How to use a Squat Toilet: A Travellers Learning Curve

It’s impossible to start an article called ‘how to use a squat toilet’ without raising an eyebrow or two!

Yes, a sensitive topic. But what world beating travel blog can claim to be informative unless it enlightens you on the fine points on how to use a squat toilet?

Around the world more people have access to a mobile phone than to a flushing toilet.

Thoughts of unspeakable sights and horrendous hygiene may have you quivering, but the often feared squat toilet really is a easy thing to conquer.

Several sources claim that squatting is better than sitting (correct spelling observed). The idea being that squatting is better for your bowel as everything is aligned the way nature intended.

Everyone knows that the real reason the sit down flush toilet was invented was for reading the Sunday newspaper in quiet solitude!

Sit down flush toilets are a luxury for most, but think about it: Its only been a hundred years or so since Mr Crapper patented the idea. Before that, even those privileged few in the west were squatting with the rest of them.

If you plan on travelling outside of the US, UK, Australia and ‘less developed’ Europe, chances are you’ll encounter a squat toilet at some point. Below are some first hand essential squat toilet tips, plus a simple walk through to get you on your way to successfully using one!

Essential tips on how to use a Squat Toilet:

  • Your feet need to be flat
  • The most important part of using a squatter is getting your feet flat. Its much easier to ‘perch’ forward on your toes, but this is no good. The angle is all wrong and can potentiality spell disaster unless you take your trousers off…

    Most locals have no issue at all, and seem to find it very comfortable to sit like that all day.

  • Hold onto something
  • Holding onto something while you squat or bracing yourself allows you to get totally flat footed if you can’t manage normally.

  • Roll up your trousers
  • Obvious, but it really helps keep everything out of the way.

  • If you’re tall, shift forward slightly
  • Some squat toilet have foot plates on them to show you where to stand. If you’re more than 6” tall or have really long legs like I do, then shift forward to accurately drop the payload in the toilet and not elsewhere.

Here’s a simple walk through to get you started:

  1. Prepare yourself
  2. Have some toilet paper to hand. I’m sure you’ve all heard of the ‘left hand to clean technique‘ but I assume you’re not really into that. Maybe I’ll write an article on that if I ever run out of paper…

    Don't do it! Flickr photo by Pat Rondon

  3. Have some paper ready to use
  4. You might not be able to put the roll anywhere where it won’t get soaking wet.

  5. Gents, have a pee first
  6. Without some awkward positioning, you have a high chance of ruining your trousers. Getting down into the proper squat position is one thing, but peeing all over yourself is another.

  7. Prepare the area
  8. Depending on your conscience, you can make the visit for the next user more pleasurable. Splashing a bit of water onto a porcelain squatter will help when it comes to flushing away the evidence.

Ready, Aim, FIRE!

Most of the countries in SE Asia have a little high pressure shower hose device, which I call ‘The Bum Gun‘.

I originally thought this was for washing the bathroom or something. But it’s actually for hosing yourself down when you’ve finished.

Although reluctant to try it, I was finally forced to use it and I’ve never looked back. Literally lean forward and spray!

I’m a full convert. If they has these back home, I’d be getting one! No paper needed, except to dry yourself.

Get over the fear. Learn to love the squatter!

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