Travel Diaries: Going Potty

When travelling in Asia, you may need to go potty.  And when you find a public restroom, you may open a stall door to find this:

 Squat pot

What is that?  you ask?  It’s a squat pot, that’s what.  And if you have never used one before, it can be a real experience.  Please note that I didn’t say good or bad experience.  First off, let me say DO NOT FEAR.  It’s possible that the potty you’ve found may not be your only choice.  Look around.  You may see that on the stall door there was a sign like this:

 Squat Pot Sign

And if there is a sign that looks like the house slipper above, there’s a pretty good chance you might find another stall with a sign on it that looks like this:

 Toilet Sign

If so, you’re in luck!  If not, then prepare yourself for a potty-going adventure!  I don’t have any tips for you except this (and I only mention this because I was told that some people didn’t know):  You do NOT need to take off all your bottom-covering clothes (which would also involve your shoes – blech, blech, BLECH!).  You should find success by getting them down to your knees.

34 thoughts on “Travel Diaries: Going Potty

  1. This absolutely made me chuckle….when my brother and I went to Japan in 2000 I experienced this..I had to admit that I originally thought that maybe I accidently walked into the mensroom. Not a good experience for me after sitting on a airplane for 10 hours…LOL.

  2. You should point out the right way to face – I’m fairly sure it’s facing the hood part of the toilet. And NEVER take your shoes off – the floors are always filthy.

  3. I can honestly say I’ve never in my life seen one of these! I’m going to file this away in my brain under random bathroom information for just in case …

  4. I suppose you’ll limber up well if you had to squat for all your pottying adventures! When I lived in Russia they had a porcelien floor piece with two small places for your feet and a hole in the middle of the floor. The first time I went to a public restroom with one of these ‘toilets’ I immediately walked out to the surprise of my Russian friends and they had to kindly show me how to use the ‘toilet’!

  5. I can honestly say that half my letters and emails home from Europe and the Middle East were filled with the different kinds of potties. My favorite had to be the two yellow footprints painted on the side of a hole.

  6. Yep, very experienced with these, have just seen them in Italy and France too, as well as being familiar with them from all over Asia.

    As I get older I am less fond of using them, but when needs must….Now I know how those Japanese women have such shapely calf muscles

      • I remember these toilets from when we lived in Taiwan, but there was never any pedal to flush with. It seems to me there was always a chain or a bit of rope or ribbon one had to pull. I see a bit of pink paper ribbon hanging down in this picture. I thought that was what one would need to pull to flush the toilet. So you see, there really is some modernization going on!

  7. I want to know what that little black speck is in the upper left corner. A slug? OK. Now I’m going to eat some breakfast, but that grout kind of left me w/no appetite.

    • Um, it’s a plastic bracket holding the panel to the tile wall. I considered cleaning up the picture a bit, especially since it was making me feel a bit sick, but figured it was better to keep it authentic. 🙂

  8. We actually made it through 2 weeks in China being able to dodge the squatty potties! We ran into them alright – but had lady luck on our side too. Hope you are having a fabulous trip!

  9. Oh Dear, I have a real THING about toilets. I wont use them if the lock doesnt work. I cannot bear having to open toilet doors to exit after I have washed my hands. And I fear I might fall into complete panic at having to use a squat pot! :0)

  10. Thank you for the clarification on how that all works – I must admit I’ve wondered – and I’ve been afraid to travel to various Asian countries just in case… but luckily when I was in Seoul I didn’t encounter any squats…

  11. I ran into these in the airport in Japan. I went back in line and waited in line some more for a “real” toilet. It just looked too scary to try and figure out!

  12. The ‘potties’ photos are nicer than the ones we had in China. They call them squatty potties. They were usually very unkept. Most times they were just a hole in the floor. We didnt always have toilet paper, had to make sure we took some with us where ever we went. Interesting how our cultures are so different.

  13. Oh gosh, the comments above are cracking me up! What an excellent post…and it reminds me why I always keep a travel size roll of TP or cottonelle with me when I travel (even in the US)! Am loving reading about your adventures!

  14. Hello! I just discovered your blog and had to laugh/sigh because I am all too familiar with this image. I’m Canadian and have been living in Taiwan for one year now, and although I can manage the squat toilet when desperate, every time I walk into the restroom at a new place, I think **please be a normal toliet, please please please be a normal toilet** 😛
    Your blog looks great, some interesting tutorials that I must try soon, I am glad I found you! And I hope you enjoy your visit here in Taipei.

  15. FIRST TIME COMMENTOR. I used one of these in Malaysia and I think the best advice is to always carry a pack of tissues with you. The one I went to only had a bucket and a ladle next to it…I’m not even sure how that’s sanitary…or even how it works.

  16. Hi Dear,

    I am brazilian and i lived in Taiwan – Taipei for almost 5 years. It is curios to see your observations about your hometown, you have a good eye about it… The costumes and the city are so diferent for me, i liked many things but the local food was to hard to eat.
    I like a lot your blog!

  17. I’ve come across a few of those, but the worst was on an Italian ski slope. Imagine: no hook on the door and you’re wearing a heavy ski jacket and a sweater that need to be taken off first, as you’re wearing sallopettes. You’re holding onto those and your gloves, hat and glasses, trying not to drop them on the filthy floor, while pulling down your sallopettes. You’re wearing wet ski boots which have absolutely no traction on the tiled floor and you’re skidding around.And to add insult to injury, the door to the stall is half frosted glass, it’s a unisex toilet and you like the lad waiting next in line. Meanwhile he’s wondering what on earth is taking so long and why your outline looks like you’re doing some sort of erratic dance in there…

  18. I’ll just stay home then. I have no idea how one would use that, pulling my clothing down to my knees? I can’t see how everything wouldn’t end up wet and me falling in.

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