Like I write in A quick guide to Chinese toilets, there is no way you can avoid visiting a Chinese toilet while traveling around. So I have prepared a list over the things you need to know before you actually need it. Some of these things in the list are actual solutions for field service companies to use. Keywords: Toilet paper and squatting positions. Good luck.
1. Always have plenty of tissue in your bag, see my special post about this. Even if you are the type that can hold for a day. You might not need all of it yourself, but someone not as foresighted as you definitively will. Most public restrooms don’t have paper, and the restrooms that have it; the quality of the paper can be questionable at best. So bring enough.
2. Before actually needing to go, practice squatting. How do your knees and hips feel? One thing is to get down, but can you get up? Gracefully? Most toilets in China are still only a hole in the ground, and should you for some reason not be able to sit like this for the time needed, you must have a plan B. Some squat toilets have a handle on the wall to hold onto, but as a general rule you can not rely on having anything to help pull you up.
3. Always keep your eyes on the floor and watch your step. Holes in the ground have their pros and cons. You are happy to squat because you don’t want your sensitive, delicate skin to actually touch anything. On the other hand, it can be hard to aim. Apparently also for those who have done this their whole life. As a rule I seldom wear flip-flops when traveling in China. Just saying.
4. Follow the instructions on the wall. If a sign says, “No shitting,” please don’t. It will be very embarrassing. The bin next to the toilet is not only for feminine products, you should also put the used paper here, Chinese plumbing is very fragile. If a sign is only in Chinese and without a drawing (believe me, I have seen a lot of, hmm, interesting interpretations of the above message), just play safe by doing as little as possible until you are back in the safe arms of your hotel room.
5. If you enter a restroom with many stalls at the same time as a big group of older Chinese ladies, you have to get ready to fight for your right to pee. The norm is NOT to make one orderly queue, so that everybody gets his or her turn in an orderly manner. Rather, you queue up in front of one door and hold your place until it’s your turn. Stand with your elbows out and arms ready, so that you can firmly push them away when they sneak in front of you. Because they will, remember these women have survived famines and revolutions and have developed serious survival skills.
6. You might want to get your friend to go with you. It’s good to have somebody to hold your bag and jacket, watch the door that can’t lock, get paper from the paper rack that is hanging on the wall outside the toilet stall and generally be a good friend when you need it the most.
7. Don’t expect to wash your hands in warm water with a nice, creamy soap after you’re done. If you are lucky there will be water (cold) and a watered out soap. That’s why antibacterial gel, wipes and creams are your friend.