Toilet seat etiquette

Why is the prevailing toilet seat etiquette to leave the seat down? I get the whole “it’s more convenient for women” thing, but it is less convenient for men. Is it a chivalry thing?

It doesn’t seem like it is less work for men to put the seat up and down for #1 than it would be for whoever needs the toilet to put the seat into whatever configuration they need it to be in.

In my house in particular - we have some small boys that are pretty bad at aiming (and remembering to raise the seat), so it might be a more efficient setup to just always put/leave the seat up when you are done.

I guess this only really matters in homes (where people can have whatever setup they want), and in unisex bathrooms without urinals (I used a one-seater the other day with a sign saying to remember to put the seat down. Hence this thread). If we move to more unisex bathrooms, as some have advocated (and I believe is the case in some places in Europe), we, as a society, will need to come to terms with this important issue.

No idea. Only ever lived with one woman in my life (my mom). We didn’t really have a rule.

Now I don’t live with any woman. But sometimes I leave it down when guests come. It looks “prettier” with the seat down.

I can understand that - especially if there is a lid that covers the entire bowl/seat. Maybe it’s some combination of aesthetics and chivalry.

A toilet with the seat up can be used as a standing urinal. A toilet with the seat down can be used standing or sitting. After any toilet use the user should clean up any mess. If the toilet has a lid the lid should be down when the toilet is not in use

I agree with your premises, but am not sure I follow them to your conclusion. If it’s an aesthetic thing, I get it. If it’s functional, I don’t see how guy putting the seat down after standing is less work than person putting seat down before sitting.

The real rule is that if it’s an outhouse, the lid must be left closed. (Which also means the seat needs to be down.) Trust me, this makes a huge difference to the next user. I suspect the historical practice followed from this.

My personal rule is that if I am visiting someone else’s house, I leave the seat the way I found it. Most men who live alone leave the seat up, and I lift the seat when I’m done if that’s how it was when I entered the bathroom.

I think that if the toilet is shared roughly evenly between men and women, it’s better to leave the seat down. Sitting on the seat-less bowl in the middle of the night is a larger problem, and harder to clean up from, than standing in front of the toilet with the seat down.

Also, you do see more “crud” with the seat up. So it does look a little tidier if you leave it seat-down. (And even tidier if you close the lid.) My husband grumbles that I don’t notice minor bits of mildew or worse in the toilet bowl (and therefore cleans it more than I) because I glance at the seat-down toilet before covering it, whereas he looks at the seat-up toilet when he stands.

But if it’s mostly used by little boys, I see no particular reason for the seat’s neutral position to be “down”.

  1. Statistics: Men need it down 10% of the time and up 90% of the time. Women need it down 100% of the time. Assuming both sexes toilet equally often, it should be up 45% of the time and down 55% of the time. So the most frequent use case for the next person is down.

  2. In the middle of the night, accidentally sitting down on a toilet with the seat up is 10 times worse than accidentally peeing with the seat down.


Agree entirely with the outhouse thing.

The rest of your post also makes a lot of sense. Thanks!

I’ve got to say - I don’t think I have ever accidentally sat down on the rim. Even at my most incoherent I am able to recognize the configuration of the seat before using the facilities - but that may just be because I have lived in enough places where that isn’t always the convention that I haven’t become complacent. I’ve also never been intoxicated. Not sure how often that ends up being a factor…

Now - when I was in Peru, most of the time there was no seat, so I spent a lot of time sitting on rims…

Yep yep yep.

I’m pretty sure that’s a lot of the “reason” behind leaving the seat down. I am pretty good at checking before I sit though, so it doesn’t really matter in my household. Guests can do whatever they like in their bathroom and it’s on them if someone falls in.

It is nearly pitch black in our bedroom, but I can find my way to the bathroom without turning on lights and therefore don’t. I expect that the seat will be down, because girls outnumber boys in the house (and kids use our bathroom when the other is occupied), and have been rudely surprised by that expectation exactly once. The rule promptly changed to seat down, lid closed after use, for everyone, so everyone has the same amount of effort.

I usually put the entire lid down because enough people have told me about particles that fly around the bathroom when you flush if you don’t. I dont know if it’s true or not, but it means everyone in the house has to lift the lid evrytime regardless.

It’s true.

Just pee in the sink like I do. Why fuss with the toilet at all?

You know that us actuaries are going to have nightmares now, right?

Even men should be peeing while sitting down (I do at home). So the seat should always be down.

Women should pee standing up. Keep the lids up!

Man is the only animal that wears pants during twosies. It’s so unnatural.


Is It Normal For Men To Pee Sitting Down?

You would be surprised how many men are taking a seat, and the effects it’s having on their health - by Ken Adams

  • 05 JUN2018

Getty Images

Standing up to pee is one of the greatest gifts granted to men. It’s quick, easy, and let’s be honest, fun. However recent cultural trends have given rise to a sweeping epidemic causing more and more men to sit while peeing.

The last reported data on the issue from 2007 suggested that a whopping 42 per cent of married men sat down to pee, most likely to avoid seat drips and the wrath of their fuming wives.

We’d be safe to guess that this percentage has surged past the 50 per cent mark since, due to the fact that this data was collected in an age before smart phones, and men now flock to the restrooms for a quick sit and scroll through Facebook.

“The idea of sitting down to pee is interesting,” said Dr. Jesse N. Mills, Associate Clinical Professor at the UCLA Department of Urology when talking to Thrillist. “Nothing beats whipping it out and letting it rip. But if you want to sit down and think about life, it’s a break in your day.”

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While evidence suggests that it most certainly is normal to sit down and pee, is it healthy? Yes, and much more so than standing apparently.

According to research from the Leiden University Medical Centre in the Netherlands, sitting down to pee allows for ‘a more favourable urodynamic profile’ [translation: the flow is stronger] which helps ward off prostate problems.

The study goes on to suggest that when we stand, we activate muscles around our lower abdomen, pelvis and spine that actually prevent proper urination.

RELATED: How To Stop Those Pesky Last Few Drops Of Pee

“Sitting down is a better option for men with prostate conditions or men who just can’t stand up for a long time,” said Dr. Mills. “A lot of guys sit to pee if they can’t fully evacuate their bladder. When you sit down, you can use your abdominal muscles more, and you get your last few squirts out and feel like you’ve emptied better.”

The Dutch research project also suggested that further problems with standing also arise as men engage extra pee-stifling muscles while using public toilets. The reason? The muscles engaged to hold in loud and embarrassing farts are also muscles involved in preventing further urination.

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Following the results of the study, governments have taken action to instigate cultural change surrounding our habits. Countries such as Sweden and Japan are actively encouraging men to sit while peeing.

So there you have it. If you’re sitting reading this article on the John, rest easy. You’re onto a winner, and your prostate will thank you.

I laugh at my husband for doing this, but apparently he’s not alone!

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