Monkey Abroad

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Squat toilet

Asian Toilets: a Step-by-Step Guide to Using the Squat Pot


If you visit an Asian country, you’ll need to know how to use an Asian toilet. Though bathrooms here are becoming more and more westernized, many toilets still lack the luxury of a porcelain seat. When nature calls and you’re face-to-face with a squat pot, you’ve got no choice – you’re gonna have to use it.

[Edit: April 6, 2014 – If you prefer video instruction, be sure to check out (VIDEO) How to Use an Asian Squat Toilet]

Using an Asian toilet is just like doing your business in the woods. Many actually prefer this method, and I can see why. It’s a more natural position than sitting on a seat. So without further adodoo, here’s my step-by-step guide to using a squat toilet:

Squat toilet

Asian toilet equipped with a bucket of water.

1. Remove your underpants

Remove your shorts too, obviously. Find someplace nearby to hang them up. The ground is usually wet in Thai restrooms and you don’t want soggy underpants. A doorknob is typically your best bet for hanging.

2. Assume the position

Take a deep breath and stand over the toilet. There are usually convenient foot grips next to it that you can stand on. I prefer a wider stance, so I stand with my feet placed outside of the foot grips. With feet about shoulder width apart, squat down. Be sure to keep your heels on the ground.

3. Do the deed

If you’re the type who enjoys a long, magazine-in-hand bathroom session, you may not enjoy the squat toilet method. It’s exhausting to squat in this position for longer than a couple of minutes. If you have trouble balancing, place your hand against a nearby wall.

4. Clean-up

Here’s where it gets tricky, especially after taking a dump. Each bathroom is different, so there will be different clean-up methods available. Some bathrooms have nothing, others have a bucket of water. Just don’t count on toilet paper being available. For this guide, I’ll assume you have a water bucket.

Remaining in the squat position, reach into the water bucket and grab the small bowl. Scoop some water into the bowl, then use it to fling water onto the area that needs cleaning. Splash liberally. Don’t worry about getting the floor wet – it’s always wet in Asian restrooms.

Toilet paper – I suggest carrying some with you. Not many places provide it so it’s best to be prepared if you’re a diva about this kind of stuff. Be sure to toss the used toilet paper into a trash can – squat toilets usually don’t have the proper plumbing necessary to flush TP.

Squat toilet

To flush, scoop water from the bucket into the bowl and dump it into the toilet a few times.

5. Flush the toilet

Since there’s no automatic button or lever that flushes a squat toilet, you have to manually flush it yourself. Scoop water from the bucket into the small bowl and dump the water into the toilet a few times. Repeat until the water appears clean.


If you follow these steps, you’ll use an Asian toilet successfully. Who knows, you may actually grow to prefer this method over the seated western variety. Personally, I feel like an animal when I use the squat pot, but you’ll never know how you like it until you try.

Author: Kevin Cook

I want to inspire you to pursue your own dream of traveling and/or living overseas!


  1. what about number 2’s?! how do u clean afterwards? please don’t say…same!

  2. I was under the impression that, rather than using your hand for cleanup, you’re to use the jiffy-pop method. Just shake the cool-whip bowl up and down…deftly…and try not to leave a cool, wet mess.

  3. If not with tp or hand, how do you clean your bum after use??

    • You splash it vigorously with water from the water bowl. You’ll get a little wet in the process but it’s effective. Thanks for all the kind comments Sean! appreciate your feedback!

  4. Sounds intriguing

  5. Your blog was making me want to visit Thailand until I read this one… I would be the diva in need of some TP. 🙂

  6. So you shake to dry and hope when you put your pants back on they don’t get all wet so everyone knows your “business?”

  7. Nice post. Here is a link with visuals of that same process. Happy squatting!

  8. That’s a very handy toilet guide, squat toilets are frightening, especially if you’re not prepared.

  9. Pingback: Culture shock: from most to least? - Page 2 - City-Data Forum

  10. Every 7/11 has TP & wet wipes…..Always keep a pack of wet wipes accessible when out and about…..About 90+% of public toilets have western style toilets available….If there’s 10 stalls could be anywhere from 1-10 western….All handicap toilets do too…..As do main road diners & big brand gasoline stations….
    Most are cleaner than you’ll find in many western countries….

    I live in Thailand…

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