I Go Poo WHERE?! A Guide to Indian Squatty Potties

Squatty Potties as the primary type of bathroom while backpacking through India?! What am I going to do?

I had no idea what to prepare myself for! Like, to the point where before leaving on my nine month backpacking adventure I contemplated buying some kind of collapsible toilet seat cover thing with legs to bring place over the Indian Toilets.

What I did wind up bringing with me was a pack of those tissue paper toilet bowl seat covers to place over. In retrospect…WHAT was I thinking?! Like, was I planning on gently placing them on the squatty potty rim and having a seat? It’s hilarious to me now!

In Maduarai, 190 Rupees ($4 at the time) got us a hotel room with this private bathroom
120 Rupees ($2.55 at the time) a night provided this shared bathroom at the Mowgli Inn in Hampi

I Can Poo and Shower at the Same Time?!

Seriously, in many of the places my wife Carrie and I stayed, the shower head (and by that I mean an open pipe pumping out freezing water) was directly over or right next to the squatty potty hole. I guess that’s what happens when you pay less than $5 for a night’s accommodations in India.

One of our pricier hotel rooms, we paid 350 Rupees ($7.45 at the time) for a bed next to this mosquito-infested private bathroom
One of our pricier hotel rooms, we paid 350 Rupees ($7.45 at the time) for a bed next to this mosquito-infested private bathroom

My Thoughts After a Month of Using Indian Squatty Potties

I recently stumbled upon the below never-before published text from my Travel Journal on India, written around a month after arriving.

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A bathroom in a pretty decent hotel in Port Blair, one of the Andaman Islands
A bathroom in a pretty decent hotel in Port Blair, one of the Andaman Islands

“As I have mentioned in previous posts, the Indian toilet is a squatty potty: essentially a hole in the ground, usually with some sort of plumbing if not a way to flush. You simply squat over it and do your business…no spending lots of quality reading time in there as is so popular back home. Toilet paper is also hard to come by and we never leave home without at least a handful in our pocket or bag.

As was the case in Central America, even though these toilets have plumbing they usually can not handle TP going down them. As such, most bathrooms have a bucket next to the hole filled with used TP. When there is no bucket you have no choice but to use a bag. This is true in public toilets and in our hotels…even the ones that actually have Western style toilets (a nice luxury).

All Indian toilets have a faucet or bucket of water on the floor next to the hole. The idea is to wet your left hand and wipe your bum, cleaning it off as you go. A direct result of this is that you don’t do much else with your left hand as it is rightfully considered unclean. If we were to offer a left hand for a handshake it’s considered an insult. However, we have yet to jump 100% into Indian culture and try it out…in case you were wondering :P”

A pay toilet that cost 5 Rupees (10 cents at the time) to use at the Red Fort in New Delhi: a popular tourist destination
A pay toilet that cost 5 Rupees (10 cents at the time) to use at the Red Fort in New Delhi: a popular tourist destination

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OK. So tell me. What’s the strangest/scariest place you’ve ever had to go potty?

Share the Journey

  • Natarajan Dorairajan

    Communing with nature is another good option!!!

    • http://www.AdventuresofaGoodMan.com Greg Goodman

      HA! Yeah, that works too…and from time to time that happened as well. But there’s no need to take a photo of that :P

      • Article Writing

        Yeah, not a good idea :)

  • Guest

    I am never going to India.

    • Ajai

      Ha ha ha!Do not worry !! These toilets are of third rate hotels,he must have been on a miserable budget,poor guy! .All star rated hotels and cafes have western style toilets.In my 40 years in India I have never had to use these toilets!

      • http://www.AdventuresofaGoodMan.com Greg Goodman

        To be fair, I never said that these were the only toilets in India. The title of the post is a guide to Squatty Potties…not to all toilets :) I have used more than my share of Western toilets in India as well. Thanks for your comment.

    • http://www.AdventuresofaGoodMan.com Greg Goodman

      Don’t worry…they have western toilets too!

  • http://crazyguylink.newgrounds.com/ Katar

    Ouch. That’s some hard restroom time. As you mentioned, there are western style toilets in India, but even still, I don’t think I could go through with the whole hand wiping thing.

    • http://www.AdventuresofaGoodMan.com Greg Goodman

      Ha, that’s funny. Honestly, hand wiping isn’t that bad once you get used to it. And TP is also very easy to come by and you can just bring it into the bathroom in with you. Thanks for stopping by and for your comment.

  • Anton

    :) There is a technique to it. you don’t hand wipe. You give it a good wash. Take a large mug full of water in your right hand and pour the water behind you and clean with your left hand just when the water hits. Repeat the process three to four times till you are convinced that you are clean. Then wash your hands with soap. Cleans better than the tissue paper.

    Imagine that you have poured sauce onto your leg- what is going to clean better? just wiping with tissues or pouring water on the area with one hand and rubbing with the other?

    I remember during my first visit to the US, I missed water so much. Felt so unclean. Using a bunch of wet tissues in the end made me feel a little better.

    In many places these days you would find a hand faucet that would spray water at good speed and accuracy so that you don’t need to use your left hand.

    • http://www.AdventuresofaGoodMan.com Greg Goodman

      Wow, Anton. Thanks so much for that detailed explanation and for a different take on the whole “left hand” bathroom process. That said, I am a bit frightful of a faucet that sprays hard enough to clean without a hand…