Squat Toilets?

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Squat Toilets?

Postby marlenas5 » Tue Jan 27, 2009 3:22 am

I'm not a horribly well traveled person- my first trip to a third world country was this last September and only ever saw a Squat Toilet.

I apologize now for the naivety of the question, but I'm thinking of doing Essential India this April, then Bhutan and China, so i'm likely to have to use one soon.

So, squat toilets.. is there an etiquette to it? I've read some journal entries where people talk about rolling up the bottem of their pants, bring plenty of toilet paper/handy wipes, but is there anything else i should know?
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Re: Squat Toilets?

Postby Peter_T » Tue Jan 27, 2009 11:26 am

In India most toilets are squatties. As far as public washrooms go, this is a blessing - the cleanliness of public washrooms (even though you pay to use them) is anywhere from sub-par to outright disgusting. Basically you wouldn't want to touch anything in some of these restrooms, so squatting suddenly seems much more reasonable.

Up in the mountains near Darjeeling I got off the bus and ran into the public washroom (had to pee like crazy) and nearly lost my lunch because of the state of the restroom. This was after a couple months of backpacking around and having seen my fair share

As foreign as this seems for people who have only ever sat down to do their business, there's remarkably little to learn. You put your feet on the pads and squat down and everything kind of lines up. No aiming required.

Balancing could be an issue, and getting down into the squatting position is a little tough for some of us westerners. We just aren't used to bending much. There's little to hold on to and nothing you'd want to grab anyhow, so you need to maintain your balance.

As fas as rolling up your pant legs, if there is a chance that they might drag on the ground or otherwise touch the facilities, you will probably want to roll or tuck or hold them in some way, just to keep things clean.

Flushing is usually done by filling up a little bucket/pail or plastic measuring cup from a tap that comes out of the wall about 6" up from the floor. Handy access while squatting. You generally don't want to touch the pails either, but touch you must if you want to flush.

I've also seen a few squatties that have built-in water for flushing, right in the squattie. These are a joy for their lack of bucket, but in India these were few and far between.

Speaking of flushing, there's not a lot of capacity in the little receptical in the squatties; they are fine for the - ahem - organic deposits, but they have a low tollerence for toilet paper. If you have a situation that requires more than a small amount of toilet paper, you might want to use a bit, flush, wipe some more, flush again, etc. It's better than clogging the thing up and trying to deal with that in Hindi.

There's a wikipedia article on squatties, too.

Hope this helps... Have a great trip!
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Re: Squat Toilets?

Postby Zuleika » Tue Jan 27, 2009 12:59 pm

Peter_T wrote:

Speaking of flushing, there's not a lot of capacity in the little receptical in the squatties; they are fine for the - ahem - organic deposits, but they have a low tollerence for toilet paper. If you have a situation that requires more than a small amount of toilet paper, you might want to use a bit, flush, wipe some more, flush again, etc. It's better than clogging the thing up and trying to deal with that in Hindi.



LOL - you have described it very well!!! The only thing I would include about toilet paper is that often where westerners are likely to be they leave a bin for you to put the paper rather than putting it down the toilet. (they dont use any) You should do this as it will block their toilet sytem otherwise.
I do always roll up my trousers from the bottom.
I have learnt to sit comfortably on my ankles!
I pre-use the toilet roll to cover my nose whilst in there to protect from the stink (not my stink!! )until I need it!!!!

LOL

Oh - and bring lots of alcohol hand gel - often there is nowhere to wash your hands afterwards, nothing you'd want to touch sometimes either!
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Re: Squat Toilets?

Postby ballu » Tue Jan 27, 2009 2:51 pm

I was pretty worried about using them too...but I found they weren't as bad as I thought they were.

Definately roll up your pant legs and make sure you have your TP ready to go because the ground is often wet around you and you're not going to want to put anything on the ground. (The wetness comes from clean water used to flush, so it's not gross or anything...just wet)

I much prefer squat toilets to "hover toilets"...the western ones without a toilet seat. The balancing act for those is much more challenging.
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Re: Squat Toilets?

Postby sinecure » Tue Jan 27, 2009 3:20 pm

Agree with all the above, and second 'bring lots of alcohol sanitizer'

Have a great time! :mrgreen:
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Re: Squat Toilets?

Postby marlenas5 » Thu Jan 29, 2009 7:39 pm

Thanks for the great suggestions everyone!!

One last question though- I was talking to a friend in Pakistan about my trip plans last night. He suggested to take my pants off completely first so they don't get dirty. From what i gather though this isn't a clean idea?
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Re: Squat Toilets?

Postby jimshu » Thu Jan 29, 2009 10:06 pm

If you can, do so.But with such filthy wet floors, you have to be a contortionist with supreme balancing ability to get them on and off without getting them soiled from the floor.
Send us the video if you manage this.LOL.

I've know some people who did a lot of practice at home for this.Marked out foot shapes on the floor then went through the motions(without the motions so to speak,...)and in India were very experienced squatters.

You'll manage.We all do.And on two trips, we have never seen anyone come back in an embarrasing condition.

Just a point...keep plenty of small change handy.Toilets there will always have an attendant, keeping them clean(?) .That's there livelihood.And we Westerners aren't used to paying for the privilege of solo balancing acts.
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Re: Squat Toilets?

Postby anonymoose » Fri Jan 30, 2009 1:44 pm

In Malaysia you couldn't get into some of the toilets without paying the attendant first, so change definitely comes in handy.

Instead of rolls, I carried around those prepackaged rectangles of tissues. The ones in Asia tend to be thick and are ideal for this use, unlike the ones you can buy in North America. And I brought extra hand sanitizer just in case. :lol:
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Re: Squat Toilets?

Postby marilyna » Thu Feb 05, 2009 1:04 am

I found travelling in a skirt made using squatties much easier. Just hoist it up around your waist, drop your panties and go. It's all part of travelling!

The airport in Nairobi has both squat and western toilets. I found after 3 months in Africa, the squat were better. More hygienic and easier.
The squats on the Inca trail had the flush mechanism - but beware! These things flushed with great power and energy! They hit the squat with so much force, they moved everything out and onto your shoes! Be warned. Unlock the door, turn around, grab the cord and pull and run!
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Re: Squat Toilets?

Postby amazon0313 » Sun Feb 08, 2009 3:13 pm

I can admit that on more than one occasion I just gave up and took my pants off completely and draped them around my neck. Yep. Been there, done that. I've never been terribly coordinated and it seemed like a better option than missing.

I travel with biodegradable wipes and TP. It makes life a little easier, as does the hand sanitizer.

And I agree that squats are easier than hovers!
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Re: Squat Toilets?

Postby krista_s » Thu Mar 19, 2009 11:34 am

When I visited Turkey, I was advised to squat facing the back wall, not the stall door (as we do in Western toilets). This seemed to make aiming easier. The upside for me was that when there was both Western and squat toilets, most people chose the Western style, so I had no line up to wait in at all for the squat toilet!
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Re: Squat Toilets?

Postby stepher » Tue Jul 21, 2009 11:19 am

I've yet to try a squat toilet, and was surprised to hear the airport in Nairobi has them. I am so new to this... I have essentially not been out of North America. The culture shock is going to be profound for my 3-week Africa trip.

For squat toilets, I found this hilarious (but enlightening) article online:
http://www.banterist.com/archivefiles/000348.html

Chuckled a bit at this one, too:
http://www.worldhum.com/features/how-to ... _20060923/


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Re: Squat Toilets?

Postby ballu » Tue Jul 21, 2009 4:20 pm

There are regular toilets as well at the Nairobi airport...but you are likely to run into them in Africa. Definately have your own paper on you at all times.

I wish someone would write instructions on how to use "hover toilets", the western ones without a seat. I have more problems with those than squats.
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Re: Squat Toilets?

Postby TravelFun » Tue Jul 21, 2009 4:47 pm

I wish someone would write instructions on how to use "hover toilets", the western ones without a seat.


You need damn good strong legs, ability to balance at an angle and a great aim (comes with the correct angle)...done it many times now. Hey, a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do :lol:
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Re: Squat Toilets?

Postby Zuleika » Tue Jul 21, 2009 6:09 pm

Do what the Indians do when they travel to the west - stand on the toilet seat and then squat as you would do on their style of loo. Saves awkward hovering.
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