glamour?

    • says

      Yes Inka – awesome comment, thanks for sharing!
      High heels, now that’s impressive! I’m sure I’d slip and fall into the toilet if I ever attempted that! The lemon scented wipes are a great alternation or addition to TP, they do boost the cleanliness factor – and smell good too!

  4. says

    Love this “how to guide”, althought I have to agree with inka, keeping the shoes dry is difficult. I learned to always carry TP and babywipes!

    • says

      Thanks Jillian,
      Yes, definitely the shoes are something that will inevitably get a little wet, and I’m not if there’s much way around it. I guess for myself I’m almost exclusively wearing sandal flip flops, so I don’t notice as much.

  5. says

    too funny! When we were in Beijing, we actually youtubed squatting toilets and found several videos showing you how to do it properly! you definitely need strong leg muscles!

    • says

      Awesome Jade, maybe I’ll try to do the video version too! Strong leg muscles are necessary, but the more you squat, the stronger they’ll get – pretty fast too!

  6. says

    Um…thanks? I just wrote a post about having an entire closet for my fabulous shoes; I don’t think I am the type of person who will find herself having to use a squat toilet. However, if that time comes – now I know how to do it!

  7. says

    Mark,
    Unusual post, and I have tried both.
    Still most comfortable with the Throne.
    But, thanks for the how to – will take it into account when I get back to Africa or SW Asia.
    Cheers,
    John D. Wilson

  8. says

    I grew up with a squat toilet, so much so that when we had a toilet bowl, I wasn’t used to it and couldn’t really do my business comfortably as usual :P Squat toilets are just so much better.. no contact of the toilet bowl with your butts (just imagine all the other thousands of butts there before you) but sadly, they’re getting less and less popular. :(

    • says

      Awesome! I agree with you fully, in the end, they are cleaner because you just never have to touch anything apart from the bottoms of your feet. I sometimes squat on top of a regular toilet – though I’ve nearly fallen a few times – it’s great practice!

    • Kevin says

      “They’re getting less and less popular.”

      Thank goodness!

      (If you have sanitary concerns about touching a toilet seat, toilet paper makes an outstanding seat cover. When you’re finished, simply push the paper into the toilet bowl and flush it down).

  9. says

    Having recently returned from Mumbai, I must inform your readers that I found sport socks very comfortable during “The Aftermath” section, when nothing else available!!

  10. Doris says

    I really enjoyed the article, Mark. My first encounter with a squat toilet was actually in Padua, Italy, to my surprise. After a short visit to Japan I, too, actually became quite comfortable with them and even preferred the squat toilet. Someday maybe I’ll have one installed in my home.

    • says

      Thanks a lot Doris! That’s great to hear that you enjoy using a squat toilet – I’m with you – that if I ever have my own house, I will surely install one!

  11. says

    Haven’t had to use a squat toilet, but future travel plans may very well put me in that situation. Nice job of taking a rather unpleasant, yet important subject and making it interesting to read about!

  12. Barbara - The Dropout Diaries says

    I am not a fan of the squat toilet. I use them, but I do not like them. I don’t like the butt hose, I don’t like the bum splash, I don’t like getting the bottom of my pants wet (which happens even if you take them off).
    Most importantly, I HATE IT when my sunglasses fall down into the bowl as I’m looking down to check my positioning.

    • says

      Oh Barbara, losing the sunglasses into the bowl does sound terrible. In SE Asia I can also imagine your description along with being in a hot sweaty little room. Sometimes squatting isn’t the most comfortable…

  13. says

    Oh dear lordy!! Thanks for the “HOW TO” GUIDE…. I am yet to see one written for the *larger* of us travel folk. Which might explain a 5 hour marathon holding on session until gettign back to civilisation..lol

    Thanks again though its a great guide!

  14. says

    Can I just say how much I hate squat toilets. Ugh sordid affair to use one. May I also add to have a pack of wet ones handy at all times. The “backsplash” is absolutely disgusting. I am so glad that the Philippines adopted real sit down toilets thanks to America.

  15. says

    Mark, I’m definitely thinking that this is an Asian thing. While squatting toilets are not so common these days (except probably the most rural parts of the Philippines), I had my share or two with these while growing up. When you gotta go, you gotta go, they say. But I sure am glad we’re got Western style toilets now, hehe. Still, it pays to know. :)

    • says

      Hey Kat,
      Yah, when you gotta go, squat toilets are so much easier, faster and there’s no room to just sit around and be lazy. Though I will admit that a really nice sit down toilet can sometimes be nice if you need to relax and sit down for a while… but you’re right, it’s always good to know how to use a squatter!

  16. says

    Dear Mark, Thank you for this very funny and educational article. I particularly enjoyed seeing your hand and bracelet included the demo. I hope you have a large British following because I know they are particularly interested in potty humor…
    The last time I squatted was last summer at the Cambodian/Thai boarder. That one was definitely the worst ever… Starting with the hunt for TP… the rest is a sweaty but blurred memory.. However, I vividly remember my first. It was in a French bistro in Paris, on the Avenue des Champs-Elysees. We stopped in for a refreshing French beer, maybe two… To make my bladder gladder, I excused myself and made my way for the toilet. Well, first of all, it was co-ed, the only thing separating me from the urinal, (which was being used) was a pair of short, flapping doors on springs. Okay, no biggie, I needed a sit down so I turned to open the door to the other facility. There it was a hole in the floor, a bucket, and a spray hose. I made my way back to my English cousin, who seemed delighted to see what she called the “Moroccan” toilet and described the procedure. Not as good as yours but they say you never forget the “first time”… So nice of you to bring it up ;=) Krystina

    • says

      Awesome Krystina!
      Thanks so much for sharing your debut squat pot usage. That’s such a great memory and I’m sure you’ll never forget it, and it’s probably helped you ever since! I lived in France for a year, when I was very young (5 years old to be exact). Even though I was small and we were all little kids, coming from America, I remember the co-ed toilets as something I wasn’t used to!

  17. MB says

    Good instructions! We’ve been in Hong Kong for a year now and I finally gave in during a hike and used the squat toilet – not too bad! It helped that there was a bar to hang on to, but overall it went better than I expected. There is an iPhone app called – Sit or Squat – have you heard of it? Its by Charmin. :) Has helped me locate a public toilet more than once while out exploring HK.

    • says

      Haha, no never heard of the app, that’s hilarious! So it helps you to find what toilets in HK are sit or squat toilets? Great that you were able to use one for the first time and glad to hear that it wasn’t so bad. I wish more toilets would incude the bar to hang onto – that’s a nice addition!

  18. Laura says

    I like them too! I don’t usually sit down on regular toilets anyway (although I just squat on the floor, not the bowl, like I’m sitting in an invisible chair.
    But also don’t forget to mention that if you use toilet paper, some of the pipes can’t handle it in the actual toilet. So if you see a bin full of used paper, then throw it there. I also carry around tissues for such a purpose. They’re also nice to use as a napkin or cleaning of a seat or, or course, blowing your nose.
    Another thing I learned after coming to Asia was that sometimes they one large roll of TP outside of the stalls so that you just tear off some and take it in. I definitely missed that a couple of times.

    • says

      Hey Laura,
      Yes, the invisible chair “hover” method also works quite well, but it gets pretty straining on the thighs! Thanks for these other great tips and suggestions that you mentioned. Yah, plenty of toilets have a little bin at the side for you to throw used paper in so it doesn’t clog up the pipes. Good thought also about the toilet paper being on the outside of the toilet – usually in Thailand, they do that in malls and decent bathrooms that handle lots of traffic.
      Thanks again!

  19. disappointed says

    “In fact, I personally feel so comfortable squatting, that I sometimes lift the seat on a mundane normal sit-downer and squat on the ledges of the porcelain (it’s one of the 17 Reasons You Know You Love SE Asia).”

    don’t you think that’s a bit gross for the next person coming in to use the toilet normally? i’ve had the displeasure to come across this myself when someone doesn’t know how to sit down on a ‘western’ toilet and the mess they leave by squatting on top is absolutely putrid.

    • says

      Hey Disappointed,
      If I ever do that I definitely “lift” the seat before doing anything. I guess maybe some people don’t have very good aim, but I’ve never had a problem, and never made a mess. If I use this method, I always then put the seat back down in case the next person wants to sit.

  20. says

    Still laughing :)

    Squat toilets are more hygenic than the ones you sit on and once one is used to them, it’s no big deal. Tip for girls: wear skirts rather than trousers.

  21. Laura says

    Hahaha great topic. More tips for girls, if you ARE wearing pants, lift/roll up the lower legs, before u enter the wet areas (Wide leg pants u can fold over ur knees to keep dry) pull the pants all the way down to ur knees and hold them up (out of the way) with one hand. And push hard when peeing, sounds weird, but u get more control that way, lol. Practice makes perfect! Anyone who’s been on an Indian train can attest to the benefits of the eastern style dunny in certain situations.. (how u manage to get sh*t all over the floor, seat, walls, AND ceiling remains something of a mystery. Suspect it has something to do with trains passing in the other direction at inopportune times) :)

    • says

      Haha! Thanks for leaving these great tips Laura! I should have included a male and female version of squat toilet using – I barely even though about it, but all my thoughts were naturally written from a male’s perspective – so I’m really glad to get some female perspectives here in the comments! Thanks for sharing!

  22. says

    Wow! Who would have thought you would get so many comments for a article telling people how to take a dump properly! Do you really remove your trousers? I have extensive experience also in this area, however never thought about doing that… seemingly I usually just want to get in and out as soon as possible! Informative article for all those LEFT hand newbies! ;)

    • says

      Thanks Sam!
      Yah, I had the idea to write this article after getting asked by a few friends how to use a squat toilet – they all knew that I grew up in Africa and trusted my squatting experience… Yes, after many dumps I have realized that it’s less messy to just take the pants all the way off so there’s no hindrance in the middle of the legs. Also, I’ve had way too many times of not taking my pants off and them ending up all wet., but if it’s a real quickie it’s probably ok to keep them on!

  23. Traveling Ted says

    I recently returned from a week camping in the Canadian wilderness and there were no toilets of any kind anywhere. Just trees and ground. We of course brought our own toilet paper. These tips can also be applied to taking a dump outdoors. Tip number 1 is especially helpful. Best to take your bottom clothes completely off to avoid unfortunate accidents.

    • says

      Awesome Ted! Yes, it’s often the same procedure in nature, just normally smells better and fresher! Taking the pants completely off really spares the hassle of messing up and making a mess. Thanks for sharing Ted!

  24. gayE @ pinaytraveljunkie says

    Haha! I am a Filipino so I could do this without any effort, but oh my gosh I totally enjoyed this post! Sharing it…

  25. says

    No way, Jose! I despise the squat. In fact, when I realize that I have to use one because there is no other choice, my heart rate actually accelerates and I kind of panic! I find them to be quite……..unladylike. Ha. I would call them, hands down, the worst part about traveling in Africa or Asia! That’s just me though-I know others would identify things they consider much worse.

    • says

      Thanks for the comment Claire! Sorry to hear about your dislike for the squat toilet. It definitely is a huge change to a sit-downer toilet and it can really be a tough thing to fully adapt to if you live for a long time in a country that uses squat toilets. Keep practicing!

  26. says

    Hi Mark,

    Thanks very much for writing this article, I’ve always wondered how you use a proper squat toilet!

    Having had to squat to go poop a number of years ago whilst working in New Zealand I’ve continued to do so since on western toilets and won’t change back ever again!

    There are numerous health benefits to squatting to go poop when compared to the sitting down version too.

    Just in case anyone’s interested I wrote a blog post a while back on how squatting to go poop made me feel liberated, heh!

    Feel free to have a read here – http://weewelshman.com/1534/why-i-feel-liberated-after-taking-a-squat-shit/

    Love the blog btw Mark, reading loads of posts as I’m thinking of going to SE Asia next year.

    • says

      Thanks so much for sharing Mike!
      I agree, I think that squatting to use the toilet is a great way to do things and it is healthy for your body as well. You don’t spend to much time relaxing, but just get straight to the business!
      Thanks for sharing your similar article, I’m checking out your article now.
      Hope you can make it to SE Asia, there are some amazing paces!

  27. says

    Oh this is great!!! In high school I spent a month overseas, usually using just this method. (For women- I recommend wearing skirts as often as possible so as to not have to deal with pants.) A week after I returned, I was on a bus heading for a competition, and we got stuck at an accident on the freeway for hours….. which of course led to many of the girls on-board desperate for a bathroom. Luckily, with woods nearby, and armed with my leftover portable toilet paper roll and a blanket for cover from the road, I was able to instruct a bus-full of girls in this useful bit of knowledge! :-D

    • says

      Hah, that’s a great story Kate – thanks for sharing! Even though it sometimes seems simple, a few words of advice on how to actually use the toilet in the woods or in nature (for girls) is something practical and useful to know. Thanks for sharing the female tips!

  28. says

    Having grown up in Kenya where a majority of the toilets are squat,I never thought that it would be a challenge to anyone. Your article is great for anyone who has never had the exprience.

    • says

      Ah thanks Kenyatalii, I too grew up in Africa and it was only because I received so many questions from friends about how I squatted using a toilet that I decided it would be a good idea to write the article! Thanks for checking it out!

  29. says

    Hi – Great article, I have included it in this weeks World First Weekly Wander

    Which This week is all About Travel Apps ! I know you are thinking Whats using a squat toilet got to do with a Travel App ??

    Have a Look

    Hope you like it (please feel free to leave a comment on the Blog)

    thanks

    Tristan

  30. jane says

    One thing this lovely article doesn’t mention is which way to face! back or front? It does make a difference. When ladies squat to pee, it does splatter, does it with guys?? Who wants pee on their feet? Not me.

    • says

      Thanks for the comment Jane. I guess I should have added that as well, though it’s tough due to the many designs of squat toilets. I guess a lot of the time, one should face the door, that is if the toilet is built that way. If that’s not possible, I usually squat and attempt everything to fall directly into the hole of water. You are right, pee on the feet is not that fun!

  31. tom g says

    I’d like to thank the author from the bottom of my…or just from my bottom. I was in desperate need of instructions to avoid a messy situation. I read a couple of other postings first that skipped over a couple of key steps. Everythin worked according to plan. Better than I could have hoped.

  32. says

    OK, more info than I needed right now, lol. When I first used squatty-potties in China, it was pretty awkward, but I got the hang of it. But I wonder, what do really old, infirm people do? No way could my 82 year old mom squat AND get back up again.

    • says

      Thanks! I’ve thought about that too, and my only explanation is that the people that are 82 years old have been doing it for so long that their quads are still strong!

  33. Wes says

    Great article…good to see someone giving travel advise that won’t be found in the pamphlet turnstiles of your local travel agent.

    Just wanted to add a word about “conditioning”. Not the mental type (although you’ll need to prepare yourself if you’ve never used one of these), but the physical type. Whilst “performing your duty (pun intended)” most Westerners are sitting down with their upper thighs relaxed. All of the focus is on those “other muscles” that are doing all the work. When using a squatter, you will be using much more of your upper leg muscles for support and/or balance. I recommend doing leg-strengthing exercises PRIOR to any 3W travels, plus practice over your “raised bowl” before you depart. Wall squats (leaning with back against the wall with knees bent at 90-degrees) are a good muscle toner.

    • says

      Hey Wes!
      Thanks for reading this article and for adding your excellent recommendations! You’re totally right, squatting really does use leg muscles in a way that most Westerners don’t use them on a normal basis. Doing some pre-exercises beforehand is a great idea! Thanks for sharing!

  34. Red says

    i’m from southeast asia, but i grew up with the the “throne”, so i always find it hard to use the squat toilet too. this article is so interesting and funny! thank you

  35. Emily says

    Great article! The only thing I would add echos Jane’s comment re the direction of squatting. It took me awhile to figure out that if women turn the other way (away from the door) there is less splash-back when peeing in a porcelain bowl. For me, direction makes a world of difference!

  36. Elae says

    Hi there! Just wanna ask something, I’m from Philippines and this topic got my interest. Here, we use the sit position toilet bowl and i wanna introduce the squat position to my fellow because i believe it is better.. now I’m thinking of how to promote it., First, to create a big impact, I need to state the disadvantages of using the ‘sit position’ toilet bowl which we have been using for many years. Do you have any idea regarding that matter? Your answer will be very much appreciated. :)

    • says

      Thanks for stopping by Elae and cool to hear you’ll be promoting squat toilets. Other than comfort and ease of use, I’m not really sure of the medical advantages of using a squat toilet. I can tell you it just feels better! For disadvantages of using a sit toilet it’s just not as comfortable and one must “push a little harder.”

  37. says

    Tip – if you are taller, you might want to squat further front to make sure your thing hit the centre or the water. If one fails to do so, sometimes, the thing will miss the centre, and hit the edge. Not nice, you can guess.

  38. says

    Haha, very vivid descriptions! In India I encountered real porcelain toilets that also had foot ledges so that you could either sit or squat. I’ve gotten more used to the squatter living in Korea – especially when visiting the rural parts.

    • says

      Hey Audrey, having the option of sitting or squatting is nice – for the quickie’s a squat is nice, but for times that take more effort, it can be nice to relax and take a seat – sounds like the Indian toilets you’re talking about are the best of both worlds!

  39. says

    some ideas to add Mark.
    someone said that this would make an interesting instructional video, (i not read all comments , tooo many)
    but hey, this could be a neat project, so count me in on that Mark.

    what I have found very useful is:

    wet wipes, Georgia introduced me to these, small packets of wet wipes in all sorts of brands and sizes but sealable bags. I even still have some with me and i left Georgia nearly a year ago now. a lovely piece of luxury for us travellers (gee i even had to look up how to spell luxury too). if they are giving them away on flights, try and get a hand full. they are just so useful and nice, used anywhere. the wet tissue is strong and does not tear and one cloth can be used for a quick wash of your whole body.

    and before this luxury discovery, and I used this when i first travelled overland around the world and still have one with me now and use it regularly, a cyclist bidon drink bottle. the squeezable wide screwed top with a closable drinking sprout.
    so you see you can use it as a squirter washer with your right hand and wash your bum with
    your left, then wash your left hand with a bit of soap as well. finding some hot water before hand is heavenly.
    plus, with the wide neck screw neck, it becomes a urinal, especially at night and it is cold and wet out side and cosy in your sleeping bag. and doing the lid up tight it makes a perfect functional hot water bottle. That will sort the travellers from the backpackers from the tourists. Or its just too far to the loo. and ladies, yes you can use it too. just try in your own privacy to work out your own technique. or combine it with your “shewee”.

    some rules though that i have learnt from experience.
    never add to an already used bottle. you may think oh i only got a small pee at that moment, and murphys law it will over flow.
    a little bit of tissue is helpful to dry that last drip. and into the bottle as well.
    use a bottle that is not see through. no one will know.
    water the citrus trees the next morning if there are any, this is now officially called “Munro’s
    water” (but I cannot find the reference in urban dictionary). see the NZ film “the fastest Indian” . see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burt_Munro

    another interesting topic on the subject that may be helpful to cover one day, is, “what can I do when i got the delhi rumble, delhi belly, the screaming shits, Montezuma’s revenge, Chiang Kai-Shek’s Revenge, acute traveler’s diarrhea.”
    not how to treat it, plenty of that on the net, but what can you do when it hits, there and then, and you cannot hold it, and you are surrounded by people????
    actually just remembering the last time this happened to me was in the middle of Paris over a year ago and lucky I was in a park…. but thats another story.

    • says

      Hey Max, some real experience spoken here, thank you for sharing all these practical tips with us. The bottle is definitely sometimes a necessary action to take!

  40. says

    another piece that may help people to squat. from looking at some of the comments.
    when you watch young children squat, they do it so easily.
    then something changes as we get older. sitting in chairs.

    one way we health people helped people to squat is to do it in three stages.
    stand squarely with feet slightly more apart than your knees, feet parallel.
    then push your bum out backwards, like tilting your hips forwards and bum back and upwards and bend your lower spine. this moves your center of gravity .
    then slowly squat using those big leg muscles.
    try it

    ladies are better at this as their center of gravity is more forward than us mere males, thats why ladies make good rock climbers, they can get further away from the rock face and balance better.
    Max.

  41. dave says

    Would just add one note:
    Here in Thailand there are alot of ‘power squatters” as i call them. But even the regular sit-downs have the spray hose for clean-up afterward. And most (like home) have tp. But after thoroughly soaking your tukus during the hosing I find it important to ‘blot’ and not ‘wipe’ with the paper. Wiping causes all kinds of cling-ons that no Starship Enterprise could remedy. Blotting simply dries the situation leaving no trace of unwanted aliens! 55555 ( that’s laghter in Thai)

    • says

      5555 thanks for sharing Dave! And like you, I have also realized that blotting works much better than wiping – that thin Thai toilet paper just sticks to any wet if used as a wipe. Great tips!

  42. says

    After a year in SE Asia, I still dread the bucket wash! I end up walking around with wet pants and skirts and looking like such a barang! I’ll take your advice to remove the entire bottom half of clothing. It would also be great to inform your readers that tp should NEVER be “flushed” down the toilet… if squatting & dealing with our shit is tough, more so for the guys who have to deal with the hole when it’s full of slow composting paper.

  43. says

    I’ve actually seen signs in malls in Thailand with western Toilets where it has a little picture of a man squatting on top of the toilet seat and a cross through the middle. First time I saw it I was blown away that people would naturally squat, rather than sit.

  44. melisa says

    Hi, great post. I have used my fair share of squatters. You mention that squatters are nice because no part of you has to touch the toilet. While true, please address the “back splash” mentioned by other people. For females, it may be quite different. I can’t use one with out pee splashing up on my legs. So gross. Also, I’m not sure that the sprayer or splash method is going to get poop off your butt! Please address and give me some tips!

    • says

      Hey Melisa, thanks a lot for reading this article and leaving a comment. As for the backsplash, I know what you’re saying, and I guess it could depend on where you aim. Perhaps aiming so the stream flows on the side of the bowl is a good way to reduce splash. As for sprayer, you’ve got to use your left hand – it works… and then you wash your hands really well!

    • says

      if you aim for the hole you don’t get the splash back. so you just have to practise your aim, either by getting down low, or standing taller. kinda practice makes perfect. oh, and a good high pressure hose my dear, it’s almost a colonic, it cleans the poop mighty well! If I have to do the splash method, then the left hand needs to be used too, but your butt will come out much cleaner than a paper wipe will achieve at the end of the day.

  45. says

    Thanks for the good laugh. My only question on step 1 – what to do with your shoes? do you gingerly balance on one foot each time removing your pants, then step back into your shoes, because, frankly, the alternative (leaving them off) seems very frightening? Perhaps that is why in the world of squat toilet you still see so many people with long robes. Seems a hell of a lot easier to lift it all up…

    • says

      Hey, that’s exactly right, I balance on one foot, and sometimes hold on to the side of the wall to maintain balance! I’ve thought about wearing robes too!

  46. Princess says

    Thanks for the informative post, just one thing, under “3. The Last Resort” you mentioned “The Bucket Toss”…

    …A more effective method would be to simply pour water over your frontal genitalia and the water will slide back over your back passage by itself.

    Use your right hand to pour water over your front bits whilst rubbing/cleaning yourself with the left,

    I grew up using a squat-toilet and prefer them to the seat-toilets because I don’t like touching my bum to a dirty surface.

    Squat-toilets are also more natural and evacuate your bowels more thoroughly than seat-toilets.

    They are a good exercise too and strengthen your muscles.

    • says

      Hey Princess, thank you very much for the extra tip. I fully agree with you too, I prefer a squat toilet as well, and will always go for a squater over a sit down toilet – it is so much cleaner to use!

  47. says

    great article, I’m a big fan of the squat job and the pressure hose. I no longer travel with toilet paper as I prefer washing with water. I definitely feel cleaner and refreshed, esp in hot countries. Having all that water available within the toilet booth also makes dealing with ladies business, eg Diva cup, so much easier too.

  48. says

    Oh.My. Gosh. This article is simply too good to be true! Thank you for delving into what most people wouldn’t even talk to their best friends about – this gave me a good laugh! Keep these unique posts coming!

    Emma

  49. Lisa says

    This is why I learned to pee standing up. I learned it easily when I was 6, and I have been doing it ever since. I went to Japan and its nice not to squat down for number 1. Ladies if you don’t want to squat, learn to pee standing up. You can google it or there is a video called stand 2 pee.

  50. Abdul says

    People in East Asia ans the Middle East actually won’t how others use toilet seats ans TP! I am from Dubai and I have both types in my home, I always use the squatty type for No.2 and I would prefer it over the seat type in public toilets being more hygienic after one of my friends wives who was pregnant got herpes from sitting on a toilet seat in a mall. Thanks for the article.

  51. says

    Mark,

    Awesome article! Beauty! As a child, my parents took me to visit my grandparents in Karachi, and I would ABHOR using the squat! I thought it was the most vile thing on earth! Then, on a trip to Istanbul I was forced to use it…and I have to agree, it was an eye opening experience. But sorry man, I still prefer my sit down over squat!

  52. Marco says

    All fine and good until you have diarrhoea. Totally barbaric, should be outlawed, this is 2013, not 1713. Disgrazia!

  53. Lenten says

    Wow. Comments from 2011 to 2013..That’s a good post . And I lold a lot too.. .Anyway Asians always use the left hand-Always[atleast in india] -and I don’t get the part about diarrhea-And Asians also think theirs is the most hygienic method and western toilets should be outlawed ..Bring up the subject of TPs,they consider it the most unhygienic method rather than water washing. ;)

  54. Eric says

    In Indonesia I have sacrificed a couple of 100 rph notes in an urgent situation, Squatter was at a really nice restaurant, but situated over an open sewer. No surprise to see a couple of locals trying to recover slightly used notes from drain after. 9000 rph = approx 30 bht!

  55. iggy says

    Hi! Excellent article. I always squat on a sitdowner in public places, for hygienic reasons as well as for better excretion. Also, do not expect to find squat toilets just in third world. I was in Trieste last month, for a cup of coffee and there it was! And another at the railroad station. They just like it.

  56. says

    hey mark! i’m totally in love with all your writings! im Asian, Indonesian exactly, and i used to use this kind of toilet besides the sit-down-and-do-it one and i found this article is so much funnyyyyy hahahahahhaha im a pro user of this squat toilet and it’s entertaining to have knowledge from a adventurous traveler like you. i’ll always wait your next posting!

  57. Merle says

    Mark, Where are you from that you grew up with a squat toilet? After doing some traveling, and living in Beijing, I have become familiar with them.

    Well, the bad thing with sit down toilets is the contact with the seat, but most places in the U.S. provide you with liners to place on the seats if you’re worried about that.

    Although, you can avoid touching the seat on a squatter, there are many other problems. 1, depends on the situation, but sometimes those squatters splash back up on you. That’s even worse than sitting on a toilet with piss on it. 2, people who use those kinds of toilets aren’t the most sanitary people, and they rarely flush. 3, the floor surrounding the squatters is usually drenched in piss. 4, The sewage fumes are not trapped, so the stink comes right back up.

    If you are ever in a Beijing subway bathroom, you’ll come out of there with your clothes smelling like urine and smoke.

    For me, I would rather squat in the woods than an actual squat toilet. But you know the saying, desperate times call for desperate measures

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