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12.02.2015
I don’t know if it’s because we all have this in common or whether it’s the most shocking part of life on the road, but toilet tales seem to be a favourite topic for travelers who’ve just met. Though we all loathe those nose pinching, gut wrenching squat toilets, they’re an essential part of travel and I for one would not have it any other way.
Attending to business on a moving train is never easy, but when you add the need to squat, the difficulty level is hiked up another notch.
On a train in China I encountered a ‘toilet’ which was little more than a deep dent in the centre of the bathroom floor.
NEVER enter a train toilet without rolling up your pant legs first and ALWAYS make sure you’re wearing sturdy shoes – preferably not sandals. Everyone’s heard of, and most have experienced, the long drop: the water-free, eco-friendly way to crap. What I do know is that when you crawl out of your tent in the middle of the night, with nothing but the moon and a head torch to guide you, the wide drop is not a welcome sight.
Whether you’re camping in the outback, caught short on a long hike or just attending to calls of nature on a cross country drive, everyone everywhere will pee in the bush at some point.
So as gross as you might think it is, keep some plastic bags with you and carry that used toilet roll until you can find a bin.
For reasons unknown (even to myself), I once followed a co-traveler to the door of the men’s bathroom and stood there while he demonstrated a quirky latrine he’d discovered. Curiosity drenched the traveler – if you want to test out the cleansing properties of the bum hose, do it while seated. You might think that I’m referring to the trials of hunting for a sit-down loo in an Eastern country.
A common routine involves using a customers-only pub toilet then having to buy a beer to meet the criteria for peeing there. For girls, a tried and tested way to guarantee access to a restaurant loo is stuffing a jacket up your sweater and faking pregnancy. One of the most comically grotesque toilet tales I’ve heard recently was from a friend whose vacations are dedicated to sailing around European islands. You have to fine-tune your body to ensure that you can go when you need to go and don’t end up spoiling your shipmates’ down time.
When Rudyard Kipling uttered his oft-quoted statement “the first condition of understanding a foreign country is to smell it” I wonder if he’d ever visited a Nepali latrine or a squatter in some African shed.
China was the not-so-proud host of the stinkiest toilet I’ve ever had the misfortune to use.
One of my must-have travel items is a mask – one of those small face masks often sported by health conscious residents in large Asian cities.
I don’t know if it’s prevalent in other parts of the world, but those who’ve ventured off the beaten track in China might well be familiar with the communal bathroom.
There’s really no way to deal with this other than pretending you’re elsewhere, keeping your eyes fixed on the floor and peeing as though your life depends on it – the horror will be over in a matter of minutes. It can be a little disconcerting entering a pitch-black toilet, your sense of smell being the only guide that you are in the right place. It was the middle of the day but the absence of light bulbs or windows meant that inside the cubicle total darkness reigned. Commodes in the far, far east do not fall into the category of terrible toilets, but I don’t know a single person who’s visited South Korea or Japan without passing comment on their futuristic bathrooms. A word of warning though – the arm rest control panel is meant to be used while someone is seated and buttons depicting water are not the way to flush.
If bilingual instructions aren’t provided, perhaps you could ask a friendly local for a brief orientation in futuristic peeing. This is hilarious, thanks for the much needed laugh as I have shared many similar experiences.
It is one of the universal truths of new motherhood that the moment your baby arrives you will become obsessed with their poo. But a growing number of mums and dads are taking parental poo obsession to a new level thanks to the increasing popularity of Elimination Communication.
While it might sound like a messy idea to the average nappy-using mum like me, supporters of EC insist they actually deal with less wee and poo than the rest of us because their children are toilet trained much earlier than ours, sometimes before 12 months of age. I admit the idea of saving money on nappies does sound appealing and, of course, anything environmentally friendly can only be a good thing, but I can’t imagine EC would have worked in our sleep-deprived home during the newborn days. And once my boys started crawling, walking and running they barely stayed still long enough for me to wipe their nose, let alone hold them with their legs up over the toilet waiting for them to do what they needed to do.


So, in much the same way as I am impressed by mothers who manage to only feed their kids home-made organic food, I do have admiration for parents diligent enough to put the time and effort into making EC work for their family. Once the banalities (where are you from, where have you been, where are you going) are out of the way, I find, as once pointed out by a singing cast of Scrubs, that everything comes down to poo. What would I have to email home about if every toilet in the world was pristine and fully functioning? A dent that rapidly filled – and overflowed – as desperate passengers on the 20-hour journey could hold off no longer.
I mean, it’s bad enough to misplace your feet in a standard squat toilet, but if you don’t account for the ridiculous dimensions of the wide drop, the consequences don’t bear thinking about.
Before heading off on a wilderness trip, be sure to invest in a powerful torch and whenever you encounter a wide drop, carefully memorize the width and position of the hole in question. Some find it freeing, some find it revolting and most find it difficult to dispose of their toilet paper afterwards. You might consider it disgusting but anyone who’s peed at a popular bush toilet will know that there’s nothing on Earth more disgusting than a dozen scrunched up sheets of long-since used toilet paper strewn across a beauty spot. Anyone who’s traveled in the Middle East will have seen what I can only think to call ‘the bum hose’ – a handy device to ensure you, erm, stay clean after a bathroom visit. I watched, regrettably open-mouthed, as a spurt of water shot out of the toilet bowl five metres away, hitting me squarely in the face.
Colonic irrigation-strength fountains are rare and you’ll save yourself the revulsion of freshening up in real eau de toilette. Tough as that may be, there is a bigger challenge – finding any toilet at all in certain western nations. Naturally, an hour later that pint makes a reappearance, you locate another pub and the cycle continues.
Now, I’ve never set foot on a yacht, but apparently there are strict rules about toilet usage, since your business gets emptied straight into the ocean. When travel toilet tales come up in conversation, the foul-smelling powder rooms are those which are most often, if not most fondly, remembered. Beijing Belly had struck and once the bowel blockers had worn off I was forced to pay a visit to a horrifying splat of a bathroom. I no longer care about the stares I receive as I stand in line for the bathroom, sporting my very own gas mask. Those primitive conveniences lacking electric (or sometimes even natural) light can be traumatic as you tiptoe around, wondering what you’re treading in. After relieving myself I opened the door and decided to use the thin stream of light to find the flush. If you really need to go, just wander in blind, be as quick as you can and get out, all the time thinking beautiful thoughts. Attending to business in the Far East can be a lengthy process – not for the line ups but for the wealth of choices open to you once inside the stall. Then after attending to business you can choose from a range of jets designed to massage and cleanse, followed by the automatic drier. More than a few first timers – myself included – have emerged from those ultramodern cubicles screeching and soaked, for once the spraying begins it takes forever to stop.
If that’s a little too embarrassing, remember this golden rule – if you don’t know for sure what a button does, never push it. I’ve not used the robot toilet but this article gave me back the memories I had once blocked out properly. Letitia Rowlands looks into the increasingly popular practice of elimination communication – AKA baby toilet training. Its colour, smell, consistency and frequency will be the focus of conversation at your mothers’ group catch-ups for months to come. No, my babies have definitely been poo and wee on the run (in their nappy) kind of kids until well after the age of two. It usually reaches my nose within minutes of him filling his nappy, making it impossible for even a baby sign reading failure like me to miss. Simple, cats are very smart and trainable pets, with patience and time, your cat can learn to use the toilet.
It can be nerve-wracking, desperately clinging to your money belt for fear it might be sucked under the train in a torrent of your own wee, but it could be worse – a lot worse. Few things spring to mind that could be worse than rounding a bend and slipping onto a floor that others have misaimed all over.


It shares the characteristics of the long drop – a cavernous hole whose depth can be gauged by the sounds you hear while using it, but here the architect got either careless or carried away. And a word of warning – if you’re attending to, erm, solid business in an area you’ll be sticking around in (when camping for instance) it’s a good idea to mark your used territory.
In more up-market conveniences this can be found in the form of a hand-operated shower hose attached to each cubicle wall.
As I contemplated the grotesqueness of bathing in bog water, I could only be grateful that I hadn’t tested this one out while sitting down, such was the power of the jet. There is another alternative of course – paying the princely sum of 50p and using one of the public toilets whose aroma will dispel the post travel blues, transporting you back to the developing world.
No toilet paper, no peeing in port and be aware of the daily schedule before you empty your bowels. Or if all else fails, swallow your shame and make sure everyone stays informed of your bowel movements so they can keep out of the ocean when you’re visiting the bathroom.
You’ll find that telltale odour everywhere, from British coaches and Parisian privies to Indian alleyways and pretty much any bathroom in China. Between attending to business the only way to avoid passing out into a pile of other people’s poo was to periodically stick my head out the window to gasp for much-needed fresh air.
At worst you might find a row of eastern toilets side by side in one large room or a solitary trench where toilet-goers squat one behind another. It was then that I realised there was no flush and that this toilet had not been emptied in days, if not weeks. A friend recently observed that she’d never seen instructions on how to use the john before, but when the toilet looks like a robot, it really needs a user’s manual. Those who cringe at embarrassing noises can opt for the ‘flushing sound’, an unconvincing recording meant to drown out the usual restroom soundtrack. But short of dehydrating yourself or holding off for hours on end, you’ll have to learn to deal with the locomotive loo at some point on your travels. Of course, the former can be risky in arid wilderness spots and to successfully bury your debris you’ll need a sturdy shovel and a little brute strength (six inches is the recommended depth for burying your garbage). In less salubrious bathrooms the cleansing H2O comes from a pipe inside the toilet bowl, aimed in the appropriate direction.
At least in Asia you can pee anywhere – any restaurant, any bar and even any shop; just ask and it shall be given. A word of warning: these latrines often lead straight onto the street, as discovered by a friend who discovered, too late, that your 50p does not necessarily include the use of a functioning lock.
It can stir a few memories as well as your stomach and if you ever want to stray far from home, the malodorous latrine is totally unavoidable. While sampling the delights of a North Korean theme park I was forced to try the ultimate thrill ride – a foul smelling bathroom hidden away from the rickety rollercoasters.
It’s a disturbing feeling knowing that you have just peed on the biggest pile of crap this side of Jurassic Park. And the top-of-the-range toilets even come with a wall panel where you can raise or lower the seat at the touch of a button. So the idea of throwing yet another baby cue to read into the equation would have been enough to make my head spin. Select it and click on the button to choose it.Then click on the link if you want to upload up to 3 more images.
For someone with a peanut-sized bladder, this takes away the massive stress of a wander around London, wondering if a kindly restaurateur will take pity and allow you to pee for free. My friend told how, after a hard day at the helm, she was relishing a dip in the Mediterranean, but climbed back aboard almost as quickly as she’d dived in once she realised that her swimming companions were a couple of her sibling’s turds! Outside major cities, westerners tend to be on the receiving end of constant stares in China – and those stares do not stop when you enter a communal bathroom.
The truly honest (and overly inquisitive) might also admit to testing out the hose while standing in front of the bowl, curious about how powerful that jet might be.



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Comments to «Can you toilet train tortoise»

  1. Sensiz_Olmuyor writes:
    Then encourage him to sit on it for a handful potty.
  2. DeLi writes:
    Out of diapers if his parents small, all.