Julie Hambleton
Julie Hambleton
November 9, 2023 ·  4 min read

‘They Used News Paper’ Ex-Amish Who Escaped As a Teen Explains Their Toilet Paper Ban

Growing up in an Amish community is a life vastly different from the modern world. Lizzie Ens, now a 38-year-old functional nutrition practitioner, shares on TikTok her remarkable story of living in a strict Amish community and her escape at the age of 19. These were Lizzie’s experiences, including the fascinating topic of the Amish toilet paper ban.

The Ex-Amish Who Escaped as a Teen: Explaining Their Toilet Paper Ban

Amish communities are strict, religious communities that live a very “basic” lifestyle. They reject the modern lifestyle, including electricity, other technology, and even in some cases, indoor plumbing. Recently on TikTok, Lizzie Ens went into detail about her life growing up Amish, and some of the revelations are quite shocking. One of the most surprising was that her community didn’t even allow toilet paper, as this was considered a “luxury”. In her TikTok, she reveals that they went to the bathroom in an outhouse (even in the winter time) and wiped with newspaper. Let’s look at it in closer detail. (1)

@lizzieh_wellness Discussing Amish toilet paper ban on TikTok
Image Credit: @lizzieh_wellness. | TikTok

A Life of Restrictions

Lizzie Ens, who grew up in an Amish community surrounded by 18 siblings, paints a vivid picture of the limitations she faced on a daily basis. In the Amish community, access to modern amenities such as electricity and running water is forbidden. As a result, activities such as having showers become a luxury that Lizzie did not experience until after she left. Many strict rules were placed on women, one of which included not allowing them to get a haircut. Their hair also had to be covered at all times.

“We didn’t have showers. I had never cut my hair before I left – that was surreal. I knew from a young age that I wasn’t going to be there my entire life. “I knew I didn’t belong.” she explained. (2)

Read: Amish Barn Raising: Watch 250 Amish Men Pick Up An Entire Barn And Move It

The Unusual Toilet Paper Ban

One of the most intriguing aspects of Lizzie’s story is the mention of the Amish community’s toilet paper ban. Instead of using toilet paper, community members relied on alternative methods. In Lizzie’s case, she explained that they would use newspapers or magazines in place of traditional toilet paper. The lack of indoor plumbing meant that the community had to use outhouses or outbuildings as their restroom facilities.

@lizzieh_wellness Discussing Amish toilet paper ban on TikTok
Image Credit: @lizzieh_wellness. | TikTok

Amish Traditions and Practices

To understand the toilet paper ban, it is vital to recognize the core principles and traditions of the Amish community. The Amish culture is deeply rooted in self-sufficiency, simplicity, and a separation from the modern world. They embrace a lifestyle that values manual labor, communal living, and a rejection of worldly desires. As such, even basic amenities like indoor plumbing and modern bathroom practices are seen as unnecessary.

“We are taught how to work hard from a young age. We grew all our own fruit and vegetables and had animals for meat,” she explained. “We had to sew our own dresses and they had to go down to our ankles.”

@lizzieh_wellness Discussing Amish toilet paper ban on TikTok
Image Credit: @lizzieh_wellness. | TikTok

The Internet’s Reaction

Of course, many people were quite shocked by this. Some people commented saying that they didn’t understand how toilet paper was a luxury but newspapers and magazines weren’t. Lizzie simply responded saying, “have you tried using newspaper to wipe?”.

Many others commented that they, too, grew up using newspapers and other things in the bathroom. This, however, wasn’t because they were religious; it was simply because they were poor—newspaper, magazines, coffee filters – all items that were cheaper than toilet paper.

@lizzieh_wellness Imagine using newspapers for toilet paper. Count your blessings today 😜 #amishtiktok #breakingamish #escapingamish #amishrenegade #fyp ♬ original sound – Lizzie Ens

Escaping the Amish Community

Lizzie’s journey took a significant turn when her boyfriend, who hailed from another Amish community, managed to escape and came back to help her flee as well. With only $20 in her pocket, Lizzie embarked on a path toward freedom, leaving behind the restrictive lifestyle she had known since birth. She eventually found shelter with an ex-Amish couple who assisted her in building a new life outside the community.

Reflections on a Radical Change

Lizzie’s transition from Amish life to the modern world was nothing short of a culture shock. The sudden exposure to amenities such as electricity, running water, and modern plumbing systems transformed her perspective. Lizzie’s escape allowed her to embrace a new life, one that enabled her to pursue her dreams and eventually become a functional nutrition practitioner. While three of her siblings have since left, she hasn’t had contact with the rest of her family in years. She says she doesn’t dwell on it, rather, she simply looks back at her past life and thinks wow, that was crazy.

“I cut my hair (right away) out of rebellion. It was a massive culture shock. You have to unlearn things. That deconstructing of what you did all your life doesn’t just go away.” she said.

A New Life

Lizzie Ens’s journey from growing up in an Amish community to the freedom she enjoys today is a captivating tale of resilience and growth. The Amish toilet paper ban, although peculiar to outsiders, is one of the many unique aspects of Amish culture that sets them apart. Lizzie’s story serves as a testament to the power of individual agency and the pursuit of one’s own happiness, even when faced with deeply rooted traditions and beliefs.

Keep Reading: 10 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About the Amish


  1. Tiktok. lizzieh_wellness.
  2. ‘I grew up in Amish community – I couldn’t shower or wash hair for 19 years’.” Mirror. Emma Dunn and Paige Freshwater. November 2, 2023.