Squat toilet

From Academic Kids

French "Squatter" toilet
French "Squatter" toilet

A squat toilet is a toilet where the user squats. There are several types of squat toilets, including:

  • the Turkish toilet where the user puts his or her feet on feet rests; the user faces the entrance to the stall; it is prevalent in Turkey and can still occasionally be found in public buildings and at motorway services in France, Italy and, more often, in the former USSR, especially in Lithuania. In India too such a toilet is widely used and is referred to as the Indian water closet or IWC in contrast with the European water closet or EWC or the Western (or "Roman") style of toilet. It is also used in the Middle East and can be found in rural areas of Greece, Italy and Portugal. This toilet is prevalent throughout most of South East Asia.
  • the Japanese toilet is shaped differently, and the user faces the flush apparatus.

Squat toilets can be a shock to people used to sit-down toilets, and may be difficult to use for the unwary, especially if on trains or ships. Many Britons, having encountered the devices in France and other countries, refer to them euphemistically as "Stand & Deliver" toilets; said with the same emphasis as when used in its ordinary context by a highwayman.

Missing image
A stainless steel squat toilet found in Hong Kong
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A contemporary Japanese squat toilet including toilet slippers.

Arguments in favor of squat toilets are:

  • squatting is believed by some to relieve and prevent virtually all colorectal disorders (constipation, Crohn's disease, colitis...)
  • they are cheaper to clean and maintain, and less vulnerable to vandalism than sitting toilets;
  • they induce rapid user turnover (no time lost due to people reading newspapers etc...);
  • most importantly, they do not involve any contact between the bare skin and a potentially dirty surface, thus reducing risks of contamination.

Arguments against squat toilets include:

  • if one is not balanced properly, one can easily slip and fall;
  • the toilet and the floor around it can be easily soiled due to bad aim.
  • problematic for people with osteoarthritis of the knee
  • splatter on legs and feet

A common argument against the squat toilet is that if a flushing system is not installed (Turkish squat toilets often do not have a flushing mechanism) and toilet paper is used, it is easy for the inexperienced user to clog the toilet. Those unfamiliar with the squat toilet should be sure to ask the location of the flushing bucket before attempting use. These buckets flush the toilets manually like a tank would.

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