I shouldn’t have to explain to grown people how to use a pit toilet, but so many folks seem baffled when confronted with a toilet that doesn’t flush. Really, people, the process is the same, whether the toilet flushes or not. In the name of public service, today I will lay down instructions for pit toilet use.
#1 Knock before you enter. When did knocking on a closed door fall out of favor? People seem to either reach out and try to open a closed door or simply stand in front of a closed door waiting for someone to exit. (Sometimes no one is behind the door.) Has peeking under a stall to check for occupancy taken the place of knocking? Since pit toilets are totally enclosed, peeking won’t work. If you want to know if someone’s in there, you’re going to have to knock.
#2 Lock the door behind you. If you don’t, one of those people who opens doors without knocking is probably going to walk in on you.
#3 If you fail to lock the door behind you and someone opens the door while you’re taking care of business, try not to fly off the toilet in mid urine stream. Shrieking is permissible, but remember, it’s your own dang fault. You should have locked the door.
#4 Sit on the toilet. That’s right, sit. Sit all the way down,with both cheeks on the seat. It’s no dirtier than a city toilet. If you need to protect yourself from germs, bring disinfectant in with you and spray down the seat before you sit.
#5 If you must make a seat cover from toilet paper before you sit, deposit said seat cover into the toilet before you leave. You may not want your butt to touch the surface of the toilet seat, but the person who uses the toilet after you does not want to touch toilet paper your butt’s been on.
#6 By sitting (not perching, not hovering), your excretory openings should be pointing down, so your waste materials will fall (thanks, gravity!) and not end up splashed all over the inside walls (known as risers in the pit toilet business) of the toilet. The person who cleans the toilet will be grateful for your help in keeping the risers as clean as possible.
#7 Men, don’t spray urine everywhere. I don’t understand why men get urine on the floor and on the outside front of toilets. (I know this is not only a problem when pit toilets are involved.) My best advice to men: Pay attention to your aim.
#8 Toilet paper goes into the toilet, not on the floor.
#9 Trash (feminine hygiene leftovers, beer cans, whatever) goes in a trash can. Do not leave trash on the floor. Do not throw trash into the toilet.
#10 If you get some bodily discharge (blood, urine, feces, mucus, whatever) on the toilet or the floor, WIPE IT UP completely. No one else wants to touch it.
#11 Close the toilet’s lid after you stand up. Closing the lid keeps the stink in and bugs out. If you can’t bear to touch the lid with your hand, use your foot. Whatever way you’ve got to do it, CLOSE THE LID before you leave.
#12 If you are in a place with a pit toilet, there may not be running water. If hand washing is important to you (and it should be!) carry hand sanitizer or a jug of water and soap so you can scrub up after your visit to the pit toilet.
There are many situations in life when do unto others… applies. Pit toilet use is definitely one of those situations. Do your best to leave the restroom in a condition that wouldn’t make you gag if you walked in.