How to Use a Squat Toilet Like A Pro

I’m constantly being told in Asia (usually by westerners) that squat toilets are actually “better for you”. Well if they were that great people would have them in their houses, they don’t, they have western toilets.

Now we could argue the toss about which is better, but if you plan to travel in South-East Asia, China, or Africa at some point you will need to excrete into one these bad boys.

So, how do you use a squat toilet? Believe it, or not it is not as simple as it looks, and yes I did learn it the hard way. Location, location, location, but more on that later.

Step 1

Remove stuff from your pockets, such as your phone, or it might end up on a pile of shit! I have also broken a few credit cards whilst doing the squat. Some suggest removing your pants altogether, I do not subscribe to this theory at all.

Step 2

Position your feet on either side of the toilet/squat/hole and drop your pants!

Step 3

You squat, now this looks a dam site easier than it actually is, and you need some leg strength to make this work. If you are unsure of how to do this, watch people out on the street (not going to the toilet), people squat all the time.

I’ll reiterate the location here, if you get this wrong, you are going to make a mess. Trust me on this one.

Step 4

Hurrah, it is time to let nature take its course! Do your thing IN THE HOLE.

Step 5

And this is probably the hardest part, cleaning up. Toilets in most of South-East Asia, and particularly China do not come with toilet paper. You will need to bring your own I am afraid! Also, we tend not to flush paper down the toilet in Asia, usually, there will be a paper filled bin next to the toilet.

Alternatively, and this is more a south-East Asian thing, there is the bum gun. Literally, a water firing device connected to the toilet that one uses to clean up. I’m gonna come right out and say it, I love a bum gun, and it is much cleaner than TP.

Keep in mind in certain cultures, such as Bangladesh, one cleans ones bum by (left) hand, and then cleaned their hand. Probably no ideal for your average westerner…Like a Young Pioneer, be prepared!

In a lot of places, such as India this is why if you are eating food by hand, it is always with the right, not left hand. Sorry lefties!

Step 6

Clean your “mess”. Some toilets will have a flush function, whilst others require you to wash it away with water. In North Korea, for example, most public toilets have a big container of water that one fills up a smaller container then washes all the bad stuff away.


Walk back into humanity newfound expert at using a squat toilet!

And the bonus round!

If you really cannot abide by a squat toilet then many places (such as airports or train stations) with have a disabled toilet. I often do this, and only once did I inadvertently stop an actual disabled person from using the toilet (awkward).

Happy trails!

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