Sunday, November 12, 2006

The Platform Toilet


Note – if you are eating, or shy about poo, do not read.

Before moving to Germany, we read about a horrible German phenomenon known as The Platform Toilet. Damon reported that they had Platform Toilets in his workplace, and I made a mental note never to use the restroom there.

The Platform Toilet is a ceramic toilet, just like in the US. However, the hole that everything gets flushed into is in the front instead of the back. And instead of all sloping downward, there is a flat platform or very shallow bowl-shaped platform inside. Whatever you, uh, excrete lands on/in this platform and just sits there in the open air. Then when you flush, water rushes out the back of the toilet and pushes everything over the edge into the hole. The whole business exposes your pee/poo to the air and makes a big smell.

Well, when we toured this apartment, we somehow failed to note…it has a Platform Toilet. That’s right…the thing I never wanted to see even once while living here I now must live with every day!! Amazingly, we noticed at the Bauhaus that they are even still selling model after model of these things – so it’s not even an old freak thing. It’s considered normal and people even choose to get one over the other possibilities!!

Having a Platform Toilet takes your pooing experience to the next level. It’s no longer a simple event where you flush and you’re all done. No, no.
First, there’s the ungodly smell. I’m not kidding you – all that water in your American toilet is really sparing you from quite a bit of the smell so if you think it reeks now… So, afterwards you need to light a match or candle. So, on the back of our toilet seat sit a lighter and a candle. Forget air fresheners (the previous tenants left us some) – they are only going to make it smell like poo mixed with flowers. You have to burn the smell out of the air, man.
Second, there are the streaks. Poo that has no water barrier between itself and the ceramic leaves its mark, so to say. So, a toilet brush must always be available to all toilet users – no hiding this puppy away. An added bonus to keep the toilet brush from smelling like poo is to always use some toilet cleaner during this process. So, after the first poo-clearing flush, one puts a little cleaner on the streaks, gets the toilet brush, cleans up, and flushes again to clear up the bits and rinse the brush.
All done! Whether to light the candle first or scrub up first is up to you, but the first flush should definitely be done as quickly as possible.

So, now I’m sure that I have deterred everyone from ever coming to visit me lest they have to poo sometime while they are here. Just save up your coins and you can always use a relatively clean public restroom and not have to worry about it :)


  1. i cannot poo when i visit!!

    haha, i'm just teasing. mostly i just adore your use of the word poo <3

  2. Advantages of plarform toilet bowls:

    You can always see how much you deposited.

    Inspection of the poop is easier. For blood, etc.

    It is easier to get s sample for a lab test; especially, if the sample must not have been in contact with water.


  3. ^I believe that many people (or at least, pretty much all Americans) would say that we'd rather not be able to obtain good samples and instead have a toilet that stays cleaner. Maybe it's just a cultural difference ;)

  4. I live in Iloilo, Philippines and we still have "pour-flush-squat toilets" here as I've experienced visiting in old school buildings in the countryside. The name speaks for itself, you pour water in order to flush after squatting on it. I have yet to experience using it for pooing.


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  8. I am amused. I first encountered this type of toilet in 1995 during a Band trip to the Netherlands for the Dutch Thank You to Canadian Veterans. (Canadian forces liberated Holland from the iron grip of the Germans) The hostel in Apeldoorn was called De Grote Beer (the Great Bear).

    The other thing to get used to was the very thin, yet very abrasive, PINK toilet paper. Oh my!

    Otherwise, the hostel was very nice and clean with four bunk beds to a room (rooms sizes vary) and an in-house pub.

    (I'm not sure if the first post went through. I'm checking 'Notify me' on this attempt.)

  9. Well, I've noticed that such toilets are vanishing.

    There are still many of these toilets in Austria, where it's probably more likely to meet such one than in Germany.


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