A Poop Shelf?


As a someone who spends a decent amount of time using a toilet because, well, everyone does, and also because I suffer from IBS, I was a little concerned about traveling abroad. I know that different kinds of foods can upset my stomach; also I had heard stories about communal bathrooms for both men and women. Now imagine my shock when I did arrive in Germany and the worse thing is the toilet.

I swear I have never seen anything like it before. It's fascinating. Instead of the toilet's having the usual water-filled basin, there is a shelf. No water -- just plastic. (As a matter of fact the whole bathroom is plastic; it's like something out of a plane.) Either way, this is the worst design ever for a toilet.

Normally I am worried about the bathroom smelling after taking a dump. Well, let me tell you about the poop on the shelf: There's no covering it up. It just sits there, exposed to the air. Sometimes it doesn't even move when I flush, and instead it gets stuck on this shelf. I have to take my toilet bowl cleaner and push it down the little tubular hole in the front. Not only is this procedure annoying, its mildly disturbing at times as well. I don't understand. Does this toilet shape help sanitation or water usages? Because I think that I use more water to try and make my beached poops move. Plus it seems very unsanitary for them to sit there.

Why? I thought Germans were all about efficiency. What possessed them to design such a toilet? I am here for another seven months, so I hope I can become accustomed to it; but for now I think this is the oddest and most peculiar toilet I have ever used.

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14 Comments on "A Poop Shelf?"

daphne's picture
PoopReport of the Year AwardSite AdminComment Content ModeratorComment Quality Moderatore 6000+ points

You are not alone, Stephi. Many others have wondered why German toilets are shaped this way. One remark that I read on a blog about this same topic is that the shelf allows for someone to look at his poop to monitor his health. Those crazy Germans.

.....hugging bunnies since 1969

ChrisM's picture
l 100+ points

This must've been designed by a Nazi madman.

The ChrisM virus is incompatible with your current operating system. Your system will now be rebooted into DOS and return to the virus.

MSG's picture
Comment Quality Moderatori 2000+ points

I've never used one of those, though we were in Germany for 4 days back in 2005. All of the toilets I used were normal. I did hear about the shelf toilets, though. Suggestion: Try putting a layer of toilet paper on the shelf before you poop. Perhaps that layer will prevent or lessen the stickiness and let the poop flush away on the first try. Of course, it may not work--I never tried it myself. Let us know.

C Everett Poop's picture
j 1000+ points

Just sit on it facing the tank and you will be fine.

Poop John the First's picture
l 100+ points

Maybe it has something to do with the German's long standing preoccupation with everything poop related. I just read Boomarang and it outlined this in detail. They have all kinds of words for shit and things related to it in their language. I wish I would have written down all those words. It was very interesting. It's tied up with their cumpulsive need to clean. The shit side is kind of like their alter ego.

Spreading the turd one poop at a time.

runninggrrl2's picture
Comment Quality Moderatork 500+ points

Interesting--the toilets I used in Germany were just the normal ones. Maybe it's a regional thing or something. Either way, it's gross.

An apple a day keeps the ExLax away!

Anonymous's picture

I've used toilets like that too. Not the best thing, I agree. I'm seconding the idea that it's designed this way so you can have a better look. Otherwise, I don't see any good purpose to it :S

Anonymous's picture

Ha ha, your article makes you sound so.....erm American. The shelf toilet is superior all the way round. You can inspect your stool for any health issues or abnormalities. But let's cut to the chase: the best way to take a shit is to squat, as humans have always done for millenia. Only in last 150 years has "the throne" style toilet come into being. It is very unhealthy to sit and crap as the colon is blocked in this position. If one squats the straighten the colon/anal passage and you have a more thorough, complete--and quicker crap.

It makes a great deal of sense if you think about it.

ChiefThunderbutt's picture
PoopReport of the Year AwardComment Content ModeratorComment Quality Moderatorf 5000+ points

The early Japanese flush toilets were still squatters. Use the link below and see what I had to aim for back in the 1960s. If you were just a little off, your turd would be laying in one of two water free areas and took many flushes to dislodge.


If I had two faces do you think I'd be wearing this one?

Anonymous's picture

I have spent quite a bit of time in Germany, and they are in general a fastidious, private bunch. that shelf prevents the sound of 'plop plop plop' from being heard by others.

Otto von Skidmark's picture
m 1+ points - Newb

Must say I've never seen one of those in Germany, although I have heard those crazy ol' Germans like to have a good close look at their poop before they flush. And perhaps it prevents splashback too. Design is a funny thing - there are so many parameters to consider, and different customers consider some more important than others (I assume, for example, that Germans have no sense of smell). You can just imagine toilet designers sitting around discussing poop trajectories and average poop size relative to shelf area.

btw squat toilets are still common here in Taiwan too ... and yeah, unless you have really good aim, the cable-laying generally takes place along the length of the porcelain rather than in the little water-filled bit.

Anonymous's picture

My German friend has such a toilet in her house. I recall that the shelf was toward the front of the toilet, not the back, but maybe I am just forgetting. I was there last year. I also thought it was very weird and didn't flush very well. I didn't understand why there was a shelf in it either!!

the thin brown line's picture
j 1000+ points

Hitler had the same problem..that's why they called him shittenfurer...you can "lame" me anytime now.

Somethin' mysterious made an exit from the gift shop.

Anonymous's picture

I think you should watch that Slavoj Zizek video about his hypothesis on why toilets in different countries are different. It is very very interesting.

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