Is it OK to use the handicapped toilet?

Handicapped toilet signI’m curious how people feel about using the larger stalls designed for the handicapped.

These wheelchair accessible stalls have a lot more room in them and allow those with disabilities to maneuver their wheelchair or other necessary equipment around so they can do their business.

Some might argue that it is only for those with disabilities to use and should not be used by able-bodied persons. While others think that if the room is open it’s OK for anyone to use.  The disabled just have to wait in line like everyone else.

What do you think?

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59 thoughts on “Is it OK to use the handicapped toilet?”

  1. if there are no other stalls open I do go in there,I sure as hell dont wanna take a leak at the wall thing and have some guy taking a leak anywhere near me

  2. disabled people need these, able bodied people do not.

    you wouldn’t go into the ladies/mens rest room if you were the wrong sex would you ?

    my disabled wife had to wait while a group of teenagers wasted time in and around the disabled toilet, they could have used the other sections, my wife could not.

    it’s very annoying to disabled people, they have enough to put up with as it is.

    • I go in the men’s room sometimes, if the women’s room is packed. I’d rather use a slightly grosser bathroom than piss myself.

      • I have totally used men rooms before, if you gotta go you gotta go. sorry about your wife though, it was insensitive for those girls to take so long, just think your theory could use some tweaking.

  3. caveman, I understand your frustration! Those teenagers were assholes and don’t represent most bathroom users! 😉

    When you gotta go, you gotta go! I won’t hesitate to use a handicapped stall if it is the only one open or clean. Get in, get out. It’s not a place to camp out….

    I understand it’s annoying, but just because one is disabled doesn’t mean they won’t have to wait sometimes.

  4. Just like a [img][/img] , it should be reserved for disabled people. You wouldn’t park in a handicapped parking spot no matter how crowded the rest of the parking lot is. Like caveman ^ said, people with disabilities have plenty of other difficulties to deal with…waiting for a toilet shouldn’t be one of them.

    • Big difference here is that the parking stall will be occupied for an unknown amount of time as opposed to the toilet. Sometimes I have to wait to use the WC and it’s not going to kill someone handicapped to wait. Now, if there is a line waiting for the bathroom, I have no problem with someone in a wheel chair getting priority on that stall the next time it opens up.

    • meh – the reason why the handicapped parking is protected (in my opinion) is that a) ppl park for a LONG time, and might be there all day; b) weather might be hazardous to handicapped persons trying to get from standard spots to the door; c) it could be dangerous and certainly can impede a persons daily routine to HAVE to wait for the handicapped spot to open up.

      none of that is any more true for a handicapped person than for others when it comes to the bathroom. if i have to wait in line and so does a handicapped person, is it really any worse for them to be waiting than it is for me? if it is dangerous for them to be without bathroom facilities for a few minutes whilst waiting, then they have bigger problems than the wait: the stall might be out of order.

      no, i don’t think the handicapped stall should be handicapped-only. and i don’t even think it maters if someone uses it when other stalls are available. sometimes it’s nice for an ablebodied person to have the exra room to take off their coat, etc.

      in my office, the handicapped stall is also the stall with the diaper changing station. if i’m not handicapped and neither is my child, you wouldn’t think twice of me going in there to change my babies diaper, would you?

      if there is a line, and a handicapped person is waiting when the handicapped stall opens up, i can’t imagine a single person NOT yielding to them and allowing them use of the stall (even if they aren’t next in line). perhaps this is where i stand on the rules-of-stall-use: if a handicapped person is in que for the handicapped stall, and it becomes available, they should be given priority and be able to pass others wiating in line before them.

      and that’s all.

  5. Caveman – Not every disabled person has a wheelchair. In my family, we have several people with knee replacements that do not use wheelchairs — grab bars are only installed in the handicapped stalls. My former workplace only had “sanitary disposal” containers in the handicapped stalls. Its still somewhat of a man’s world – and the public facilities in many older establishments where built with the belief that there were more men. (MIT for example.) So, yes I have been to a bar where the line for the ladies room blocked access to either restroom and it was determined that the women would use the men’s room until the line was more manageable. (We didn’t stop men from going into the men’s room at the time – they stopped all by themselves.) I’ve also been in line at the airport when a woman in a wheelchair verbally berated the person behind the handicapped door for using the facility — only to learn when the door opened. that this woman was also in a wheelchair. (Even wheelchair people can be jerks.) You need to accept that not all disabilities are visible, that when there are long lines of “able” bodied people — the empty/unused handicapped stall is fair game.

  6. If I’m with my daughter I use the handicapped stall. Aside from needing the extra space to get a little kid mostly naked so she can pee, she also has to be well away from the toilet before she will allow me to flush it. Apparently, the things that live in the sewers can get you when you flush.

    That said, my folks are handicapped, and I don’t use it when I’m alone.

  7. i would only use them if all the others are broken/occupied, and there’s no handicaped guy waiting for it

    just like those cashier at the supermarket labeled as “pregnant, elderly or handicaped” anyone can use them but pregnant woman, elderly people or handicaped have the right to cut the line

  8. In most women’s restrooms the wall-mounted changing tables are in the handicapped stalls, so there is no choice. It is also obviously the only way to use the bathroom if you have a stroller with you.

  9. I respect the handicapped by not parking in their spaces or sitting in their bus seats.
    Some restrooms only have two or three stalls including the large one.
    If the other two are occupied, then I have no choice but to use the handicapped, and hope wheelchair users understand.

    BTW, In Colorado, as of 2008, transgenders got a law passed – that ANY restroom (school, theater, sports, restaurant, rest stop) cannot be gender discriminatory. I’m old school, I still go to the skirt sign.

    • Bus seats are fair game…. As long as you realize, you have to give the seat to those it was designed for.

      as to your BTW — If my wife is in a CO restroom and a ?guy? walks in on her, ?It? will discover the meaning of ‘dynamite in small packages’.

  10. If it’s the only bathroom within a vicinity and I really have to go, I use the disabled toilet. Happened to me a lot during Foundation year at uni during Statistics class; the other toilets were in the BASEMENT level and if I really have to go and have another class right after, I have no choice. And I always leave it clean after I use it.

    If there are other toilet stalls available, however, I will not use it.

  11. I’m 36 and I have never seen someone with a disability in a public restroom. Around here, most public restrooms have 3 private stalls with toilets, with one being reserved for people with disabilities. By the logic of some posting here, one third of available stalls should go unused for approximately 80-90% of the time (or more). I don’t understand the idea that handicapped stalls should never be used by non-disabled people. Is that what the law says? That we have to provide facilities that can only be used by the disabled? Should I not let my kids run up and down the wheelchair ramp? They think its fun and again, I rarely (almost never) see anyone with a wheelchair using the ramp. I don’t begrudge providing these facilities to those who need them. I think that it is a good thing and it is the right thing to do. I get annoyed when others try to tell me what I can and cannot do though. I use the handicapped stalls frequently, for reasons that are none of your business, and to my knowledge I have never deprived a disabled person from using it or delayed them in their use of it. One other thing, DJ compared using a handicapped toilet to parking in a handicapped parking spot. That is a bad comparison. If I park in handicapped spot, I am likely to be gone for a long time and to be unaware if a disabled person needed it. If I am in the handicapped stall, I will be in and out in just a couple of minutes. Also, I will most likely know if someone is waiting and therefore can quickly finish up and vacate for them.

    • You’re helping me to see it from another angle. You make some good points.
      My wife was in a wheelchair for a time, and it was kinda irritating when there were a four or five open regular stalls and someone reading a newspaper in the handicapped one.

      • I would also like to say that I am one of those people who gets mad when I see able-bodied people parking in handicapped spots. I have even been known to say something to those people. I despise seeing people acting so callously towards others just because they are too lazy to walk a little.

        • I used to drive a van with a handicapped tag for my son. I’ve had folks ask why I WASN’T using the tag. If he wasn’t getting out of the van or if I was by myself, I never used the handicapped parking spot. They’re for people that actually need access.

          Bathroom stalls are different. Kev laid this out extremely well.

          Still somewhat on topic, there are many instances where the Americans with Disabilities Act is crazy. Does that mean we shouldn’t have it? No, of course not, but like many other laws, perception does not equate to reality.

  12. I believe that the handicap stall is the Cadillac of the poopin stalls, plus there are handles for power pushing.

  13. If the other stalls are taken or out of service, why not? It’s not like the handicapped person can’t hold it. Anyway, I prefer not to use them. I find the seats to be uncomfortably high.

  14. A couple of things here.
    #1 The reason taking a handicapped parking stall is so horrible is because your car will be there for an undetermined amount of time thus blocking those in need of it. In the case of a bathroom stall you are just waiting a couple of minutes (hopefully)

    #2 I use them most commonly when I have my kids with me aged 0 2 and 4. It’s the only kind we can all fit in and not have to worry about what they are touching.

    Also I think we should specify between “stall” and “separate bathroom” I can understand people being upset about the separate bathroom, but the stall, really, not a big deal.

  15. It is impossible to use a regular sized stall with 1 and 3 year old daughters. Especially if I’m using stroller. When alone, I don’t use handicapped stalls, but with young kids, there is no way for any of us to pee without the extra space.

  16. Being on the large size, I find that most regular stalls don’t let me turn around once I get in. And the handicapped stalls seem to be cleaner.

  17. In all of my 42 years I have never seen an obviously disabled person or a person in a wheelchair use the handicapped stall until 2 months ago. I was using the handicap stall and as I got finished a person in a wheelchair came in. I felt pretty sheepish walking out of the handicap stall, but here’s the saving grace part of the story . . . there was no toilet paper in the stall. I just happened to have a couple tissues in my purse, so I was lucky. Well, I told the handicapped person there had been no toilet paper and got some from the other stall for her which would have been impossible for her to get by herself. She thanked me profusely and didn’t look at me in any negative way for having used the handicap stall.

    Now taking a handicap parking space is a different story and I would never park there. Those spaces get used and I see the stickers and handtags and license plates on the cars.

  18. I agree about using it with small children. I don’t feel safe in larger cities or malls leaving my child and her stroller sitting outside a stall while I use the bathroom. Even with a toddler age child there is too high of a chance of them wondering off or being taken while you are occupied. Yeah it does sound paranoid, but better safe then sorry.

    What I really like is places that now have family restrooms. This is great for small children to accompany parents. It is also really good for disabled people who need to have a spouse assist them in the bathroom. If there is a quadriplegic person or other more severe disability, then they might need a spouse or caretaker of opposite assist them and that can mean avoiding going out or running into lots of issues if they do go out to a public area.

  19. Yes, I agree with Julie and Kev and the others – it really is OK to use the “handicapped” stall – and it really should be designated “special use” or an alternative term. I have a developmentally delayed but able-bodied daughter who needs assistance in the bathroom, and can’t tell you how many dirty looks and comments I’ve received for using the big stall. Some people seem to feel that “handicapped” means “in a wheelchair.” The person who was kept waiting by the teenagers could have pointed out to them that they were keeping her waiting – they may have sincerely not known they were doing anything wrong. Seize the teachable moment.

  20. As someone who uses a wheelchair,I honestly don’t mind if others use the handicap stall. I can wait just like everyone else.

    Ive only had to be rude once when some lady was having a marathon phone session with her BFF about how hot this and that guy was and I really needed to go. I politely knocked after more then a 15 minute wait, but when she told me to fuck off, I went all Towanda on her ass.

    So, my able bodied people, go forth and tinkle in any stall available but please, flush the damn toilet when you’re done!

  21. My last thought. Have you ever used a wheelchair ramp or an elevator? Well those are technically meant for those who are handicapped or carrying a load on wheels. Same principle applies with the stalls. Parking spots are only different because it disallows someone from using that spot for an undetermined period of time. This conversation does kind of remind me of a couple episodes of Seinfeld though. (George as a handicapped person and Parking in the Handicapped spot)

  22. I’m handicapped (multiple sclerosis) and need the grab bars. I’m also claustrophobic. These are the reasons I use the handicapped stall. I don’t care who else uses them. I agree with beharu that those stalls are “handicapped accessible”, not “private.”

  23. Came in here to say two things, but two people beat me to it. The Cadillac of pooping stalls and that they are handicap accessible, not reserved just for handicapped like parking spots are. These stalls are meant to be more universally accessible to everyone, not to be exclusive.

    If that’s the case, I’m gonna need to return my tv cause I bought one with closed captioning.

  24. I almost always use the handicapped stalls. For one, I am severely left handed and the non-handicapped stalls are very narrow and almost always, all of toilet items (paper dispenser, wall mounted trash bin, purse shelf etc) are always placed on the left hand side. when I … finish my business, inevitably I end up either jamming my head on the damn tp dispenser or, ever more enjoyable, have my face lodged in the trash can with previous occupants’ disposed of …personal items. Also, due to the set up, inevitably, the door pops open on me because I end up leaning against all these items in order to finish my business because there’s just no room.
    But my primary reason is because I have a bad back and the handicapped stalls have higher seats that I can easily get on and off as well as the much needed use of the hand rails and I need the support in order to complete the transaction.
    I also agree with previous comment as to the futility of leaving a stall unused for at least 90% of the time just for that off chanc someone handicapped comes along. It is completely unfair to equate a bathroom stall to a handicapped parking space. I understand the necessity of having the handicapped parking space available and also get mad when I see someone without a tag park there. But if someone is in a bathroom stall where the ‘visit’ takes mere moments (other than the rare occasion of selfish teens who don’t care if it’s a handicapped stall or not) I think it’s reasonable to expect to wait.

  25. Surprising so many that don’t need it say it’s ok to use it. I like the honesty here and I admit I’ve also used the Cadillac stall and luckily have never kept someone waiting. If I did, I’d feel pretty bad. But maybe it’s not a good idea to use it. While that disabled person is using the bathroom should we use their wheelchair until they need it again because we don’t want to walk around? Maybe use a blind man’s cane until he needs it because we don’t want to turn on the lights? Use someone’s crutches or leg braces until they need them because our legs are tired?

    My 16 year-old disabled nephew has a wheelchair that I’ve never used and a service dog that I’ve never used to get me something from the fridge. My SIL has had to pick up this kid to get him into and out of his wheelchair his entire life, it gets harder the bigger he gets and the older she gets. She has to assist him in the bathroom which has to be quite difficult. I think people that need something designed specifically for them shouldn’t have to be content seeing able-bodied people using the disabled bathroom stall. They’ll be polite toward us, but I have a feeling they have different thoughts they keep to themselves.

  26. Scott,
    wheelchairs, canes, dogs, crutches, and leg braces are all personal items intended for that individual. Not the general use of the public. Bathroom stalls are. My sister had knee surgery that went bad and has been in a wheelchair ever since. I asked her her opinion before posting. Her thoughts were that if it is the last stall open, use it. No matter what your physical state may be. If it opens up and there’s a disabled person waiting, sure would be nice to be allowed to use it.

    • Sure last stall available, use it. That’s understandable. I’m talking about all the able-bodied selfish people (finger pointing at myself, too) who can use another stall when they really should. It’s called doing the right thing. I’ll remember this post next time I need a public restroom and use a normal stall when given the choice.

  27. I work in a airport and at certain times of day when the flights let out the bathrooms become very crowded and busy.. On this day I was on my short 15 minute break and it had been a very long and hectic day for me, suffice it to say I needed to pee, there was a line and all the stalls were taken, an able bodied person exited the larger (handicapped accessable) stall and so I went in and did my business, it took no more than 2 minutes tops…when I am exiting the restroom an older woman in a wheelchair stops me and tells me that I should be ‘reported’ (her words) for using the handicapped accessable stall…I was shocked, she waved her cane at me and told me how she had to use another stall..I didnt know what to say so I just gave her an apology because I was embarrassed..But I got thinking about it, then I went and googled this topic and here I am..

    I DID NOT see her in the bathroom when I was waiting to use the stall, if I had of course I would have let her go first, and I never use the handicapped when a smaller one is available. I have never thought about it in depth before this, but I certainly don’t feel it’s wrong to use the larger stalls when there is a line, as there was in my situation…I wish I had been able to have a better response, lol but i was in a hurry and chagrined about the whole thing, but i certainly wasn’t trying to do anything wrong, I get hurt easily and I’m very shy also, I try to be so polite and courteous to people, it’s funny how this old woman felt she had to call me out like i was purposely hurting her, for using the restroom.

  28. For those of you that get annoyed with “ablebodied” folks using handicapped parking stalls, restroom stalls, etc…: not all disabilities are visible. I appear to be in perfect health, however, I suffer from a painful disability that makes simple tasks very difficult. I’m also young and try to always have a smile on my face despite the pain and limits i deal with. I get glared at at work when I use the handicapped stall, or at places of business where I use the disability parking stall. My disability is my business and my doctors business. It’s not for others to decide whether or not I should have been taking so long in the restroom, or if I just stole someone elses parking place.
    Just some food for thought next time someone appears to be “obviously able-bodied”. It might be me, and I really appreciate when people aren’t giving me dirty looks assuming I’m inconsiderate. :-D.

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