Formative Research to Design a Child-Friendly Latrine in Bangladesh

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 Oct 21;18(21):11092. doi: 10.3390/ijerph182111092.


In low- and middle-income countries, most latrines are not accessible to young children. We explored how to modify existing pit latrines to make them child friendly. We conducted four focus group discussions with mothers to explore barriers to child latrine use. We then enrolled 20 households with a child aged 3-7 years old to test six enabling technologies developed based on the identified barriers. Two to three weeks after installing the selected enabling technologies in each household, researchers conducted 19 in-depth interviews with caregivers to explore the technologies' acceptance and feasibility. Common barriers included the discomfort of squatting on a large pan, fear of darkness, and fear of a slippery floor. Of the potential solutions, a ring to stabilize the child while squatting in the latrine was preferred by children and was affordable and available. A wooden board with a smaller hole than the usual pan reduced fears of falling and helped eliminate discomfort but was inconvenient to handle and clean. A transparent fiberglass roof tile was affordable, available, increased visibility, and kept the latrine floor dry. In conclusion, the fiberglass roof tile and stability ring were two affordable and locally available technologies that facilitated latrine use by children aged 3-7 years.

Keywords: Bangladesh; child-friendly; latrine; sanitation; young children.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bangladesh
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Family Characteristics
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Humans
  • Sanitation*
  • Toilet Facilities*