Asian-style squat toilets

I have ms (EDSS scale 6.0 (Require a walking aid - cane, crutch, etc - to walk about 100m with or without resting) to 6.5 (Require two walking aids - pair of canes, crutches, etc - to walk about 20m without resting)).

I am planning a trekking holiday(!!I) in the Himalayas shortly after Xmas. I have worked out work-arounds for most of the problems I am likely to face but there is one problem I just cannot see how to overcome. This is the problem of the traditional Asian ‘squat-style’ toilets, and more specifically the ‘long drop’ toilets on the trekking routes. For those who have never known the delights of the ‘long drop’, these are basically a large, deep hole with just a few planks of wood placed over them to provide ‘access’.

My legs are too weak to either remain in a squatting position for more than a few seconds, or to get back on to my feet once I have achieved the squat position.

Please can anyone give me some hints and suggestions on how best to cope with the squat toilet?

NB Yes yes yes, I know this is an absolutely crazy idea but I want to at least try. If a double amputee ( Mark Inglis - Wikipedia) can climb Mt Everest, I can at least attempt a trek in the Himalayas.

Briefly I trekked the 160 mile(?) Annapurna Circuit 35 years ago and wish to repeat as much of it again as I can. In recent years a road/gravel track for vehicles has been made along much of the route I trekked in 1983. From a walker’s perspective, this has undoubtedly spoiled the trek, but from my own perspective it means that I should be able to walk as far as I can each day before flagging down a bus/lorry/truck/car to take me to the next village. Next day - same again. If anyone has any experience of undertaking this type of idiocy with MS, I’d sure appreciate hearing from you too.

Many thanks in anticipation.

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John, WOW, just amazing courage and determination. I really hope you find a solution to your “problem”, but just reading your post I think you’ll cope with whatever comes your way. Jesus, I moan just walking around bloody Asda shopping with the wife !!! I hope you have a great time with wonderful memories.

just a thought, take a look at something like this

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An alternative design which you could consider: Travel John Folding Toilet Chair Folds up to be compact, under 2 kg and it can double as your camp chair. The other option is to take immodium in a way that lets you defer needing to go for a few hours but I would seek medical advice on this.

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Forgot to include a link

i find that holding down on my thighs helps me get up from the toilet. if you are able to try this it could help. i discovered this through being rendered unable at a party. one of the guests was a DS who scrambled over the door and rescued me. i was so mortified that i practised at home and discovered that there was some use left in my legs. anyway wish you the very best as the most i can manage these days is a trek to the wetherspoons which doesn’t always end without tears. carole x

the idea of the travel john loo sounds just the ticket for you. Good luck and well done you for attempting such a feat.


jjarman1 sounds likean amazing trip - I hope you have a great time. As for the “long drop” issue, it depends on how much kit / support crew you have. My initial thought was to use an aluninium walking frame - you might be nearly vertical but you can be confident you wont fall and should be easier to get up. Or take 2 walking crutches and use them to support you.Again nearly vertical but easily strapped to a rucksack. I hope you find a solution that suits you and would love to hear about your adventures once you have returned. Mick

Thanks jactac - that looks like exactly the kind of thing I need. Oh, and much as I appreciate it, please don’t be too effusive in your praise: I too whinge like heck walking around Tescos or Asda. And especially if I’m with my wife :slight_smile:

Thanks mrbobowen - just the kind of thing I’m looking for.

And about the Imodium, I’m planning on dosing myself up on that kind of thing just prior to any bus/car/plane ride although, going on my previous experiences in Nepal, I’ll be needing industrial strength Imodium most days anyway. But then…what happens when its effects wear off? Immediate Grade 1 Explosive Emergency, I suspect! Yuck!

Thanks catwomanCarole58. I just tried your advice, but still wasn’t able to get up again. I’m going to the gym most days in preparation for this lunacy so I should be building up at least a little muscle strength in my legs. I’ll keep trying and who knows? Maybe I’ll be able to manage it by the time I leave. Fingers crossed!

Thank you for the positive reaction Boudica. This all helps!

Thank you Mogace/Mick. I think I need to practise the various ‘manoeuvres’ with a variety of walking aids to find out which (if any) work well enough.

Regarding your request to hear about my adventures, I’ve always enjoyed writing (in fact, made my living as a technical author for twenty years prior to MS-induced early retirement) so I will be writing a journal of sorts about the trip. I’ll let you have a copy once it’s done. Or perhaps I should start a blog? Anyway Mick, thanks for your encouraging comments and I’ll be in touch at some time with a match report for you.

Might also be worth taking something like this suction cup grab handle to pull yourself up. assuming the is a smooth enough wall to stick it to SUMAJU Support Handle with Suction, Portable Safety Grip Grab Handle with Suction Bathroom Shower Toilet Disability Helping Tool

Hi Pre-dx I river rafted the sun-Kosi in Nepal. We camped at river or small villages. Most of the loo facilities were in the form of ‘scunters’. They were troughs that we dug into the ground and then filled in as we went along. Your trekking sounds amazing and Nepal is fabulous. I still can’t forget the Himalayas view as we flew into katmandhu. Toilets in hotels were excellent in India & Nepal (in cities). The sherpas who helped us were fab. Paul