2. Women Peed in Gravy Boat Shaped Dishes
Anyone who has ever had to sport shapewear or an elaborate dress knows that it isn’t always convenient, or even possible, to remove your garments in a way that facilitates using the bathroom. Regency Era women certainly knew this, given the layers of slips, dresses, and outerwear that would have comprised their daily attire. It should be a little surprise, then, that the clever women of the era had ways of using the bathroom while hardly having to adjust their clothing at all. Starting in the 18th century, women used fanciful gravy-boat like vessels called bourdaloues to do their business.
The bourdaloues were typically made of porcelain or metal and genuinely do look like small gravy boats minus a spout. They had a handle on one end and were curved inwards in the middle to rest comfortably against the user. For wealthy women, a maid would be waiting nearby to enter the pot after use. A painting by Francois Boucher shows a woman in full dress preparing to use a bourdaloue. Reportedly, women would use them in public, merely standing in a dark hallway or behind a curtain to relieve themselves. The advent of water closets in the 19th century put an end to the practice of using bourdaloues.