You know that you wanted to ask about this!

Wolfmann [CC BY-SA 4.0 ]

If you live in an apartment or a western-style home, your bathroom in Mongolia will look just like a bathroom anywhere else in an apartment or western-style home.

However, if you live in a ger or go to a public toilet you will probably be using an outhouse that looks like this.

You can only have shiny western-toilets if you have plumbing, which is not available in a ger. Plumbing has many of the same problems as electricity. It is hard and expensive to run pipes to a ger, especially if the ger belongs to a herder family that may move several times a year.

Instead, a family with a ger digs a deep pit with an outhouse built above it. You squat down to use this type of toilet, and many people who are used to it prefer it to western-style toilets with a seat.

In smaller towns, public toilets are also outhouses like these.

There’s more. Mongolia is a large country with very few people. If you are traveling, whether it is by bus, car, or van, you will often find yourself in areas where there are no bathrooms of any sort. In those areas you go when you need to: men walk a distance and go on one side of the vehicle, women do the same on the other. It’s only practical!

Important to know! No matter where you use the bathroom in Mongolia, toilet paper is not likely to be available. Everyone carries their own.

What does that tell you about Mongolia? Why might people not provide toilet paper? Why do bathrooms in the United States usually have it available free of charge?