Everybody poops, even wizards. Thanks to Pottermore—the digital publishing, e-commerce, entertainment and news company from Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling—we know that (fictional, Harry Potter-universe) wizards shat their pants on the regular until the 18th century.
“Hogwarts didn’t always have bathrooms,” the official Pottermore Twitter account explained in honor of National Trivia Day. “Before adopting Muggle plumbing methods in the eighteenth century, witches and wizards simply relieved themselves wherever they stood, and vanished the evidence.” Wizards only stopped shitting their pants after the administration installed a plumbing system. A plumbing system that almost disrupted one of Hogwarts most closely guarded secrets.
Wizard shit was a huge concern to Slytherin, one of the Hogwarts school houses in Harry Potter, because the proposed plumbing system was constructed largely on top of the Chamber of Secrets (a monster’s lair left behind by an angry wizard), according to Pottermore. A descendent of a Slytherin-house alumni attending school at the time of the construction of the sewer system helped conceal the trap door leading to the chamber. Yes. Really. This is all canon.
This isn’t the first time we learned that wizards in Harry Potter used to shit their pants. JK Rowling revealed the arcane knowledge of how wizards in her original historical description of the Chamber of Secrets. It’s just that today, on National Trivia Day, the Pottermore Twitter account decided to remind everyone.
Shitting your pants and then casting a spell to magically disappear the mess might sound disgusting, but it’s a huge improvement compared to how people actually managed poop in the 18th century.
The past was disgusting and an 18th century adoption of a plumbing system at Hogwarts is actually ahead of its time. The taboo against piss and shit is a fairly modern one. Indoors, people used chamber pots then tossed the contents out the window afterwards. Outdoors, people simply dropped trou and did their business where they were. Encounters with shit were so common that a 1609 book of manners advised gentlemen on how to deal with the handling and smell of each other’s turds.
Hogwarts installed its plumbing system sometime in the mid 1700s. So while we’re all clutching our pearls and thinking about how disgusting wizards are, search the muggle past and acknowledge that we were far worse.