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Poland Dispatch: The German Poo-Shelf Toilet


Next to the infamous Squat-hole toilets of Asia and southern France, the German Poo-Shelf Toilet is undoubtedly one of the least pleasant methods of waste removal - assuming you're like most folks and don't feel the need to get to know your waste. It finds itself here in western Poland because this region was once part of Germany until the Germans got all riled up and tried to take over the world. They're better now, but the legacy of their doody-tech remains.

The Poo-Shelf comes from a period in German history when Germans were less interested in world domination and apparently more interested in spending quality time with their feces. That, or they were prone to accidentally eating their wedding rings and needed a toilet that allowed them to conveniently rummage through their dung before dispatching it to the abyss. Those must have been fascinating times and I'm quite glad I wasn't born in them.

I don't know how many such devices are in existence. Perhaps they're quite rare and I was simply lucky to stumble upon such a specimen. All I know is that upon encountering the German Poo-Shelf Toilet, one is forced to solemnly contemplate the reason such a horrible mechanism exists, and what demon designed such a thing.

Rather than whisking your waste away, the GPST simply lets it sit there, mere centimeters from your rump, so that you might think about the brief time you had together. When you're done reminiscing - or when the odor of a pile of poop begins to negatively affect the ambiance of your bathroom - you simply pull up on the flushing mechanism to send your creation on to the Great Beyond. However, if the flushing mechanism doesn't work - well, you're on your own with a shelf full of poo and a toilet designed so as to render the plunger useless. Good luck and God bless.

It should also be noted that any gentleman who chooses to stand up and use the German Poo-Shelf Toilet for the purpose of bladder-emptying can be expected to enjoy as much splash-back as one might get from say, peeing on a coffee table. The toilet, in all aspects aside from cigarette butt and chewing gum disposal, is utterly useless.

Those who believe in intelligent life in outer space often say that any culture advanced enough to achieve space travel would probably not make themselves known to us until we too have reached a certain level of civilization. I take that to mean the elimination of war, and every German Poo Shelf toilet currently in existence. Although stopping warfare is a tall order at the moment, I encourage every able-bodied soul to grab a sledgehammer, get to Germany, and start swinging.

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It appears that the Banterist has been doing some traveling: Next to the infamous Squat-hole toilets of Asia and southern France, the German Poo-Shelf Toilet is undoubtedly one of the least pleasant methods of waste removal - assuming you're...

Trackbacked from Poo-Shelf on hubs and spokes.

I haven't quite gone through this site yet, but one line jumped out at me as pretty funny: The Poo-Shelf comes from a period in German history when Germans were less interested in world domination and apparently more interested in spending quality ti...

Trackbacked from Funny Line on Bathroom Reading.


it's crap. Thanks Jeff. This is definitely one of your shittier links, albeit very fascinating....

Trackbacked from if it isn't scatalogical on Knowledge Is Power:

Just a couple of updates on the toilet front..

Firstly, this update comes from a whiny pommish tourist, currently living in Australia:

Thanks for making me laugh this morning, your toilet piece had me in
stiches. Though it mus

Trackbacked from More on the toiletness on


Oh yes. I encountered these lovely devices ten years ago while visiting Vienna, and wrote about it in my journal. Nothing like facing one's own humanity.

In my travels in Europe in the 90's we always referred to these with a nautical reference - "poop deck".

I thought the GPST was a purely germanic treat until I encountered it all across East Central Europe. After a number of encounters I came to calling it simply the "poop n view."

I'm still trying to figure out a shorter name for the "don't touch that handle or a stream of icy cold water will shoot straight at your bung hole; use the OTHER handle" toilet I've found in Bosnia and Turkey.

The German Poo Shelf Toilet isn't a Polish anomaly. My Dutch ex-girlfriend had one in her house in Dordrecht, Holland, and if anything you're understating how incredibly DISGUSTING those things are.

You forgot, for instance, to mention the *sound* that one's fecal waste makes as it hits the shelf. That horrible *plopping sound,* amplified and altered by the shape and consistency of the bowl to give what should have been a sodden *plop* the faintest hint of a metallic *tung* sound.

The worst part is when -- and not to get too graphic here -- you have a lot you want to ... eh, unburden yourself of. If you're dealing with a Poo Shelf featuring less-than-robust water pressure, you end up with an unmovable mass, one that simply sits on the shelf, silently mocking you.

What , Pray Glub happens when one would be expelling a large enema into one of these cringemakers ? The mind recoils in horror .


" Making word images to haunt you "

I sent a link describing the poop-shelf technology to a friend in Berlin last year, inquiring as to the possible reason for this phenomenon. His reply:
The question of the toilet is VERY EASY to anwer. As practically every German is health-insured, we tend to go to the doctor (as recommended) at least every two years for a throrough (and practcally cost-free) check-up. For that, you will have to bring some of your, er, feces in a specialized container the doctor will give you. So how do you get at your, er, sausage if it is swimming in water? With a German toilet, this is dead easy.

A second reason is the Germans' concern for health. We usually look at the, er, deposit, so see whether it is black (meaning that there is blood in it, could be cancer!) or has some other unusual colour not explainable by what has been taken in foodwise. So a light ochre means liver trouble of some kind and so forth. You may also see whether you got worms and so on.

So the riddle of the German toilet is none. It's oriented towards everyday health-monitoring.
So apparently, as bizarre as this practice may seem to us foreigners, there is some reason behind it.

I have not seen these but have seen the squat holes in korea... I can tell you though that this reminds me of leaving someone an "upper-decker". usually done to people you don't like, you drop your leavings in the tank of the toilet.. that way the place stinks for days before someone figures it out.

Found your site from SondraK's. As someone there noted...the splashback from a case of the runs could really be horrific.

Is it really called a pooh shelf toilet? Or does it have some technically savvy German name?

Typical "German" toilets are called "Hochspüler" ("high flush") while their international counterparts are named "Tiefspüler" ("low flush"). So when you build a house here in Germany, you normally have the choice for one of these two types. If you have a rented flat and the owner chose the type you don't like ("taste" for this is evenly split among the population) - tough luck :)

Ok, as a German living in the United States I have had discussions about this topic before. I think our
German toilets are masterpices of engineering design in terms of health and safety! Poo-shelf? What about
the US version of "Splashhh!!"? I find it difficult to use public toilets, because of my fear of other people's leftovers splashing agains my butthole. Putting ridiculous amounts of toiletpaper down to avoid the splash of death usually results in a clogged toiled, which, for a true German, is too unorderly to leave behind. The only remedy is dilution by flushing the toilet 5 times before you use it, which, again, goes against my German nature because it wastes water and destroys the World in general. So what can you do?

This picture up there looks like an old East-German Toilet, specially because of its brown color. I had one like that till 2002 and those things are awesome. No doubt
I'm in the US right now and had this discussion before, too.
I think its nice because you can see what you have done and no butthole splashes which are always cold...
Only disadvantage is that they take up a lot of water (but less than the American one's...) and it relativly stinks lol
But its not like discusting or nasty!
And I can tell you that much, that in old East Germany probably still more than 30% of the people still use those things, so they are not really rare (You can buy new one's too if want to)

I have one of these babies at home, and i live in West Germany. It's not just an east european phenomenon.

Since on the subject of bathrooms, what about carpeted bathrooms in the US and the UK? I find that 10 times more revolting then the GPSTs.

Christian, also being a German living in the US I could not have put it in a better way than you did (on March 23)!!
Those cold water splashes against my bottom - ugh! And public toilets - double ugh!! And that does not have to do with those toilets being "American", but simply with the type of toilet, as someone called it correctly earlier: "Tiefspueler".
If I come across one of those in Germany I feel exactly the same. And they are becoming much more frequent these days. I think it's because "Hochspueler" are more expensive. (of course - more material involved)
So, American friends, in a few years you may not be so disgusted anymore when entering a German bathroom. Lucky you!

The most commented topic - toilets. Man, that's crazy. I live in Poland too but what's "interesting" I have toilet on a staircase, not inside house - preety nice feeling when you want to pee at night ;) You never konw who is waiting on the staircase.

After this cross-cultural back-and-forth I, as an American who lived briefly in Germany, must offer my two cents. No one has mentioned the most hazardous of pitfalls the GPST represent (and oddly enough, "poop-shelf" is exactly what we had dubbed it)... paper buildup.

Any true American uses copious wads of toilet paper (the stuff does grow on trees after all) to assure full cleanliness, much in the same way we became objects of ridicule for showering daily. As you can imagine, with a steaming pile a mere 4 inches (10 cm) from your buttocks, there isn't a lot of room to stack, despite every fiber of your being telling you to cover that reeking mess up. One is left with the choice of stacking, and then running the risk of physical contact with the sullied sheets while depositing round 2's wipings. Or worse yet, re-encountering the used toilet paper with your ass... shudder. I ultimately opted to drop the paper into the front water well (as I'm sure the design intends), though this left the turds exposed. I'm sorry, I'll take cold water in the bunghole any day over feeling the radiant heat of my own feces on my anus...


The toilets with the water that shoots at your ass is to clean your ass. Works better than toilet paper, from what I hear, and a lot more hygenic.

And something I certainly wish that we had more of here in the U.S.. After having had an extreme case of the "runs" every day for the 7 days that I spent in Ft. Worth, TX several years back, I've decided that wiping your butt every twenty minutes or less is a really horrible thing. Hurts like hell. Made me bleed. Etc.

BTW, Ft. Worth, TX's restaurants are all wonderful, but people tell me that the difference in grades of meat that are used between my home of Michigan and TX is probably what caused that.. although TX meat is certainly fit for human consumption, apparently if your digestive system has only ever been used to MI meat, then your body tends to have problems with things from other areas.

I encountered these toilets on a holiday in Austria this year. My husband said that he felt as if he should sit on it the other way, as they are made the other way round to our loos. My daughter was amazed, because she just didn`t realise her poos were so big! All I will say is that I would rather use these than squat toilets in France.

Yep. I sure do remember those. Your poo would splat down there and look like a giant cow pattie. It was a pretty foul cultural experience, but I sure wish I had one here in Texas to "break up the monotony."


I think I read... check that, here's the quote: "...reason is the Germans' concern for health." Indeed? The last time I went to the bathroom I was able to see the colour quite clearly, as the wipings contrast reasonably well on something we use called toilet paper. Where I come from, this invention of toilet paper, aka bathroom tissue, is white. The resulting contrast is quite visible, even in poor lighting conditions. In the rare case when no signature is left, the stark contrast of your waste against the porcelain is usually enough to determine colour and composition, short of taking samples, or checking last night's dinner menu.

Speaking from personal experience... I've had the misfortune of staying at a hotel in Hungary that still had these contraptions in place. It was the first time I'd ever been blessed with seeing one, and the features of the design didn't sink in until that one fateful moment when I had to go. Suffice to say, I had to stop momentarily to contemplate my next move, and my existance in general. Never before had I been cursed with facing the full force of fecal odour. Oddly enough, the other hotel I was lodged in, and a smattering of public facilities had the more typical "low flush" toilets, and I nearly shouted with glee when I saw one in a Pizza Hut.

But I digress.

If you can't see the contrast on either the toilet paper, or again on the porcelain, then perhaps you should invest in a new set of glasses, or laser eye surgery.

Yet again, I digress.

Unless you are required to retrieve samples on a daily basis, I fail to see the need. If this checkup happens " least every two years..." as suggested, there are other methods of acquiring the aforesaid samples. Even if it was done on a yearly basis, one does not need to design a toilet specifically to do the work for you... especially if it inconveniences you the other 364 days out of the year.

I encountered this in Germany in 1983 and 1985 when I stayed with a family who owned a BMW dealership during a band tour. During the first visit it traumatized me but during the second visit I was drunk most of the time and didn't really care.

Wow, I never realized before this that the Germans were responsible for my drinking problem in the mid-80's.

Wicked site by the way.

I'm in tears here. Probably because this is the most hilarious post and comments that I have ever read. Of course, the personal connection doesn't hurt.

We dubbed these things the "shelf toilet" about 10 years ago when we lived in Russia. As others have noted, one of the most annoying aspects is when the water just runs around the larger piles and has no ability to move it. I don't care if you are at home or are a guest somewhere, the same question comes to mind, "Now what I am supposed to do?"

In 2001, we remodeled an apartment in St. Petersburg, Russia. I was determined not to buy a shelf toilet, and toilet shopping with a Russian friend was always good for a few laughs. There were always the typical "sit down, try it out" jokes. One day, however, we both were stunned and silent as we looked into a toilet in a shop. No shelf, all hole...about 10 inches in diameter! It turns out this was a "dacha" toilet - for an outhouse. I would have had to change some plumbing in the flat to rig that prize up.

Anyway, I live in western Poland now, and we have one of these legends in the basement. I'm feeling a bit nostalgic at the moment...

I actually had some Poo-shelf toilets, which are called "FlachspĆ¼ler" ("flat-flush") in correct german in several flats I lived in. They're quite common here in Germany. I agree that they do not provide a really pleasant experience if you're not into seeing what you have 'produced'. The good thing is that you don't have that 'water-on-your-behind' effect if you drop something big into them... Plus it teaches you not to empty your bladder standing, which most men learn to do if they actually have to clean the loo themselves...

I visited western poland for a month last year, and the old flat i was staying in (definitely communist era, probably built in the 60's, judging by how the concrete stairs in the main stairwell were worn down from foot traffic) had one of these atrocities. I was so scared of the poo accumulating and touching my butt that i didnt go for the first several days i was there. My hosts commented on my rapidly bulging stomach, chalking it up to polish hospitality. I quickly learned to use our frequent outings to bars and clubs as an opportunity to relieve myself in a real toilet, which most newer clubs have. Toward the end of my trip, someone asked me what the strangest thing about poland was versus the states, and i blurted out, "The toilets! It's like shitting on a plate!" I was not too popular with my group for that evening.

"As others have noted, one of the most annoying aspects is when the water just runs around the larger piles and has no ability to move it. I...."Now what I am supposed to do?""

Simple, just drop a small amount toilet paper on the shelf before you sit down.

Wow. To see one of those atrocities again brings back horrid memories. I had to use one of these vile inventions back in '98 while visiting my brother-in-law and his family with my husband. They live in Hof, Germany and we stayed with them for about a week before continuing our jaunt across Europe. These things should be illegal. Who would come up with something like this? The sound it makes when your poo hits the shelf is indescribably embarrassing. *THUD* Everyone in the entire house now knows you are taking a crap. Just great. I didn't want to take one ever again during our visit. I was so glad to find "regular" toilets here and there just so I could go. Then we went to Paris and found The Squat-Hole. These people are certifiable. Thank you for letting me know I'm not the only one that finds these things just wrong.

German toilets pritty much suck

There aren't many things worse than being hungover and taking a dump in one of these babies.

O.o Awww dude! Now I'm scared! I'm an american who is going to be spending 10 months in Germany as an exchange student... the girl I've been talking to, who lives where I'm going to be living.... didn't mention anything about a poo-shelf... but then again, it isn't one of those things that comes up in everyday conversation... How many people have these? I'm going to the northwest... what about there???

This type of toilet was originally invented so that meat-eaters could check for worms. Though raw and under-cooked meat is still popular in North-Western Europe and still as dangerous as ever (look up toxoplasmosis), the 'shit on the shelf' toilet is never found in new houses.
It did have one advantage for vegetarians:It preserved some of the potential energy of the turd so when it was flushed off the shelf it was sure to go down the drain.

As an American architect living in Germany, I was also curious about the "why" of these things. I looked it up in a sanitation manual, and sure enough, the idea behind them is to aid the examination of one's waste products. (Perhaps some inexplicable influence of Chinese medicine?) Though they are often found in older homes and may even still be available to buy, I don't think many are installed anymore. The usual models, as a rule, are quite well designed and even allow breaking off the flow mid-flush when less water is needed to dispose of a "small business."

Sadly, though, my family and I live in a rental built in the 80s with three of the atrocities. It goes without saying: they're an excellent motivator to save for our own house!

I expirenced these same toliets in Poland, when I studied abroad. It was explained to us that Eastern Europeans judge their health based on the quality and consistancy of their feces.

True, true. I live in north-western Poland (Szczecin) and we DO have such poop decks. I hate'em.

As a newcomer to Germany, I've never quite been able to understand the philosophy behind the Plumpsklo (or GPST) - so called because the poo makes a "ploomp" sound when it hits the shelf (apparently). Of far more concern is the Germans' defence for such a commodity - I mean, does it make sense to suffer this kind of inconvenience on a daily basis for the sake of a check-up once every two years? Couldn't another solution be found? And if one happens to be preoccupied with whether one's poo is black or ochre-tinged, this can clearly be discerned through the water found in normal toilets. One thing which the author of this side-splittingly funny piece forgot to mention is that if you happen to have had a particularly good meal the night before and your morning dump is a bit on the weighty side, the water when you flush will, 9 times out of 10, hit your stack and rush up to splash your face in an anything but refreshing manner. And what about the skid marks left on the shelf, which are roughly equivalent to the length of a runway at an international airport? The Germans really should have stuck to making beer.

I'd wondered for a long time where those toilets came from. It's not just western Poland though, I live in Warsaw and you get them pretty often.

Oh, crap.

I'm an American college student and experienced traveler. I've been living in Asia for the past 2 months, and I've got no problem with the squat toilets as long as the floor around them is clean. However, I'm going to be studying in Poland during the fall semester, and I had no idea that the shelf toilets could be found there. I've read about them before, but never seen one personally. There are some things I'd rather remain unacquained with.

I've often used these "shelfies" on visits to Germany, and I agree they're strange. But beyond being able to inspect one's waste at close range - if you're into that - I'm told they also make it easier to collect a stool sample that hasn't been contaminated by urine. Supposedly, one's pee goes into the front water hole, not onto the shelf. Works for guys; ladies, any comments on that? The most ironic thing is that tiny pool of water on the shelf that awaits one's waste. It doesn't do much to help avoid skid marks, and it certainly does nothing to eliminate the pre-flush stench. So, has German engineering failed or triumphed with this one?

Wipe this and plop that and bunghole the other. Jeez.

No one gets to the real questions - does it come in Avocado and can it be ordered from

I live in Germany and have one of these. Funnily enough, the predecessor *was* avocado. The current one is white.
Louise: it isn't a Plumpsklo - a Plumpsklo is a hole-in-the-ground toilet without a flush, where you hear a sound (ploomp) when a turd hits the water below.

These kind of toilets can still be found in some ex-soviet buildings. That was common and normal in those times.

You guys! You've been sitting on them backwards! In Germany you shit facing the wall.


Classic :)

I first encountered these in Holland (Renesse, Zeeland) - and y'know.. aside from thinking 'Huh, that's a weird design', I honestly didn't find any other drawbacks.

Maybe I have super-turds, or something - height nor smell nor 'sticking' never seemed to be a particular issue..

The weirdest thing was that there were no toilet paper dispensers in each stall - just one for the entire room of stalls, so you had to stock up before you went in there or face running out half way through a lengthy wiping process.. definitely not good!

An woman claims a (my term)"Plateau toilet" saved her life! Because of it, she discovered blood in her stool. Doctors removed cancer. She is well.

Forced to use one in Holland, I finessed the "flushandle" to "Refresh the bowl and moisten the plain, so no dry porcelain to which anything can cling."! Robert Gift Denver, Colorado USA

I'm in Afghanistan on a military base and I've spent the better part of the past couple of months trying to figure out what the heck was going on with the toilets we have to crap in. I was just describing them to a friend who suggested, "sounds like a german toilet!"

It's very rewarding to find other people who have had the same experiences.

There are signs up that advise you to lay down paper before using it. This is wise advice, as I've had to repeat my flush several times when I haven't followed it--just watch the water strip my little mountain naked and flow right around it.

Luckily there are urinals so I haven't had to try to pee in one.

most toilets in Hungary are like this. uses less water i think. One bad thing is that your hand often hits the poo when you wipe. worse, sometimes when water pressure is low, it doesn't sweep the poo off the shelf

Great, where can I get one in the UK. I used them on a visit to Germany, no real problem and it does avoid that splash back when you drop a really big one.

A few insights and corrections:

The FlachspĆ¼ler (the poo shelf thing) has been designed to avoid the splash of water and urine (don't you ever pee _and_ poo?) at your butt (and the sound thereof). Quite simple.
The modern Japanese approach to this is by the way a bit different, ask your favourite search engine for an "Otohime" device :)

However, no-one buys a FlachspĆ¼ler in order to have a daily inspection of his or hers end products. Obviously this is easier if your poo doesn't do a deep dive in a gallon of water, but on the other hand: How do you inspect something hidden under a pile of shitty paper?
It might have been an argument 100 years ago when parasites were more common, but definitly not today. In short: This is an urban legend.

The TiefspĆ¼ler (similar, but not equal to most US style toilets) is a direct descendant of the "hole in the wood" or the bucket of ancient times, just with water.
A Plumpsklo is the hole in the wood, a pit latrine.

The thesis "A FlachspĆ¼ler saves water compared to other toilets" is not entirely correct. Both the Flach- _and_ the TiefspĆ¼ler need a considerably smaller amount of water compared to a standard US design.

I'm BTW pretty amazed at the dumpling size of some posters here. Never occured to me to "feel the heat" or even that I had a way too close encounter with mine when wiping :)

I saw these "shelf toilets" in Romania too, and I wish we had them here in the U.S. It's nothing to do with the "examination" factor; it's simply that you don't get disgusting splashback with these. They're also less likely to clog, because your items of solid waste go over the edge like a waterfall instead of wedging themselves together in the bottom of the bowl. I'm a native-born American who finds shelf-toilet design far more intelligent than the standard U.S. toilet.

I Recently came back to the US after a trip through southern Austria and the Balkans. The toilets there were the best in the world as far as I'm concerned. They were low-flush, and attached to the wall instead of the floor. There was no tank mechanism with its silly ball and flapper to replace.

Best of all, each offered two options: a large button for high-power flush, and a smaller one for low-power with half the water.
They were so well designed that the large flush was just a precaution. The low-power was always more than adequate.

They worked so well that most people I spoke with had never heard of plungers.

I'd love to trade my my American toilet for an Austrian model. I'm very, very glad I never encountered a German toilet.

You Germans that complain about splashing yourselves with a low flush toilet: you're delusional.

If you were dropping a kilogram of crap from half a meter? Maybe. Just admit that you're coprophiles and get on with your lives.

Funniest thread ever. This made me laugh like a banshee. thank you everyone.

In Amsterdam the lasy year. Chok. I didnt understand what suposse to be that!! What was the meaning on see your own sh..?

I was born in Krakow, my parents still have one of those. always had to deal with skid marks(dropping toilet paper first works, but what if you are in a hurry or forget).all in all very inelegant solution this german engeneering. not the worst thing they left behind though, i guess.

I am a US servicemember stationed in Germany. My wife and I just moved into a BRAND NEW house. We have a "low flush" downstairs, and a BRAND NEW shit shelf upstairs, with a urinal next to it, and a bidet next to that.

We poop downstairs, I pee in the urinal, and the dog drinks from the bidet... the only thing the shit shelf is used for is when the wife has to pee late at night and doesn't want to walk downstairs.

I live in the Netherlands and the toilet 'inspection section' as you describe above is still popular today.


Just moved to Amsterdam from the states. We have a shelfer in our apartment that was built in 1997. The apartment was a dream when we moved in... until we had to go poo. We still love the apartment, but these toilets are designed for maximum stinkiness.

I think you prefer whatever you are used to as far as the ol' keester is involved, but I look forward to relinquishing this not-so-prized possession when we move.

I use the extra tp on the shelf, but it still leaves skid marks all over more so than differently designed toilets. The stench is so bad, your neighbors can probably smell you pooing :).

I can't really tell from the picture...but can't you just turn around and use the toilet as a traditional toilet?

I'm originally from Germany and find the poop shelf quite practical. You don't get that nasty splashback and when you puke it doesn't come back at you either. I would have really apprechiated a poop shelf when I had morning sickness and my puke would splash back at my face from the American toilet!

So I am currently an exchange student from the US living in the Netherlands and these objects have been quite the joke here. The writer of this page is awesome. I have never laughed so hard in my life. Thank you.

100% Wrong. 100% glad I don't live in Germany.

Lol, I have one of those. It doesn't smell immediately and since I normally spend less then 2 minutes poo-ing it's not that much of a problem. But beware of guests that take a little longer. You don't wanna use the toilet when they just used it.
Also the smell doesn't come from the poo-only. When you poo, you also let go a few gases, they do more damage then that little brown stuff you just dropped.

I live in Germany now. Me and my friends affectionately call these 'Check Decks.'

Ah yes... when I went on vacation in Ukraine a lot of the toilets I saw were like this. They are horrible. And seemed to clog up any time I used one.

Typical American. These toilets use A LOT less water. I'm sure theres a prescription out there (as there seems to be for everything in the US) that will prevent your poo from smelling at all -- perhaps even one that will stop your digestive process completely. Then the US really would be filled with people that are literally full of shit. :P

Just got back from Amsterdam and was pretty much horrified by these toilets. They use tons of water to flush away all the waste and they are smelly as hell. The fact that you might swipe your own poo while wiping is an obvious downside as well. My cousin has one of these montrosities in his flat and it uses what seems to be gallons of water to flush and still leaves a skid mark.

Unless you might have worms in your poo these toilets are not for you.

It's funny written, but the GPST is just another bowl shape.
Nothing to worry about or be afraid of.

The downsides are using the brush more often and perhaps the smell, but toilets aren't supposed to smell like lavender or ocean breeze anyway.

In return you get reasonable water consumption (3 or 6 liters) and zero splashes.
And if we'd all peed sitting down like we're supposed to, it'll work out just fine.

I experienced the Pooh Shelf toilet while traveling through Bavaria in the 80's. This made me laugh out loud because it is dead on! The stink was evil and your dump got stuck on the shelf about half the time. People in the house knew your pooh was stuck because they could hear you flush like 5 times in a row. Wanna know the trick to not getting stuck? THE RAFT! If you remember to lay down a few layers of paper on the shelf before making your deposit, then your odds get better (but not guaranteed) that your dump will make all the way off the shelf. OOOOOOH THE STINK STILL RESONATES IN MY MEMORY!!!

That's why German bathrooms all have a brush, smart guy.

These toilets are way more water efficient, and I prefer this over the idiotic splash wetness I get from American toilets.

seeing your feces can tell you a great deal about your health.
i don't see why people are disgusted. after all we are full of it

i'm not german, and although it is disgusting in some ways, it allows you to take a look every now and then and see how youre health is doing. shit is a tell-tale sign of good or bad health and i think its a pretty good idea to take a look sometimes rather than just flush away and pretend that you dont consume hamburgers and beer for breakfast (guilty as charged).. ;)

I cracked my way through all these comments. Thanks everyone.

And now, trying to ease myself into a relaxed poise, I'm sorry for being a stool pigeon, but I can't see how any water is saved. I had to do tons of flushes in my Austrian hotel so any perceived economic advantages went right down the pan...
All puns intended...


i'am amazed by all those commentaires, especially the fairy-tale ones...
i live in austria and have such a toilet - and would never ever change it for a US-style one. I don't even have a plunger, i never touched my shit when cleaning my back, my shit always goes down and well... i guess it's normal that shit smells like shit ... so what?
sometimes i guess it has to do with the puritan background of many americans that shit is something evil and looking at it is a sin.
i find it way more disgusting to have my back splashed with urine, or, to have to flush several times as some turds always come back with the american-like toilets...

Well, I live in southern Germany [southern Bavaria] and i have never seen one.

Hi :

I have used the German Shelf toilet during my sojourn in Eastern Europe, and they are quite comfortable really.Prefer these to having water splashing onto the bottom everytime you drop.As to the 'view' of the poop as some of the posters here put it, arent Asian squat toilets the same ?

Are these available for sale and where ?

Hausfrau007 : You said one needs to sit facing the wall.Would appreciate if you could elaborate on the correct sitting position. Thanks.

I'm from Poland, a there is still a lot of this shelf toilets. Not longer than 15 years ago it was available to buy. But now according to EU regulations it's no longer produced.
As you mentioned it have some disadvantages. But there's is one advantage: butt is not splashed with water when poo hits the bottom.

i am german and they are very much standart. i like them!

I used one in Amsterdam, and EVERY time i had to go, it stuck to the shelf, may be a personal problem, but since thats tough to chage...screw the Poo SHelf!

Some friends and I lived in Germany for awhile, and we called this thing the "Trophy Shelf". It truly lives up to everything said about it :) The streak left over after flushing was my least favorite part until I learned to put down some paper before using it.

I've never been splashed by water using the american style toilets. Perhaps you're doing it wrong or your shits are too hard. Include some fiber in your superior European diet.

All american toilets sold today are 1.6 gallons per flush, or 6 litres. The days of the 5 gallon flush are gone. So, the water saving issue is a straw-man argument.

Shit smells, yes. But why relish in it? Get it in some water and keep the odor down. Oh right b/c you're smelly europeans. Yes, American's wear deodorant and keep the smell of our feces in check. What terrible stereotypes.

Too bad there isn't a prescription that cures know-nothing know-it-alls from getting on the web and posting ignorant, inflammatory comments.

Great blog! I laughed my butt off.

Chris, you're a fucking idiot.

just got back from a trip to the continent and have been cogitating on these bowls since--ok, i'm cogitating on my own bowl again but still...

i don't know if anyone mentioned it, but the absolute worst is when the turd falls forward against the back of your balls. f-ing sick. furthermore, i refuse to be emasculated by these things and have never in my years of living in europe sat on one to go pee.

What I want to know is, after a night of hard drinking or a really hard stomach virus, when you start projectile vomitting do you get splashback of pure vomit?

I have to say I think I'd prefer the American toilet. I never got hit with splash back when visting Uncle Hughey

I have experienced the "poor man's bidet (the splash that everyone is talking about)" but only on private toilets. Due to ADA and other regulations public toilets are so large/over engineered that such backsplash is rare. Luckily my current low-flush toilets seem well designed and do not have this problem.

However for the ultimate in toilet tech, get yourself a bidet seat (toto washlet, brondell, etc.). They rock, and save the environment (way more water goes into making toilet paper than a bidet seat will use). There is nothing like a toilet that cleans your ass, lights up at night, and has a heated seat.

I had a good time reading all of this shit...
The "FlachspĆ¼ler" is just a sign of cultural differences.
Keep them alive that makes the whole thing vivid. I grew up with this design of toilets and for me everything else is strange...You may disagree or agree on the design of the toilets, but you cannot deny they are working (and not having the need to defecate in the woods or in direct sight of the cobblestones).
Knowing and experiencing the differences, I still prefer the poo-shelf for having an immediate feedback of my nutrition.
The market will decide whether the design is inferior or superior...I am glad to still find some of those :)

I've lived in Holland for many years, where the german toilet is very common.

Now, to be fair, it does have some advantages. You, for example don't get anything splashing back at you, and if you're anywhere kinda public, nobody can hear exactly what you're doing and how big....

I kinda like that toilet!

This post always makes me laugh. I've forwarded this to many friends over the years since travelling through Poland and now I'm living in Berlin with my very own GPST. My top complaint is in experiencing poos of the household olfactorily for as long as possible. Comments on the comments: We aren't limited only to either the German poo shelf or the American pool. There are sensible options in the world of toilets. What about the German acceptance of nothing less than 4-ply? Also, all German men pee sitting down.

I just came back from Austria and though I've been there many times before I didn't remember this toilet, or maybe i was in denial. it is utterly disgusting. i don't think it's a coincidence that our toilet had the best toilet spray i have ever encountered, it was badly needed. I tried aiming for the front well, which was a bit of a challenge but actually possible! We don't have them in Sweden, and we may get splashed but I can live with that. Then there's the thing with not having a sink next to the toilet, but in another room. Actually that was almost worse than the poo shelf.

I first encountered these toilets in the early sixties as a travelling musician from the UK. We called it the 'Continental Shelf'. It transpires that Germans check their state-of-health from looking at their shit. If you ask a German how he's doing, he'll straight away rush to the toilet, have a crap and come back to you saying either, "I'm fine" or "not so good,I think I'll lie down for a while".

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