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How To Use A Traditional Japanese Toilet

Before WWII, most toilets in Japan were squat toilets. These days, they are relatively rare — representing about 10% of the toilets in the country.

Squat toilets are mostly found in old buildings such as some ryokan, temples and shines. However, they can be found virtually anywhere — including modern buildings and trains.

You will mostly find places with both available.

Using a squat toilet can be a new experience for most westerners. The unfamiliar shape, style and method of use are largely unknown to those who live outside areas where these toilets are the preferred style. Before you encounter a squat toilet it can help to learn exactly how to properly use it, allowing you to avoid any issues or problems.

Getting In Position
Decide what to do with your pants. Before you can sit down, squat, and make use of the squat toilet you will need to deal with your clothes first. Similar to using a western toilet, you have to get your clothes out of the way before you can get to business. However, squat toilets can be difficult for a beginner who is still wearing their pants.
If you are new to squat toilets, it can be a good idea to fully remove your pants and underwear
If you are comfortable with squatting, you can try to leave your pants on, simply lowering them to your ankles.
Stand over the toilet. Once you have dealt with your pants in a way that you are most comfortable with you will need to get into position over the toilet. Stand over the toilet with one foot on each side. Positioning yourself over the toilet in this way will allow you to be properly lined up when you begin to squat.
    • Face the right way, looking towards the hood of the squat toilet if it is present.
    • Try to position yourself closer to the hood if possible.
    • Avoiding squatting directly over the hole as this can splash water back up when using the toilet.
    Squat down. After having lined your self up directly over the toilet you can squat down. Bend at the knees and gently lower yourself down into a deep squat. Your knees will be pointing straight up and your bottom should be directly over the toilet.

    • Squat all the way down, positioning your bottom at about ankle level, close to the toilet.
    • If the squat is a difficult position for you, try hugging your knees for support

    Using The Squat Toilet
    Flush the squat toilet. Some squat toilets will have a handle and will flush like a western style toilet. However, many may not have this feature and you are still required to flush and clean up after you have used the toilet. Always leave the squat toilet looking clean for the next person.

    • Use the water bucket provided to make sure any waste is flushed down the toilet.
    • There may be a foot pedal that can be used to flush the squat toilet.
    • If there is a brush nearby use it to wipe away any footprints you may have left on the sides of the toilet.
      Do your business. Once in the squat position it’s time to relax and let nature take its course. Although this step isn’t very different from using a western toilet, it has been demonstrated that squatting during a bowel movement can make it easier on the body. Just relax and do what you need to do.
      Clean up. Once you are all done using the squat toilet it is time to clean up. Many places that use squat toilets may not use toilet paper, using instead a sprayer or a pot of water and your hand. Look around the squat toilet to find which method has been made available to you.

      • Most pots of water will have a small ladle. Splash water using the ladle while wiping the area with your hand.
      • Using a sprayer is the same idea as the water pot and ladle. Spray water and wipe the area clean with your other hand.
      • You can bring toilet paper with you. However, many toilets may be unable to flush paper without clogging.
      Dispose of waste paper properly. If you used toilet paper to clean up after the using the squat toilet you will need to properly dispose of it. Not all plumbing systems are equipped to deal with flushing toilet paper and it can cause serious damage to those systems. Always properly dispose of your toilet paper once you are done using a squat toilet.

      • If there is a trash bin near the squat toilet, chances are it is intended for used toilet paper.

      Bring some toilet paper with you as you travel. Not all toilets have publicly available toilet paper and some charge money for it. It can be helpful to carry wet-wipes (like baby wipes) as you may only need one. Whether using toilet paper or wet-wipes, be sure to fold them so that all waste is enclosed before discarding them in a bin.

       It is best to carry a handkerchief or something to use after washing your hands.

      Look for a waste-bin before flushing toilet paper. Not all plumbing can flush toilet paper and sometimes it is thrown away in the waster bin instead.

      Hug your knees for extra support when squatting.

      Try to squat closest to the hood of the squat toilet to make sure you are in the proper position.Try pouring some water on the surface of the toilet before you use it to make clean up easier.

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