A toilet is a sanitation fixture used for the disposal of human urine and feces. They are often found in a small room referred to as a toilet, bathroom or lavatory. A toilet can be designed for people who prefer to sit (by using a toilet pedestal) or for people who prefer to squat and use a squat toilet. Flush toilets, which are common in many parts of the world (particularly in more affluent countries or regions), may be connected to a septic tank or - more commonly in urban areas - via a sewer to a sewage treatment plant.

Dry toilets, for example pit latrines and composting toilets, require no or little water. The excreta is removed manually or composted in situ. Chemical toilets or mobile dry toilets can be used in mobile and temporary situations where there is no access to sewerage.

Ancient civilizations used toilets attached to simple flowing water sewage systems included those of the Indus Valley Civilization and also those of the Romans and Egyptians. Although a precursor to the flush toilet system which is widely used nowadays was designed in 1596 by John Harington, such systems did not come into widespread use until the late nineteenth century. Thomas Crapper was one of the early makers of flush toilets in England.

Many infectious diseases, including cholera and diarrhoea, can be largely prevented when effective sanitation systems are in place. Hygienic toilets are one important piece of the overall sanitation system.


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