Westerners who come to travel to Iran quickly have to face one of their biggest fear: using squat toilets! Rather rare in Western countries, this type of toilets are common in most Asian countries. In Iran, it's the norm, even though you'll find western style toilets ("Farangi" toilets) in most hotels and restaurants. The good news is that it's actually the best toilets for your body and without a doubt, the most hygienic ones. There are only a few tricks to know to use them properly, and we are here to tell you all.
Squat toilets refer to the position used, knowingly by squatting instead of sitting. They simply consist of a toilet pan at the floor level, with a hole in it.
Many may feel strange at the first try, but don't worry, it's a simple matter of practice! Place yourself over the toilet, with one foot on each side, and gently bend yourself. The first thing to know is that you're aiming for the hole. Thus, you must sit with your back to it, and not the other way around.
Be careful with your pants: You simply need to lower them to your ankles, but if you're not totally comfortable with this, consider removing them entirely. For women who have to wear long clothes such as "manto" you'll find what you need to hang them in every toilet.
When your business is done, use the water pipe next to you (or the water pot) to clean yourself up. Indeed, Iranians can't imagine not using water to clean themselves and you will always find water in the toilets.
However, toilet paper is often optional. So, the best thing to do is to always carry some with you. And be careful: throw it in the garbage bin and not inside the toilets, if you don't want to clog the pipes.
Of course, flush the toilets as you do with western ones, after you've finished. Most squat toilets have this feature, otherwise, a water bucket is often provided.
Last piece of advice: If you’re invited over someone’s house, you will notice that there is always a pair of slippers in the bathroom. There are for usage in the bathroom, and the bathroom only! Don’t commit the blunder of forgetting to remove them when you come out!
First of all, it's by far the most hygienic toilets, as there is no possible contact with the germs. Furthermore, the usage of water is also cleaner than toilet paper. Regardless of sanitary reasons, it is acknowledged that squatting is the most natural position for your body.
In Iran, it's usually easy to find public toilets and restrooms anywhere. If you can't, look for the closest mosque: they always have toilets.
Travelers using buses must know that there are no toilets on board, but frequent stops are made all along the way on rest areas where there are always restrooms.
If you can't find it by yourself, simply remember this sentence: "Dastshuei kojast?" ("Where are the toilets?"). Pay attention to the fact that you might often see a person seated at the entrance: it's the cleaning person, to whom you are expected to give a small amount of money (around 10000 Rials).