Unusual and interesting toilets from all around the world.

Toilets of the World

Squat Toilets and Raised Commodes

This is the biggest toilet question in the minds of most international travelers. For some potential travelers, especially Americans, it may be the biggest question of all and a large part of what keeps them from traveling out of their fear of the different and the unfamiliar:

When I visit that country, what will the toilets be like?

Will they be squat toilets, pans in the floor?

Or will they be raised commodes, like porcelain chairs?

For absolutely everything I have on the topic of toilets, arranged on a country by country basis, see my collection of international toilets. But allow me to attempt to summarize the distributions of squatters and commodes, of pans and thrones:

Read more about squat toilets and raised commodes »

Today's Featured Toilet
Leon Trotsky was a leading Communist theorist, but he fell from favor and was expelled from the Soviet Union. He ended up in Mexico in the 1930s, where he lived at the home of the painter Diego Rivera. Trotsky's affair with Rivera's wife Frida Kahlo led to Trotsky finding a home of his own.

Trotsky's home in Mexico City is an interesting time capsule of an upper-class Mexican home from the 1930s. You can tour it and see several plumbing details including Trotsky's toilet with its very high wall-mounted tank, his tub, his water heater, his kitchen sink, and more.
Check back tomorrow for another featured toilet!

Keep This Book In Your Bathroom

Rose George's The Big Necessity: The Unmentionable World of Human Waste and Why It Matters is a fascinating description of sanitation conditions around the world. To quote from the introduction:

[....] 2.6 billion people don't have sanitation. I don't mean that they have no toilet in their house and must use a public one with queues and fees. Or that they have an outhouse, or a rickety shack that empties into a filthy drain or pigsty. All that counts as sanitation, though not a safe variety. The people who have those are the fortunate ones. Four in ten people have no access to any latrine, toilet, bucket, or box. Nothing. Instead they defecate by train tracks and in forests. They do it in plastic bags and fling them through the air in narrow slum alleyways. If they are women, they get up at 4 A.M. to be able to do their business under cover of darkness for reasons of modesty, risking rape and snakebites. Four in ten people live in situations where they are surrounded by human excrement because it is in the bushes outside the village by in their city yards, left by children outside the backdoor. It is tramped back in on their feet, carried on fingers onto clothes, food, and drinking water.

[....] Poor sanitation, bad hygiene, and unsafe water — usually unsafe because it has fecal particles in it — cause one in ten of the world's illnesses. [....] Diarrhea — nearly 90 percent of which is caused by fecally contaminated food or water — kills a child every fifteen seconds. The number of children who have died from diarrhea in the last decade [1998-2008] exceeds the total number of people killed by armed conflict since the Second World War.

Test your lavatorial knowledge with our new  toilet quizzes! 

Quiz #1: International Toilets Quiz #2: Flying Toilets
Who is the Toilet Guru?

Who is the Toilet Guru? Is he obsessed? What is it like to be the Toilet Guru? How did Yahoo describe him? Why does this site exist?
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