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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 Occupational 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 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 to 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 prima lift risertoilet. Raised toilet seats will often be too high for effective bladder and bowel emptying. Our Occupational 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 to any shape toilet under your existing toilet seat to give a 2″ raise without changing the seat.

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 to 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 a seat with a Lift seathydraulic lift  as well as the innovative  Solo toilet riser seat and 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.

Urinal design has improved a lot in recent years and these 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.

Keeping clean after using the toilet can be difficult. We can show you toilet seats with cut outs for cleaning, long handled gadgets to help you reach to clean yourself,  a hand held portable water spray and a douche hose which can be plumbed in beside your toilet. We can also show you the the RikSack system for convenient emptying of ostomy bags, made by local Devon company Stomaworks.   We can show you toilet seats with integral wash dry action as well as the Closomat and Geberit toilet bidets. Both be used as ordinary toilets, but when you remain seated after using the toilet you can activate a cleaning and drying process. We can tell you all about these amazing systems but better still, you can try these appliances in privacy at our demonstration centre.  The Solaticare in bed solaticare bed bidettoilet 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. 

Getting to the toilet in time may be difficult. Signs and lighting may help you to 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 side opening pantsconfidence, 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.