I’ve had friends and family ask me about Chinese restrooms. They’re usually led to believe that there aren’t any western toilets in China- this isn’t true! Most apartments, nice restaurants and hotels have western toilets and toilet paper in the bathroom.
However, there are many places that have “squatters”- pretty much all of public China. I’ll explain more for those that don’t know: a squatter is a toilet built flat into the floor. You have to literally “squat” to use it. Just be aware that most people don’t mind if their stall door is open and won’t care to close it.
You might see signs or stickers like this above a western toilet in China .Just read the caption at the bottom of the picture, “The bowl may break and you may hurt yourself”- don’t want to twist an ankle and break the toilet at the same time.Remember to bring your own toilet paper when you’re out and about! Most public restrooms don’t provide toilet paper in China.
People carry a pack of tissues in their purse or pocket for this reason . It’s embarrassing to ask your bathroom neighbors for a piece of tissue, and even more so if you don’t know the vocabulary to ask. Also, sometimes don’t flush your toilet paper because the plumbing systems in China can’t handle it very well. Instead, throw your toilet paper in the tiny trash can by the squatter. Bring hand sanitizer if you’re a germ-a-phobic (like me) because the bathrooms sometimes don’t have soap at the sinks. Unlike western bathrooms, the cleaning crew doesn’t clean as often as you may expect.
Above all, remember your pack of tissues and optional hand sanitizer. Even if you are downtown and expecting to see a western toilet, always be prepared for a squatter!