Monday 18 April 2011

What to consider when designing a public toilet!

This is my personal public service to the designers of public services.

When designing a public toilet facility that will be used by mothers with toddlers consider the following:

  • Can you fit in when 9 and a half months pregnant without having reverse in and sit on the loo to be able to close the door? 
  • Take a two year old in with you. Close the door and sit on the loo without bashing said two year old in the face with your handbag. If this can be done without having to balance said kid on the loo or (worse) the motion activated sanitary disposal unit, then it may be big enough.
  • Does the door shut easily? Without making you sit on the loo or take out the toddler with a bash to the head?
  • Does the door reach low enough to stop the toddler from sticking their head underneath in any direction? 
  • Does the door face the opening to the open doorway to the rest room? Can a toddler workout how to open the door? If either of these are answered with yes... Please make sure you can reach the door when leaning forward whilst sitting on the loo!
  • Is the hand dryer noisy? If it dries your hands it will be too noisy for babies or toddlers.
  • Is the flush motion activated? DUMB IDEA
  • Is the cubicle self cleaning? More than two minutes are needed to vacate after flushing... Please remember this!
  • Is the toilet paper dispensed by sensor? Programme it to do more than 1 sheet at a time... It's time consuming and hard to keep the toddler from making friends with the user of the neighbouring cubicle!
  • Is there a hook to hang both your handbag AND possibly the toddler if desperate?

  • Most importantly test if the cubicle is completely soundproof.

Sit on the loo.

Have a friend stand outside waiting.

Then yell in a high pitched little kid voice (clearly - because this is one of the few times your child will be understood by strangers) any of the following...

Mummy why are you bleeding? Do you need a plaster for your vagina?

Mummy your bum is really big! Bigger than an elephants!

Mummy, good job! You went poos and wees!

Wow Mummy your poo smells really stinky!

Mummy the lady next to us must have done a poo. It's very smelly!

Mummy why aren't you wearing knickers today!?

Then have the friend move out into the waiting area outside of the restroom, where random dads and boyfriends would hang out... AND REPEAT!

Thanks for reading and please redesign our local public loos using these pointers! Thanks!


  1. OMG!! I just spat tea on my screen. Thanks for this, it made my day!

  2. This made me laugh! It is soooo true.

    So by the way, we used to also live in South Africa and now living on the Kapiti Coast here in Wellington.

  3. hahahahaha............ Oh this is awesome! And you SO need to be designing toilets!! You truly understand!! ;)

  4. OMG! This is hilarious and SO TRUE! Thanks for the laugh!


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