A recent scan of online forums revealed that new recruits beginning their military career have one very big concern: number two.
“What is it like pissing/s**tting in boot camp?” asked one Redditor. His concerns were not isolated. Scores of posters on Reddit, Quora and Twitter have taken to social media and message boards to ask about the service-by-service basic training bathroom situations.
Offered solutions to the deuce dropping conundrum run the gamut, with some of the experiences of past recruits proving rather harrowing.
The most consistent advice, it seems, is to go after dark.
“Poop at night. It’s most peaceful then,” wrote user DogofWar. “Technically you can always ask to go to the head if you absolutely can’t hold it. Usually you’ll get f***ed with but they’ll still let you go.”
A few others echoed that sentiment.
“You’ll be awake prior to 0400 due to all kinds of noises at night,” user TacticalTaco01 wrote. “Use this time to use the head, even if you don’t think you have to go, go ahead and flush yourself out. It really sucks holding it in while getting f***ed with in the morning on line.”
Another user found his latrine time downright enjoyable.
“I used to s**t every evening after mail call during your one hour ‘free time,’” wrote CoffeeJoeJava. “Sitting on the can reading letters!”
However, not everyone experiences the same luck when pursuing floodgate release.
“Had one guy in my platoon piss himself on the firing line during weapons qual because he waited 2 hours for his turn to shoot and didn’t want to lose his spot,” wrote user TheLaughingMan21. “He decided pissing himself was the correct answer.”
Most accidents, it appears, are self-inflicted like the above. In essence, if you have to go, sound off. You might be given a hard time about it, but the alternative is ... much more messy?
“While in basic, we were on a 10-mile ruck and one of the guys in my platoon needed to take a s**t,” wrote user gte401e. “Didn’t say anything on the bus back to the barracks or when we were dropping off the weapons. Afterwards, he told our [drill sergeant] and immediately he yelled for me to accompany this guy to the barracks. I had no idea what was going on until we were inside and took a whiff. That smell coulda woke up the dead.”
Despite the fears of new recruits, one Quora user said that drill instructors are generally reasonable — that is, unless you break a rule.
“The only reason, I see, for a drill instructor not to allow you to go to the bathroom is because the last time you got permission to go to the bathroom, you came back late, and broke the fundamental bathroom rules of your beloved drill instructor,” wrote Ben Kolber.
So, in the words of Tormund Giantsbane, “Happy s**tting.”
Sarah Sicard is a Senior Editor with Military Times. She previously served as the Digitial Editor of Military Times and the Army Times Editor. Other work can be found at National Defense Magazine, Task & Purpose, and Defense News.