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Five things you need for the perfect outhouse
Posted on Friday, June 29, 2012

Yes, it doesn't seem like the word perfect and outhouse should ever be included in the same sentence, but hear us out. Many families go on vacations in the summertime that involve the great outdoors, and oftentimes the only bathroom around is a wooden structure placed over a hole in the ground. They're not exactly the most luxurious places imaginable, but it's not hard to make them a little more appealing. If you own a campsite or are planning to spruce up an outhouse in the near future, consider these useful additions.


1. Lime. We're talking about calcium hypochlorite, not the green citrus fruit. You'll need to use this to clean up the "toilet" of the pit. Not only will it get rid of germs, but it cuts down on odors, which really comes in handy. Sprinkle some in once or twice each day when it's in use.


2. Shelves. Although outhouses are usually in the middle of the woods, there are still toiletries and accessories that need storage. A nice shelf or two can hold rolls of toilet paper, air freshener and hand sanitizer.


3. Toilet paper holders. You can never have enough toilet paper, so multiple holders may be of use in the outhouse. Because these amenities are usually outside in the open and made of wood, they might get a bit damp when it rains, so it's necessary to keep the toilet paper off the wooden surface unless you don't mind using soggy paper.


4. A mat. Camping in the woods can get pretty dirty, and it's always nice to be able to wipe your feet every now and then. If you were unlucky enough to encounter rain on your trip, you'll be dealing with a lot of muddy shoes. A mat is especially helpful if you're sleeping in a tent at night and don't want to track in a mess.


5. Entertainment. Just like in bathrooms at home, people often like being entertained when they're using the toilet, even if that toilet is really just a hole in the ground. Place a couple of magazines, comics or newspapers in the outhouse so no one's left to simply stare at the walls.


With these five additions, you should have a better experience using the bathroom while you're camping!

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Clogged toilets are guests' worst nightmares. It seems like everyone's toilet is capable of handling only a certain amount of toilet paper and...ahem...waste before it suddenly decides to protest and start flooding with water, and you never know what that limit is. While a plunger is the best case scenario in this circumstance, as it can quickly and quietly get rid of a clog while you're hoping that no one's noticed how long you've been in the bathroom, some households aren't forgiving enough to offer them. So what else can you do?


First, put a stop to that constant water flow that's threatening to spill over and flood the bathroom. According to ArtofManliness.com, you can do this by quickly removing the tank's lid and closing the toilet flapper. This will prevent water from heading from the tank into the bowl. You'll at least be able to keep the process of unclogging the toilet relatively clean.


Now that there's no flood warning, you're free to get creative with other unclogging methods. The easiest thing to try, if the clog is a relatively small one, is to pour in some hot water. Head over to the vanity and look for a container that's capable of holding a significant amount. When the water in the toilet is at its lowest point, pour in the hot water from as high as you dare without making a mess. The pressure should dislodge the clog, but you may need to do this more than once. It won't work, however, if the clog is a big one.


If you have a bigger clog, there's pretty much no way you can unclog it without a plunger AND without alerting your host to the problem. You're going to need tools to get the job done, which may not be readily accessible. This could be a toilet auger, which you simply snake down into the hole and wiggle around to loosen up the clog.


You could also use a combination of baking soda and vinegar, which TLC points out has been known to unclog drains, so it could work with a toilet. As long as there isn't a lot of water in the bowl that could dilute the mixture, you may find this method successful.


Next time, be cautious by flushing a couple of times while you're using the toilet rather than waiting until you're finished. This could save you some embarrassment.

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How to make a small bathroom look spacious
Posted on Thursday, June 28, 2012

Whether you're dealing with an apartment-sized bathroom or are embarrassed by a miniscule guest washroom, you don't have to feel limited by a teeny tiny space. Unless knocking down walls or building an addition is a possibility, you're going to need to brush up on ways to make a small bathroom look airy and spacious. Here are several ideas to get you on the right track.


Make mirrors your friends

Mirrors create the illusion of depth, and they can also help reflect light around a room, making it appear bigger and brighter. Aside from the one over your vanity, consider hanging an arrangement of them on your walls or using mirrored furniture items.


Go for tall and skinny decorative accents

This could mean a thin, towering set of shelves, long window treatments or skinny, rectangular picture frames or mirrors. These items will draw the eye upward, making the room seem bigger than it actually is.


Get rid of clutter

There's nothing like clutter to make a space seem smaller. Clean out your bathroom and get rid of anything you don't need to have in there, whether it's expired toiletries or old medications. Once it's clean, bring in a few more storage options like shelves, cabinets or even baskets to hold your bathroom accessories.


Steer clear of dark wall colors

While a navy blue bathroom may seem like a good choice, dark paint on the walls of a small space can make it look cramped and dark. Opt for lighter shades like neutrals, pastels or off-whites. They'll brighten up the room and make it appear more airy.


Build recessed shelving

Better Homes and Gardens Magazine points to recessed storage solutions as ways to literally carve out more space. They can easily be built in between the wall's studs and they won't take up any valuable floor space.


Opt for glass doors

This can apply to your shower stall or your cabinet or vanity doors, but either way, glass can create the illusion of depth and space. If you do go this route, be prepared to keep everything that's within sight neat and tidy!


Move it to the corner

If possible, move your vanity into a corner of the room. This will not only take advantage of space that probably isn't being used, but it can improve the flow of traffic in the room, making it seem like there's plenty of space to move around.

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Saving money is at the forefront of everyone's minds these days, as the economy is still in the process of straightening itself out. As a result, many people have had to make cutbacks, whether it's scaling back on all those cable channels, reducing the number of minutes available on their cell phone plans or opting for a wedding gown made out of toilet paper. Wait, what?


Believe it or not, women all over the country have been using the paper bathroom accessories to make dresses that really could look perfect on a bride walking down the aisle. The 8th Annual Cheap Chic Weddings Toilet Paper Wedding Dress Contest, sponsored by Cheap-Chic-Weddings.com and Charmin, held their final judging event at Ripley's Believe It or Not! Times Square Odditorium in New York recently, reports The Huffington Post.


The winner of the event, who took home a prize of $2,012, was Susan Brennan of Lake Orchard, Michigan, who actually won the event last year as well. The 26-year-old designer used a total of 10 rolls of toilet paper to make the dress, which also relied on glue and thread. She was apparently able to put it all together in just a week.


"I wanted something really original, something young brides would want to wear," she said. "Like the high-low hem, so your shoes can show, a really fun back, with the cut-outs, very modern... It's my little bohemian cupcake."


The contest had a total of 700 entries this year, which makes Brennan's feat all the more impressive. It also means that a heck of a lot of toilet paper had to be used, but luckily the entrants got a little help with that. Charmin reportedly provided coupons to help them cover the costs of buying all that paper.


Cheap-Chic-Weddings.com is a website dedicated to helping brides-to-be save money on their ceremonies, so it's only fitting that they would sponsor such a thrifty event. They came up with the idea based on a popular bridal shower game and over the eight years that the event has been running, the popularity and skills of the entrants has increased.


"The quality of talent that presents itself each year always amazes us," Susan Bain, one of the founders of Cheap Chic Weddings, said. "This year's entries included several dresses that had intricate details like faux embroidery, ruffles, pleats and even lace effects."


Perhaps making a wedding gown out of toilet paper isn't such a bad idea for saving money on a wedding after all, considering they're so gorgeous!

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Exploding toilets prompt recall of flushing systems
Posted on Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Picture this - you head into the bathroom after a long day at work, hoping to relieve your bladder and freshen up before plopping yourself down on the couch to relax and watch your favorite TV show. As you're using the toilet...suddenly you hear a strange noise and out of nowhere, the tank explodes, sending shards of porcelain all over your bathroom and probably deep into your skin. Sound like some kind of strange nightmare? Well, it was a reality for about 300 people.


According to The Legal Examiner, the Flushmate® III Pressure-Assist Flushing System made by Flushmate of New Hudson, Michigan, has been found to have a potentially faulty vessel weld seam, which can cause an excessive release of pressure that can not only lift the lid of the tank off, but can shatter the entire tank. The device is being recalled.


The news source reports that the recall will affect about 2.3 million people in the United States and around 9,400 households in Canada, based on the amount of flushing systems that were sold. The faulty devices were manufactured between October 1997 and February 2008, and have since caused 304 explosions resulting in 14 injuries.


The Flushmate flushing systems were sold for about $108 through Lowes and Home Depot. Toilet manufacturers like American Standard, Crane, Eljer, Gerber, Kohler, Mansfield and St. Thomas were also sold the units.


The rectangular black plastic unit is installed in toilet tanks, so you might want to check to see what kind of flushing system your model uses. According to Reuters, the recalled units have a series number of 503 and a 16-character serial number that has the date of manufacture in the first six digits, which can be found on a label on the top of the device. If it starts with anything in between 101497 and 022908, the product is included in the recall.


If you do happen to find that your flushing system is one of the devices in the recall, the Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends to stop using the toilet and shut off the water supply to it immediately. Flushmate is providing consumers with free repair kits, which you can get from their website or by calling their toll-free hotline.


Hopefully, you'll be able to avoid disastrous explosions in the bathroom by checking to see if your device is one of the units affected.

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Households everywhere are giving in to the green movement and lowering their energy costs, reducing the amount of waste they produce and improving their efficiency as a result. From eco-friendly appliances to building materials, it seems like nearly everything these days has a green alternative. One bathroom fixture in particular is experiencing a wave of environmentally-friendly innovation - the toilet. In fact, one new model can transform human waste into fertilizer and electricity.


According to Science Daily, scientists from Nanyang Technological University (NTU) have invented a toilet that will not only convert waste into usable resources, but will reduce the amount of water necessary for flushing by up to 90 percent in comparison to the current toilet technology available in Singapore.


It's called the No-Mix Vacuum Toilet and it has two chambers reserved for liquid and solid waste. Using the same vacuum technology that's featured in aircraft bathrooms, the toilet only uses 0.2 liters of water for flushing liquids and 1 liter for flushing solids. Conventional toilets use anywhere from 4 to 6 liters.



Phys.org reports that the team is planning to implement two of the toilets in two different NTU restrooms. If the system proves effective, the toilet is likely to become available worldwide in the next three years. Associate Professor Wang Jing-Yuan, Director of the Residues and Resource Reclamation Centre at NTU (who is leading the project), wants to not only save water, but recover resources so that none will be wasted in Singapore, where resources are scarce.


The team believes that the toilet system will be useful to a number of consumers, including hotels and communities that aren't hooked up to a main sewage system. The fact that the waste is separated by the toilet itself and not at a waste management facility is a simpler and cheaper method of collecting the chemicals, fuel and energy from the waste.


So, how exactly does this toilet work? Apparently the liquid waste is sent to a processing plant that extracts nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium from the matter, which can be used to make fertilizers. The solid waste is transferred to a bioreactor where methane will be collected. According to Science Daily, methane can replace natural gas used in stoves and can be converted to electricity.


It might sound strange to cook food with methane gas that's been recovered from human waste, but certainly it's an innovation that will prove beneficial to the planet.

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How to make a small bathroom look spacious
Posted on Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Whether you're dealing with an apartment-sized bathroom or are embarrassed by a miniscule guest washroom, you don't have to feel limited by a teeny tiny space. Unless knocking down walls or building an addition is a possibility, you're going to need to brush up on ways to make a small bathroom look airy and spacious. Here are several ideas to get you on the right track.


Make mirrors your friends

Mirrors create the illusion of depth, and they can also help reflect light around a room, making it appear bigger and brighter. Aside from the one over your vanity, consider hanging an arrangement of them on your walls or using mirrored furniture items.


Go for tall and skinny decorative accents

This could mean a thin, towering set of shelves, long window treatments or skinny, rectangular picture frames or mirrors. These items will draw the eye upward, making the room seem bigger than it actually is.


Get rid of clutter

There's nothing like clutter to make a space seem smaller. Clean out your bathroom and get rid of anything you don't need to have in there, whether it's expired toiletries or old medications. Once it's clean, bring in a few more storage options like shelves, cabinets or even baskets to hold your bathroom accessories.


Steer clear of dark wall colors

While a navy blue bathroom may seem like a good choice, dark paint on the walls of a small space can make it look cramped and dark. Opt for lighter shades like neutrals, pastels or off-whites. They'll brighten up the room and make it appear more airy.


Build recessed shelving

Better Homes and Gardens Magazine points to recessed storage solutions as ways to literally carve out more space. They can easily be built in between the wall's studs and they won't take up any valuable floor space.


Opt for glass doors

This can apply to your shower stall or your cabinet or vanity doors, but either way, glass can create the illusion of depth and space. If you do go this route, be prepared to keep everything that's within sight neat and tidy!


Move into the corner

If possible, move your vanity into a corner of the room. This will not only take advantage of space that probably isn't being used anyway, but it can improve the flow of traffic in the room, making it seem like there's plenty of space to move around.

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When you're redecorating a bathroom, you're probably focused more on your fixtures, paint color, vanity and wall art than how you're going to display your towels. Sure, you might spend a considerable amount of time deciding on what color towels you want or which patterns should be featured on them, but you probably weren't thinking of displaying them in a way that doesn't involve a towel bar. However, you might want to reconsider your plan - a nice towel display can make all the difference in a fashionable washroom. Here are some ideas to spark your creativity.


1. A shelf made out of something vintage. Whether it's a decorative carved chair, a bench or a table, vintage furniture items can make lovely towel shelves, according to Better Homes and Gardens Magazine.


2. A decal with added hooks. Wall decals are big these days, as they can add fun and flair to any space. You shouldn't have a problem finding one that will fit your bathroom's motif. Once you've chosen a good one, Houzz.com suggests attaching hooks to the wall where it makes sense on the decal. For example, you could add hooks on the branches of a tree decal for a cool, functional towel display.


3. A color-coordinated stack. If you have space, you might just want to stack an arrangement of color-coded towels. For example, stack the darkest on the bottom and the lightest on top. Then arrange the matching hand towels or washcloths decoratively on top of that. Simple!


4. Rolls. Rolled-up towels look decorative in pretty much any setting, whether they're placed in a pyramid on open shelving or arranged neatly in baskets. As a bonus, it's easier to roll a towel than to neatly fold it.


5. Ribbons. If you'd like to take a stack of towels and turn it into something a bit more decorative, you could always get a coordinating ribbon and tie it like a package over the stack. It's like a chic little present!


6. A vintage ladder. If your home is decorated with a country theme, you could get away with putting a vintage-looking ladder in your bathroom and using the rungs as towel racks. One with wider steps could also hold accents like candles or plants.


7. On a clothes hanger. Especially if you have frequent guests, a clothes hanger makes an attractive and useful display. Just fold the towels on it, then hang them from a hook. Your guests will be able to take them to and from the bathroom easily, reports Better Homes and Gardens.

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Everyone has different tastes, so it's completely normal to hate the way your friend designed her bathroom even when you know she absolutely adores it. That being said, while you're entitled to decorate your bathroom any way you see fit, there are some elements of bathroom design that should be forgotten entirely. Here's a list of common bathroom design mistakes that should be avoided at all costs. Unless, of course, you like them.


1. Colored bathtubs, toilets, sinks and showers. Avocado green and Pepto pink should be left to their respective objects - avocados and Pepto bottles. You don't want these outdated colors reigning supreme in your bathroom design because not only are they pretty ugly, but they'll severely limit your color palette, making updates difficult.


2. Toilet rugs. If you have a wrap-around toilet rug at the base and/or a stretchy rug fit over the seat of your toilet, toss them A.S.A.P. It's understandable to have a rug near the base for your feet, but you don't need it to wrap around the bottom. Invest in a rectangular bathroom mat instead. As for the seat cover - what's the point?


3. No storage. If you don't have a sizable contemporary bathroom vanity, you're just asking for clutter. Without somewhere to put your toiletries, blow dryers, makeup and cleaning products you'll end up with no counter space and no design appeal.


4. Cheap laminate flooring. These designs may look okay when they're first put in place, but when they get wet (and they will in a bathroom) they'll most likely expand, causing ripples and edges that peel away from the wall. Opt for tile, bamboo or teak flooring instead, which looks a lot better and can stand up to moisture.


5. Bare windows. If you've been ignoring the windows in your bathroom, you're doing your design a disservice. Just like paint, window treatments are a cheap and easy way to add visual appeal to a room without having to make a big commitment.


6. Visible medications. When you have guests over, do you really want them to be able to see what medications you're taking? It's often very personal information. Get yourself a great medicine cabinet instead and be sure to put bottles back into it when you're done using them.

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Digging around in toilets doesn't sound like a very rewarding activity - what could you possibly find aside from a bunch of waste? However, archaeologists in France recently found out that the effort it takes to dig up a toilet can be well worth it - they discovered a rare piece of jewelry with historical significance.


According to FOX News, a 3.5-inch hairpin belonging to the 16th century French Queen Catherine de Medici was found at a royal residence outside of Paris. Archaeologists were digging in the area while preparing the site for restoration and were surprised to find the artifact. Apparently, this is the first time in modern history that a personal item belonging to the royal has been found at Fontainebleau Palace.


You may be asking yourself how they knew that it was Catherine's hairpin, especially because it was found in a public toilet - not a private bathroom like the ones she would have used. The piece is unmistakably hers because it bears her initials - two interlocking Cs that stand for Catherine. When the grime was cleaned off, it was also noticed that there's a green and white finish on the pin, which were Catherine's colors.


The queen was well-known for her lavish jewelry collection, but over the years most of the treasures have been lost, stolen or sold to private collectors. The hairpin itself may have been stolen, seeing as it was found in such a strange place.


"Maybe it was a lady-in-waiting who took it. Perhaps it was stolen, and just fell in," speculated Vincent Droguet, conservator of Fontainebleau Palace. Either way, the discovery is certainly a mystery.


This isn't the first time a piece of jewelry has been found in a toilet - many homeowners renovate to find lost rings, earrings and even necklaces that were flushed. But how do you keep yourself from losing such precious items?


Many women remove their jewelry before washing their hands at the sink or taking a shower, leaving the items on top of the vanity while they're going about their business. This can easily lead to a mishap, as anything could accidentally knock a piece into the toilet, especially a towel placed nearby.


Instead of placing your jewelry directly on the countertop, consider buying a small soap dish or container that can safely house your possessions while you wash up.

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Imagine that you have to go to the bathroom really, really bad. You probably wouldn't pay much attention to anything besides the fact that you're ready to soil your pants, right? Would you check for signs of tampering on the toilet seat? Probably not. Apparently, someone recently found herself in a similar situation and ended up being glued to the toilet seat.



KLSA News 12 reports that a woman at a Walmart in Monticello, Kentucky, had to wait for a full hour before being rescued from the sticky seat by local paramedics, who brought her to the hospital to be checked out afterward. Police aren't sure if the glue was an accident or intentional, but it sure sounds like a prank gone awry.



While bathroom pranks are certainly funny, they should be exercised with caution. You don't want to cause serious damage to the space or your relationship with the victim! However, if you're looking for a couple of simple tricks to play in the bathroom, consider these gems – but don't say you got them from us!



Jello toilet

To give your friends or family members something to wonder about, mix up a couple of Jello packets in the toilet along with some hot water well before your guests will be arriving. Let it set, then wait for the bewilderment. (And don't worry – the Jello will flush easily once it's broken up!)



Cream cheese deodorant

If someone you live with uses a solid deodorant, it's easy to sabotage his or her toiletry by switching out the deodorant stick with a block of cream cheese. After using a spoon or knife to mold the top into a believable shape, you'll get to sit back and watch as the person rubs cheese into his or her pits!



Rogue showerhead

Know someone who always turns on the shower to warm it up before stepping in? If so, you're in luck because this trick will surely do its job. Simply tilt the showerhead so it's facing outward (where the person will be standing) and watch as the person gets sprayed. You might want to offer to help clean up afterward, though!



Bad blowdryer

If you know a gal who blowdries her hair on a regular basis, you could always pull the powder trick. Simply put some baby powder into the end of the blowdryer, then watch what happens when she turns it on. You might not get any love, but you may get a few laughs.

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Seven ways to make bathroom tasks more fun for kids
Posted on Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Are you sick of fighting with your children whenever it's time to brush their teeth or take a bath? For some reason, many kids seem to be hydrophobic, which may explain why they always seem to be so darn dirty! However, with a little planning and a few extra bathroom accessories, you can help your children view the bathroom as a fun, exciting place. Here are several ideas to get started with.


1. Repaint the walls. In a children's bathroom, the rules of interior decor can be tossed out the window. Don't shy away from bold, crazy colors or patterns that your kids may find exciting. Thick stripes, wiggly lines or fun circular shapes are all good ways to improve the fun feel of the room.


2. Find a bathroom vanity that fits. Smaller models will make it easier for your kids to reach the sink, making hand-washing and teeth-brushing tasks a bit less of a hassle. A step stool can also help your kids reach the top of the vanity and get a better view of themselves in the mirror.


3. Get a wild shower curtain. Whether it's a picture of your kids' favorite movie character, a bunch of colorful fish or a pattern that makes your eyes hurt (but will spark your kids' imaginations), you can't go wrong with a bold shower curtain.


4. Consider electric toothbrushes. Even if it's a battery-operated supermarket brand, electric toothbrushes are far more exciting than manual ones. Plus, you know your kids will be doing a better job cleaning their teeth, as these devices do all of the work.


5. Look for fun soaps. Any type of bar soap that comes in a fun shape will do the trick, but also stock up on antibacterial hand soaps that foam up. These are more kid-friendly and will make the prospect of hygiene much less groan-worthy.


6. Stock up on bath toys. Anything that your kids can play with in the bathtub will make getting clean more bearable. Bathroom fingerpaints, floating toys, bubbles, a basketball hoop with a suction cup - all of these can actually make your children look forward to scrubbing down.


7. Buy them robes and slippers. Your kids will feel special as they slip into a fuzzy pair of bath slippers and a comfortable robe. In fact, you might have trouble getting them to wear anything else!

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How to make your bathroom design senior-friendly
Posted on Tuesday, June 19, 2012

If you're anticipating becoming a caregiver for a relative who is reaching old age, or if you're planning to age in place in your home, you might need to consider a few bathroom design updates that are senior-friendly. Not only will a few renovations make the space safer, but they'll make the bathroom a comfortable place that's easily accessible. Here are a few updates to consider.


1. Walk-in bathtubs or steam showers. Getting into and out of the bath or shower is often a problem for seniors, who have trouble finding their footing on slippery surfaces and might have issues stepping over ledges or the sides of the tub. Walk-in models are a more attractive option that won't jeopardize the individual's safety.


2. Grab bars. Whether they're near the toilet, sink, shower or tub - handrails and grab bars are a good investment. You or your relative will have something to hold onto for balance or in the event of a fall. These additions could prevent a lot of injuries.


3. Non-slip mats for the shower or bathtub. As tiles, tubs and wet floors can be slippery, it never hurts to lay a few non-slip mats in the area to prevent falls. Make sure the whole area is covered, and consider placing them right outside the tub or shower as well.


4. Shelving in the shower. Rogue bottles of shampoo, conditioner, body wash or even bars of soap can become huge obstacles underfoot when there's an elderly person using the shower or bath. To make sure that everything has a secure place to rest, install shelving in the shower or tub.


5. A seat. A shower or bath seat is helpful for elderly people who may not be able to stand steadily for the length of a wash. Look for a comfortable model that won't take up too much space when it's not in use.


6. An expansive medicine cabinet. Needless to say, old age comes with more ailments, which may translate into more medications. To accommodate pill bottles, liquid medications and other medical accessories, a larger medicine cabinet with plenty of storage space may be necessary.


7. Brighter lighting. To help seniors see better, it may be necessary to have a few more lighting fixtures installed. They should provide plenty of light without being too harsh. Natural light from windows is preferable for daytime, as it's cheap and simple!

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When you think of an archaeological discovery, you probably imagine teams finding artifacts like dinosaur bones, woolly mammoth fossils, ancient human remains or maybe some broken pottery. However, a recent find in Southern Vietnam uncovered something a bit less fabulous - dog and human waste.


According to ABC Radio Australia, Australian and Vietnamese scientists uncovered a man-made toilet that's between 3,300 and 3,700 years old. Known as Rach Nui, the ancient mound is about 16 feet tall and surrounded by tidal streams and mangrove swamps. The preserved excrement samples are thought to contain valuable information that could clue us in to the civilization.


"A detailed analysis of these will provide a wealth of information on both the diet of humans and dogs at Rach Nui, but also on the types of parasites each had to contend with," said Dr. Marc Oxenham, Australian National University archaeologist and leader of the team.


The site is about 19 miles away from Ho Chi Minh City, reports AsianScientist.com, and is believed to be the earliest latrine in the area. The group of scientists stumbled upon the ancient toilet when they came across more than 30 preserved feces from both dogs and humans that contained fish and other small animal bones.


Multiple housing platforms were also discovered, made of crushed shells, pottery and dried branches that were fired to create cement-like slabs. This suggests that farming in the area was taking over the hunter-gatherer lifestyle, meaning people were more likely to stay in one place and settle down.


"So what we tend to find in places like Southern Vietnam is a lot more evidence of these people in the landscape," explained Oxenham. "Because they were sedentary and the population size was expanding, they left mounds like Rach Nui with evidence of their lives. Their trash built up over time in one place."


So far, the team has found that the diet of these people living in Rach Nui was different than other people living in the same area. It included pigs, dogs, crocodiles, turtles, macaques, lizards, catfish and shellfish.


While there's still a lot of work to do on the dig site to really uncover the truth about the people at Rach Nui, the toilet was certainly a monumental discovery - despite how ordinary the findings were!

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Whether you're putting your house on the market soon or planning to stay in it until retirement, bathroom renovations are to your advantage. They can increase the value of your house and make your bathroom a relaxing space that you don't mind spending time in. But which projects should you choose to take on? Here are the top 10 bathroom remodeling trends to consider.


1. Shower stall upgrade. From walk-ins to frameless glass to steam showers, homeowners everywhere are realizing that showers are more important than ever. In fact, some people are getting rid of the tub altogether.


2. Heated floors. What could be better on a chilly morning than the feel of toasty warm tiles on your bare feet? Radiant heating can add a bit of luxury to your space without changing its aesthetic.


3. Private toilet. A privacy wall surrounding your toilet or a separate toilet room altogether can offer you more peace and quiet in a master bathroom, where your partner may need to use the sink or shower while you're taking care of business.


4. Two vanities. His and hers vanities are big these days, as homeowners are realizing that it's nice having your own space that's free from your partner's toiletries. You'll have your own storage space and a sink that won't ever be occupied by someone else.


5. Multiple showerheads. If you've ever had to vie for space underneath the showerhead, multiple heads could solve the problem. Whether overhead or mounted on the wall, you'll have a better experience.


6. High-class tiles. If your tiles have seen better days, there are plenty of options. Richly textured tiles, mosaics and subway tiles are all trendy and they can help improve a bathroom's decor.


7. Eco-friendly features. Anything that helps reduce your carbon footprint is big these days when it comes to bathroom utilities. From low-flow fixtures to on-demand hot water, you'll be doing yourself and the planet a favor with these upgrades.


8. Steam. For either showers or baths, steam is an attractive option that can help you de-stress and unwind at the end of a long day.


9. Improved lighting. Get rid of any harsh overhead lights and replace them with fancier fixtures like chandeliers or wall sconces. A dimmer switch makes it easy to customize the brightness to your preference.



10. Extra storage. Shelving, cabinetry and other types of storage space is nice to have in a bathroom, and it'll ensure that the area never gets cluttered.

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If you're a single guy who just moved into a new place, or think your bathroom could use a bit of sprucing up, there are plenty of ways to improve the appearance of a bachelor pad's bathroom. Not only will you be able to appreciate the improved space, but any lady visitors won't be scared off or become skeptical of your hygiene when they enter. Here are several ways to jazz up your throne room.


1. Start with a thorough cleaning. Eliminate mold, mildew, dirt and grime from every inch of the space as thoroughly as possible. If some of your bathroom accessories are beyond saving, toss them and buy new ones.


2. Paint the walls. Earthy neutral tones are always a safe bet, and they'll look more inviting than a stark white space, especially if your bathtub and sink are white as well.


3. Buy fresh towels. If you've been relying on a mishmash of towels to dry off with, it's time to invest in a legitimate set. Get a hue that matches the colors of the room or opt for black, which is a classic shade that won't show stains. Also, be sure to install a few towel racks - there's nothing less sexy than a pile of towels on the floor.



4. Consider a new mirror. If you have a dinky mirror that's seen better days, your visitors will appreciate an upgrade. Most women like to have a sizeable mirror to look at when they're freshening up their makeup or getting ready for bed.


5. Streamline your toiletries. Anything that hasn't been used in several months should be tossed out. You might even want to invest in some luxurious-looking bottles for your existing toiletries, as uniformity will help give the space a classier vibe. Also, consider buying a bottle of conditioner if you don't have one already - it's one thing many women wish they had in a guy's shower.


6. Get a bathmat. If you're always having to deal with a wet floor, the logical solution is to buy a mat that will soak it up when you step out of the shower. It's also a nice thing to have when tile floors get chilly in the winter.


7. Go for the gusto with fresh flowers. If you know a female guest will be coming over to your place, impress her by placing a small vase of flowers on your bathroom vanity. It'll speak to your romantic side.

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Imagine sitting in the bathroom, doing your business and then reaching for the toilet paper holder only to find an empty roll. It's a scenario many people have encountered, but one smartphone application can help users solve the problem, as well as find entertainment while sitting on the porcelain throne.


According to the Toronto Star, the iPoo app gives those who have downloaded it the ability to interact with fellow bathroom users. Not only can you chat with them - but you can see where exactly they're using the bathroom. Essentially, you may find that when you're all out of toilet paper, the iPoo user in the stall next to you can lend you a hand.


The news source reports that since the app was created in 2009, roughly 300,000 downloads have taken place, meaning that plenty of people are totally up for interaction on the toilet.


"We were surprised but not totally shocked," Amit Khanna, one of the creators of the app, said about its success.


So, what kinds of things can you do with the iPoo app? Well, for starters, the app's website states that you can create virtual bathroom graffiti on the walls of your digital stall, which other users can see and add to if they happen to visit the same public bathroom. You can also get tons of bathroom tidbits, like how many people are currently using the toilet and how many toilet paper squares are being flushed.


Badges and points can also be earned with the iPoo app, ranging from the Artist Badge for drawing 10 times, the Morning Glory Badge for logging into the app three mornings in a row and the Poo-moter Badge, which you earn after sharing your first poo.


Certainly, this app takes bathroom humor to the next level, which may be why Khanna's two co-creators are hesitant to talk about their creation, which might be seen as a negative milestone of their professional careers.


"I’m not ashamed of it whatsoever, it’s a conversation starter," Khanna said, and it's also helped him invest in real estate. One of his co-creators was even able to pay for his tuition at Harvard University's Business School with the profits from the app!


Have you ever used this application? What kinds of things do you normally think about when you're sitting on the toilet? Leave your comments below!

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Japan unveils biggest public toilet in the world
Posted on Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Japan is well-known for its emphasis on technology and decadence when it comes to toilets and bathrooms - it seems like the country is always developing exciting new breakthroughs in washroom technology. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that a new toilet, deemed "the biggest public toilet in the world," was recently opened in Ichihara City.


According to The Japan Times, the toilet was made to accommodate a lack of attractive facilities for area tourists to use. Before the new addition, visitors had to use ugly pit toilets that were old-fashioned and unclean. City officials said they're hoping that the new amenity will become a tourist attraction in its own right, especially for those who are planning to visit next year's Ichihara City Art Festival.


"The festival is a government-led initiative aimed to improve the area through the 'renovation of public facilities with the help of arts,' which they hope will attract more tourists and boost the region's economy," states the news source.


So what does the toilet look like? Actually, it's not a massive porcelain structure like you may have imagined. Instead, it's an average-sized toilet situated within a glass box on a 200-square-meter plot of land, reports the National Public Radio (NPR) blog.


Located in front of Itabu Station on the Kominato Railway Line, the boxed-in facility is nestled among dozens of potted flowers and plants, which The Japan Times reports will eventually be planted to create a wild grassland area that will be surrounded by trees. A large wall surrounds the property to prevent peeping Toms, while a white curtain inside the box aims to give users additional privacy.


For now, the toilet is only available to women in order to limit the number of users and therefore create manageable wait times for those who hope to use the facility. However, the designer, Sou Fujimoto, is planning to talk to the city about opening it up to men as well.


"As an architect, I'd rather prefer the toilet was used by everyone, regardless of sex," he said. "That would enable more people to share the experience." Until then, there's another toilet that he designed for both sexes that's located nearby.


If you're wondering how much a massive undertaking like this cost, NPR reports that it was about $125,000. Do you think such a large toilet and price will be worth it for Ichihara City?

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Top 10 ways to give your bathroom the spa treatment
Posted on Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Not all bathrooms were originally designed to cater to spa-like amenities such as heated towel racks, bidets, stereo systems and soft, flattering lighting. If your bathroom was made with a more utilitarian mindset, there's no reason to fret - it's easy to transform your strictly functional space into a bit of paradise. Here are 10 ways you can amp up the spa factor in your bathroom.


1. Get rid of clutter. Bathroom accessories are all well and good, but there might be a lot of other items that don't need to be in your bathroom. Throw out old cosmetics and skincare products and pare down your towel and linen collection.


2. Invest in storage solutions. Whether you choose baskets, cabinets, vanities or shelves, extra storage is always necessary in a spa bathroom. That way, you can place everything you don't need out of sight.


3. Pick colors that make you happy. Many spas stick to warm, neutral tones or fresh white shades when decorating their spaces, but you can get the same comforting, relaxing effects from colors that suit your fancy.


4. Bring in natural elements. From wooden blinds to houseplants to rocks, natural materials can give you a sense of serenity and stability. Don't be shy when it comes to placing these items in your space.


5. Rely on aromatherapy. Essential oils and candles that emanate refreshing scents are wonderful for a spa-like experience in the bathroom. Do a bit of research to figure out which scents are best for your purposes, then stock up.


6. Soften the lighting. Harsh overhead lights can be stressful and unflattering, so invest in a few new light fixtures with dimmer switches that can adjust to your preferences. Natural light is also important, so use sheer curtains or blinds if you don't already have them.


7. Heated elements. For comfort on chilly mornings or nights, have a few heating elements installed, whether it's a steam shower, radiant heated floors or maybe even a fireplace.


8. Get luxurious with your toiletries. A few standbys (toothpaste, deodorant, mouthwash) are okay, but for a more satisfying bathing experience, get products with natural ingredients, soothing scents and rich lathers.


9. Get a nice robe and a pair of slippers. You'll feel like a million bucks stepping out of the bath and into these fuzzy items.


10. Bring in a comfortable chair or couch. That way, you can be comfortable while you're putting on makeup or waiting for the bath.

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When you walk into a bathroom, you're probably not giving much thought to the stability of the floor. While your eye might take in the bathtub, vanity and other bathroom accessories, you're not likely to notice anything about the ground other than maybe the color of the tile. Perhaps that's why one English woman found herself falling 10 feet through the bathroom floor into her kitchen - with a baby inside of her.


According to The Daily Mail, the woman and her husband had moved into the home two months before the accident and were renovating the bathroom to make it more suitable for the new baby.


"There was nothing but plasterboard and joists and I must have missed a step and fell through to the kitchen," she said.


At 35 weeks pregnant, the woman fell right through the floor of the second-story bathroom and hit her feet on the breakfast bar in the kitchen, bouncing off onto the floor. While she initially thought that her back was broken, she soon found that she was just winded and a bit bruised - but discovered that her water had broken and that she was in labor.


Her 2-year-old son was the first to discover her in the kitchen, screaming as the woman's father raced down from the bathroom, where he saw her fall right through.


"I thought the worst when she disappeared through the floor - that she could have been paralysed, or even died," said her father.


Luckily, the paramedics were called and the woman was rushed to Queen's Medical Centre in Nottingham, where she was quickly admitted to the maternity unit, reports Mirror News. While there was much concern about whether her baby was alright, she successfully gave birth via C-section to a son who weighed just over 4 pounds.


Although the baby developed a lung complication and is in the intensive care unit, his mother reports that his health is getting better by the day.


As for the woman's husband, he was at work at the time of the fall and received a worrying phone call that prompted him to rush home as soon as possible.


"I ran back home and saw the ambulances, and tried to calm her down, but it was really worrying," he said. Hopefully the couple has since fixed those bathroom floors!

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It's annoying enough to have to endure advertisements while you watch TV, surf the internet and drive in your car. But imagine standing in front of a bathroom vanity being forced to wait for a video advertisement to play before you can check your reflection to see if there's food in your teeth or if your makeup needs retouching. Sound unrealistic? Think again.


According to the Los Angeles Times, one company has not only thought about mirror advertising, but has been putting them into bathrooms in Tel Aviv, Israel, with plans to install more in a mall in northern France.


Novo Ad has developed the technology to turn an ordinary bathroom mirror into a moving, talking display that they hope will grab the attention of bathroom-goers. The mirrors are actually LED screens with an internal hard disk and "very sophisticated proprietary software," a spokesman for the company said.


To demonstrate how the advertisements will work, the company released a video in which a woman walks up to the mirror, which is taken up entirely by a picture. As she gets closer, the video starts to play and the size of the advertisement shrinks so the woman can still see her reflection. She then starts brushing her hair as she ponders the advertisement.


According to the company's website, they have plans to install these LED mirrors in shopping malls, exhibition centers, department stores, airports, hotels, train stations and cinemas all over the world.


The Los Angeles Times reports that the French mall that plans to use the mirrors will aim to play advertisements for itself and the stores in the mall, and deodorant companies and a prominent skincare company have already shown interest in advertising on the mirrors.


Device Magazine points out that because the ads are in such a prime spot that many consumers will have no choice but to look at, the videos themselves don't have to be as bright and catchy as other ads, like those on buildings or on television.


If you're interested in seeing these mirrors for yourself, you may have to wait awhile. Novo Ad's plans to spread into the U.S. are still in the works.


"We are looking for advertising networks and partners in the USA," said Steven Harris, a spokesman for the company, "and would like to be there as soon as possible."


Enjoy your ad-free mirrors in public places while you still can!

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Is a composting toilet as gross as it sounds?
Posted on Friday, June 8, 2012

Compost heaps are valuable to many households that want to increase eco-friendliness and beef up the soil nutrition in their gardens. It's a well-known fact that composted organic material like kitchen scraps, yard clippings and even manure are valuable soil additions, but can you imagine spreading a mix of your own waste over the dirt in your garden?


Well, the new composting toilets that are starting to emerge in the market can make that disgusting thought a reality. But are they really as gross as they sound? Composting toilets seem suspiciously similar to those campground outhouses that rely on a long stick, a sprinkling of lime and plenty of festering waste to handle our excretions.


According to Composting Toilet World, these innovative new household fixtures treat human waste by composting and dehydrating it to create an end-product that can be used to enrich the soil in backyard gardens. Many companies are starting to make these toilets and there are a wide variety of models available, all of which use little to no water.


This is good news for those who'd like to cut down on the amount of water that's used each day in their homes. After all, FOX News points out that 30 to 40 percent of your household water output is from toilet waste.


So, what are the benefits of a composting toilet, other than the ability to feed your plants with your waste? For starters, FOX News reports that a compost toilet is a great option for those who rely on septic systems, as these systems don't last forever and can run into a variety of issues. The toilets can relieve pressure on a septic system and help it last longer.


A composting toilet is also a wonderful choice for bathrooms that aren't already connected to a septic tank or sewer system because it costs a lot less to install them. This might be good for a pool house, a cottage in the woods or even an extra bathroom in your home - otherwise, the price might not be worth it for existing bathrooms with connections. Composting toilets are more expensive than regular models.


But what about the smell? Supposedly, these toilets are odor-free, relying on vent stacks, natural air movement or fans to expel the scent from your home. In addition, some companies provide an additive that ensures that your compost has aerobic rather than anaerobic bacteria, which is responsible for releasing those smelly gases.


While they might not sound very nice, composting toilets don't seem to be as gross as you might think!

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Seven ways to keep your bathroom smelling fresh
Posted on Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Along with the kitchen, the bathroom has a reputation for being one of the most odorous rooms in the home. Needless to say, there's a lot that goes on in the bathroom - which means there are a lot of smells to go with it. Fortunately, maintaining a freshly scented half or master bath is easy once you realize how many options are at your disposal. Here's a list of several ways you can improve the aroma of your bathroom.


1. Open up those linen cabinets and launder your towels. With frequent use, towels, bathrobes and washcloths can take on a musty quality that can stink up your whole bathroom. Adding baking soda and white vinegar into the wash cycle can strip them of funky residue and retard mildew growth. Also, it helps to hang your towels up immediately after using them so they'll fully dry in between each use.


2. Light a scented candle. With so many specialty candle shops in existence, you shouldn't have a problem finding a scent that will freshen up your bathroom. Plus, the ambiance created by a little candlelight is flattering and relaxing - perfect for a spa-like bathroom.


3. Keep your bathroom accessories clean. For example, your toothbrush holders should get a regular scrubbing, and once your toilet brush starts to look like it's seen better days and gives off a scent to match, it's time for a new one.


4. Keep a cup of white vinegar in the shower when you're not using it. According to TLC, this can help to soak up odors in the stall when you shut the door or curtain.


5. Check your drains. If you can't seem to find the source of the odor, perhaps it's coming from your drains. There might be a clog that's slowing things down and causing a backup of smelly bacteria and gunk. Use a plumber's snake to manually remove the blockage or pour a chemical product down there to dissolve the issue.


6. Buy luxuriously aromatic hand soap. Every time you and your guests wash your hands, you'll be able to breathe in the lovely scent of whatever soap you happened to choose.


7. In between washings, use linen spray to freshen up robes, towels, bath mats and shower curtains. Many have nice scents that are long-lasting.

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Believe it or not, June is National Bathroom Reading Month, a time to celebrate the timeless activity that makes visiting the toilet a bit more interesting. According to The Seattle Post-Intelligencer's blog, the celebration was created by the Bathroom Readers' Institute, which publishes the popular Uncle John's Bathroom Reader series that many families have sitting next to their toilets.


Some sources claim that the average American spends between 700 and 2,000 hours on the porcelain throne, which some might consider a waste of time. That's probably why 66 percent of Americans admit to reading while they're going to the bathroom, whether it's a comic book, newspaper, novel or book of poems. If you're one of those people who likes to take advantage of down time, here are some tips to help you get the most out of reading in your bathroom.


Reading material

If you don't have a book that you're currently making your way through, you might be looking for a few ideas for good reading material for the bathroom. Here are a few to consider.

1. 1001 Internet Jokes II - Bathroom Reader Edition, D.M. Schwab. Aluratek.com recommends this collection of funny internet jokes if you're looking for a quick and easy read. Just be prepared to explain yourself when your friends or family members ask why you were cracking up in the bathroom.

2. The Onion's Finest News Reporting. BookliciousBlog.com suggests this collection of satirical periodicals if you're looking for some high-brow laughs.

3. The New York Times. If you want to get caught up on the latest news and views while you're cooped up in the bathroom, a newspaper like the Times is a logical choice.


Bathroom setup

To ensure that your bathroom can cater to your reading needs, there are a few alterations you should consider making.

1. Extra storage. You'll need space to keep your bathroom reading materials, so invest in a bigger bathroom vanity and a couple of shelving units. Place them within easy reach of the toilet.

2. Adequate lighting. Make sure that there is plenty of light around the toilet area so you won't have a problem seeing the words on the page. A small lamp on the back of the toilet or a wall sconce behind should do the trick.

3. Pleasing elements. Because you'll be spending so much time in your bathroom getting through those pages, you need to make it an inviting place that you don't mind hanging out in. Scented candles, flowers, plants and maybe even a fountain can make the room more appealing.

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If you walked into your bathroom one morning and noticed a bunch of mold growing on the wall over your bathtub, you'd probably grab a bit of bleach and a rag to get rid of it, right? Mold is usually a sign that your home needs a serious cleaning session, but a family in Texas recently took the growth as something else entirely.


According to CBS Houston, residents in Splendora, Texas, were thrilled to discover the likeness of Jesus Christ inside their moldy shower, taking the image as a sign that their home is blessed.


"He’s just watching over us to make sure nothing wrong happens or I get in trouble and go back," Thomas George, one of the household members who recently got out of jail, told ABC13 News. "It gives me inspiration just to do better."


The Huffington Post reports that the mold began growing while George was serving time, and since its appearance there has supposedly been changes in the condition of one of the home's residents, a woman who was diagnosed with HIV. The family claims that her health has improved with the arrival of Jesus' image in the shower stall.


However, a Northwestern University study last year found that human beings tend to look for signs of familiarity and meaning in abstract images, turning random squiggles into things like faces, animals or other pictures that represent something from their lives. The Huffington Post points out that this may be the case, seeing as one neighbor believes the shower stall Jesus actually looks like him.


So if it's not divine intervention, what is causing bathroom mold? According to the Georgia Department of Human Resources, mold is a type of fungus that naturally occurs in the environment. Molds make spores to reproduce, and these spores often make their way inside homes on your clothing or in the air coming through windows.


Mold needs certain conditions to survive, like moist, dark surfaces and plentiful food sources. The bathroom is a prime place for mold to thrive because it's usually humid and grime and dirt is available for food, reports the source.


To make sure that mold isn't running amok in your bathroom (unless, of course, you'd like to see if Jesus will appear in your shower stall, too), keep your bathroom well-ventilated and dry damp surfaces as much as possible. Use a shower spray on a daily basis to keep soap scum and dirt at bay, and use a cleaning product with bleach if you ever notice mold growing.

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Woman's toilet birth is the second in the family
Posted on Friday, June 1, 2012

When you imagine giving birth to a baby, the image in your head is likely taking place in a hospital bed with plenty of doctors and nurses on hand, right? Perhaps there are a few family members around giving their support and even a couple of floral bouquets in the area for a bit of cheer. However, it wasn't so for a woman in Ferguson, Missouri, recently, who gave birth to her daughter while sitting on the toilet.


According to ABC News, the woman's sister received a call from her in the morning, learning that her water had broken while she was using the toilet. She had been experiencing labor pains throughout the night but hadn't thought she was going to give birth any time soon.


Only five minutes later, the sister got a second phone call saying that she had successfully given birth to a daughter. Despite the strange circumstance, the sister claims that the mother remained calm during the first phone call. It was her fifth child, after all.


"She said the ambulance was on the way and I said they'd be there shortly," the sister said. "She was crammed in the little bitty bathroom with the police officer, the paramedic, and the baby."


Apparently, the officer who arrived on scene was relatively new to the force, but he did a wonderful job pulling the baby out of the toilet and handing her over to the paramedics, who cut the umbilical cord and transferred both mother and daughter to the hospital, where Fox 8 News reports they are in good health.


Although toilet births have happened before with women who didn't know they were pregnant, this case is particularly puzzling to doctors.


"Maybe the patient has a history of premature labor that hasn't been addressed," Dr. Linda Burke-Galloway, an OBGYN and the author of "The Smart Mother's Guide to a Better Pregnancy," said. "Maybe she hasn't received adequate prenatal care. But something is awry."


There are many health risks associated with these types of situations, including breech delivery, prematurity and asphyxia from being strangled by the umbilical cord. Luckily, none of these issues surfaced in this case.


Perhaps the most interesting fact is that this toilet birth wasn't the first one in the family. According to the woman's sister, their mother gave birth to their brother on the toilet as well. That's certainly something worth passing along through the generations!

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