You take it for granted.

Like so many people who have access to it, you hardly give it a thought, but, what would you do if suddenly faced without such a common device?

The toilet, yes the humble toilet.

In has been called by many names:  chamber pot, commode,  outhouse, latrine, port-a-potty–just to name a few monikers. Even in the United States of America, many people’s lives were centered on where, how, and when they could use the toilet. During Jane Crow segregation, many Black American families had their children use the toilet before leaving home because they knew that rigid segregation would intrude on this most private of human bodily functions. No trip was undertaken until the issue of “Whites Only”, “Colored Only” toilet use was decided. Something so private, something so necessary, was intruded upon by race hatred.

Today, in 2013, there are over 2.5 billion people who still do not have a toilet to take care of their bodily functions.

Today marks the inaugural day of this observance. World Toilet Day seeks to bring this issue of the many who have no way to care for this most basic human function to the attention of those of us who do have access to toilets and suggests what we can do to help those who do not have the important act of sanitation in their lives. World Toilet Day seeks to bring to light how the humble toilet can have a profound effect on human health, dignity and security, the environment, and social and economic development.



Quick Facts

World Toilet Day aims to promote public awareness of the need for adequate toilets to improve people’s health and save lives.

Local names

Name Language
World Toilet Day English
Día Mundial del Inodoro Spanish

World Toilet Day 2013

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

World Toilet Day 2014

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

World Toilet Day is a United Nations (UN) observance, on November 19, that highlights a serious problem – 2.5 billion people in the world do not have access to proper sanitation.

About 2.5 billion people don’t have access to a toilet.©

Celebrate World Toilet Day

Each year thousands of people join in on promoting World Toilet Day via social media campaigns, online petitions, and by getting involved in a range of events held in different countries worldwide.

Public life

World Toilet Day is a global observance and not a public holiday.

About World Toilet Day

The provision of proper toilets could save the lives of more than 200,000 children in the world, according to the UN. The countries where open defecation is most widely practiced are the same countries with the highest numbers of under-five child deaths, high levels of under-nutrition and poverty, and large wealth disparities. Moreover, over one billion people defecate in the open due to lack of proper toilet facilities.

International organizations, particularly the World Toilet Organization, have promoted World Toilet Day for years. In 2013, the UN officially recognized November 19 as World Toilet Day in a bid to make sanitation for all a global development priority. It deemed the practice of open-air defecation as “extremely harmful” to public health.

Did you know?

More people in the world have a mobile phone than a toilet. Of the world’s seven billion people, six billion have mobile phones. However, only 4.5 billion have access to toilets or latrines – meaning that 2.5 billion people, mostly in rural areas, do not have proper sanitation.

World Toilet Day Observances

Weekday Date Year Name Holiday type Where it is observed
Tue Nov 19 2013 World Toilet Day United Nations observance
Wed Nov 19 2014 World Toilet Day United Nations observance
Thu Nov 19 2015 World Toilet Day United Nations observance
Sat Nov 19 2016 World Toilet Day United Nations observance
Sun Nov 19 2017 World Toilet Day United Nations observance
Mon Nov 19 2018 World Toilet Day United Nations observance
Tue Nov 19 2019 World Toilet Day United Nations observance
Thu Nov 19 2020 World Toilet Day United Nations observance

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