How to Use a Squat Toilet Like a Pro

By Mark Wiens 39 Comments
How to use a squat toilet
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

How to use a squat toilet
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.

Using a Squat Toilet
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.

Asian Squat Toilet
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?