Toilet height

Toilet height - general guide

As a general guide if your thighs are horizontal (with your knees and hips at the same height) when sat on the toilet and your feet flat on the floor then the toilet is probably a good height for you (Disabled Living Foundation, 2009). The above diagrams show a toilet that is likely to be too low (the persons knees are higher than their hips) and too high (the persons hips are higher than their knees and their feet are off the floor).

Toilet height - measuring

If you wish to check this then the toilet height most likely to suit an individual is approximately the same as the distance between the floor and the bottom of their thigh behind their knee, as shown in the diagram. The toilet height should be measured from the floor to the top of the seat. The height to the person's thigh should be measured when they are wearing their usual shoes or slippers. When being measured they should be sat on a chair at a height at which their thighs are horizontal with their knees and hips at the same height, their knee and ankle joints should be roughly at a right angle, as shown in the diagram. When rounding the measurement to the nearest inch / cm round down rather than up (Disabled Living Foundation, 2009).

Equipment to raise the height of an existing toilet

There is a range of equipment that can be used to raise the height of a toilet including: Most models of raised toilet seat clamp on to the rim of the toilet bowl and the original seat remains in place stuck in the up position. Some models replace the original seat. When using a raised toilet seat feel the seat to check that it is firmly attached before you sit down. If not ask someone to tighten its brackets for you. Other users of your toilet may need to, or prefer to, remove a raised toilet seat when using the toilet. Consider whether they will be able to remove it and replace it ready for your use. If they remove it they must know how to refit it correctly (Pain, McLellan, and Gore, 2003).

Raised toilet seats with frames and toilet seats with armrests provide handholds that you may wish to use if you feel unsteady or unsupported when sat on a toilet.

If you transfer onto the toilet from a wheelchair, or tend to sit down heavily, then the toilet seat will be subject to backwards and sideways movement so a toilet plinth may be a more robust option(Pain, McLellan, and Gore, 2003).

Always check that the weight capacity of any toilet equipment you use exceeds your weight.

Fitting a toilet seat

Fitting a raised toilet seat. Raised toilet seats have a variety of attachment methods:

  • Two adjustable knobs (picture 1), that require tightening against the toilet bowl, and a lip at the front that fits over the bowl.
  • Three adjustable knobs (picture 2) ,
  • One securing clamp (picture 3)
  • Some use the original toilet seat fixing holes or hinge at the rear of the toilet bowl.

The most suitable fitting for your toilet will depend on the shape of your toilet bowl. Toilet bowls with a non traditional shape (see pictures 4 and 5) may require a raised toilet seat that fixes to the toilet via the toilet seat fixing holes or hinge or consider a toilet frame with a seat.

Toilets with heavily sloping sides to the bowl (picture 6) may require a raised toilet seat with the three adjustable knobs, or one that fixes to the toilet via the toilet seat fixing holes/hinge or a toilet frame with a seat. If you're not sure which type of raised toilet seat to purchase to fit your toilet consult with the retailer, manufacturer or health care professional.

Limitations of generic advice

This is a only a general guide to toilet height, many individuals will have different needs, perhaps because of restricted movement in their joints, pain or surgery. Thus we recommend you contact your local social services and request an individual assessment with an occupational therapist.

If any toilet equipment is used by other people, then the weight of the other user/s must be within the capacity of the equipment.

If children are using the same toilet a raised toilet seat may make it too high for them to use and the extra height may be a safety hazard for them. If there are no other toilets they can use consider an easily removed raised toilet seat or a moveable platform in front of the toilet for them to step onto (Pain, McLellan, and Gore, 2003).

Advice last checked: 02 October 2014 Next check due: 02 October 2017

All advice is either supported by references (cited in the text) or is based upon peer reviewed professional opinion. Our advice is impartial and not influenced by sponsors or product suppliers listed on the site.
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