Toilet Talk

So, today let’s talk about real life. Sometimes life stinks… which brings us to the subject of bathrooms. Basically, there are several differences between bathrooms in China and America. Here’s the lowdown.

Toilet Paper

In America if there is no toilet paper in your stall, it’s because you are unlucky and they have run out. In China, you are expected to carry your own. Only in very modern places will you find toilet paper in your personal stall. If you’re lucky, there might be one communal dispenser in the open; otherwise, it’s time to pull out your personal pack of tissues from your purse.


3 stalls, 1 dispenser

Also, don’t flush that paper wherever you got it. Instead, throw it away. 99% of pipes here aren’t equipped to handle paper. Talk about an odd habit to change when you move from America to China.

Squatty Potties

Something I had been warned about was the squatty potties. The rumors were true. Some places will have a western commode, but these are still a minority vastly outnumbered by the squatters. To make China seem more modern, more toilets are on the way as China boosts tourism with toilets, but until then, get ready to hold your squat.


Additionally, in the old hutong parts of the city, you might not even get a stall. Instead there will just be three or four squatty potties in the women’s room. While being stared at is normal here, my least favorite place to get stared at is in the open women’s room when my pants are down and there are no private stalls.


The last thing to talk about is the washing machine. In America, most homes have either a designated laundry room, a closet or a basement with the washer and dryer. In China most people don’t have dryers and instead line dry their clothes. In most apartments, the washer is also in the bathroom or sometimes the kitchen.

Additionally, non-Western bathrooms don’t have an enclosed shower or bathtub. So after you shower, you need to wipe down the floor.


Sometimes we joke that in our bathroom you can go to the bathroom, start a load of clothes and have a shower at the same time. Definitely different, but you get used to it.

That’s it for now. For anyone that’s been to China, did I leave anything out?



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