How to Use Asian Squat Toilets : The Chinese “Community” Toilet

Last Updated on August 17, 2017 by Christine Kaaloa

How to Use Asian Squat Toilets #2 | A Chinese Toilet

Travel is always an adventure. Over the years, its taught me to have an open mind, while exposing me to a variety of situations, which throw me outside of my comfort zone. One of those zones happen to be toilets; hence, why I have a section of my blog dedicated to them!

Until now, I’d heard about toilets in China. I was not thrilled knowing I might come across them in my travels. In fact, a part of me secretly avoided China, partially due to this.  I know I look tough for traveling alone. But sometimes, I’m just a big baby.

How to Use Asian Squat Toilets

Of Asia and its toilet types (luxury, bidet and squat), Indian toilets can take the prize in low maintenance and smell. Rural places in Asia, can occasionally bear a restroom consisting of a hole in the wooden boards with flies buzzing overhead, like a diamond in the rough! (watch my video above)

This is certainly a culture shock for a westerner like myself.

The Chinese “Community” Toilet

China seems to surpass them all in culture shock, as it is occasionally known for the formidable “community squat toilet restroom”.  These toilets don’t have a partition between stalls.

I was on the bus for several hours as it drove through the Tibetan Plateau region of Northeastern China. It was a high altitude region full of vibrant colors, dancing Tibetan prayer flags and stretches of lime green flatlands dotted with the occasional yak.

At some point, our bus of press trip bloggers, stopped at a rest stop so we could relieve ourselves. I wasn’t prepared for what I was about to experience, but having spent too much time in the gift shop, I didn’t have much time to pause and think as the bus was revving up to leave. Yes, I had to go to the bathroom.  In I went.

The community stall was a concrete slab with a gutter drain below. There were foot-high partitioned row stalls, set up like a train line. While peeing, you would see the dropped pants and bare ass crack of the person in front of you as they peed.  It was certainly a wakeup call to see fellow female bloggers’ bare asses, while knowing mine was exposed as well.  But the truth is, when you have to go, you have to go.

Sometimes, it’s better to experience when you’re in a hurry. The pain is momentary and it all feels like a blur.

China Toilet Tips

• Always bring tissue and/or baby wipes with you. These toilets almost never have tissue for wiping up after yourself. If you use baby wipes, be sure you dispose of them in the trash recepticle.

• Bring your hand sanitizer. There isn’t always a wash basin.

• Unless you have bad knees, I probably wouldn’t bring a feminine urinary device into a restroom like this. Obviously, you’ll be the only one standing with your pants around your ankles, while everyone else is squatting. This may draw stares from those around you.

• If you don’t know how to use a squat toilet, then read my posts and watch my video on How to Use Asian Squat Toilets ( post #1 and post #2)

• Bring your sense of humor and adventure.  You’ll need it.

What are your world’s worst toilets experience? 

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Travel Tips, China, World Toilets

11 Comments. Leave new

  • Take note that the upflush toilets we’ve mentioned are a few of the ideal macerating toilets in the marketplace at the moment, and that means you can’t go wrong no matter which one that you pick.

  • I only ever had to use one toilet this bad in China. It was more of a trough than a couple of holes in the ground and so you could see everything that was down there really well. Yuck!!

    I also had an audience of bored Chinese men watch me go in and laugh uproariously at the look on my face after I came out. Fun times.

    The secret to making it easier on your knees and legs is to squat down all the way, so your quads touch your calves, then hang your arms forwards over your knees for balance. Once I learned this move, I stopped minding squat toilets so much!

  • 1. Secure everything in your pockets, hanging from you and on you in your bra or body bag so it doens’t fall in when you pull down your pants. 2. ensure that your camera bag, backpack, etc are securely out of the way. Consider having a friend hold them. 3. Pull down your pants, bend your knees, and relieve yourself. You have to squat less than you think. You can practice at home in the tub, but obviously wash it out afterward. 4. Wipe and put the paper in the waste recepticle. 5. You may only have what you bring to wash your hands with. 6. Never again leave a used napkin on a table, because you may need it in your next pottie. I’ve been carrying used napkins for this purpose for 38 years.

  • Yes, Carol, those of us over 50 with bad knees have to improvise!

  • That is so wrong in many ways. LOL. If you can use it without cramping your legs? you are my new American Idol.

  • Raised in NJ but squatty potties are cleaner because you don’t touch them. They also use less water. Don’t know how much longer my knees can take them though.