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Using the toilet advice

We all want to maintain our continence as well as our independence and privacy when using the toilet. We recommend that you contact your GP or a nurse from the bladder and bowel service to address any medical issues that are causing the problem. If the medical cause has been addressed and you still have difficulties staying continent,  our Therapists can guide you through the solutions or equipment that may help you use the toilet independently and effectively.

The best position for effective bladder and bowel emptying on a toilet is sitting with feet flat on the floor and ankles, knees and hips at no more than 90 degrees. When you sit on a toilet seat that is too high it will prevent you from emptying your bladder and bowel properly and this can lead to urine infection or constipation or problems with continence.  We can advise about equipment solutions that may help you achieve a better position on the toilet.

Raised toilet seats are usually 2″ 4″ or 6″ heights and some come with a lid. They fit your toilet in place of your original toilet seat, usually fixed in place with plastic brackets, no tools required. They are usually hard plastic with a hole that is smaller than your traditional toilet seat aperture. The small aperture is often a problem for men who sit and can make it difficult to clean yourself after using the toilet. Raised toilet seats will often be too high for effective bladder and bowel emptying. Our Therapists can show you the best of the raised toilet seats and alternatives to make your own toilet more accessible. Some modern toilets are unusual shapes and it may be difficult to fit a raised toilet seat securely onto the toilet bowl. We are pleased to have the new Prima Lift toilet rise from Gordon Ellis which fits any shape toilet under your existing toilet seat to give a 2″ raise without changing the seat.

prima lift riser

Rails may be the answer to help you off the toilet.  The simplest solution would be a grab rail on the wall, to pull yourself up from a seated position. We can show you different rail designs and give you a list of local suppliers and fitters. You can also get free-standing rails that fit around your toilet with no drilling. The traditional ‘Mowbray’ style toilet surround rails with an integral seat are almost always too high for effective emptying of your bladder and bowel, we avoid them but we can show you this new Prima Toilet seat with rails from Gordon Ellis which can be set much lower than the traditional Mowbray and has a choice of a large oval or horseshoe aperture, which is much easier to use, particularly for men who sit to go to the toilet.  If you are looking for something more discreet we can show you rails that fit the toilet bowl under your existing seat, or rails that attach to a toilet seat and flip out of the way, either side of the cistern, out of sight when others use the toilet.

Lifting seats may be the answer for you if rails aren’t enough to get you on and off the toilet safely. We have the Lift seat that can help you to stand from the toilet, you can try them out at the Independent Living Centre and see which movement and controls work best for you.

Lift seat

Urinal design has improved a lot in recent years and this may be a solution when you can’t get to the toilet on time. We like the range from Beambridge medical and have several that you can look at in the Independent Living Centre and other collection devices like the Shewee and the Travel John

Commodes may be a solution for when you can’t get to the toilet at night. We can help you work out what would work best for you.

wash dry solutions

Keeping clean after using the toilet can be difficult. At the ILC we have toilet seats with larger cutouts for easier reach,  long-handled gadgets to help you to clean yourself and a handheld portable water spray.   We can show you  the Closomat and Geberit toilet bidets which look like ordinary toilets, but then can be activated to wash with a powerful spray and then dry you when seated on the toilet. Alongside the powerful and effective Closomat and Geberit toilet bidet installations  we are now so pleased to be able to give visitors the chance to try out the NEW AKW Ergonomic Bidet seat, with similar wash and dry features, and a simple but powerful douche spray that is plumbed in beside the toilet for easy cleaning. douche spray headWe can tell you all about these amazing systems but better still, you can make an appointment to visit us to try these appliances in privacy at our demonstration centre to see which one works best for you.

We are grateful to First class Independent builders for installing this equipment for us.



The Solaticare in bed toilet bidet system from Novamed Europe has to be seen to be believed as it facilitates independent use of an automated collection device for when you need to empty your bladder and bowel, followed by careful washing and drying, all completed while you are lying in bed. We have seen it in action and can request a demo at the Independent Living Centre if you want to see it too. Yes, it is expensive to buy but they have a very reasonable rental option which some people in Devon have already taken up. 

solaticare bed bidet

Getting to the toilet in time may be difficult. Signs and lighting may help you find the toilet on time. We can show you the amazing Talky Signs from X signs that can help guide you to the right door if unable to see the way.

Colourful toilet seats are designed to make the toilet easier to recognise in a bathroom. Our experience is that the traditional dark toilet seat works best to identify the toilet against pale bathroom appliances.

Reminders could be used to make sure you drink enough during the day and visit the toilet at regular intervals rather than just when you feel the need; which may be too late. These reminders could be set up on your own mobile phone, or electronic reminder screens to give you audible or visual reminders during the day or night to keep hydrated and visit the toilet regularly. View technology to keep you safe and independent in the bathroom for more information.

Clothes can slow us down when we go to the toilet. Come and talk to our team, in confidence, about pants and clothing solutions that may help. Also see our advice pages about clothes, pants, fasteners and techniques to help you to manage your clothes when going to the toilet.

side opening pants