How to Use an Indian Bathroom

Many American travelers and other visitors to the Indian community and some Middle-Eastern communities may find themselves perplexed upon entering a traditional Indian bathroom. With the absence of a conventional toilet, you may not know how to proceed. If your need to go is urgent, your learning curve on how to use an Indian toilet needs to be immediately accurate. Keep yourself from fumbling around with the lack of familiar surroundings by learning how to use an Indian bathroom.


  1. Image titled Use an Indian Bathroom Step 1
    Position yourself correctly over the toilet.
    • Secure your footing prior to squatting to prevent tumbling into the toilet. There may be a foot pad on either side of the toilet. You need to stand, placing a foot on each foot pad with the toilet hole behind you. If there are no foot pads, place one foot on each side of the toilet a little more than shoulder width apart.
    • Crouch over the toilet opening. Basically a hole in the floor, the toilet serves a similar function as an upright toilet just without the seat to sit upon. To assist with comfortable positioning, you can squat or bend your knees so you enter a semi-sitting position. You may be most comfortable if your thighs are resting on your calves and your arms are resting on your knees.
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    Perform your necessary tasks of releasing waste from the body.
  3. Image titled Use an Indian Bathroom Step 3
    Wash your private areas with the available water. You will need about 1 liter (0.3 US gal) of water for this task. For assistance in thorough cleaning, it is appropriate to use your left hand in combination with the water to wipe away stubborn debris.
    • Take the spray hose and spray off any dirty areas. The running water will wash off any unclean spots.
    • Fill the provided container with some water. Sometimes there will be a spigot to turn on while other times there will be a bucket full of water to dip from. Holding the water in your right hand, pour the water over your body parts. Reach between your legs with your left hand. Cup your left hand to collect some of the falling water and use this to clean yourself.
  4. Image titled Use an Indian Bathroom Step 4
    Flush the toilet. You need to either use a side lever or a pull the hanging flush chain at the top. In case they are absent, fill the bucket with water from the available water source. Dump the water over any excrement in the toilet area.
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    Dry off. Dry yourself with the towel available or in some case hand tissue are placed.
  6. Image titled Use an Indian Bathroom Step 6
    Wash your hands with soap.


  • Take off your clothes. If you are a beginning user of a squat toilet, you may want to remove all items of clothing below your waist until you get used to the process. This will save your clothing from potential mess and help you get into the appropriate position more easily.
  • Pour some water on the toilet prior to using the facility. Wetting the surface prepares the surface to be cleaned more easily once you are finished.
  • Use toilet paper to wipe yourself if desired though none will be provided. If this is a commodity you have to have, you will need to carry some with you (a travel package of tissues/Kleenex can be more convenient, and more discreet). Avoid putting the used toilet paper in the toilet hole. Instead, place the toilet paper in the wastebasket.
  • Clean around the bathroom well so no other debris is left.
  • It is probably different than what you are used to. If you feel uncomfortable, just take a deep breath and relax.


  • Protect your belongings from falling in the toilet by paying attention to the things in your pockets while you are squatting or by emptying your pockets prior to using the toilet.

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Categories: Asia | India