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What is a squat toilet and how to use one?

The infamous squatting position that you will need to perfect if you travel to a country that has squat toilets

The infamous squatting position that you will need to perfect if you travel to a country that has squat toilets

Squat toilet, Squatting toilet, French toilet, Turkish toilet, Indian toilet, Japanese toilet, alaturka and Arabic toilet are some of the names of this type of toilet. Here is a guide to finding out what exactly a squat toilet is, and how to use one. Read on if you are travelling or plan to be an expat in a foreign country where squat toilets are the norm. Unless you want to embarrassingly ask a local "How do I take a crap in this?"


Proceed reading only if you will be comfortable reading descriptive narrations of how to use a squat toilet. The aim of this article is not to gross anyone out, but prepare travelers and expats for a toilet experience that they've probably not experienced in their home countries.

What is a squat toilet

A squat toilet is a toilet which basically consists of a hole in the ground with foot rests on each side. As the name suggests, squat toilets are used by squatting rather than sitting. The toilet itself is a fully functional unit made from materials similar to that of a flush toilet and come with an attached tank or plumbing for a flush system. In some cases, squat toilets are made from stainless steel. A squat toilet does not have a toilet seat.

Countries that have squat toilets

Squat toilets are popular in many parts of the world. Italy, France, Turkey, Romania, China, Japan, Thailand, India, Hong Kong, Korea, and many other Middle Eastern, European and Asian countries. In some of these, squat toilets may only be found in non-metropolitan areas.

Squat toilet

Squat toilet

Stainless steel squat toilet

Stainless steel squat toilet

How to use a squat toilet

Here is a step by step illustration on how you can use a squat toilet to do your business.

  • Check for toilet paper when you enter the toilet. In some countries, using a toilet paper isn’t always the norm. So if there is no toilet paper, carry your own.
  • If the toilet has not been used since a long time and looks dry, flush it once before you start unless you want to deal with sticky issues later on.
  • Make sure that the footrests of the squat toilet are dry and clean. Slippery footrests are known to cause many falls and injuries.
  • Before you squat, remember that you are generally supposed to squat while facing the entrance of the toilet. Your buttocks should face the hole of the squat toilet while you should be looking at the toilet door.
  • Remove your pants and achieve the squat position. The key to enjoying a squat positioned dump is to feel relaxed and squat to a point where there is no tension in your thigh or abdomen muscles. Crouch and loosen your shoulder blades for a comfortable squat.
  • You should also know that it is not mandatory to remove your pants when you take a crap in a squat toilet. You can pull your pants down to your ankles. However this should be avoided if you are not familiar with this position because the chances of your pants touching the toilet floor and getting soiled are high. Women wearing skirts can tuck the end of the skirt in their waist bands. Again, if the skirt is too long, removing the skirt is a better option.
  • Do your business.
  • Don't be worried about aiming for the hole because a squat toilet is designed in a way to collect your excreta and simply move it towards the hole when you flush.
  • Once you have finished taking a crap, use the toilet paper and simply flush the squat toilet. There is no toilet seat to worry about.

Using a squat toilet to pee

There are really no tips when it comes to explaining how to use a squat toilet to urinate for men. The principle of point and shoot remains constant. However, women who are not used to the squat position may find it tricky or inconvenient to urinate. As mentioned earlier, it is possible to use the squat toilet without completely removing your pants. However if you are a first time user, it is suggested that you remove your pants to avoid dribbling accidents. Undressing completely from the waist down is recommended for newbies.

Benefits of using a squat toilet

  • One of the obvious benefits of using a squat toilet is that you will not need to touch your buttocks to the toilet seat, unlike a normal flush toilet. In fact, assuming that you will be wearing footwear while taking a crap in a squat toilet, not a single body part will touch the actual toilet. Hence, there are less chances of infection.
  • There are many reports that claim that squatting while shitting has health benefits. There is less pressure on the bladder, uterus and the rectum passage.
  • Users often report that taking a crap in the squatting position is more comfortable and easier than the sitting position.
  • Squat toilets are generally cheaper than flush toilets. If the flush is connected to a plumbing system, there is no need for a flush tank or a toilet seat. As one would imagine, this minimal setup is considered cheaper to maintain.
  • The squatting position applies more pressure to the abdominal area because the thighs press against the abdomen. This is considered to help push the waste out of the body naturally.
  • Some even suggest that squatting straightens the passage between the rectum and the anus, leading to an uninterrupted flow of the excreta. In the sitting position, there is a bend in this passage way.


princesswithapen (author) on December 28, 2011:


You seem to be quite the outdoor enthusiast since you mention going in the woods! I have seen quite a few horrendous toilet settings in my travels - inland and overseas. I truly hope toilets around the world are soon equipped with the plastic sleeve that you've mentioned. There are many raving reviews about the seats at the O'Hare International airport.

Thanks heaps for commenting and sharing your experience!


princesswithapen (author) on December 28, 2011:

Hi Ruchi Urvashi

Squat toilets definitely are require more effort to use. If nothing else, they sure give your calf and thigh muscles a nice little stretch and workout.

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Tootall on December 21, 2011:

I squat on any public toilet, and I am used to goin in the woods. I like these squatters better! Only thing better are the toilets in chicago airport. They have a plastic sleeve that revolves around the seat. New clean nest every time!

Ruchi Urvashi from Singapore on December 12, 2011:

Great work. I agree that squat toilets are good for health.

princesswithapen (author) on November 23, 2011:

Hi pstraubie48

I too, if had to think of one advantage of using squat toilets it would definitely be the fact that no part of your body except the soles of your feet actually touch the toilet. It is indeed an awakening experience to land in a foreign country and not be aware that a thing like this existed! I'm glad you liked this. Thanks for commenting and sharing your own experience with squat toilets.


Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on November 23, 2011:

This is a topic that needed discussing even if some found it 'indelicate'. If one travels to a country where they are used and you are not expecting such, it is an awakening. I lived in Japan for four years and traveled on the economy often.So squat toilets were used. I liked them because I just felt they were so much more sanitary than ours because one's anatomy does not touch the vessel. Thanks for sharing.

princesswithapen (author) on October 17, 2011:


Squat toilets do take a little getting used to. The first few attempts feel weird and awkward, to say the least. But like everything else in life, you get used to it! Thanks for your warm feedback. Its good to know that you saw an entertaining side to a topic that can be seen as gross.


princesswithapen (author) on October 17, 2011:

Hi phdast7

Quite an interesting story you've got there. I totally agree with you about how beautifully travelling exposes you to wonderful cultures and traditions. Definitely, squat toilets are a small price to pay to indulge in mesmerizing natural landscapes and intriguing cultures. Your comment was awesome and knowing your story added a little spark to my day.



Eiddwen from Wales on October 17, 2011:

Oh how entertaining and unique is this hub?? Brilliant as I had never heard of Squat Toilets before today,and I have to vote up up and away.

I'm not too sure how I would cope if ever I'd have to use one.

Thanks for sharing and here's to many more hubs to share on here.

Have a great day my friend.


phdast7 on October 16, 2011:

Informative and entertaining (in a strange sort of way) Hub. My father was in the Air Force and so our family had the opportunity to live overseas several in my early teenage years I was introduced to a variety of squat toilets (my grandmother called them "seat-less" toilets - she couldn't bear saying "squat") across Europe. Took some getting used to.

Now this was 25 years ago, so things may have improved ....or not, but we could never get over the Greek toilets. Obviously they were squat, many hadn't had a good cleaning in months or maybe years, and...wait for it...they were constructed out of the most beautiful pink and gray veined marble!!! Such a contrast.

We would have given up the marble for the comfort of a traditional American toilet. Truthfully, traveling and exposure to other cultures was wonderful and using squat toilets was a small price to pay. Enjoyed the hub.

princesswithapen (author) on October 16, 2011:


Definitely. Wearing a dress is an advantage. However, if it is too long, it may turn into a disadvantage. The last thing you'd want to worry about while managing the squatting position is your dress getting soiled.

I'm glad you found this article interesting. Thanks for reading and commenting!


princesswithapen (author) on October 16, 2011:

Gypsy Willow

Checking for toilet paper is one of the first things any cautious traveler would want to do. I thought camping in France was supposed to be exotic, definitely not challenging to the nasal senses! Jokes aside, you're right, unwary travelers can often take flush toilets for granted only to find out about the perils of squat toilets during a toilet emergency in a foreign country.


Donna Sundblad from Georgia on October 16, 2011:

This was an interesting article. I'd never heard of squat toilets. I guess wearing a dress would have its advantages.

Gypsy Willow from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand on October 16, 2011:

Sensible hub to prepare unwary travelers to the perils of squat toilets. Camping in France was my first introduction to them. These didn't have a U bend and the smell was something else! The take your own toilet paper tip is useful too! Good luck travelers. In some countries they are probably better infection wise!

princesswithapen (author) on October 16, 2011:

Hi majadez

You are not alone when it comes to not liking the squat toilets. Normal flush toilets are obvious winners in convenience, comfort and ease of use. I've noticed some some travelers with "Are you serious" expressions on their faces when faced with the dilemma of squatting in a foreign country. But like you said, when you have to go, you have to go.

I figured that some elements of this hub may evoke the jerk and eek reactions but they were necessary to make this a complete and an informative piece. And I'm glad you thought so.


Majadez on October 16, 2011:

This was informative... Admittedly, I jerked and eeked at some of the things. I first experienced squat toilets in Croatia. I didn't think about it much but it looked logical so I found my way. When you gotta go, you gotta go, but when I can hold it I'd much rather find another toilet. Maybe it's convention or comfort, but I really hate squat toilets!

Also, a concern for me is the germs. When you flush, they just go up into the air. Whereas with convenstional toilets, you can close the seat to stop the germs from flying into the air. And you can always clean toilet seats before you sit on them, or squat over them... Ironically, I would rather squat over a normal toilet than use a squat toilet.

princesswithapen (author) on October 16, 2011:

Tight denims would certainly be be a nightmare, wouldn't they? Squat toilets are hard to use, but you don't really have a choice in many countries.

Thanks for stopping by, icciev. I'm glad you found this useful.


icciev from Kuwait on October 16, 2011:

by the way this is one of the hardest toilets in the world to use espically if you are wearing tight or jeans.

nice article, useful. voted up.

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