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October 2, 2007 7:40 PM   Subscribe

How to use an Indian Toilet
posted by hadjiboy (113 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
Okay.

Good to know.
posted by yhbc at 7:50 PM on October 2, 2007


This is another version of that old internet chestnut: How to use a Japanese style toilet
posted by GavinR at 7:52 PM on October 2, 2007


Just remember. You can't just throw water at it, you must throw it forcefully.
posted by DMan at 7:53 PM on October 2, 2007


Nice one hadjiboy. This is very similar to toilettes in other parts of the world, and I will NEVER get used to using the little squirty hose! (Yea, it's probably more hygienic than paper, but...)
posted by snsranch at 7:57 PM on October 2, 2007


Seems like a better method than toilet paper, not to mention no sitting on a seat. I've basically gotten into the habit of taking a shower every single time I shit at home.

I travel with unscented baby wipes and use those when I can.

It's like Will Smith said: "If you were walking down the street and you got some feces on your bare arm, would you just rub it with some dry tissue?"

/more than you need to know
posted by autodidact at 8:02 PM on October 2, 2007


Related.
posted by nickyskye at 8:05 PM on October 2, 2007


"t's like Will Smith said: 'If you were walking down the street and you got some feces on your bare arm, would you just rub it with some dry tissue?'"

I solve this by never pooping.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 8:11 PM on October 2, 2007 [2 favorites]


How apropos, sir. Good luck with your, erm, situation.
posted by SassHat at 8:12 PM on October 2, 2007


I solve it with never wiping feces on my bare arm.
posted by yhbc at 8:14 PM on October 2, 2007


Taking a shit, Indian style.
posted by Poolio at 8:15 PM on October 2, 2007


So I assume you have to take your pants completely off? I can't see how it would be feasible to leave your pants around your ankles and then squirt your ass down with a water hose and not end up completely soaked.
posted by Ynoxas at 8:15 PM on October 2, 2007


I just wipe with my bare arm.
posted by The World Famous at 8:15 PM on October 2, 2007 [1 favorite]


I've been to China (3 times) and India (once), and, thankfully, have never had to use one of these.

Hope I never do.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 8:21 PM on October 2, 2007


Thank you. So much. I have been wondering about this for years. The comments on the site were most illuminating. I was that girl who always had a roll of paper and doubled grocery sack in her bag. Now I know. I feel like a changed woman.
posted by mosessis at 8:22 PM on October 2, 2007


Naaaaaaaah. Won't say it.
posted by Samizdata at 8:26 PM on October 2, 2007


This could have interesting facets if they make a Bollywood ripoff of Clerks.
posted by ginbiafra at 8:26 PM on October 2, 2007


Huh. I always thought the hose was there in case you were thirsty.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 8:28 PM on October 2, 2007 [2 favorites]


Similar to the toilets at guantanamo.
I have a friend who went to Tokyo at the end of last year. Before he left, I sent him some information on using a Japanese style toilet. He said he was just going to "hold it" for the ten days he was there.
posted by Sailormom at 8:36 PM on October 2, 2007


Okay, after reading the thread, I have the same question as Ynoxas. My problem before had been either (a) you have crap on your hand or (b) you have a completely soaked butt, leading to very wet pants. Reading the comments, it looks like some people wash thoroughly (forcefully, even) and then wipe the water off with their hand. But how do you avoid getting the water on your pants in the first place? Easy with a dress, but with jeans?

Anyone care to elaborate? I've tried asking people this question in person before, but they always get really shy and a little offended.
posted by mosessis at 8:39 PM on October 2, 2007


jeans at ankles, hose (somewhat skillfully) from behind? just conjecturing - that would be my first attempt.
posted by ginbiafra at 8:43 PM on October 2, 2007


Sailormom: But but you might have possibly deprived him of the joys of the Toto Washlet. It has buttons! So many buttons! One toilet I used at a train station had a button to make a fake flushing sound to mask any embarrassing butt sounds. Some of them blow warm air on your parts after you've rinsed yourself. SOME OF THEM LET YOU AIM THE WATER.
posted by spec80 at 8:43 PM on October 2, 2007


Use your throwaway left hand - then don't do anything else with it. Evar.

Among Muslims, the left hand is reserved for bodily hygiene and considered unclean. Thus, the right hand should be used for eating. Shaking hands or handing over an item with one's left hand is an insult.
posted by strawberryviagra at 8:51 PM on October 2, 2007


Better than the top-shelf German toilet...
posted by growabrain at 8:53 PM on October 2, 2007


I've never used a squatter with a hose, but it's important to note that you have to squat Asian-style (heels on the ground) and not American-style (on the balls of your feet), or you'll get stuff on your pants. This also puts your butt much lower than your knees are, so I imagine if you hold the hose close at all, you won't spray your pants. As to the post-bidet wetness, sometimes a pat dry with paper would be in order.

And no, it sure ain't easy to squat like that until you've practiced. With my build, I have to put my armpits on my knees to stay balanced.
posted by eritain at 8:56 PM on October 2, 2007


gotta say, i love squat toilets, far more than sit-down western ones. it's apparently a better position for evacuation, bowel-wise, and you don't have to make contact with anything.

western toilets in developing countries, in particular, are so gruesome - never, ever, ever cleaned - that i always ask to use the staff toilet if i don't have a squat toilet of my own to use.

i've never seen one in india as clean as the one in the photo, though. either it's only a day old, or else this is a forgery.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:03 PM on October 2, 2007


(oooh, those german ones give me the creeps, with their inspection pans)
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:04 PM on October 2, 2007


it sure ain't easy to squat like that until you've practiced.

never a problem for me, and i don't think i'm super-flexible. you just need to ensure that your centre of gravity is forward of your heels, and use your toes & ankles to stop yourself from falling forwards. as long as you tilt your upper body forwards towards your thighs, you should have no problem.

that is if you are male. if you are female, you probably never had a problem squatting in the first place.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:09 PM on October 2, 2007


Ha. Suggested this for an fpp the last time the Asian squat toilet got discussed here. Squatters ain't got nuthin on the Indian toilet for foreigner head-scratching.

strawberryviagra has it. You just don't use your left hand. For anything else. Ever.

As a matter of fact, I have often wondered whether new immigrants from India have to fight back feelings of disgust, knowing that everyone is using tp, but having to get used to the whole using-the-left-hand thing. Dining with people who have both hands on the table, shake hands with the left when something is in the right, etc, etc..
posted by dreamsign at 9:13 PM on October 2, 2007


and for something vaguely related, there's a great short story about a would-be indian emigrant, who has decided that he must adapt to the western toilet, or stay in india. unfortunately, the seated position instantly blocks him up, every time. he faced his do-or-die showdown in an airoplane toilet, on the tarmac in india...

i'm pretty sure it was by rohinton mistry, but i think not from *tales from firozsha baag*, and i have a bit of a mental blank. it *might* have been rushdie, in *east, west*, but i think mistry's our man.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:20 PM on October 2, 2007


My Austrian friend has one of those inspection toilets. I've tried numerous times to explain to her why it's a weird toilet. She still doesn't get it.

First time I used it, I turned around & thought, "Huh. It's like I'm being presented with my own poop on a plate. I could do without that, really."
posted by miss lynnster at 9:22 PM on October 2, 2007


But still no one has answered...you spray your ass, it's dripping wet, and then you pull up your pants and walk away to (hopefully) wash your hands.

Don't you now have a wet ass and wet pants?
posted by Kickstart70 at 9:44 PM on October 2, 2007


Wear a sarong, then.

When I was studying at RMIT, the toilets would inevitably have shoe prints on the seat. I remember first seeing them, and thinking that someone had obviously stashed class As somewhere above the toilet. Needless to say, I never did find me some free student drugs.
posted by strawberryviagra at 9:51 PM on October 2, 2007


How to use an Indian Toilet

Are you fucking kidding me? It's the 21st fucking Century, and there's still disagreement about the best methods to shit and wipe your ass?
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:54 PM on October 2, 2007


Ubu - get converted man.
posted by strawberryviagra at 9:54 PM on October 2, 2007


Thank you all for sending my shy kidneys even further into thier shell.
posted by maryh at 9:56 PM on October 2, 2007


Don't you now have a wet ass and wet pants?

No, you learn to use yogic control over the muscles in your buttocks, lower abdomen & pelvic floor, in order to channel & then vacuum up all the water in your asscrack as you wash, then give yourself a quick enema, and squirt it back out into the bowl, all in one easy 10-to-60 second routine (depending on how thoroughly you want to wash out your insides).
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:57 PM on October 2, 2007 [5 favorites]


Wear a sarong, then.

Yeah, whasarong with that?

I'm so sorry.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 10:05 PM on October 2, 2007


But still no one has answered...you spray your ass, it's dripping wet

Well, yes and no. It is wet, but not dripping wet. So you usually don't get your pant wet, maybe only your underwear. And that too, it dries off pretty fast; I've been doing it for years, and don't find any problem with it.

Never did like the idea of using toilet paper, even if I'm sitting on an English toilet.
posted by hadjiboy at 10:07 PM on October 2, 2007


OK, another reason to be thankful WW2 was won by the Allies.
posted by maxwelton at 10:11 PM on October 2, 2007


even if I'm sitting on an English toilet

Sitting on an English toilet waiting for the wipe.
If the wipe don't come, you get it clean
From standing in the English rain.
I am the squatman, they are the squatmen, I am the toilet,
goo goo goo g'joob.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 10:13 PM on October 2, 2007 [3 favorites]


I didn't grow up with squat toilets, but from my brief time in Malaysia I really learned to like them. You just feel way cleaner. They really aren't hard to use and you don't end up with wet pants. It's not a high pressure hose! It's pretty easy to aim it just where you want and then just drip off a bit before you stand up. I adjusted really quickly, and had a hard time readjusting when I returned to Canada - I just felt so dirty.
posted by arcticwoman at 10:15 PM on October 2, 2007


OK, another reason to be thankful WW2 was won by the Allies.

Oh, it would've been just like Hogan's Heroes - we would've just cleverly converted the German inspection pan into a hinged trapdoor, beneath which would have been crafted a proper, deep-drop bowl.

(um, and the entrance to an escape tunnel)
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:18 PM on October 2, 2007


Okay, perhaps I can provide some perspective. I an expat living in Tokyo for some years now, and I use squat toilets all the time. I avoided these at first, and the first time I did it I was so afraid of shitting on/in my pants that I just took them off completely. But it's easy to adapt to this after just 3 or 4 times.

You don't have to take your pants off, just push 'em down to just above your knees. Squat and make sure any dangly bits (that's you, guys--women have it a bit easier) are pointing straight down. Here's the think about squatting--it makes everything easier and faster. It's a very natural position to be in compared with the 90 degree angles a Western toilet forces your body it. Generally speaking, you'll finish your business really quickly.

To sum up, it takes a few times to practice, but overall it's the number one way to do number two.
posted by zardoz at 10:31 PM on October 2, 2007


Whats after special id cards ? Tag them in the forhead ? lol
posted by Roman Graves at 10:48 PM on October 2, 2007


another handy tip is to lubricate the, um, 'pan' (for want of a better word) with a little water before going about your business. chances are you won't really want to dump directly into the water, because the splash factor is that much greater when you are so much closer, and it's not always easy flushing away a big pile if it lands directly on dry porcelain. lubricate it first, though, and it slides effortlessly under its own gravity into the hole at the end of the slightly tilted pan...
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:51 PM on October 2, 2007


Metafilter: "Mein Gott, zwei kilogram!" exclaims Günter, joyful and relieved. (from Growabrain's link)
posted by Goofyy at 10:51 PM on October 2, 2007


Use the natural squatting position safely and comfortably with Nature's Platform
posted by homunculus at 11:34 PM on October 2, 2007


How To Do The Asian Squat
posted by homunculus at 11:37 PM on October 2, 2007 [1 favorite]


Better than the top-shelf German toilet...

Hasn't anybody told these poor people the secret to using one of these things yet? You have to cover the inspection shelf with a raft of toilet paper. That way, when the flush hits, the turds just raft on down the pipe, avoiding the need for hours of scrubbing with a shit-smeared toilet brush.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:08 AM on October 3, 2007


I think it's so strange when people look at the toilets and shitting style that most of the people on earth use and think that there's no way it could work. As if everyone who shits this way can barely avoid shitting on their own clothes everyday. Come on.

You puzzled people - have you never even taken a dump in the great outdoors? eritrain nails it: put your heels on the ground. You can do it. It's not that hard. Billions of people all over the world can do it and if you can't, you should be ashamed. Imagine if you were brought to the state of nature and you didn't even know how to shit.

zardoz also nails it. It's so much easier to take a dump when you're squatting that it's ridiculous. It's almost instant - no struggling or waiting. In fact, I wonder if hemorrhoids are almost unheard of in squat shitting countries.

So, curious? Practice squatting - look at the illustration on the link at the end of this comment. Then, get barefoot, stand on your toilet seat, squat down, and take a dump in there. No, you won't "fall in". You'll be fine. You'll take a quick, easy dump like your ancestors did. I'm entirely serious, give it a try.

Once you develop this skill, you will never fear a porta-potty again. And you fucking goddamn "hovering" women that piss all over toilet seats, I wish you would learn this skill, too.

As for using water to wipe - OMG. I can't wait to put a bidet or toilet hose in my house. It makes wiping with toilet paper seem cruder than it already is.

This is an interesting article:
"Squat, Don't Sit"
posted by redteam at 12:25 AM on October 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


Been to China several times, love squat toilets, and wish they had them in the US. I hate it when you hear some guy taking a piss in a stall, you go in, find piss all over the seat, and know you have to wipe off the seat and put your bare ass on it. It's also pretty weird when the seat is still warm from the last person who used it. And I can't imagine how anyone could visit China three times and not learn how to use a squat toilet. I've seen Western-style toilets over there in public restrooms maybe twice, and they were in awful condition, mainly because people squat on top of the seat (I would too).

You can avoid the problem of the hose entirely by bringing a pack of your own toilet paper/tissues into the bathroom with you. However, if you squat properly and your shit is mostly solid, you actually don't have to wipe. The feces makes no contact with your skin.
posted by pravit at 12:40 AM on October 3, 2007


homunculous/ redteam you beat me to it.

<>
The first time I ever squatted (camp when I was a kid always had latrines or out-houses) was in my mid twenties. And afterwards I was a little emberassed that I had never thought to do it on my own before. It made sense in a deep, aligator brain kinda way. Not long afterwards I came upon something similar to homunculous' link and made a more modest, conceale-able version for my home. I've since returned, primarily, to my dirty western ways - but periodically revert... I could go on about this for hours... I guess the Germans were onto something with the shelf toilet, no one's shit is as fascinating as your own...

<>
posted by From Bklyn at 12:58 AM on October 3, 2007


Are you fucking kidding me? It's the 21st fucking Century, and there's still disagreement about the best methods to shit and wipe your ass?

The funny part is who is wrong. Take a look at all the recommendations for hemorrhoid treatment. Sitting while shitting causes painful problems. Squatting is suggested as both a preventative and a treatment. Go figure.
posted by srboisvert at 1:29 AM on October 3, 2007


While waiting for a toilet in Delhi train station, I saw a man go in with a newspaper and come out, five minutes later, smoking a cigarette. Damn, he must have got his technique down.
posted by rhymer at 1:37 AM on October 3, 2007


I remembar a quote by a famous female Indian Opera Singer (can't remember who though).

When asked if she got nervous when singing at the New York Met or La Scala,she replied that she just looked out at the sea of white faces and reminded herself that they all wiped their bottoms with little pieces of paper.
posted by surfdad at 1:59 AM on October 3, 2007 [4 favorites]


Well, the important thing is that one doesn't use his/her butthole as a paintbrush, smearing poop everywhere.

I don't know if he's right, but he's certainly not wrong.
posted by vbfg at 3:01 AM on October 3, 2007


Great I'm glad that's been explained to me. Now

How's that damn three seashell thing work?
posted by electricinca at 3:08 AM on October 3, 2007


The toilets on Indian trains are particularly interesting because the hole in the floor just opens to the outside of the train.. Some people use the toilets while the train is stopped at a station. When the train pulls away, those of us left waiting for other trains are presented with fresh, steaming, stinky muffins laying on the tracks!
posted by janetplanet at 3:23 AM on October 3, 2007


janetplanet That's the way all train toilets used to work, actually. Only relatively recently did Western nations start doing things differently.

There's an ancient song that Tom Lehrer recorded a version of that begins:
Passengers will please refrain
From flushing toilets while the train
Is standing in the station, I love you.

We encourage constipation
While the train is in the station
Moonlight always makes me think of you
posted by sotonohito at 3:55 AM on October 3, 2007


It's morning time now and, thanks to this thread, I feel ready.
posted by mistersquid at 4:09 AM on October 3, 2007


because the hole in the floor just opens to the outside of the train..

Back when I was doing a lot of train travel in Europe (mid-eighties to mid-nineties) pretty much all the trains were like that.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:56 AM on October 3, 2007


I use a regular sit toilet at home but in public washrooms and while camping, I squat. I'm surprised no one has mentioned the greatest benefit of squatting. When you squat, your butt cheeks are spread open and therefore you soil them less if at all. You barely even need to wipe at all.
posted by xmattxfx at 5:03 AM on October 3, 2007


homunculus: thanks for that link!

I'm not sure how they do it, but now days I think that the doors of the toilets are locked when the train is standing on the platform.
posted by hadjiboy at 5:06 AM on October 3, 2007


How To Do The Asian Squat

That was actually informative.

because the hole in the floor just opens to the outside of the train

This winter when I was traveling across subzero China, whenever we'd pull into a station there were little women who came out with metal rods and chizeled off the massive shitsickles that formed beneath the toilets. Must be lovely come the spring thaw.
posted by Pollomacho at 5:26 AM on October 3, 2007


They have the same toilets in France, in the older cafes. But they call them Turkish toilets.
posted by zorro astor at 5:45 AM on October 3, 2007


arcticwoman, Toto has a solution for you that will work on your existing toilet (possibly not safe for work---pictures of butts and frank discussion of refreshing sprays).
posted by bonehead at 6:07 AM on October 3, 2007


There are many in the mothership who'd consider this to be NRI-isque, or even elitist, but I always avoid squat-toilets if I can. Never used them in India, always avoid them elsewhere.

The only exception is the toilet attached to my room in India.
posted by the cydonian at 6:16 AM on October 3, 2007


DO NOT WANT.
posted by desjardins at 6:25 AM on October 3, 2007


I'm not sure how they do it, but now days I think that the doors of the toilets are locked when the train is standing on the platform.

hadjiboy: if you mean by 'nowadays' "in the last nine months", then maybe. just maybe.

last time i was on an indian train, though, they were exactly the same as ever, except they had installed fire escape windows that the average middle-class indian woman could never fit through. toilet doors, though? they had those swinging locks on the outside, and pissy little bolts on the inside. no sign of solenoid type locks in Jan 07, i'm afraid.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:32 AM on October 3, 2007


(oh, to be on a blue berth, up top, with a shitty fan whirring, only 32 hours to destination, insh'allah!....)
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:34 AM on October 3, 2007


bonehead When I was in Japan my apartment featured a western style toilet, but without the supertoilet addition, which I've always thought was more than somewhat unfair.

Due to the lease agreement [1] when my wife came to visit we had to rent a second apartment for her. It had a supertoilet and *damn*. They're great.

[1] Or at least that's what the university told me. "The lease is for one person only, if she stayed in your apartment you could be evicted" they said.
posted by sotonohito at 6:43 AM on October 3, 2007


(god, i miss indian trains. *consults Trains at a Glance* hm, Table #4: Ahmedabad - Jammu Tawi Sarvodaya Express 2473: Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Kota, Mathura, New Delhi, Ludhiana, Jalandhar Cantt, Jammu Tawi...hm, have never been to Jalandhar Cantonment, out of that lot...*4AM: ah! chai! chai! chaiiii!*...*big sigh*)
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:49 AM on October 3, 2007


Back when I was doing a lot of train travel in Europe (mid-eighties to mid-nineties) pretty much all the trains were like that.

In the UK, most everything built before the mid-nineties still works like that (though it isn't obvious to the user).
posted by cillit bang at 6:55 AM on October 3, 2007


That was interesting; it reminds me of a college roomate from India who took a while to get used to the idea of flushing away the toilet paper rather than putting it in the trash can.
posted by TedW at 7:15 AM on October 3, 2007


UbuRoivas writes "squirt it back out into the bowl, all in one easy 10-to-60 second routine (depending on how thoroughly you want to wash out your insides)"

Just try not to laugh when you do that !
posted by elpapacito at 7:17 AM on October 3, 2007


Squat-and-shit is the way forward!
posted by asok at 7:27 AM on October 3, 2007


re: those saying that those of us who haven't figured this out naturally must be stoopid

Of course the actual "going" part is easy. You just squat down and poop, just like you would outside. No problem. It's the "cleaning up afterwards" part that causes confusion. I remember the first time I used one of them, I only had to pee, and thank goodness because I would have had no idea what to do otherwise. There was no paper, no trashcan, just a bucket of water with a cup in it. I made sure to buy some tp before the next time I had to go, because I couldn't make heads or tails of the cup thing. And it's not that I'm stupid. Children have to be taught these kinds of things. They are not natural. That's what potty-training is all about, and I'm sure it's just as common in countries with squat toilets as it is in countries with thrones. As children, our parents tell us things like "put a raft of toilet paper down first" or "use the paper to wipe your bottom" or "use the cup to splash yourself and once you are thoroughly clean, use your hand to wipe off the excess moisture". But once we are adults, these questions become taboo. Seriously, try finding someone who will explain these procedures to you (without the veil of anonymity provided by the internet).

So, thank you internets! Now I'll know how to clean my bum next time I use a squat toilet.
posted by mosessis at 7:39 AM on October 3, 2007


there's a great short story about a would-be indian emigrant...i'm pretty sure it was by rohinton mistry

UbuRovias, it's "Squatter" from Swimming Lessons: Other Stories from Firozsha Baag. Couldn't help but recognize that reference immediately.
posted by kittyprecious at 8:06 AM on October 3, 2007


Ubu

they had those swinging locks on the outside, and pissy little bolts on the inside

Yup, those are the ones I'm talking about, which is why I was wondering how they could've been locked. Or I'm confusing them for something else, although I'm sure they were locked the last time I boarded a train (can't remember when it was, but it was definitely before Jan '07, I think).

Or, it could be that maybe someone else was already inside... duh!
posted by hadjiboy at 8:31 AM on October 3, 2007


Using the squat toilet is absolutely a good starting point to learn flexibility. Having grown up in Asia, we all have to use this method of answering nature's call.

The lack of paper is usually tackled by them providing water with a small cup of sorts with a long handle for you to, well use your bare hands to wash it. Always with the left. So if you're left handed, you're good. If you're right handed, you're f**ked. Some places actually provide a hose. To just hose things down. So you would still have a wet bottom. I hate squat toilets.
posted by schiddin at 9:16 AM on October 3, 2007


Can someone explain the plumbing of a squat toilet and the flushing mechanism? Is there no water trap to prevent sewer gases from leaking into the air?
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:24 AM on October 3, 2007


Even in the woods I sit on a tree. my knees don't bend like that.
posted by Megafly at 12:25 PM on October 3, 2007


So wait a tick. This won't work if you are wearing pants. You have to take your pants off, right?

And to do that, you have to take off your shoes and socks.

So then what? Are you shoeless and sockless while squatting? Do you put your shoes back on before you squat?

Certainly I can't be expected to leave my pants, shoes and socks on while performing the squat dump. My pants would dangle down and touch part of the hole, and they'd more than likely get wet during the spray/splash operation.

So what to do with pants and shoes?!
posted by Possum at 1:15 PM on October 3, 2007


electricinca - according to Stallone:
OK, this may be bordering on the grotesque, but the way it was explained to me by the writer is you hold two seashells like chopsticks, pull gently and scrape what’s left with the third. You asked for it…. Be careful what you ask for, sorry.
So, now you know.
posted by willnot at 2:33 PM on October 3, 2007


Can someone explain the plumbing of a squat toilet and the flushing mechanism? Is there no water trap to prevent sewer gases from leaking into the air?

typically, there's water in the hole, and no great stink, so i'd assume there's an underground s-bend.

of course, some squat toilets are just holes to a stinky pit, but so are some western toilets.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:59 PM on October 3, 2007


Possum, of course it works with pants. Do you think that every pants-wearing person in countries with squat toilets takes most of their clothes off every time they take a dump? Or maybe squat toilets only exist in countries where everyone wears skirts and tunics?

Look, don't think about it anymore: squat with your heels on the ground and give it a shot yourself. Just do a "dry run" ... that is, don't shit on the ground unless you really want to. You'll find that your pants are well out of harm's way. If they aren't, figure it out.

By the way, I highly recommend traveling in the Eastern hemisphere. Being away from civilization (like hiking in the backcountry or visiting a desert) for more than 24 hours at a time is lovely, too.
posted by redteam at 7:34 PM on October 3, 2007


Possum writes "You have to take your pants off, right?"

Wrong.

Why would you? Look at the position of the butt in the pictures. Look at the position of the ankles. Notice that the butt is not above the ankles, but behind it. Squat down wherever you are and you'll find another amazing thing: the position of the anus is actually lower than that of your ankles.

So, unless your poop shoots up into the air and in front of you, there's no need to remove your pants. If you poop in a gravity-defying arc, well, then maybe you need to remove your pants, but you probably have bigger problems at that point, like pooping on your penis when you use a western toilet.
posted by Bugbread at 9:37 AM on October 4, 2007


CPB: The plumbing mechanism is usually exactly the same. You know when your power goes out and you have to use a bucket of water to flush the toilet? You pour the water into the bowl and it flushes down. The cistern on a sit toilet is basically automating that process: pour a lot of water into the bowl at once and the water is forced through the pipes and past the s bend. The squat toilets are exactly the same, just with a flatter bowl and no cistern, so we have to use the bucket method instead of the automatic cistern method.

Wikipedia actually has some interesting articles about this, particularly toilet and flush toilet, where you can get a better description of the way a flush toilet's plumbing works.
posted by mosessis at 10:08 AM on October 4, 2007


"You have to take your pants off, right?"

Well, yes, and your shirt. and hat, if you're wearing one. You just hand them to the attendant who will be waiting right outside the... good grief who are you, George Costanza?
posted by From Bklyn at 12:43 PM on October 4, 2007


(Sigh.) Why am I treated with such disdain for having a valid question? I honestly am perplexed.

Pants around the ankles = part of pants touching the floor, no?

Floor = wet from all the bucket rinsing, no?

Hose between legs = high likelihood that pants near to the floor/hole are going to get sprayed, too, no?

I just did a dry run -- a practice squat. It doesn't look a thing like that cartoon drawing. That cartoon guy must be sitting on the hole or holding onto something, because when I squat, my butt is almost right in line with my ankles. In other words, my butt is right over where my pants would be if I had them around my ankles. In other words, I'd be crapping on my pants.

And even if the crap misses my pants, it still sounds like it would be quite a challenge to keep your pants dry -- what with them practically on the wet floor, and what with a hose being sprayed just inches from your pants/ankles.

There has to be some other nuance that people are failing to mention in all of these "instructions."

I can see how this would be easy for the gown-wearing, sandals-wearing peoples of the world. And I can see how it would not be that difficult to do in the privacy (and Costanza-like nudity) of your own home. But to drop Western trou in an Eastern dump-hole still sounds delicate and complicated.

That said, I am a huge believer in wet-cleaning post-crap. I want to make this work. I want to believe! Help!
posted by Possum at 1:23 PM on October 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


Why would you? Look at the position of the butt in the pictures.

If you're relying on cartoons for your analysis of the mechanics of the thing in real life, I'm guessing you haven't actually used one and can't actually vouch for whether or not pants get soaked.
posted by The World Famous at 2:06 PM on October 4, 2007


Possum: Unless you are hung like a hippo, there is very little difficulty in squatting with your pants pulled only partly down (that is, to just above your knees). Nothing pools around your ankles.

On the other hand, I'm currently nursing a knee injury and very happy I don't have to squat these days....
posted by kittyprecious at 2:10 PM on October 4, 2007


I can see how this would be easy for the gown-wearing, sandals-wearing peoples of the world. And I can see how it would not be that difficult to do in the privacy (and Costanza-like nudity) of your own home. But to drop Western trou in an Eastern dump-hole still sounds delicate and complicated.

oh, come on. pretty much every male in south & east asia wears western-style trousers & shoes. with over a billion people in each of just two of those countries - india & china - we're talking approximately half the world's population, in asia alone, that uses squat toilets.

you can't seriously believe that so many people have it so wrong, or put up with all the problems that you imagine...?
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:11 PM on October 4, 2007


Possum writes "Why am I treated with such disdain for having a valid question? I honestly am perplexed."

Probably because eritain, arcticwoman, hadjiboy, and zardoz had already said that you don't have to take your pants off, and your question wasn't "how do you do it without getting your pants wet?", but instead "Ok, so you take your pants off, right? Which means your socks and shoes, right? So what do you do with them?". You're treated with disdain for ignoring all the answers that preceded your question.

Possum writes "Pants around the ankles = part of pants touching the floor, no?"

Depends how baggy your pants are. Generally, pants around ankles just means around ankles, not on floor. However, for baggy pants, instead of dropping them to your ankles, you drop them to your knees, and when you crouch you're automatically locking them in place.

Possum writes "I just did a dry run -- a practice squat. It doesn't look a thing like that cartoon drawing. That cartoon guy must be sitting on the hole or holding onto something, because when I squat, my butt is almost right in line with my ankles."

Nope, you're probably squatting wrong (and I don't mean that snidely). You need to be on the flats of your feet, not the balls of your feet. If you squat American-style, yes, your butt will be over your pants basket. Squat flat-footed, and it looks like the drawing.

Possum writes "But to drop Western trou in an Eastern dump-hole still sounds delicate and complicated."

It may sound like that, but speaking from a decade of experience in Japan (which doesn't have the watering-the-butt part, so I can't really attest to how that dynamic works, but I can attest to the squatting-and-pooing part), I've never pooed or peed my pants, or gotten them wet, and I've used the restroom blind stinking drunk, too.

Possum writes "There has to be some other nuance that people are failing to mention in all of these 'instructions.' "

Details are hard to explain in words and drawings, so here's a (totally SFW, don't worry, it's just a picture of a fully dressed guy in China squatting on a street corner having a cigarette) picture. The red dot indicates roughly the anus. The green is where your pants are if you drop them to your ankles. The blue is where they are if you just drop them to your knees. So, even if you're really worried about the pants basket (or, in my case, about your wallet falling in the toilet), if you drop your pants to your knees, your pants basket is miles away from any bodily fluids.
posted by Bugbread at 3:48 PM on October 4, 2007


if you drop your pants to your knees, your pants basket is miles away from any bodily fluids.

So you just get waste and rinsewater on your shoes and pantlegs? Fantastic.
posted by The World Famous at 3:53 PM on October 4, 2007


The World Famous writes "So you just get waste and rinsewater on your shoes and pantlegs? Fantastic."

Rinsewater, I dunno (we use squat toilets and toilet paper here in Japan). But why would you get waste on your pantlegs?

And, better question: why are all the people who've never used squat toilets ignoring all the people who have used squat toilets by declaring that you get your pants wet or dirty? Do y'all think we're just lying for fun?

I'll make it easy for y'all having a hard time with this (and note this is just about the squat-and-pee or squat-and-poo section, not the wash-butt-with-hose part, because I don't know much about that):

No, you don't remove your pants, socks, or shoes.
No, poo doesn't get on your pants, socks, or shoes.
No, pee doesn't get on your pants, socks, or shoes.
No, it's not difficult. It may be difficult to imagine, or simulate in your living room, but when you actually do it, it turns out to be very, very simple. As simple as a Western toilet, no less, no more.
No, it doesn't take more time than using a Western toilet.
Yes, there are advantages and disadvantages. No, they're not what you suspect.posted by Bugbread at 4:12 PM on October 4, 2007


Ok, again, a picture is worth a thousand words, so this may help explain the "pants don't get poo or pee on them" thing better. Unfortunately, it's nigh impossible to find an image of someone squatting from the front, so I had to use some yoga picture where the person's knees are in the wrong position, and it's a female, where the illustration is about male peeing and pooing style.

There's still no nudity, so it's still technically SFW, but there is now illustrated pee and poo for clarity's sake, so be forewarned.

Illustration 2.

The blue, again, shows pants, this time in knee-locked position. The yellow shows the urinary arc. The brownish shows the defecatory plumb line. Neither one approaches the pants. You probably get more pee on yourself from the backsplash at a Western toilet than you do at a squat toilet.
posted by Bugbread at 4:24 PM on October 4, 2007


Do y'all think we're just lying for fun?

I think you're lying because there's human waste on your pantlegs and you don't want to admit it. But I'm just skeptical.

Illustration 2.

Yeah, how does that not end up on pantlegs and shoes? Look at your two illustrations and explain that to me. Because the proximity is direct and unavoidable. Maybe it's not plastered on there like frosting on a cake, but it's getting on you.

You have human waste on your pantlegs and shoes. Face it. You do.

You probably get more pee on yourself from the backsplash at a Western toilet than you do at a squat toilet.

This comment makes me wonder if you have ever used a western toilet.

The yellow shows the urinary arc. The brownish shows the defecatory plumb line.

Your awesome terminology totally redeems whatever deficiency your analysis may have. Kudos to you.
posted by The World Famous at 4:57 PM on October 4, 2007


The World Famous writes "This comment makes me wonder if you have ever used a western toilet."

Yes. I'm an American, lived in America 17 years, moved to Japan, lived in an apartment with squat toilet three years, have lived in apartments with western toilets for the last 12 years. So 29 years of western toilets, 3 of squat toilets, and a smattering here and there when using the squat toilets in train stations, office buildings, and the like. My comment wasn't meant to mean "wow, you get a lot of pee in backsplash on a western toilet", it was meant to mean "think about how little backsplash you get with a western toilet. A squat toilet has even less."

The World Famous writes "Yeah, how does that not end up on pantlegs and shoes? Look at your two illustrations and explain that to me."

Er...I'd rather you explain to me how it would. The line of pee never comes close to the pants, nor does the line of poo. How can you look at the illustration and come to the conclusion that they do? Perhaps you could provide an illustration?
posted by Bugbread at 5:22 PM on October 4, 2007


I just did a dry run...

Hmm, a dry run? I dunno, whenever I've had the runs, they're anything but dry.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:25 PM on October 4, 2007


Er...I'd rather you explain to me how it would.

If you are a man who has ever peed standing up while wearing flip flops, you don't need any explanation. The naive belief that pee is just a line is cute and, frankly, gross.
posted by The World Famous at 5:26 PM on October 4, 2007


there's no point arguing with people who bend over backwards to be such ignoranuses.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:30 PM on October 4, 2007


Eew. Bending over backwards would definitely not work.
posted by The World Famous at 5:37 PM on October 4, 2007


You have human waste on your pantlegs and shoes. Face it. You do.

You're wrong. Face it. You are. You think that all Asian people who use squat toilets get waste on their clothing on a daily basis and are simply ok with that? Are you high, stupid, or just being a troll?

bugbread is correct that you don't soil your clothing, and, in fact, I venture that you don't need to pull your pants down as far as his pictures illustrate. I pull my pants to just above my knees. When doing my business, I hold onto them with one hand just in case, especially if they're baggy, but if they're tight that's not even necessary. As I said earlier, it takes a few times to figure it out, but once you do, you don't even think about it. As for the whole washing with water and no paper thing, that baffles me, too. In Japan we use toilet paper as in the West.
posted by zardoz at 5:53 PM on October 4, 2007


You think that all Asian people who use squat toilets get waste on their clothing on a daily basis and are simply ok with that?

I don't think it's restricted to Asian people, and I have no reason to think that they are all ok with it. I suspect a lot of people are just blissfully ignorant. Try the flip flops trick sometime.

Are you high, stupid, or just being a troll?

I'm sober, intelligent, and one of the billy goats. But thanks for asking.
posted by The World Famous at 6:01 PM on October 4, 2007


Eew. Bending over backwards would definitely not work.

I dunno. It works ok for tubgirl.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:03 PM on October 4, 2007


The World Famous : "If you are a man who has ever peed standing up while wearing flip flops, you don't need any explanation. The naive belief that pee is just a line is cute and, frankly, gross."

And if you are a man who has ever peed with a squat toilet, you don't need any explanation. Since you haven't, I'll try. When you're squatting, your penis is, let's see, maybe 5 inches away from either foot, and 2 inches above them. Basic geometry, then, says...let's see...you'd have to have pee that comes out in a 68 degree cone to get any on your feet. Admittedly, if you have this problem, a squat toilet is not for you, but really nothing other than a catheter is for you.

Another helpful illustration.

The World Famous : "I suspect a lot of people are just blissfully ignorant."

True. Some people know from experience, and some people don't know but argue anyway. It's the internet.
posted by Bugbread at 7:56 PM on October 4, 2007 [2 favorites]


I'm pretty sure the GOP has come out against the squat style toilets.
posted by Sailormom at 9:09 PM on October 4, 2007


Understandably - it's almost impossible not overbalance on a squat toilet when you tap your feet.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:16 PM on October 4, 2007


Even though it's the last post, I just had to say...

I TOTALLY CRAPPED IN THAT TOILET IN KOVALAM!

What a small world, eh?
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 10:08 PM on October 7, 2007


What's weird is that toilet was in an asian fusion restaurant, IIRC.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 10:10 PM on October 7, 2007


Thanks, BUGBREAD, for explaining things without being snide. Those who troll over a poop thread truly have reached a low point in their lives. (For the record: My question was not so much CAN IT BE DONE, but rather HOW CAN IT BE DONE SO NEATLY, given a wet floor and bunched-up pants and the potential for using a cup and splashing it "forcefully."

So maybe there's not a trick other than the flat-footed squat with arms thrown forward a bit -- which might take quite a bit of practice. If so, that is still KEY information. Those are key details that should be emphasized on that original cartoon! Initially, I didn't even think to squat flat-footed. You don't want to learn that the hard way.

Still, I'm also guessing that Easterners eat better than Westerners and that they, therefore, probably are more regular (and have a lower incidence of colon cancer to boot). Maybe we Westerners rely on our public toilets more for No. 2 than Easterners rely on theirs for No. 2. Just a total wild guess there. Someone should do some research! But you gotta admit that our generally unhealthy diet (of fried foods, sat-fats, and processed foods) sure can make for some out-of-the-blue, unpleasant public poo experiences. (Burrito/pizza/steak/french-fries/beer sh*ts at the mall, anyone?!)
posted by Possum at 3:02 PM on October 8, 2007


Yes, arms forward helps with the balance, and you can hold your TP in your hands, too, since you'll almost never ever find a TP roll, or anywhere clean to place one while you go about your business (speaking of places like India, Africa, SE Asia here, Japan is a bit different). Balance tricks may vary from M to F, as women have their centre of balance around their navel, whereas for guys it's around the centre of the chest. Guys only need to get their chest forward of their ankles, but girls are usually more flexible in the legs & hips, and can probably get their bellies into a forward position without too much trouble.

I think that westerners, in general, have problems squatting flat-footed, and tend to prefer being up on their toes - ok for other purposes, not for this one. I guess that people brought up using these things have the required flexibility in their ankles, achilles tendons or whatever. In India (as in a China photo linked before) you'll often see people use a squatting position as a comfy & low-energy way of 'sitting', eg whilst waiting for a train, waiting for a friend to show up in the street etc. It's also very common for farmers, street-stall holders, artisans etc to do their work in a squatting position - vaguely analogous to the way that we might sit cross-legged for comfort & ease.

/overthinking ex-plates-of-beans
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:51 PM on October 8, 2007


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