Toilets Around the World [From Asia to Europe to the Americas]

By Lyza Paloma November 1st, 2020 Posted in Asia Travel Blog, Europe Travel Blog, Travel Blog 10 Comments

One thing that we cannot deny doing is pooping. And when doing the number 2, there will be toilets involved or none if you are out in the wilderness. Here are Toilets Around the World you might encounter when traveling.

Toilets Around the World
Photo by rashid khreiss on Unsplash

You might not know, but toilets may differ in countries or continents. It’s better to get acquainted with them a bit, or else you might get culture-shock. For example, you are used to sitting on a throne-like queen on porcelain toilets, but then you use toilets where you sit like a frog. Read our article to know and get ready for it.

1. Squatting Toilets

Common in: Asian, African, Southern European Countries

Toilets Around the World
Photo by sodai gomi CC BY 2.0

Squat toilets are toilets where instead of sitting, you’ll squat – like a frog. Lucky for men, you can stand in peeing, but both genders do squat when pooping. There are two classes of squat toilets; one is ground level while the other is a bit raised. Some also have a place where you can place your feet.

I have tried squat toilets, and personally, I don’t like it. However, it’s actually much better when it comes to hygiene as your butt won’t touch anything, unlike the sitting toilets. When peeing, though, if you don’t have good aim or control, your feet or clothes might end up wet. Haha.

Most squat toilets don’t have an automatic flush, so you will need to pour water from a drum to flush it. There aren’t also usually paired with toilet paper, but you clean yourself with water. Don’t forget to wash your hands after using it!

2. Western-style toilets

Common in: All over the world

Toilets Around the World
Photo by Giorgio Trovato on Unsplash

The western-style toilets are the most common type you will encounter. They are toilets people can sit rather than squat when using. Usually, it is made of porcelain and has a flushing system. Some toilets may have no cistern tank, so you’ll pour water, and the others may have dual flushing; the small one for pee and the big one for poop.

3. Pissoir or Open-Air Urinals

Common in: France, Netherlands, and some parts of Europe

Toilets Around the World [From Asia to Europe to the Americas] 01
Photo from Giovanni CC BY-SA 2.0
Well, we have definitely seen people urinating on trees, buildings, or public places that are definitely not meant for peeing? So, here’s a solution – a pissoir. It’s an open-air urinal that is for men, and your private parts are screened. If someone wants to pee, there is no need to look for a nook; just look for an open-air urinal.

P.S. As a female, I would be shocked to encounter this, especially if the person is covered in half.But, I’m also a bit jealous; I wish I could pee easily, haha.

4. With Bidet

Common in: Arab Countries, Sub-Saharan Africa, Southern Europe, France, Italy, Portugal, some South American Countries, Japan

Toilets Around the World
Photo by Ted & Dani Percival CC BY 2.0

You might get shocked to see two toilet bowls in a toilet. I was even shocked the first time I saw one! If you see this, the one is a toilet bowl, and the other probably a bidet. A bidet, meaning little horse in French, is a bowl that helps wash your lower area (human genitalia, anus, and buttocks.) Water comes out from it, so you don’t need to use tissue paper or get a bowl of water to clean yourself.

There are also countries whose bidets are not bowls but rather a bidet spray or shower. It’s not used for taking a bath but in your lower area. For that hand-held bidet shower, you can control it rather than adjust your position. It’s pretty convenient, and I am delighted we have one at home!

5. Washlet

Common in: Japan

Toilets Around the World
Photo by Nick Nguyen CC BY-SA 2.0

If you think the bidet is cool, toilets in Japan are way cooler. I mean, I could live near a washlet and be happy. A washlet is a registered trademark of Toto, a company in Japan. It actually has an electronic bidet; just press the button if it’s for your girly parts or your anus, and water will come out. You can adjust the pressure, too.

One additional feature can be seat heating, so even if it’s cold outside, your butt will be happily sitting on the warm throne. And in case you poop or do something, there’s a noise button. This is my personal favorite; well, it’s probably everyone’s favorite after using it.

Toilets Around the World
Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

Those are the common toilets around the world. So, don’t be shocked when you encounter them during your travels to other countries. Please also note that some toilet etiquette might not allow you to flush toilet paper or the bowls; some require you to do so. Be observant and read the signs.

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About the Writer

Lyza Paloma

Hey, I’m Lyza! I once was a person who just imagined going to places “one day” but decided to pursue my dreams. My first travel abroad was in Japan, solo, last 2018, and fell in love with the journey since. I’m aiming to visit 10 countries before turning 30 and 2 new places in the Philippines every year. Besides traveling, I love organizing trips, taking pictures, reading, and making new friends. Follow my adventures through my Instagram.

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10 thoughts on “Toilets Around the World [From Asia to Europe to the Americas]

  1. I have seen these potties in several articles. “Seated” toilets would seem absolutely essential to aged persons ( or handicapped) that can not squat onto a toilet in the floor. I’m an older lady with muscle deterioration. I am pretty sure I would need a fork lift to gain my feet after using a hole- in- the- floor toilet!!! So in countries without Western style amenities, what accomodations are made for elderly or handicapped persons?

  2. I’m living in Japan now and one thing that I especially love about this country is their toilet (to be honest). During winter, you can choose to keep the thing warm for sitting! It’s really cool and I could totally stay there for an hour for comfort. Lol.

  3. I couldn’t stop laughing with this one! Chinese people’s throne is exactly the same as the Indian ones, plus all of the spit, bloody pads, soiled nappies, etc. in the public toilet. I actually prefer squatting on the Chinese style ones than the western style toilet, when I’m in public. Because of the very obvious reason. 🙂 But students’ toilet, (I’m talking about the toilet where there’s no door in every cubicle and the cubicle wall is only up to my hips. I’m 5’2″, by the way.) is just too much for me. Especially, on winter times. You know, layers and layers of clothes and long-johns/leggings/tights under-your jeans times?! And your students will say hi to you while making business with nature?!

    1. hahahhaha!! One of the funniest comment I’ve ever read today! hahaha! I did that many times on Vietnamese schools’s toilet! haha

      1. I just saw your comment, Kach! I apologize. That’s why I love backpack. 🙂 I wear my backpack as a “frontpack” LOL! To cover the things that need to be covered, when I’m the campus’ toilet. 🙂

  4. My eldest used the bidet for washing his hands, until he got to the age of reaching the toilet basin! Have tried the squat down-type (first picture) in China though.

      1. These information may be stupid, butt very essential before you travel to another country. This will help us to understand there follow of culture.

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Written by Lyza Paloma

Lyza is a native of Leyte who spent 10 years studying and working in Cebu before working for Two Monkeys Travel. She decided to stop daydreaming and started to pursue her dreams of traveling to the Philippines and the world. She has already been to 4 countries in Asia and 18 provinces in the Philippines. She’s flexible and can travel solo, with friends, or family. Besides traveling, she loves organizing trips, taking pictures, reading, and making new friends.

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