Our differences are what makes us beautiful — and toilets are no exception. Some types of toilets allow you to linger comfortably for hours while you swipe through potential soulmates, while others require hip flexibility and quads of steel just to avoid peeing on your own feet.
Here are the different types of toilets you can find around the world, and how to navigate each type so you don’t end up dropping your iPhone into a poop-filled hole in the ground. Not saying I’ve done that, but… new phone, who dis?
The 3 Main Types of Toilet Styles Around the World
1. Squat Toilets
A squat toilet is literally a hole in the ground you squat over. There’s nowhere to sit and relax, so if you’re feeling a bit nauseous after the night market and just want to sit and stare into the stall door for a bit, you’re pretty much screwed.
Because whereas men just get to aim and go, if you’re a female traveler, these types of toilets require you to flex those quad muscles.
Squat toilets are most popular throughout the Middle East, Asia, Africa, and South America. And, while technically any hole in the earth would work (and sometimes that’s literally all they are), they’re typically made of porcelain, stainless steel, metal, plastic, or concrete. Ooh, look, a pothole!
It’s rare you’ll find toilet paper, so I advise carrying a roll (or some of these biodegradable wipes) with you. Just be prepared to toss it in the trash can or pack it out in a resealable bag.
How to Use a Squat Toilet as a Woman
- Place each foot on the foot grips (small ridges) to the side of the toilet hole.
- If you’re wearing pants, roll the bottoms up to your knees so you don’t pee on them. Honestly, I’ve just taken my pants off entirely to avoid any awkward wet spots, but maybe you have Hawkeye-level aim. If you do take your pants off, you can hold them, drape them over your neck, or hang them on a hook or the hinge of the door.
- Squat as low as you can go, aim for the hole so you don’t splash yourself, and pray you don’t fall over or pee on your leg.
- If there’s a spray hose, keep your legs closed, squat, and use the hose to rinse off. Dry off with the toilet paper your brought or twerk until you’re dry.
- If there’s no hose or TP, use your left hand. (Keep your right hand clean for handshakes and high-fives!) Look, we told you to BYOTP, so don’t blame us.
- Flush. If the toilet doesn’t have plumbing, that’s what the water-filled bucket in there is for. Some squatters lack plumbing, so a bucket filled with water is provided for you to flush the waste down for the next person.
I love how bathrooms here have this water hose next to the toilet incase you get thirsty while in the restroom pic.twitter.com/xsfrFeYkzh
— Dean Michael Unglert (@deanie_babies) July 10, 2018
2. Bidet Toilets
Just like the spray hose is not a drinking fountain, the weird-looking toilet-like thing next to the toilet, is probably not a broken sink. It’s probably a bidet.
Go ahead and tell your frenemy it’s for their hands, but here’s the real deal: It’s actually used to rinse off your butt and lady parts after you use the bathroom.
If you can manage not to spray the entire room, you’ll quickly see why the world loves bidets. They give you that fresh and clean feeling, they minimize plumbing problems, and they’re gentler on your skin than toilet paper. They also reduce the amount of paper you flush down the toilet, making them more eco-friendly than your standard Western toilet.
No wonder America hates them.
Most of the ones you see are standalone bidets. (These are the ones masquerading as mysterious pieces of bathroom furniture.) But there are also bidet toilets, like the high-end Japanese toilets that feature auto-close lids, self-cleaning capabilities, and built-in Bluetooth speakers.
Dropping six months’ rent on something you drop the kids off to the pool in might seem extravagant until you realize it will make noises and hide the fact that you ate Taco Bell for dinner. Again.
How to Use a Standalone Bidet:
- After you’ve used the toilet, straddle the bidet. Facing the controls can make it easier to adjust the water pressure and temperature, but face away from the controls if you need to wash your bum.
- Either squat over the bidet or sit directly on the rim.
- Turn the faucet, adjust the temperature to your comfort, and let the water wash away your sins.
- If the bidet has a built-in dryer, it will probably have a button that says “dry.” Press it and enjoy a weird but pleasant breeze.
3. Western Toilets
You’ve most likely used a Western toilet before. Hopefully you haven’t just been peeing in old Snapple bottles…right? We presume you already know the basics: Sit, pee, wipe, flush.
You may have mastered the Western toilet, but these types of toilets can be incredibly wasteful. On average, consumers use 20,805 sheets of toilet paper per year (or 3 rolls a week per person), most of that virgin Canadian forests. (That link is SFW unless you’re really into trees.)
Or consider stocking your home loo with recycled toilet paper or installing a bidet toilet seat for about $50.
Chelsea has traveled to over 50 countries and has had every major third-world disease (but like, in a hot way). Follow her on Instagram and Twitter!
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