Accessible Toilets

Accessible Toilets

Accessibility in the bathroom is just so important.

When people say that they want to be independent, they can be implying a whole lot of things that are important to them. But I think it is safe to say that independence in the bathroom is universally important to everyone.

Where would it be better to start if not for the toilet area, where nothing can be more dehumanizing than needing help performing your needs.

My goal here is to help you understand the basics of accessibility when it comes to the toilet area as well as pieces of equipment which can make all the difference in helping you perform your needs independently.


ADA and Toilets/Toilet Area



Height: 17″-19″ from floor to top of seat

Turn space around toilet:  5′ x 5′ (side or forward approach)

Flush: must be in an easy location for access and hardware must be simple to use (i.e. fisted hand/elbow)


Grab Bars:

Height (from floor to top of bar): 33″-36″

Length of side bar: 42″ min; must be max of 12″ off of rear wall

Length of rear bar: 36″ min; 12″ extending from center of toilet to one side and 24″ from the center to the other side

Size of bar: 1 1/4 “- 2″ max grip width

Distance off wall: 1 1/2” from wall for optimal grip clearance


Toilet Paper Dispenser:

Location: center line should be 7″-9″ in front of toilet

Height: 15″-48″ above floor

(Adopted from Burnham)


Take a look at your toilet/toilet area and check if it fits the ADA recommendations. If yes, super! If not, follow along as we go through quite a few solutions to increase the ease of access and use of you toilet area.

In this post we will discuss toilet seat height solutions. We have another post on Grab Bars where we thoroughly and comprehensively discuss grab bars which, as I am sure you know from your experience, is a huge topic when it comes to accessibility in the bathroom. We also have another post which discusses various Innovative Toilet Accessories and Aids which can make your daily life that much more comfortable.


Raised Toilet Seats

The height recommended by the ADA is higher than most standard toilets. This is because someone with physical limitations often has a difficult time sitting down and standing up safely and steadily from a lower surface.

The simplest solution to raising the height of your toilet seat is to place a “raised toilet seat” on top of your current seat.

There are so many raised toilet seat options out there so over here we will describe the most important features to look out for to give you the knowledge base to make an educated and well-informed decision when you purchase one.



You want to make sure you choose a seat that will fit snug with your seat. There are a few toilet seat shapes out there (round vs elongated etc.) so it is important to match up the shape of the raised seat with your current seat to avoid any instability and unsafe installation possibilities.


Raised toilet seats come in different forms; some with handles/arm rests and some without. In most cases, you will want to choose one that includes handles to provide an additional measure of support when using the restroom. In essence, the handles provide the same support as grab bars which are installed around the toilet. This then kills two birds with one stone; especially in a case where you are hesitant to actually install grab bars into the walls around the toilet (i.e. renting your space, future selling of the home etc.).


Throughout my research one of the issues I found that you can come across if you are not cautious is rusting of hardware. Different models of raised toilet seats feature different modes of installation, so for the ones that include extended bolts, you want to make sure that the bolts are made out of nylon or some other material that is waterproof as opposed to metal which can rust.


Installation Differences

Permanent vs Temporary

Something to consider is how simple you want it to be to remove the raised seat. If you don’t care if the seat is always there (for example, in the master bathroom), then you have a larger variety of options to choose from. But, if you DO care, rightfully so, that the seat should be easily removable (for example, in the main floor bathroom which might be used by guests), the style you choose will be limited primarily to the seat option which has legs or which features a locking mechanism.

There is an option out there that is just a “booster” with an internal lip that sits right on top of your current seat and does not need to be secured to the seat. This has 4-star ratings but, based on reading through the reviews, I would NOT recommend it as people did admit that it was not 100% stable. When it comes to safety, compromising is NOT an option. Please be sure to choose an option that has additional safety and securing features.


Locking mechanism vs Screwing bolts

Of the seats which are more permanent (or require some tools to be installed and removed), there are are two primary ways they can be  secured to the current toilet seat. One is with a locking mechanism in the front of the seat that tightens the seat when in the locked position. The other is by bolting the seat into the current seat.

For the second method, the bolts which hold the standard seat in place are removed, the raised seat is placed down, the standard seat is then placed again on top of the raised seat and then re-bolted down to the toilet frame. You will need a set of extended bolts in order to securely screw through both the standard and raised seats. Extended screws are oftentimes included within the package from the raised toilet seat so be sure to look out for them.


Under seat cover or On top of seat cover

Some models are intended to be used as the new surface sat on when using the restroom while others are only intended to provide additional height to the original seat by providing a booster underneath the current seat. It is important to keep this in mind for comfort while using the facilities. One of the common questions asked when it comes to these seats is “is the seat comfortable?” This is definitely a valid question and, if this is a concern, be sure to look into it or consider the model that is installed beneath your current seat so your familiar comfort level is not compromised.



One key feature that differentiates many of the types of seats is whether the seat is removable. You may not want to install a raised seat permanently with bolts and all in a bathroom that will be used by visitors and guests. Keeping this in mind will play a significant role in the type of seat you choose. Look right above at Installation Differences for more details.


Safety Features

It is important that when installed, the seat is safe and steady. After reading through many, many reviews, and from personal experience I have learned that stability is not always consistent within a product when installed on different seats and in different situations. Meaning, one person may rave about a particular seat that it was exactly what they were looking for and it fit like a charm, while someone else will state that the same seat was so unsteady. You want to make sure that even if the product you choose has excellent reviews it will actually suit your individual seat as well.


Weight Capacity

As in all assistive devices, making sure that the weight of the user is compatible with the weight the product can handle is VERY important for safety. There are bariatric seats out there which are worthwhile to look into if weight is a concern. Also important to keep in mind is that if the bariatric seat has handles they must be listed as “extra wide” in order to comfortably fit someone carrying extra weight.


Here are links to the purchasing options on Amazon for the different models of raised toilet seats. Feel free to check out our Amazon Disclaimer for why we chose to use Amazon as the go-to purchasing site in this case.

Disclaimer: We are simply providing links to various buying options but due to the fact that we are not in the home with you and overseeing the installation and fit, we do not take responsibility for safety and security of any purchases and installations.

General Raised Toilet Seats

Sample Raised Seat with Locking Mechanism

Sample Raised Seat with Bolted Installation

Sample Raised Seat with Legs

Sample Bariatric Raised Seat without Legs

Sample Bariatric Raised Seat with Legs


We hope this was helpful in providing you with clear direction for how to simply increase your toilet seat height for ease, comfort and accessibility in the bathroom.

That’s that for Accessible Toilets.

Feel free to contact us with comments or questions!

We’ll keep you POSTED!

To safe and happy homes,


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