This subject just came to me because on many occasions since we've been in Asia (India, Thailand and Malaysia) I've had to take Zenchai to the toilet when there has been just a hole in the ground (like the one pictured above at one of our favourite restaurants). It's otherwise known as a squat toilet and common in many other parts of the world, too.
The squat toilet itself is not a problem. Zenchai, like many young kids, has a perfect squat technique and can hold the position for hours, unlike most adults.
There were still two things I couldn't quite figure out, though. First was the fact that when you drop your pants, often they land on a floor wet from pee or water. Yuck!
Often in these circumstances I have Zenchai take off his shorts to avoid this, but it becomes a tricky balancing act as so many of the toilets are too small for two people.
Second is the cleaning procedure. In most of these toilets there is either a bucket of water and scoop or a hose spray. These are used for flushing and washing yourself afterwards.
That's fine. But what I also noticed is that in about 90 per cent of these toilets, there wasn't a piece of paper in sight.
So while cleaning yourself with water is easy, how do you then dry yourself and avoid walking around for the next hour in wet underwear?
Usually, Zenchai has had on his swimmers and hasn't been bothered by having a wet bottom. But on some other occasions I've had to rush off to find paper.
It transpires that the locals in Asia always carry paper with them - or at least I hope they do. And in some cases I've seen bus receipts thrown down the toilet hole - I guess any piece of paper will do.
So the important piece of advice I am offering here is that when travelling through Asia or other parts of the globe where a toilet is just a hole in the floor, make sure (a) you have a good squat and (b) carry paper with you at all times.