Squat toilets and kids: Everything you never wanted to know

The newbies guide to squat toilets and kidsNowhere is it more evident that the world is a man’s toilet than in South East Asia, spiritual home of the squat pot! When it comes to these – unless the urge to purge is of the number two variety – boys really do have it easy. They just need to point and shoot. But for girls, especially little ones, things can get a little more complicated.

And though your kids may initially be disgusted, scared or even think you’re taking the piss when they come across their first squat pot, they’ll have little choice but to give one a good hot go when nature calls. And let’s be realistic, with children and their hummingbird size bladders, that will be fairly often. And finding a more luxurious throne for your little prince or princess can prove to be a truly epic quest.

Asian Squat toilets and kids - a how to guide

But fear not, they, and you, will survive the squatty potty. Some of you may even learn to love them, though I doubt that I ever will count myself amongst that number. Regardless, here we have the scoop on poop, squat toilet style, with these 13 tips for squat toilets and kids.

1. Bog standard – Your kids will follow your example so try not to make a big deal about the situation, or else they will too and then the shit will really hit the fan, or whatever else is nearby.

2. Paper, mate – This is purely a BYO situation, though we’re not talking booze here. Although it must be said a stiff drink afterwards certainly wouldn’t hurt. I’m talking toilet paper, as squat toilets never stock it. NEVER! If you’re lucky there may be a communal roll on the outside of the cubicle. So make sure everyone is stocked up before the event or you’ll be reaching for the hose or bucket. More on these later.

3. When toddlers toot – Younger children will require assistance, which will generally result in feet getting wet. Yours! Unless you wear gumboots or follow the correct pooping procedure.

4. Get your gear off – It is advisable to remove the entire bottom half of your clothing so it won’t be in the line of fire of poorly executed ablutions. Or from the damp – and it will be – floor. This is especially important with kids, who aren’t renowned for their aim! Hooks for clothes are generally in short supply so you may need to embrace your inner coat hanger and just lob clothes over your head or shoulder.

5. Know thy place – Squat toilets generally come with grooved foot areas on either sides of the bowl on which to place your feet. Use them.

Asian squat toilets and kids - a how to guide

6. Brace yourself – Lower yourself as far as you can go into a squat position with your weight back on your heels, your knees pointed toward the ceiling and your legs spread over the hole of the toilet opening. Give your legs a wee cuddle if it helps. Then hold this position until your legs go numb. Which is a given as Western muscles aren’t as evolved when it comes to this position.

Asian squat toilets and kids - a how to guide

7. The support squat – While we sent our eldest in to battle for himself, our youngest required support. This requires lowering said child in to the squat position, and holding them from behind so as not to become a target.

8. Slippery when wet – The good news is that the floor of the squat toilet is more likely to be wet from fresh water used to wipe and flush and not from poor aim – the locals are pros at this. The bad news is that they can be quite slippery so keep a grip on little ones at all time unless you want them to end up in the bowl.

9. Relax – Once you’re in position do like Frankie and relax! Then just let gravity do its thing. It’s actually better for your colonic health.

10. Shoot and score – Do not place toilet paper in the bowl as the plumbing is not designed to take it and will clog up. Instead practice your basketball dunking and shoot for the basket or bin supplied.

11. Wet and wild – You forgot to pack the toilet paper even after we warned you? You’re going to need a plan B. Short of using your clothes and setting fire to them afterwards, that will inevitably be turning to either the hose or water pot provided to spray or splash away any leftovers. The preferred etiquette is to perform this with your right hand while wiping it clean with your left. If you’re with a younger child, guess whose job that’ll be! You got it! Afterwards just shake the excess water off and drip-dry for a minute or two before getting your gear back on.

12. Flushed with success – there’s no fancy flush mode here. You’ll need to scoop more fresh water out of the water bucket provided and wash it down until it looks clean.

13. Hands on – Finish up by washing your hands with soap and water and then liberally douse yourself in anti-bacterial hand wash, a bottle of which is the squat toilet users best friend. No shit!

17 Comments on Squat toilets and kids: Everything you never wanted to know

  1. Christine @ Adventure, Baby!
    April 22, 2016 at 10:01 pm (8 years ago)

    You’re bringing back very unpleasant memories of my trip to China with this one! Can’t wait I’m keen to return any time soon. 😉

      April 25, 2016 at 1:54 pm (8 years ago)

      I love Asia to much to let it’s love of squat toilets keep me away Christine 🙂

  2. Ana
    April 22, 2016 at 10:28 pm (8 years ago)

    Bahahaha!! Thanks for the scoop
    On poop Asian style – remember it well

  3. Debbie
    April 23, 2016 at 9:18 am (8 years ago)

    ‘Embrace your inner coat hanger’ love it. Squatting for girls is so tricky

      April 25, 2016 at 1:55 pm (8 years ago)

      It is! Those boys have it so easy x

  4. Dana
    April 23, 2016 at 9:24 am (8 years ago)

    Mr 4 was OBSESSED with squat toilets when we went to China. Couldn’t drag him away, just fascinated. SO GROSS. They’re so messy.

      April 23, 2016 at 11:25 am (8 years ago)

      Ahaha! Kids are gross aren’t they?

  5. kylie
    April 23, 2016 at 9:30 am (8 years ago)

    My late father once told the story (at the dinner table) of how he learned to use a squat toilet on a moving train in China (where he worked regularly for a month or more at a time). He didn’t fully remove trousers, instead removed one leg from his trousers, wrapped that trouser leg around the waist and tucked it into the waistband. It all seemed highly convoluted. I think he would have benefited from your excellent advice Aleney.

      April 25, 2016 at 1:56 pm (8 years ago)

      Wow that sounds complex but ingenious Kylie!

  6. Lisa
    April 23, 2016 at 10:38 am (8 years ago)

    Taking Miss 7 to Indonesia after Christmas. We are not looking forward to squat toilets – her aim is terrible.

      April 23, 2016 at 11:24 am (8 years ago)

      Remember to pack the paper. And dresses are easier than pants!

  7. Kirsty @ My Home Truths
    April 23, 2016 at 9:34 pm (8 years ago)

    I don’t think my kids would cope with squat toilets – I may need to wait a bit longer before introducing them to the joys of toileting in SE Asia!

      April 25, 2016 at 1:56 pm (8 years ago)

      You’ll be surprised at how adept they become. They;re far more flexible than us!

  8. Em @ Have A Laugh On Me
    April 26, 2016 at 10:22 am (8 years ago)

    This is GOLD, my kids would be quite surprised to see such loos. I’m no expert at them but I give it a red hot shot!! xx

  9. Lemuel Benet
    October 18, 2016 at 11:42 am (8 years ago)

    I realy love the post about toilets’ information.

  10. Kate
    March 11, 2017 at 5:23 am (7 years ago)

    Now you’ve really said it all! I was 25 when I encountered my first squat toilet. I needed this guide!


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Hey, I’m Aleney! A mum, award-winning travel writer, magazine editor and gallivanting glutton. He’s Raff, the “boy” in boyeatsworld, and a fearless foodie, adventurer and eco-warrior. Along with his all-singing, all-dancing, all-adventurous sister, Sugarpuff, we’re exploring the world’s colour, culture and cuisine on a food safari for the junior set.

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