Whether you’re a solo traveller or travelling in groups, or love attending concerts and events around the country, you must have faced an issue that can be felt by most women around you or in your network. If you were to start the conversation, there’ll be several voices you hear in unison. It’s all about where to pee comfortably without inviting infections and inflammations causing further trouble and days of inconvenience. Many a time, women choose to hold their pee in because the bathroom, wherever they’re visiting, is so dirty that you can imagine the unimaginable happening to your body. And the sad part – all of us got through this, more than once in our lifetimes.
It is, of course even more unsafe to not pee for hours on end because it exposes our bodies to potentially harmful bacteria, which can increase your chances of getting a urinary tract infection (UTI) or bladder infection. Urinating is the body’s form of detoxification and is one of the most important processes.
Some of us also sometimes choose not to “sit down” on the commode and pee half-sitting down – this is not good for the pelvic muscles and must absolutely be avoided.
There is, however, a solution to all the aforementioned bad experiences or probable ones that have caused all the inconvenience. PeeBuddy is India’s first portable, disposable and highest-selling female urination device, using which women can stand and pee in all unfriendly toilets. The product has also been recommended by doctors for use during pregnancy and arthritis.
We spoke with Deep Bajaj, founder PeeBuddy and Sirona Products who has been recognised and awarded for his efforts in this space.
How did you think of the much-needed but quirky brand like PeeBuddy?
The ideation of PeeBuddy can be traced back to a joke that was cracked in the midst of a road trip in 2013. We were four couples driving down the Delhi-Jaipur highway when we came to observe that while the men were drinking whatever and however much they wanted to, the women were refraining from even consuming water! The reason, as they told us, was that consuming liquids would lead to an urge to pee and it is very difficult to come by clean toilets during trips such as these. It was then that I exclaimed playfully about how cool it is for us men to be able to stand and pee anywhere. At this, a friend recalled how she had seen someone in Europe use a makeshift bottle to pee while standing.
Soon after, our discussions veered on to different topics, but something about our initial discussion stayed with me. Of course, as Steve Jobs has said, “It is only in hindsight that you can join the dots.”
Did the personal experiences of women around you with similar issues influence you to start the brand?
Yes, definitely. For one, I have been in events for the past 5 years, and I noticed that any and all toilets, portable or otherwise, get dirty only in a matter of a few hours. It is due to this reason that women find it uncomfortable to attend outdoor concerts. But the gravity of the situation hit me the hardest during the time of our pregnancy when I realised how restricted life becomes for a lady especially in the last trimester, when it takes a lot of physical efforts for her to sit and stand back up while peeing. The fear of UTIs also goes up during this period. Further, the physical exertion of sitting down to pee and then standing back up again also troubles women suffering from arthritis, such as my own mother.
(The issues, therefore, were clearer to me than ever before. That is why as soon as the idea of PeeBuddy as a potential solution to all the toilet-related problems faced by women came to me, I dedicated myself to turning the radical possibility into an accessible reality.
Tell us a bit more about the product and how a woman can ensure hassle-free use of the product.
PeeBuddy is a simple, portable, and disposable cardboard-based device which women can use to stand and pee especially in unfriendly toilets. All that is required to be done is to place the device between the flow area and pee!
Since it’s for one-time use, is it cost-effective for women from all walks of life?
It most certainly is. Since we are only at the initial phase of the journey, our focus at the moment is to get women used to the idea of using a product like PeeBuddy. To this end, its disposable quality renders it more convenient to carry and a use-and-throw product is also much more hygienic to use.
Are the toilet habits of men and women the same? If no, then what’s the top differentiating factor?
Yes, they are very different. Men can stand and pee anywhere without a worry in the world while women must keep in mind several factors while planning their day and especially their trips. Visits to the loo always factor in their calculations. For instance, if you are working and your office is more than an hour away, you most probably will use the loo at home before leaving for work. Similarly, before leaving for home, you would use the restroom. The case is the same for lengthy affairs like flights, marathons, concerts, and so on. Given the terrible condition of the public toilets in the country, a woman, unfortunately, is required to plan her activities painstakingly around bathroom breaks.
Is PeeBuddy age-specific or can girls and women across ages make use of this?
Any woman of any age can use this product. Be it a working professional or a college-going youth, during pregnancy or in old age, a woman can use PeeBuddy anytime and anywhere, especially in case of unfriendly public toilets.
Please throw some light on the Sirona menstrual cups and how women can use them easily.
Sirona menstrual cups are very easy to use. You just need to compress it and place it in its position. You can refer to the following video for further details.
How are menstrual cups a revolutionary idea over sanitary napkins or even tampons?
Menstrual cups are a more comfortable and durable alternative to rash-causing and uncomfortable-to-use menstrual pads. Cups are stain-proof, reusable and therefore eco-friendly, too. On the contrary, sanitary pads are required to be bought every month and they are fit to be used only once. They are harmful to the environment as well – sanitary napkins take 500-800 years to decompose. The primitive nature of sanitary napkins can be gauged by the fact that first-world countries do not even use them anymore.
Sirona menstrual cups also solve certain issues attached with sanitary pads such as rashes, discomfort, and the fear of leakage that plague women while using pads. By replacing pads and tampons with menstrual cups, women can partake of the delights of life that they would otherwise shy away from like swimming, jogging, travelling, wearing white, and so on.
How does PeeBuddy benefit a woman who is constantly on the move over say, an antiseptic spray that makes it easier for someone to sit on the toilet and relieve themselves?
The most that an antiseptic spray does is reduce the possibility of a person contracting an infection. However, even then the possibility is not entirely nil. On top of that, a spray cannot remove the dirt congealed on the toilet seats, which can only be done by wiping it. Even after that, you’d choose to hover and squat rather than sit on the seat. It is these very issues that we are trying to avoid for women. If the seat isn’t clean, no worries – just maintain your distance, and stand and pee.
PeeBuddy recently tied up with VH1 Supersonic, will we see the brand at more concerts and music festivals reaching out to the urban woman?
Absolutely! At VH1 and sport fests like Pinkathon, we created standing urinals where women could stand and pee, and avoid subjecting herself through harassing efforts like wiping a soiled seat. You will be seeing us extending the same facilities at many more events. Festivals are increasingly becoming conscious of the toilet-troubles women have to go through and so are pleasingly coming forward to offer their consumers convenient services.