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 ado–doo, here’s my step-by-step guide to using a squat toilet:
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.
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.
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.