The Pros and Cons of Using a Squat Toilet


1. What is it?

The squat toilet or squatters is a widely used toilet in China. It is basically a porcelain pot built into the floor. Unless you stay only in upscale hotels or restaurants, you are very likely to see and use this kind of toilet in China.

2. The cons of the squat toilet

  • Bad smell. There isn’t much water in this kind of toilet when you go. You only flush it after finishing the business.
  • Muscle strain. For someone who never used it before, expect the strained muscles on both legs after squatting over the pot a few minutes.
  • Not so clean. Restrooms with squatters, unlike the restrooms in hotels or fancy restaurants, are often not so well maintained and cleaned.

3. The pros of the squat toilet

  • Cheap. It costs about one fifth of the regular toilet.
  • Water efficient. The squat toilet does not retain much water after flushing, and it uses much less water than regular ones.
  • Possible health benefits. According to this article, bowel evacuation when seated results frequently in obstructive constipation. This problem can be avoided using a squat toilet.
  • No skin touch. The charm of using a suqatter is that you never have to let your skin touch the toilet like you do with the regular ones. This is a big deal when you have to use the public toilets in crowded places. Actually, Chinese are very reluctant to use regular toilets in public places for fear of contracting skin diseases.

A word of caution: when you are traveling by train in China, be prepared to use the squatters because very few trains have regular toilets.

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