International Travel

8 Things to Know About Squat Toilets

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I’m in a couple of travel-related groups on Facebook and I often see anxiety-ridden questions for those going to Asia for the first time about a very essential thing: toilets. Or more specifically, squat toilets.

So as I start my fourth month of traveling in Asia, I decided it was time to just write this up. Here goes, 8 things to know about squat toilets:

  1. Squat toilets aren’t just in Asia! I’ve also used them in Peru and was super surprised back in college when there were squat toilets at my university in southern France.
  2. And they’re not always the same. In Thailand, for example, the squat toilets are often elevated, which I found added a layer of difficulty.
  3. It’s really just like going in the great outdoors. But yes, you’ll probably end up peeing on yourself at some point until you really get used to squat toilets.
  4. On that note, face the wall if you’re peeing and face the door if you’re going number two. (Assuming it’s installed the typical way, whereby the hole is closer to the wall.) That’ll reduce the chances of peeing on yourself and make flushing easier.
  5. They’re considered more sanitary than seated toilets by many because there’s no need to touch any surface of the toilet.
  6. Some toilets will have water tanks so you can flush just as you would a seated toilet, while others have a faucet and buckets so you can fill up the bucket and flush manually.
  7. Bring toilet paper, and generally if there’s a waste basket in the stall, throw your used toilet paper in there to avoid messing up the plumbing.
  8. And finally, yes, sometimes these squat toilet stalls won’t have doors. Just do your business as everyone else does theirs. No one wants to watch you. Promise.

Go forth and conquer squat toilets of the world!

Squat toilets things to know

23 thoughts on “8 Things to Know About Squat Toilets

  1. Thank you for this!!! I went to Vienna and had my first encounter with a shelf toilet so I became intrigued with various styles of toilets haha

  2. I’ve had some great experiences! From a channel toilet in a school in China to peeing in a shit laden cubicle in Peru to simple holes in the ground in Rwanda. But agree entirely, turn around depending on your need.

    1. Ah yes, the channel toilets. Those are even a step further into the world of squat toilets. I usually find those ones to be dirtier too.

  3. Squat toilets make me cry. Haha. 🙁 I avoid them if I can. I’m currently living in Malaysia and while it’s a wonderful country, the toilets (especially public squat toilets) are just one of those things that make me shake my head. The floor is always wet and it doesn’t look hygienic at all. From experience, when using one it’s better to face the door… learned it the hard way.

    1. How interesting! I wonder if the toilets are set up differently there? I haven’t been to Malaysia yet. But facing the wall comes from the fact that the toilet slopes down toward the hole, thus allowing for less splatter. At least that’s the advice I was given and found to be true for me ?

  4. I saw my first one in Greece and held it for a few hours rather than go! Haha Im nervous because I go to Asia for the first time at the end of the month, really don’t want to pee on myself!

    1. You’ll figure it out, I’m sure! Hope these tips help. And maybe start doing some squats to get your legs ready to do its duty! 😉

  5. Hahha I wish I had read this 4 years ago! When I went to Bali the first time, I just held it until I got to somewhere with Western toilets ?

    1. Sometimes I definitely try to hold it until I get to the next option, unless I’m fairly certain the next option will be similar. Hopefully you’re more skilled with this these days!

  6. Yeah I have never loved these, though I’ve experienced since childhood when travelling to Asia. Using the ones without doors is a step too far for me. I have no idea how the elderly women in my family use them wearing full length multi-layer saris!!! That’s a skill of a lifetime, right! But yes, agree they are more hygienic!

    1. Using the ones without doors used to be too much for me too, until I really had to pee at a rest stop in the countryside and none of the stalls had doors! But yea, that’s skill. I trip in saris just standing still ?

  7. Absolutely fascinating, I had no idea some wouldn’t have doors? I’m well versed in squat toilets after reading this, thanks for sharing!

  8. I’ve heard this type of toilets make for a more “natural” posture ? But I didn’t know that in some places they don’t have doors, I would find it a bit difficult to “concentrate” in the first few days haha ?

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