<p>Toddlers sit through communal toilet training at a nursery school on Paramushir, one of Russia’s Kuril Islands, in a photo from a 1996 issue of <i>National Geographic</i>. Without sanitation, children are more vulnerable to malnutrition.</p>

Training Day

Toddlers sit through communal toilet training at a nursery school on Paramushir, one of Russia’s Kuril Islands, in a photo from a 1996 issue of National Geographic. Without sanitation, children are more vulnerable to malnutrition.

Photograph by Michael Yamashita, Nat Geo Image Collection

Funny Name, Serious Issue: Toilet Day

Two billion people don’t have access to sanitary facilities like the ones in these pictures.

November 19 is World Toilet Day. The United Nations General Assembly established the day in 2013 to draw attention to the fact that more than a quarter of the world’s population can’t access sanitary facilities. This contributes to the spread of various diseases and malnutrition.

“This year, World Toilet Day is focusing on the link between sanitation and nutrition drawing the world’s attention to the importance of toilets in supporting better nutrition and improved health,” says the World Toilet Day site. “Lack of access to clean drinking water and sanitation, along with the absence of good hygiene practices, are among the underlying causes of poor nutrition.”

To show the variety of ways that people meet this sanitation need around the world, here is a collection of toilet photos and facts from our archives.

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