Published: Aug. 21, 2023 By ,

Sanitation programming success depends on users being satisfied with the proposed sanitation system and bathroom design. Past studies have described some households being dissatisfied with their current bathrooms and unwilling to accept a new bathroom because it is not modern; however, few studies have investigated how households define modern. To best support households in adopting improved sanitation infrastructure, or infrastructure that hygienically separates human waste from human contact, there is a need to understand characteristics associated with modern bathrooms and if modern encompasses more than the sanitation infrastructure. This study systematically identified characteristics associated with modern bathrooms across multiple sanitation infrastructure types. 305 households near Cascas, Peru, an area with diverse bathroom designs that have unimproved and improved sanitation infrastructure access, were surveyed to capture perceptions of modern. Results demonstrate that households often perceive a modern bathroom as one with a sitting-style toilet, a sink, and a shower. Most households did not associate sanitation infrastructure type with their definition of modern; however, all modern bathrooms had improved sanitation infrastructure. Future work should expand and test this definition of modern in other contexts to support future adoption of improved sanitation.


Ventura, R., Javernick-Will, A., and N. Gonzales. (2023). “Characterizing modern bathrooms to support sanitation adoption”. Journal of Water, Sanitation & Hygiene for Development. 10.2166/washdev.2023.034/97035.