All of the guide books make reference to it…the Asian toilet a.k.a. Squatty Potty. Sure the guide books refer to it - but no one from Lonely Planet is telling you how to use it. There is no diagram…they just let you figure it out yourself. So for all of the ladies out there that are planning to travel to Asia, read on.

When in Northern Thailand trekking through hill tribes our guide, Hay, would use the term “Going to Pee Pee Island” when he or someone had to go to the bathroom on the trail. Fitting since there is an island in Southern Thailand called Koh Phi Phi (pronounced Pee Pee) So - I have affectionately decided to start using the term…it just seems a little nicer than #1 and #2 - don’t ya think?

My experience of learning to pee in a squatty potty came over much trial and error (and wet shoes and pant cuffs unfortunately) over the past few months and a few countries. I became somewhat proficient over time and much trial and error.

First off - whenever possible try to carry some sort of toilet paper with you at all times. In a real squatty potty situation and even in most western public toilet situations there is never toilet paper provided. I have no idea why. The only reason I can come up with is that the plumbing can’t handle excessive paper usage - so one way to control that is to not provide it. Or maybe Thailand just has a shortage of paper products…as evidenced by their tiny napkins.

Ok - now down to the details....

This toilet is basically a porcelain hole in the ground raised up off the floor about 4 inches. There is no plumbing/flushing mechanism associated with this - so you will find the typical spout, bucket of water and ‘dipper’ to flush (see above), and a little trash can. The squatty potties are not meant to have toilet paper put down them - so definitely use the trash can! Ok - upon first entering the foreign abode…you will be confused. Do you stand over the hole, do you squat over the hole, how do you not splash, what if you are wearing flip flops, where do you stand exactly…so many questions…I have experienced them all! The first thing to know is that you should stand on the place where there are ‘foot rests’ - normally signified by little foot platforms on the porcelain structure itself. I’ve made the mistake of putting my feet outside the edges of the porcelain structure and it just doesn’t work as good…trust me. So - you stand on the foot rests on the porcelain. You try to get your pants out of the drop zone as best you can. I first would try this by squatting a bit…kind of like working out at a gym and doing squats with your trainer. However - you’ll quickly find out that this still leaves about 3 feet between you and the actual toilet…which directly effects the splash factor. Just use your high school physics…the longer the drop, the more the splash…and you don’t want to come out of the bathroom with your pant legs all wet - or worse - your shoes all squishy…it’s not fun…I’ve been there. You’ll want to reduce the distance between you and the toilet - the best way that I have figured out how to describe this is to get in a catcher’s stance…just like you are Jorge Posada, ready to receive the pitch from the mound. Now - if you are actually standing on the right spot on the squatty potty(on the porcelain footrests) and you are looking like a major league baseball catcher…then you will look down and realize - you are in the best possible position to pee. After done - you use your own toilet paper that you brought and put it in the nearby trash can. Then you scoop water out of the nearby bucket and pour it down the squatty potty a few times. I swear - there were a few times that I poured it over my feet as I hadn’t mastered the shorter drop zone at that point.

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  • Sherry Ott

    What is Ottsworld? It’s my journey! I quit my corporate IT job 2 years ago and said goodbye to blackberries, meetings and New Y…

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