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Indian toilets: How To Use An Indian Toilet

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It is said that when travelling in India it's generally best to stay away from the use of public toilets as they would have Squat style toilets. The toilets in the hotels would frequently provide Western styles as well as Indian style conveniences. However when one is out and about; one would be forced to use these amenities especially if one had a strong curry. It is therefore imperative to understand and know what to expect. Indian style toilets are also called squat toilets. More than half the world's population uses it. Simply it consists of a hole in the ground, located at the ground level and toilet paper is replaced with water.

Call of nature the natural way

Indian Toilet:Toilettes indiennes: The Indian toilet is a puffed up hole in the floor with a place to put your feet on each side connected to a drainage system.

Indian Toilet:Toilettes indiennes: The Indian toilet is a puffed up hole in the floor with a place to put your feet on each side connected to a drainage system.

The squatting position

If you a take a trip to India and other parts of the globe you may get a rude awakening too see INDIAN STYLE TOILETS also loosely described as the SQUAT TOILET. If you want to be in control you should read this to know what to expect if you are a travel fanatic and don't want to get caught amidst in the rough. SQUATTTING or toileting in the Indian way will also supposedly prevent COLON CANCER. More health benefits of squatting position

Indian toilet in the Indian railways: In such situations best is to grab the bars to avoid being tossed out of the door

The squat style is what Adam and Eve or Manu (the fist Indian man) must have used. It takes you back millions of years.

Informative resources on the web on Indian toilets: Best of the web on “Squatting”

Quite a few foreign visitors have a dread of Indian toilets. The squat-type toilets that are common in cheaper hotels are actually much more hygienic and healthier for the system than sit-down toilets. They just take a little getting used too. The most important thing is not to fall in. This seems self evident, but when the floor is slippery it is easy to do. You can get a nasty cut to your foot if you slip and the porcelain breaks along the rim. Carry on reading.

If anyone has been to India, undoubtedly this is a question that we have all found ourselves asking. Luckily, while visiting a bar in Kovalum, Kerala, they had the decency to explain this for us layfolk. Now, I have been to India three times and this is still something of a mystery for me (note: I admittedly cruised around with a nice wad of toilet paper in my pocket or day pack). I hope that this happy little illustration can clarify the matter. Enjoy. Carry on reading.

A squat toilet is a toilet used by squatting, rather than sitting. There are several types of squat toilets, but they all consist essentially of a hole in the ground. The only exception is a "pedestal" squat toilet (pictured here), which is the same height as a standard western toilet. Carry on reading.

Indian code of toilets: 1500 BC: Code for married people: An elaborate drill for defecation is prescribed in the most respected Aryan scripture - "Manusmriti Vishnupuran" written in the Sanskrit Language. Before going to the toilet the scripture prescribes elaborate drill. Before going for defecation one was to chant the following mantras. Carry on reading.

Now don't tell anyone because it is a little embarrassing, but I secretly like Indian squat toilets. Now come on, not the nasty ones you find in a railway station that have urine and excrement all over them, and not the ones that you might find in a curry house- for obvious reasons. Carry on reading.

Avoid colon cancer: start squatting. Oncologists have observed that 80% of colon cancers occur in the caecum and the sigmoid colon, the two areas that are not fully evacuated in the sitting posture. This causes fecal stagnation and probably explains why colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. In traditional Asian and African cultures where squatting is the norm, colon cancer is virtually unknown! CARRY ON READING

How to use the Indian toilet for the first time foreigner in India

If you can't slide you pants to the knees and sit, then take your pants off and hang it on a clip or the hook most usually found on the back of the door.

Remember it can be slippery and mishaps do happen.

Crouch down and sit down in a squatting position (if you feel uneasy, try to remember the health benefits of squatting)

Squat to your hearts content.

After doing it open the tap and fill the bucket with water. Take a jug usually located nearby and fill it with water.

Clean your back-side with your left palm by pouring water in it and then rubbing gently where the sun doesn't shine. For the left handed foreigner use the right hand. Most Indian type squats contain a flush usually hooked to the wall so get up and pull the chain or the lever with the clean hand.

The most important step. Walk to the basin and wash your hands with soap or any detergent you can find. In most cases it's usually a soap called "lifebuoy" made by a British company called Unilever. Most Indians use this soap for cleaning their hands after pooing. It's supposed to be great in getting rid of germs and bacteria.

Once the hand is washed a minimum of 2 to 3 times, the hand is clean and you can take your pants off the hook and put it on.

Walk out the door feeling great and content.

For the ladies

Although it must be said, for the ladies when urinating, it can be a little messy or can get wet if the right position is not achieved. It is possible to operate the squat toilets by simply drawing down the lower garments slightly under the knees. Many try to remove or completely undress from the waist to avoid accidents; there is really no need. Simply, the garments could be pulled down to the ankle area. However, if ones feels comfortable by undressing to achieve the squat position in this fashion, then it's a different story.

But the main thing is not to fall into it and feel relaxed and you will get the hang of it quickly and may even enjoy it. You may never want to put your bottom on a western style toilet again. Have you ever found yourself caught short of a bathroom and had to go behind a bush? It's precisely the identical technique.

Indian style of toileting could prevent you colon cancer: relfe.com

Indian style of toileting could prevent you colon cancer: relfe.com

Comments

Josh Woods from United States on May 02, 2013:

I don't know if I will ever use the advice given here, but what a great hub. I had now idea it is better to squat while in a business meeting instead of sitting. The toilet pictured above is a little odd to me, but not as unique as some of the urinals found on CrazyHorseGhost's Hub @ https://crazyhorsesghost.hubpages.com/hub/Most-Unu... There is one urinal that is made out of a Tuba I think and another of a giant mouth. Pretty interesting stuff.

Thanks again for the awesome hub

Sarah Carlsley from Minnesota on March 18, 2013:

Interesting. I didn't know of these, but I do feel smarter now!

Sunil Kumar Kunnoth from Calicut (Kozhikode, South India) on February 19, 2013:

Your courage on selecting this topic is appreciated.

Jack on October 23, 2012:

anyone dropped their phone or wallet down the hole?

Rudra (author) on April 21, 2012:

Sure I understand the concern about using the Indian system but it works. I confirm that its better as colon cleaning is better and eliminated all of it out. In the long run, its definitely better. I am sure you will get the hang of using Hindi, I suggest you watch Hindi movies with subtitles.

EMILY on April 19, 2012:

I USE THE GIRLS WALL HUNG POTTIES AT SCHOOL IM SHORT SO USING THE HANDICAP TOILET MY FEET DANGLE I CHANGE MY MAXI PADS TOO AND SPRAY OUT MY PEE THAT'S WHY I NEED TO SIT TO PEE IM a GIRL!

Pkindee on April 16, 2012:

Thanks for this. I just got back from Goa in Feb and didn't actually encounter any squat toilets. I am returning to India (Delhi and Agra)in June and am really anxious about having to 'go' on these. I googled the subject and was relieved (pardon another pun) to read up on this. I will be there with my friend and spending time at his family home which he has already warned me has this type of toilet. 1st concern the actual squatting (I was involved in a serious car accident last year and have limited mobility) 2nd concern.....was my butt with my hand!!!! I know my friend must do this and he probably thinks I'm gross for using toilet paper, but I really need to get my head around this. I am trying to embrace the culture and am even learning Hindi, but this is quite the psychological challenge....lol. Thanks for all the tips though.

Melody on February 17, 2012:

How do you squat without feet slipping in pedestal toilets? I was afraid my feet would slide on previous wetness. :(

kk on January 12, 2012:

Glad Rudra you mentioned this. Don't mislead people with this blog.

However, please wake up. These toilets were used ages ago.

P.S. Please visit India again to see the difference. They got toilets made with marble stones.

Em on January 11, 2012:

Great idea to point out the various methods of toilets and how to use, around the Globe for those who have never travelled to assorted destinations with squat loos.

Yet how on earth did we go to the loo prior to there being any semblance of a squat or Western loo? We squatted! Be it in the mountain ranges, or out in a great plain and like all similar excrement, it got recyled back into the earth.

I wonder if someone has come up with a squat loo able to cater to those who are injured,physically impaired or elderly...

Shelly on January 11, 2012:

I sometimes squat on western toilets if I'm in a hurry and don't have time to cover the seat with toilet paper.

I think these would be a good idea to be introduced to the west and have some kind of seat with a hole nearby for disabled or elderly folk. It would definitely strengthen leg muscles and even the elderly will still be self sufficient into old age.

indian on December 19, 2011:

i just went to india its hard to use it

Mantas Sinkevičius from Vilnius, Lithuania on March 31, 2011:

Hehe. That's pretty ridiculous :) We have those toilets left from Soviet times in Lithuania too, just very few of course in very old buildings.

Yourglobalgirl from UK on March 19, 2011:

Great hub and very useful

Rob S on February 03, 2011:

I have only encountered toilets like this on vacation in France in the 80’s. I couldn’t’ make heads or tails out of them, but when you gotta go.... I finally figured it out. Good instructional hub.

sid on February 02, 2011:

Squat toilets are best for people paranoid over hygiene, but if you got a strain in your calves muscles then nothing is more torturous :)

NateSean from Salem, MA on September 19, 2010:

Bottom line. Everybody poops.

This article is a must read for anyone who is traveling abroad.

RAJENDRAN on August 20, 2010:

GOOD..NICE ARTICLE FOR UNKNOWN PEOPLE....

Zanky on May 13, 2010:

LOL there is no way a hole in the ground with a bucket of water next to it is "healthier and more hygienic" than a sit-down toilet.

BkCreative from Brooklyn, New York City on March 04, 2010:

I live here in New York City - and I love these toilets. When I lived in S. Korea, the squat toilets were everywhere. After I used these toilets for awhile - my thighs became leaner and stronger. I wish we had these in NYC - where public toilets are hard to find - when a child has to use a toilet a squat toilet is perfect - the so-called Western toilets are way too big!

At the Singapore Airport there was a choice - and I had become so good at the squat toilet that I used it. Squat toilets - a much healthier alternative!

Thanks for the hub!

Aaron Geise on February 22, 2010:

i like these toilets they smell good(: they are like teabagging

medical-info on February 16, 2010:

excellent information thanks for sharing

kcnck on December 17, 2009:

Excellent hub Rudra . Title is also apt.

gtm on December 10, 2009:

Quite informative if you are not accustomed to squat toilet...but being an indian myself and well practiced in this art i would like to know how toilet paper is used. Its as alien to me as squat toilet is to westerners.

"Mitchell says:

2 years ago

I haven't found an answer to THIS question:I have travelled a few times to India and avoided these toilets. I cannot work out how to keep my clothes on (I am male so think underpants & trousers here) and thereafter wash my backside afterwards while simultaneously keeping my clothes dry.The other alternative is to remove said clothing; but of course this means removing everything from the waist down and risk dragging them through the combined and accumulated filth on the floor. I'd be lucky if there was a hook to hang them on!Any clues here ?"

If there are no hooks to hang your pants you can roll them up nice and tight and tuck it under your shirt or undershirt.That's what I do.

Dim Flaxenwick from Great Britain on December 08, 2009:

Great hub. These toilets really do take a bit of getting used to, and you're right they are apparently more hygienic.If I muster up the courage to overcome my embarrassment, I shall write a hub about my early mitakes, particularly about the time I just 'had to go' on a moving train....

Juliette Kando FI Chor from Andalusia on October 25, 2009:

I feel very passionate about this. Stupid, decadent, stiff and crippled Westerners who want to rule the world don't even know how to Sh.. properly. I lift the lid up, climb up and squat on my western toilet simply because defecating in the squatting position is so much easier on the system and healthier. In fact, I submitted an "idea worth spreading" to TED but haven't had a response yet. Here it is:

The SOTH (Squat-On Toilet with Hose) answers four questions:-

1. What is the purpose of life? Imagine, for a moment that the purpose of life was simply for us to fertilise mother earth with our faeces and urine?

2. How can we help combat the Obesity Pandemic? What goes in must come out, but does it? Squatting is the most efficient position for bowel movement but the average adult Westerner has lost the ability to squat. The SOTH solves the problem.

3. How can we save more trees? By no longer using toilet paper. Instead, using the built in shower/dryer of the SOTH instead.

4. How can we be responsible for our private waste? The SOTH comes with a waste conversion unit that produces clean organic manure.

I’m convinced there are many more good purposes for being alive than fertilising the soil but wouldn’t you agree that if only we could sort out the basics, then maybe... we would be in a “better position” to deal with other global problems.

I'm very glad to have found a niche for my idea.

Thank you Rudra

kunika on September 21, 2009:

Its a Great piece of work!

DeBorrah K Ogans on August 27, 2009:

I have learned something here. Whenever I travel to India?

I won't have culture shock in this area. Thanks you just never know

Blessings

ZaneCoreshi on August 16, 2009:

well! the only issue i face when ever i happen to use these toilets that squatting position restricts the blood flow in legs and when you stand after finishing the business it takes a while to get the blood flow to normal which is a little painful thing.

bcarter from Green Bay, WI on July 03, 2009:

I never would have guessed that toilets are so different around the world. I spend over an hour on one of the sites linked from here reading about toilets throughout history. I never thought the history of the toilet could be so facinating.

marcofratelli from Australia on July 02, 2009:

All A-OK until the part about actually washing where the sun don't shine with your hand and nothing in between! :-) Great hub!

metaphysician on June 29, 2009:

Thanks for that. Only know I know that the squatting toilet has the benefit of getting rid of colon cancer. Whilebleach is correct, this type of toilet is used all over Asia.

hot dorkage from Oregon, USA on June 22, 2009:

I have been known to squat on a regular western toilet just for giggles. Some people might find it a bit dangerous. Once I did it and I shifted my weight a little suddenly and broke the hinges. Oops.

Smart Dad from Northampton on June 09, 2009:

OK I'm down with the squat now ... Thanks for the informative lesson

Jennifer on March 23, 2009:

Interesting Post! I have linked it to my post entitled

Cleanliness across Cultures: Complete Guide to Bathrooms in India

http://alaivani.com/Blog/tabid/56/EntryID/316/Defa...

SiddSingh on January 17, 2009:

Fascinating hub on an unusual topic! I had never given a thought about the different types of toilet seats used over the world. Yet, surprised to find that the squat toilet is used in so many parts of the world!

NDBEES from DEVON on January 16, 2009:

I've used these in Gran Canaria on the camp sites. Can be challenging after a few beers. I always find the Dutch toilets a bit weird too.

Sufidreamer from Sparti, Greece on January 15, 2009:

As Caspar said, you do still find the odd squat toilet in Greece, but they are very rare now!

Lgali on January 15, 2009:

great hub...very original

LondonGirl from London on January 15, 2009:

Indian railway toilets are worth avoiding, as you say (-:

Jerilee Wei from United States on September 26, 2008:

Glad to know that someone has the courage to approach the unapproachable subjects. Spend a lot of time in Asia, particularly China. Squat toliets are a challenge, as I have a metal plate and six screws holding one leg together. None of these are designed for the handicapped. No problem getting down to squat, but LOL getting up.

Steve Andrews from Lisbon, Portugal on September 26, 2008:

I never even knew such toilets existed! Fascinating hub!

poopstank on August 17, 2008:

lol its a pretty embarrising subject being indian myself, and yes in america we american indians still use water to wash our butts to maintain our hygiene and style of comfort. first we shit in the western style toilets, pull our shirts up and take off our pants, and find a close bathing tub nearby (which has a bucket of clean water, mug, and soap, if ur indian and cant handle the thought of just toilet paper) and take a mug and pour it through you privates and into your butt/rectum opening (the most easiest way to do it) you should also lean back so it can enter the anal opening after a while. after it is wet and prewashed, take some soap with your right hand and gently rub your butt with your hand. wash your hands over the running water with soap 2-3 times, take the bug and fill it with water to wash the soapp off your butt. then, wash every part of your legs and butt with soap and water to cleanse any germs that has splashed on your legs and butt(and feet.) take a towel and dry your legs and butt. there is no need to dry your rectum because it is only a bit wet (and that wetness is only water which will dry quickly).

at first it'll take a long time, "butt" you'll get used to it!

besides, the time is worth the comfort and cleanliness!

i preferably like washing my butt in westerns bathrooms rather than indian bathrooms because they are more comfortable and cleaner.

just if you all are wondering, i know im gross but seriously i think this is THE best way to take a shit!

poopstank on August 17, 2008:

lol its a pretty embarrising subject being indian myself, and yes in america we american indians still use water to wash our butts to mantain our hygiene and style of comfort. first we shit in the western style toilets, pull our shirts up and take off our pants, and find a close bathing tub nearby (which has a bucket of clean water, mug, and soap, if ur indian and cant handle the thought of just toilet paper) and take a mug and pour it through you privates and into your butt/rectum opening (the most easiest way to do it) you should also lean back so it can enter the anal opening after a while. after it is wet and prewashed, take some soap with your right hand and gently rub your butt with your hand. wash your hands over the running water with soap 2-3 times, take the bug and fill it with water to wash the soapp off your butt. then, wash every part of your legs and butt with soap and water to cleanse any germs that has splashed on your legs and butt(and feet.) take a towel and dry your legs and butt. there is no need to dry your rectum because it is only a bit wet (and that wetness is only water which will dry quickly).

at first itll take a long time, "butt" youll get used to it!

besides, the time is worth the comfort and cleanliness!

i preferably like washing my butt in westerns bathrooms rather than indian bathrooms because they are more comfortable and cleaner.

just if you all are wondering, i know im gross but seriously i think this is THE best way to take a shit!

poopstank on August 17, 2008:

lol its a pretty embarrising subject being indian myself, and yes in america we american indians still use water to wash our butts to maintain our hygiene and style of comfort. first we shit in the western style toilets, pull our shirts up and take off our pants, and find a close bathing tub nearby (which has a bucket of clean water, mug, and soap, if ur indian and cant handle the thought of just toilet paper) and take a mug and pour it through you privates and into your butt/rectum opening (the most easiest way to do it) you should also lean back so it can enter the anal opening after a while. after it is wet and prewashed, take some soap with your right hand and gently rub your butt with your hand. wash your hands over the running water with soap 2-3 times, take the bug and fill it with water to wash the soapp off your butt. then, wash every part of your legs and butt with soap and water to cleanse any germs that has splashed on your legs and butt(and feet.) take a towel and dry your legs and butt. there is no need to dry your rectum because it is only a bit wet (and that wetness is only water which will dry quickly).

at first it'll take a long time, "butt" you'll get used to it!

besides, the time is worth the comfort and cleanliness!

i preferably like washing my butt in westerns bathrooms rather than indian bathrooms because they are more comfortable and cleaner.

just if you all are wondering, i know im gross but seriously i think this is THE best way to take a shit!

Jerrico Usher from Bend, Oregon on August 07, 2008:

I just realized i didn't 'know squat' about indian toilet habits. *smirk* I have to hand it to you you know your sh** (was that bad?). In most of your hubs I see so much potential and amazing writing skills... I can't believe your not making money with them... but you soon will... tell me... do indians find it hard to smoke while on the toilet? Further more is it not called the john? are their other names for that toilet such as "Low 'rider'"? I have to stop.. sorry.

( ^ 8< please drive through to the next window.

I'm done. bye now.

Jerrico

KaranM on July 10, 2008:

Amazing post Rudra....i was laughing all along but by the end, i've come out a dozen times more knowledgable. Haven't ever lived in India, so cannot say I'm too experienced with squat toilets, but the few times i've visited, well it was definitely an interesting experience. Not very comfortable, but the benefits are very interesting. I dont know because of my upbringing if i'd ever be able to adjust to squat toilets, but I've definitely gained a lot of information to make great casual conversation :D

Great posts, def gonna be subscribing to this hubber.

Tottie from Australia , or China, or South Korea. on June 14, 2008:

I really had to laugh at this post. I mean - it is good information for those travelling in the east. Here in China, most toilets are squat toilets, but if one is over 50 and not used to squatting in this way (I think it is something that you need to have practiced all your life), it is a challenge in more ways than one.

Here in China these toilets are common place, and we'd rather not use them, we westerners, so we have to learn where all the "good" toilets are. I agree though - re the health benefits of squatting, but very hard to do if you are older, and not as supple as young people.

doncarlin from Tempe Arizona on June 03, 2008:

Informative, though kind of falls in the TMI category, lol. Seriously I found it interesting, and these toilets are not only in India, I've been around the world and many countries use the same type of toilets. Thumbs up from me!

dutch84 on June 03, 2008:

great hub...very original. many don't know they have options when it comes to toilet design.

Paul Felix on June 02, 2008:

Hi Rudra Its very rare for a sagitarius to be speechless but I am geeeeeeez girl good hub~cool~cya

privateye2500 from Canada, USA, London on May 15, 2008:

WOW! - Like WAY too much information (just kidding!) - who knew one could write such detail about going pee-pee. lol

great hub!

Melanie

Mitchell on April 19, 2008:

I haven't found an answer to THIS question:I have travelled a few times to India and avoided these toilets. I cannot work out how to keep my clothes on (I am male so think underpants & trousers here) and thereafter wash my backside afterwards while simultaneously keeping my clothes dry.The other alternative is to remove said clothing; but of course this means removing everything from the waist down and risk dragging them through the combined and accumulated filth on the floor. I'd be lucky if there was a hook to hang them on!Any clues here ?

whitebleach from Earth on March 29, 2008:

Thanks for the useful and good information. I would say "Natural toilet" rather than limiting with India.

All Asia and Africa use this kind of toilets. It is funny but only West (not the American indians) uses this kind of toilets. It may be related to body structure. I think western people have different structure that would prevent them to use this kind of toilets.

I would assume (no science support, sorry) the upper part of the leg bones might be longer than the shin part (comparing with Asians).

Most natural and correct way I guess. Some people think that, western way is modern way. That is very wrong. Go back to history, you will find toilets at White settlers' castles have the wooden version of so called modern toilets. I visited an Amish house as museum, there was a chair with a hole in it with a drawer that would hold a container to dump afterwards. That would be more comfortable than what they have now :-) .

Pharaoh and his people always have pictures on the chair and Buddha and his people sit cross legs. This may have historical demonstration of the differences.

Joanie Ruppel from Texas on March 20, 2008:

I could have used this hub the first time I went to Japan on business. I had no idea how to deal with these things.

prems4u from KERALA Cochin on February 20, 2008:

nice work..am using such toilets for years....and benefits of sqat position is new to me thanks for the information

Guest on February 16, 2008:

Thanks for the descriptive . . . people don't just stumble across this topic, they search for it!!!

Misha from DC Area on February 06, 2008:

We used to have such toilets all over Russia, too :) And still have plenty...

Hazel Crawner on February 06, 2008:

Okaayy, a . . . Thanks for clearing up the subject! ; )

You were very descriptive. =)

Ashok Rajagopalan from Chennai on February 06, 2008:

A delightful, much needed hub, lol! Forgive me for laughing, that is a kindergarten habit of mine, whenever this subject is brought up!

Good work!

helenathegreat from Manhattan on February 06, 2008:

Very interesting! When I was in Japan, I lived in perpetual fear of the "classic" style toilets, as I even have anxiety about American-style public restrooms!! It's interesting to hear that it may prevent colon cancer, though. Great hub!

sherputt on January 20, 2008:

Great hub

Really very unusual but very very Important topic...

AuraGem from Victoria, Australia on January 20, 2008:

What a delightful approach to a topic that is not always part of coffee table etiquette! Adored every word!

Smiles and Light

Claudine Williams from Atlanta on January 19, 2008:

The squat method is also used in West Africa!

MM Del Rosario from NSW, Australia on January 19, 2008:

I used this type of toilet when I was in Saudi Arabia, it took me a while to do anything...it is so difficult at first but you'll get use to it....

MrMarmalade from Sydney on January 18, 2008:

I find it difficult because of hip area trouble to go anyway.

I have learnt to live with it

Thanks for the preknowledge.

Iðunn on January 18, 2008:

indeed :O

rogue nestling on January 18, 2008:

It likely beats squatting over poison ivy or bees nests.

caspar from UK on January 18, 2008:

Excellent hub on an unusual subject, but worth knowing about! I came across a similar style of public toilet in Greece a few years ago.

soyelude from Lagos - Nigeria on January 18, 2008:

Nice hub...educative in toilet variations Rudra!!

Iðunn on January 18, 2008:

haha, this hadn't crossed my mind, but a good thing to know if I ever go to India. :)