By definition, a squat toilet is a hole in the ground or stepping surface where you squat over to pee or poop into. This position warrants a 45-degree angle from your knee where your hips and lower leg for the arch. For individuals with bad knees and the elderly, this can a very strenuous position as you exert extreme energy to go down, and erect from the position.
Even so, under certain circumstances, you may be forced to use these types of toilets. So what do you do?
Here are simple tricks you can use to enable you to squat over and get up as you use the loo. There’s also a simple guideline on what you can do for the elderly to aid them to preserve their independence as they use the washroom.
How to Use a Squat Toilet with Bad Knees
Squat toilets are rather prevalent across the globe. In some countries such as North America, you’ll encounter it maybe once or twice. But in Asia, the Middle East, Africa, South America and parts of Europe, you’ll be accustomed to it sooner than you expect.
Whether it’s the El Franco squat model with porcelain finishing or the remote kind that’s simply a trough directed to the ground; you’ll still have to get your feet apart and squat down into position.
So if you’re experiencing pain in your joints, torn ligaments, crackling sounds, or more from your knee, then this guideline is for you.
Once you get into the loo area, you’ll notice the low leveled toilet. Unlike the sitting toilet most westerners are used to, this one needs you to adjust your pants so they don’t touch the floor by the hem. You’ll have the option of removing your pants or lower attire completely or simply folding the lower joints.
Second, your baggage. This includes what you have in your pockets from the trouser, any backpack or handbag you may have, or even luggage. You should be ready to adjust your position over the toilet.
2. Adjusting Positions
When you have knee pains or arthritis or maybe you’re in recovery from surgery in the knee, the doctor will advise you to bend your knees gently so as not to cause any more pain or strain to the knees. So from that point, you should stand over the toilet, separate one foot from the other, align yourself properly, and begin moving into a squatting position.
It’s not that simple anyway, you may have a problem getting down completely, or one side may hurt more than the other. Here’s where you have to look for a pleasurable position to avoid causing you any more injuries or pain. You can choose to face the good of the toilet or towards the other side.
Alternatively, you could move forward or backward until you get into the right position where you’ll be awaiting directly over the hole to avoid splashing water back up.
3. Squatting Down
After aligning yourself, here comes the most difficult task there is; bending your knees to gently lower yourself down to a 45-degree angle. Your knees should face straight ahead with your bottoms facing down the toilet. For bad knees, simply get into a 90-degree angle with the same markings – knees forward, bottom down.
You can also hug your knees together to offer the knee additional support as your squatting. If you prefer, also separate your knees completely.
Now you can go about your business in a relaxed manner. Hopefully, the squatting position can offer bowel relief as you’ll be pressing down your tummy.
4. Erecting from Squatting
Once you’re done, you can cut about two boxes of tissue and use them to hold against the wall for support as you get up. Depending on how long you remained in a squatting position, your knees could have turned numb, hence use the wall for support.
If there are close by walls to leverage on, press against your knee caps and lift yourself up. The exerted pressure will aid with the crackling noise and also offer relief for any joint pains.
5. Finishing Up
After getting up, you will need to clean up after yourself.
- Use what’s available in the toilet. Some areas use toilet paper, which is the norm, but others use water from a pot or bottle, leaves, or a sprayer. You can also carry your own toilet paper for convenience – you don’t want to be left stranded in the toilet.
- Dispose of the waste paper properly. Most squat toilets will clog while using the water paper, which is why you have to dispose of the paper to keep off smells, and to prevent damage to the system. Other areas prefer if you dispose of the waste paper in a trash bin.
- Flush the toilet. This, however, may not be sufficient. You may need some extra water to ensure the waste is fully cleared up. Utilize the water bucket. If you don’t see the hood with a lever for flushing, also check for a foot pedal. Unless you were using a pit latrine, don’t leave the toilet until all the waste is gone.
How Can the Elderly Use Squat Toilets?
The elderly are most certainly affected by knee aches among other joint pains. And unfortunately, it’s not as simple as leveraging a suitable position to squat down for them as they don’t have that much energy. Which is why it’s often suitable to carry a portable potty or seat so they can simple seat right over the toilet hole. Here’s am an example of such a product.
- Toilet cover – these are portable seats placed over the squat toilet that allows you to sit just like you would at home. They can be folded up, carried and easily cleaned. They are a very comfortable option for seniors whose knee caps and hips just wouldn’t budge into a squat position.
- Canvas frame seats – these are similar to the toilet covers but they also feature a bag where you can poop into then dispose of the waste when done – just like a bedpan. For the framed seat, it’s a small very light aluminum supported seat with a hole at the midsection.
The best thing about this seat is that it can be conveniently folded into a medium-sized backpack and carried like an ordinary bag. It’s portable and perfect for use by seniors. Unfortunately, the legs that offer support to the search often obstruct the passage of waste. This is why you’ll need a collection bag.
- Cane – most elderly people use canes to walk around and to offer balance as they go about their daily activities. The same can be used to help in the toilet. Let the cane balance on one section/ side of the toilet and use it to move up and down.
- Adjustable poles or bars – there are adjustable bars that can stick wall to wall offering support while sitting and getting up. However, for most of these, there’s only so much width and weight they can support.