Click here for main page content Click here for main blog navigation Click here for competiton link Click here to search the blog Click here to sign up the newsletter Click here for blog information Click here for the main sta travel website links Click here for the main sta travel website lrgal information

STA Travel Blog

How To Use A Squat Toilet

This post contains that kind of unmissable, money can’t buy, travel advice that you wish someone had shared with you before you hit the road yourself…

If you’re travelling the globe chances are you’re going to have to get to grips with a squat toilet at some point – and so you should – it’s why we do what we do; those experiences of trying out different things, seeing how the other half (of the world) live.

But, giving it a go and getting it right are 2 different things altogether, and are the difference between a messy and slightly traumatic experience you’d rather forget and a dribble free, authentic taste of culture you think about with a smile on your face for years to come.

I’ve travelled far and wide through Nepal, India, China and Southeast Asia; prime ‘squat pot’ territory. After a few mishaps, including wet feet and damp leggings, I think I’ve just about got the technique nailed and I’m ready to (over) share.

Weird? Yes. Slightly inappropriate? Definitely. But this post might just help save you the embarrassment of walking around with that wet patch otherwise known as a toilet badge, and as a bit of extra back up I’ve called on our loyal twitter community to add their 2 pence worth.

Here’s Your Guide For Using A ‘Squat Pot’

Prep Yourself

Hike up (or remove) as much of the lower half of your clothing as possible – wrap your skirt around your head if you have to girls. If you’re female chances are your stream isn’t going to go where you want or expect it to go so this is the best way of avoiding a soaking on your clothes – a pack of wet wipes is always handy here.

Make sure all rings, bracelets, sunglasses are secure, fishing your sunnies out of a toilet bowl after a sneaky peak at what’s going on down under isn’t fun – trust me on that one!

It’s all About Technique

Position yourself over the bowl, check for accuracy and stand with your feet on the panels. If there aren’t any then stand with your feet flat on the ground and placed slightly wider than your hips.

Squat with your heels flat on the ground, coopie right down until you’re almost sat down, but don’t actually sit down! Standing higher as if you are sitting on an invisible chair will give you an added work out and tone your legs at the same time although this will make aiming a lot harder!

how to use the japanese-style toilet

Toilet etiquette Japanese style. Image by Yuya Tamai

Don’t Touch Anything…

…If you can help it. Keep your hands and arms on your legs for balance; chances are you’re going to be stood in puddle of misaimed debris from the people before you so a bottle of hand sanitiser is an absolute must.

Don’t Be Shy

In some places, largely China and India, you will find squat toilets in cubicles without any doors, if you come across this I suggest you go with it – if you can – although there’s a very good chance stage fright will creep in and you’ll be there for a while. It may seem strange to us but these sort of communal toilets are pretty common in some parts of Asia so take a deep breath and embrace the exact kind of cultural differences you’ve travelled all this way to experience.

Wuhan to Shanghai, 2000

Don’t be shy about doing your business in public! Image by UncleVinny

Bring Toilet Paper

Toilet paper and soap are a very rare treat in most squats toilets and long drops – except for the posher ones obvs. Always try and keep a spare roll or packet of tissues in your bag (this will come in handy for a quick clean up/wipe down after too).
*Top tip – Don’t shake hands using your left hand in India just incase. The ‘right hand for eating, left hand for wiping’ whisper is not a myth. This tip is especially important for all you left handers out there.

Get Rid Of The Evidence – Flush

A squat toilet generally take less water than a regular toilet and in some places in Africa and Asia you will simply have a long drop squatter (i.e no flushing required) but most places in will have at least a bucket and plastic tub next to the squat – one bucket full of water down the hole and voila, you’re done!
*Top tip #2 – don’t flush until you are standing again though or you will probably get wet!

So there you have it our top tips for a pleasant squatting experience. Anything we’ve left out? Any squat toilet based stories to tell? Let us know about it in the comments box below!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Showing 7 Comments

  1. Helen Kennedy

    I found in Beijing that quite a lot of toilets in museums, gardens, etc, had at least one “disabled” toilet, ie, a proper Western sit down one. I concluded that “disabled” applied to me as I was sure I would otherwise make a mess of myself! The friend I was with had hip problems and was grateful for them.

    1939 days ago
  2. Ella

    Just get a shewee!!

    1939 days ago
  3. Rachel Coles

    Yes the shewee is a must…. though still difficult enough to get the hang of and accidents may still happen!

    1936 days ago
  4. John

    Wow – you didn’t even mention the hardest part! Using water instead of toilet paper. It’s the hardest part to understand – we’ve all squatted a few times in our life while camping or stuck but the water issue is new. Its actually a bit cleaner, there is a technique (no nails, etc). But seriously, she might be an avid backpacker but obviously the author has not lived many rural South Asian places and acclimatized – using toilet paper in most simple septic and sewage systems is very very bad and clogs everything up. So if you do use paper in a simple squat toilet – put in a bag and throw it away.

    1935 days ago
    • Lisa Crowther

      Thanks for making that clear John, toilet paper absolutely needs to be disposed of in bins rather than by throwing in down the bowl. Sounds like you’re a squat expert!

      1934 days ago
  5. Evie

    Communal squatting toilets were a massive shock to me at first and you were so right with the stage fright thing! I had no choice as i was catching a bus in a matter for minutes! Just go for it, it just becomes second nature and you don’t really think much of it after your first few ‘Asia toilet experience’!!!!

    1563 days ago
  6. Pingback: The Complete A-Z of Backpacking the World | STA Travel