How to use a squatty toilet, even with bad knees

Jun 05, 2017

We’ve all got a nightmare toilet story to tell. Whether you’ve clogged up a toilet and watched it overflow, or almost wet your pants while in search for a public bathroom, toilet situations have got to be one of the most stressful aspects of an overseas holiday, especially if you’re far away from a private hotel bathroom.

If you’re travelling to parts of Asia and the Middle East, then that toilet anxiety can increase when you throw squat toilets into the mix. Because Westerner bodies aren’t all that familiar or comfortable in the squat position, it can be a difficult and quite a foreign experience. But it doesn’t have to be. If you’re travelling overseas soon and are worried about using a squat toilet, not to worry, these tips are going to help make your loo experiences as stress free as possible.

1. Where to find them

In the Middle East and in other Muslim countries, the quickest and easiest way to find a public toilet in remote areas and smaller cities and towns is to go in search of one of the local mosques. Here you’ll find men’s and women’s toilets, and because cleanliness is such a big part of the religion, you will always find soap and water to wash your hands with. Alternatively, look out for restaurants or hotels that might allow you to use their toilet.

2. What to do

Now, the first few times  you use a squat toilet can be a little confusing and you might think it’s just a whole lot easier to completely disrobe from the waist down, just to make sure you don’t go making a mess of yourself. Well, that’s not necessary!

How to use a squatty toilet with bad knees

Take this six-step approach instead:

  • First, roll your pants up towards your knees
  • Pull your pants and underpants down towards your knees, too
  • Place your feet at either side of the toilet, there are small groove as a guide to place your feet, but you might want to go wider or further back, depending on how flexible your hips are
  • Bend your knees and squat down as far as you can, until you are in a comfortable squatting position. You might need to place a hand onto the wall or floor to keep your balance, place a tissue down first
  • Use one hand to bunch your pants together and pull them forward – you want to come out of this situation dry, don’t you?
  • Wear lightweight pants, this becomes very difficult in a stiff pair of jeans

3. Bring toilet paper

In Muslim countries especially, it’s less common to find toilet paper in the toilets or bathrooms. You will instead find a small tube connected to the wall, or a jug full of water that people use to clean themselves. If you’re not comfortable doing this, then make sure you bring tissues or toilet paper with you everywhere.

4. Toilet cover

If your knees and hips just won’t budge and you’re worried that you’re not going to be able to use the toilets while you’re away, there are portable toilet covers that you can place over the squat toilet and sit how you normally would on your toilet back home. This will allow you to sit comfortably, instead. But, generally, hotels and restaurants will have western-style toilets available.

Have you had trouble using a squat toilet while on holiday? Let us know about your experiences or other tips below.

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