Toilet Guide Home : Asking : Finding : Instructions : Differences : Hygiene : Etiquette : Photos

Fot both sitting and squatting
Hybrid with the seat down

If you travel to third world countries and eat the local food, you will certainly be seeing a lot of the toilets, and along the way you may notice some differences.

Toilet Style

The squat style toilet that are everywhere may take a while to get used to. In touristy areas of third world countries you will often find western toilets, and especially the more you pay for a hotel room the more likely you will have a western-style sit down toilet for your pleasure. You may also find the hybrid type, which you can choose whether to sit or squat (see photos), though squatting on these is a heath risk. For those new to Europe, you may be confused when you first see Bidets in France. Whatever you come across, there will not be any instructions and you have to work them out for your self.

Technique Differences

Wadders/Scrunchers versus Folders

A universal debate continues between the scrunchers (also called wadders) and folders. There appears to be two main schools of people, those that fold the toilet paper before using it, and the others that scrunch it up. One international website poll had the folders slightly ahead 8066 (54%) to 6788 (46%). Stated benefits of the folders is a greater surface area for wiping, while the scrunchers believe that the uneven edges do a better job and it keeps your hand further away from the business. Maybe it is just laziness or impatience.

Under or Over?

Another debate that appears to be universal is how the standard roll of toilet paper hangs on the horizontal roller - either the paper comes over the top/front or paper comes out from the bottom/back. Some of the arguments are based around aesthetics and practicalities, and some people even admit to changing it around to their preference when visiting someone's else's toilet. At fancy hotels, it's often over the top because they fold the corners into that nice little upside down "V".

Other Differences

Some people take a book to the restroom and can spend all day there if they could, while others get in and do the job. Another difference is which hand is used, and whether you use paper at all, like in India. See more about this in the hygiene section. A question that has popped up for travelers to the southern hemisphere is whether or not the toilets really do flush in the opposite direction as in the northern hemisphere. There are also many men who sit down to pee, though I am not sure if this is a personal preference or a cultural one.Do you leave the seat up? There are many differences and this list could go on and on.

street toilet in India
Toilet in a Indian Street


I have heard that in Korea and possibly elsewhere, some toilets come with a heated seat, and also heated water to wash your butt for you. In addition to a book or newspaper library, having a radio can provide some entertainment and also some noise to drown out any inappropriate noises. The newspaper can also come in handy if you run out of toilet paper.

Same Everywhere

These pages have pointed out the differences in toilets and customs around the world, though some things just don't change. Just as the need to relieve yourself is universal, for females you will find that you will often have to line up for toilet where ever you are.


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