Toilet Paper, Toilets, and Flushing

Over the past few days, after Chris has done his business in the bathroom he says: “Ah, how I missed nice toilet paper.” Oh how I know what he means. In China no matter where you were: a hotel, business, restaurant the toilet paper was tissue paper-thin. Actually thinner than tissue paper. Which baffles me because then you just need to use more of it. Most of the time it was one-ply instead of two-ply. So is two-ply toilet paper more of an American thing?

We saw a commercial this weekend for Scott toilet paper. Their Natural Tube-Free toilet paper. What a concept. The ad says that every year the US throws away enough toilet paper tubes to fill the Empire State building — twice. You then see an Empire State building made of toilet paper rolls. A good ploy for those that are environmentally savvy enough to care about the tube leftover. I am not saying I do not care, but I have to say this house is more picky about the paper on the roll!

So back to bathrooms in China. They varied. Chris warned me before my trip to always have kleenex with me and hand sanitizer. He was right. On one of the first days we were there, we were on a street that was stationary + pen store after another. My idea of bliss. The problem? No bathrooms, and well when I got to go, I got go. We found an old bookstore (one that had been around awhile, although the book titles were current.) I figured out that the bathroom was up this strange staircase and up I went. I get into the stall and found the toilet was in the floor and start to do my business as quickly as possible, only to look around and realize there was no toilet paper. Crap, I was screwed. There was only one thing I could do. Finish, go downstairs and ask Chris for the kleenex and hand sanitizer. (It also had no sink.)

Let me just say that when there was toilet paper it was thin, but my bathroom experiences were vastly different. My bookstore experience was probably the most primitive. Most other bathrooms where more mainstream. My hotel lobby bathroom was well in another era.

When I first saw this contraption in the bathroom stall I at first thought it was more bidet-like, and realized these were just the flushing options for the toilet. Pulsating, front cleansing, rear cleansing, drying (click the photo to see it larger). Quite the experience. This was for lobby guests only, they did not give hotel guests the option to test out the features in our room. Although I did have a telephone. Not sure these days who would use a telephone in the bathroom, I mean we have iPhones for that.

IMG_1605The last interesting bathroom adventure while in China was in a restaurant bathroom. Each stall had a “water flow sound sensor.” I was especially intrigued by this due to the nature of our conversations at work about bathroom etiquette. When you pushed the button, it made the loudest flushing sounds and would do it again if you pressed the button again. It took me a bit to figure out that the sounds were meant to cover whatever noises you were going to make while using the commode. What is not to like?

The world works in mysterious ways especially pertaining to toilet paper, toilets, and flushing.

When you gotta go…

Call me crazy, but I have always wanted to pee standing up. Of course a woman can pee standing up, but it really depends on where she is standing. Is she in the middle of the forest? If so, it does not matter. If she is in her friend’s bathroom, then it matters. The spray itself would tell her friend that like most men, she cannot keep it in the targeted basin.

Over the past few weeks I have found two new contraptions for women that help them to pee standing up. One is the paper funnel, featured on Fast Company, the other is called: “GoGirl.” Both allow women to pee standing up. I can tell you that there have been many bathrooms that I would rather not even walk in, but having the ability to pee standing up would have made things a bit different. Although I have mastered the art of squat peeing…so maybe I do not need to worry about peeing while standing up. But, what if you do not have a place where you can squat and pee? What if you only had a men’s room urinal? Then I would definitely need to learn to pee standing up.

One example mentioned in the first article above was in an airplane bathroom. Now I will tell you, I am 5 feet 5 inches and while I will not share my weight, I will say it is average to my height. However, I have been in a variety of airplane bathrooms that I could barely fit in. You know the ones that do not even have true sinks + running water, just a tiny ledge for hand sanitizer. Yuck. It makes it hard to let your jeans drop, hopefully hovering carefully on your shoes and not touching the floor at all. Heaven forbid knowing what has touched that floor. Especially with how hard it is to squat and pee in such a tiny space. That would be a good location for peeing standing up.

I especially appreciate the GoGirl that features “MommyGirl” for those that do not want their daughters to touch a thing in those nasty public bathrooms. You know what I mean! Adults can usually (many of us) have the strength to squat and pee, but not so easy to do for kids. They are $12.99 for one. Maybe I will have to purchase one for my niece (once she is potty trained). Would you use the paper funnel or the GoGirl?


Are you curious just by the title? Chris found it the other day and knew I would be interested. Are you? I know a variety of individuals that have quite different public bathroom habits. There are some that will never step foot inside a public toilet. Others could care less, when they have to go, they have to go (I am of that variety). Of course there are public bathrooms that I would not want to step foot in, but hey when nature calls, I have to answer. There are yet others that will only use a public restroom if there is no one else they have to share it with while doing their business. Which is hard, because it might be empty when you start, and then you might be joined by one or many more in the neighboring stalls.

So when Chris shared Poo-pourri, I had a nice laugh. Honesty, I am not sure I really care to travel around with a bottle of Poo-pourri. I care less about the smell left behind as I do an unclean restroom. Having said that, I am a tad bit curious if it works. They say you Spritz and then Poo, and the essential odors mask the smell. Is that really possible? You will have to watch and see what you think, it has a Mad Men vibe.

So curious now? Two of my favorite lines: “How do you make the world believe that your poop doesn’t stink?” and “When your little astronauts splash down and make contact.”

Scents to try: Trap-A-Crap, Royal Flush, Shittin’ Pretty, Party Pooper, Doody Free, Heavy Doody

Squatty Potty

I know, I know… I somehow frequently bring up potty talk, but this time I could not resist. Last week I came across a Fast Company article about a new device called “Squatty Potty.” For those of you without kids, please keep reading as it is actually not a potty for training little ones. It is a potty for us all. I am including a video below that explains the process in full. The gist, in case you do not watch it, is this. For those of us that live in the western world, we sit on a nice porcelain vessel that allows for excrement to quickly flush away. What we have lost sight of is the best way for our bodies to shit it all out.

The Squatty Potty is a step stool of sorts that allows your feet to basically be the same height as your butt. When we sit normally on a toilet we are at a 90 degree angle, the Squatty Potty shifts your body to a 35 degree angle (see their website for illustrations). The way we sit on a toilet impacts our puborectalis muscle, and does not allow it to relax. By ensuring our body is in more of a squatting position, the puborectalis muscle is relaxed, allowing for ease in the pooping realm. Who knew!? I am fascinated.

Before I go out and buy one, I made a makeshift one yesterday out of 2 shoe boxes. If after a few days of trial I see amazing results, I might purchase the three pack. So beware future guests, you might just wonder why there is a “Squatty Potty” in your bathroom. It will be my treat to you.

Toilets, maps, and fizzy water

Over 12 years ago, my sister took me on a trip to Italy to belated celebrate my college graduation. Neither of us spoke Italian, but it did not matter. All I needed to know (I know I am a simple one) is: “Where is the bathroom.” Or: “dove è la toilette.” At least that is what Google translate says is correct. We flew into Milan, took a train to Florence where we spent a few days, then off to Venice for the rest of our trip. Each city was so different from the others.



I loved the food, the people, the shops, the art. I am better at reading maps and navigating than I am speaking a language I do not know, or attempting to order food I want to eat (and not receiving something I do not want to eat). My sister would order our food and I would navigate the many streets and canals. Could we get to where we wanted to go, or would the street be flooded? Somehow splitting duties worked for us.

One of the things I found so comical about eating in restaurants on our trip was ordering water. You always had to tell the server, water with or without gas. I hated water with gas. Yes, water with gas. It must have been an Italian thing. I think my sister preferred water with gas, but me, not so much. If I remember correctly I convinced her to get water without gas because it would be less expensive.

Fast forward to a few months ago, and after all these years, I have become addicted to Perrier or San Pellegrino. Over the weekend someone told me about the Sodastream that turns water into bubbly water. The higher end model has glass bottles, the lower end model uses plastic bottles. Today at work someone told me that you can make sparkling water with a simple contraption called Fizz Gizz. I am trying to decide, do I continue to purchase bottled water, go fancy with a Sodastream, or go low maintenance with the Fizz Gizz? Or are there other potential options?

I am all set for the bathroom with my Sit or Squat app, Google maps helps me find my way, but now I need help with my fizzy addiction. Any sparkling water drinkers out there that can help teach me?