How to Use a Pit Toilet

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This photo shows a pit toilet. Today I am going to tell you how to use one.

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.

About Blaize Sun

I live in my van, which makes me a rubber tramp. I like to see places I've never seen before, and I like to visit the places I love again and again. I like to play with color. I make collages and hemp jewelry and cheerful winter hats. I take photographs and (sometimes, not in a long time) write poetry. All of those things make me an artist. Although I like to spread joy and to make people laugh, my wit can be sharp. I try to stay positives in all situations, to find the goodness in all people. But I often feel compelled to point out bullshit when I smell it. I like to have fun, to dance, to eat yummy food, to sit by a fire and share stories. I want to know what people hold dear and important, not just make surface small talk. This blog is a way for me to share stories. This blog is made up of my stories, rants, and observations, as well as my photographs.

4 Responses »

  1. Very good! But it probbly won’t help because many people would read it and think, YOU CAN’T TELL ME WHAT TO DO!

    Men’s aim (or lack thereof) has always been a puzzle to me: They brag that they can hit an elk in the head from 500 yards w/o a scope, but they can’t confine their urine to the inside of a toilet. HUH? Aim ia aim, isn’t it?

  2. Excellent advice! I have camped for years when our kids were young, and it is amazing how poor some people’s toilet habits/consideration for the next person has become. Your advice covers just about every situation. I can still remember teaching my girls when they were pre-school age, that it’s smart, when peeing in the woods, to choose a slight incline and pee downhill. It keeps your clothing and your shoes dry!! And if you must defecate in the the woods, bury it when you’re finished! No one cares to step in it. If you’re in a fairly uninhabited area, it’s sometimes necessary to use the space available.

    I have lived both in cities and in the country and it shouldn’t take much to figure these things out, but apparently some people need instructions on everything!

    • Glad to know you thought this post shared good info and was comprehensive. Now if I could figure out how to get it into the hands of the people who need the information.

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