The toilet seat: up or down?
June 4, 2015 6:02 AM   Subscribe

"I amused myself for over a year thinking about the impacts of different toilet seat administration policies and how to measure them – doing calculations in my head, considering ratios of Standing events to Sitting events, and I slowly began to understand some of the specific differences in the basic policies that know to be administered most often. Finally, I decided to perform a probabilistic analysis". Essential Toilet Seat Analytics.
posted by paleyellowwithorange (73 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
 
We always put the lid down in my house, which is not even considered in this analysis.
posted by muddgirl at 6:08 AM on June 4, 2015 [8 favorites]


Lid down after use is the fairest position.
posted by paleyellowwithorange at 6:12 AM on June 4, 2015 [9 favorites]


Still no cure for cancer.
posted by Billiken at 6:13 AM on June 4, 2015


We always put the lid down in my house, which is not even considered in this analysis.


Ditto. We have a cat who likes to drink from/play with the water in the toilet. When we have guests over, and they leave it up, it's a 50/50 chance that next time you go, the seat will be wet because of some over enthusiastic splashing from the kitty.
posted by damayanti at 6:13 AM on June 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


Reminds me of one the best essays on E2 ever: I will REMOVE the fucking toilet seat if you don't shut up.
posted by fordiebianco at 6:15 AM on June 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yep. When you're done with business, close up shop. It is not the most efficient but it is certainly the most fair.
posted by dirtdirt at 6:19 AM on June 4, 2015


We have two toilets. One is used for sitting, one for standing. Problem solved.
posted by Too-Ticky at 6:25 AM on June 4, 2015


I read on one of these endless Internet Bathroom Threads that a remarkably large percentage of men were required by marital fiat to sit down while peeing. (Remarkable to me. I had never heard of such a thing.) Since I am allowed to pee standing up all I want, I gladly defer to my wife's preference for a seat-down loo policy.
posted by kozad at 6:26 AM on June 4, 2015


Clearly there is an untapped market for home urinals.
posted by TedW at 6:30 AM on June 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


kozad, for reasons of hygiene, such a rule (requiring that men sit down to pee) makes total sense. But if your arrangement works to the satisfaction of all parties involved, more power to all y'all!
posted by Too-Ticky at 6:32 AM on June 4, 2015


I'm a guy. I sit to pee. The only toilets a guy can pee in while standing are those that he doesn't have to clean himself.
posted by yesster at 6:32 AM on June 4, 2015 [12 favorites]


We always put the lid down in my house

This is only acceptable if you have a cat or toddler or other critter that might crawl into an open toilet.

Otherwise, the correct position for an unused toilet is seat down, lid up. Because a toilet should always be ready for cases of gastrointestinal distress where seconds matter.

Not, repeat NOT, because some women like to pee without looking at the toilet to gauge the position of the seat, because that is an insane thing to do. If you don't look, how do you know there aren't spiders there?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:38 AM on June 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


This is going to turn into another standers-vs-sitters thread, isn't it?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:42 AM on June 4, 2015


Everyone close it. Easy. And keeps the cats out.
posted by agregoli at 6:44 AM on June 4, 2015


As with many religions, I was inculcated when young -- with sisters seven and ten years older, it was understood that if I left the seat up I would know their vengeance.
posted by mr. digits at 6:46 AM on June 4, 2015


Leaving the lid up makes it easier for the spiders to get in in the first place.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:05 AM on June 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


Seat up or seat down is irrelevant. If you don't close the lid to flush, there's something wrong with you.
posted by yeolcoatl at 7:07 AM on June 4, 2015 [5 favorites]


Previously ('toilet' tag). A very productive tag.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 7:19 AM on June 4, 2015


With British toilets, you definitely should close the lid before flushing, as the "flush cloud" is a horrific thing exacerbated by the rumble-and-fall method of British toilet plumbing mechanisms. With US toilets, where the mechanism is based more on pan release, this is not such a big issue.

Your word for today is aerosolization.
posted by Wordshore at 7:22 AM on June 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


No two people anywhere in the world should be forced to share a bathroom. All bathrooms should have well-functioning robots that not only clean up after every use, but who even enjoy the work.

Problem solved.
posted by BuddhaInABucket at 7:27 AM on June 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


lid down or get out of my house never to return
posted by poffin boffin at 7:28 AM on June 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


(This is not actually required, but certainly the entire comparison become mute if the household only has members performing Sitting events.)

By "mute" does the author means there is nothing to say about it?
posted by three blind mice at 7:33 AM on June 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


Lid and seat go up, pee goes in, lid goes down, flush. I don't want to be in the same room as a toilet with an open lid when it flushes. I'd close the lid to flush even if I (a male) were the only person using the toilet.

When the seat that was on the toilet when we moved in broke, we went to go find a replacement. I was pleasantly surprised that the most expensive one at Home Depot at the time was only $35 (I was planning on just getting another cheap one for about $15) so we got one of those with the soft/slow close lid and it's been great. It's a small thing but it makes closing the lid much easier and faster. You just flip it down as hard as you want and it gently closes itself. The only issue is that, if I use a different toilet, I forget that it won't do that so I sometimes end up slamming them down on accident.
posted by VTX at 7:39 AM on June 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


Lids down. We have a dog and a toddler. I'd fill it with cement if I could.
posted by blue_beetle at 7:41 AM on June 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


I used to sit down to pee before I got gimped enough that it became problematic. This is the best way to handle splashing. Before that, but after I began on occasion to live with females, I was always kind enough to raise the lid before I peed. But that was back in the days when newly emerging customs shined the light of equality on things. Pay for your own meal, open your own car door, adjust your own toilet seat. When appropriate, open the bathroom window and then give fair warning to anybody crashing at the house.

The army taught me to render commodes and urinals so clean that my drill sergeant could eat out of them if he desired to do so. I got so good that I could do it in the dark, half asleep, and with a toothbrush. It's only a slight derail to point out that the latrine floor was also considered to be a potential dining table. I don't know how this custom originated, but the NCO corps has meetings about this stuff. When camping out with the army there are other options. You wouldn't believe some of this stuff we did, even if I tried to describe them.

Then, when I was married to the Dragon Lady, and the girls were small, it was pointed out to me that there's nothing funny about a four-year old girl getting up in the middle of the night and falling backward into the toilet because some assholey, assholish, asshole forgot to put the lid down. Nothing funny. At all.

Nowadays, were I to build my own home, I would install a men's urinal. This cuts the splash factor down considerably, and when you get the proper model, it provides a handier supply of fresh water for the kitties than having them stoop, in undignified postures, to lower their little heads into the commode. I would put it under the window, overlooking the forest in the back forty, and watch all the little animals frolic in the meadow while I do my business. Also, I would face the commode accordingly, to enjoy the view, because one of the stupider habits we've taken up is crapping in a closet. Actually, were this the case I'd be more likely to take a stroll in the woods, and contemplate ursine wisdom on this topic.

I'm sorry to have to point out that the terms fair and convenient have no place in this discussion. The poster who made the slip (mute) was probably thinking of me, or someone who has similar plumbing. When RedBud says put the lid down I put the damned thing down and keep my musings to myself.
posted by mule98J at 7:41 AM on June 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


Lid down ever since that time I dropped an open bottle of aspirin into the toilet.
posted by JanetLand at 7:45 AM on June 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


Metafilter: It's all about input and output.
posted by rankfreudlite at 8:08 AM on June 4, 2015


I do not understand people who leave the lid up, regardless of seat position. I have no interest in having droplets of toilet water settling on everything in or near the bathroom. Nor do I like the pets to have access to toilet water. Where I presently live, I always find lid up seat down, but I always leave it lid down. Usually bathroom door open, also.
posted by wierdo at 8:09 AM on June 4, 2015


mule98J - backwoods / lake cabins in Minnesota -- those with outhouses -- have a tradition of putting a large window opposite the crapper, because why not enjoy the view?
posted by yesster at 8:11 AM on June 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


Seat=The thing you sit on when doing your business
Lid=The part that closes over the seat

but after I began on occasion to live with females, I was always kind enough to raise the lid before I peed.

I hope you meant seat and not lid because you really don't want to leave the lid down when you pee no matter who else you live with.
posted by VTX at 8:17 AM on June 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


Lid down, totally. No one should be expected to predict how the next person will need the toilet set up for them.

My mother is wrong.
posted by emelenjr at 8:18 AM on June 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


But surely you'll have to lift the lid again after flushing, to see if you're leaving things neat and tidy or whether you'll need to do a quick cleanup with the toilet brush?
Right?
posted by Too-Ticky at 8:25 AM on June 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


Also mothers are never wrong.
posted by Too-Ticky at 8:27 AM on June 4, 2015


Where I presently live, I always find lid up seat down, but I always leave it lid down. Usually bathroom door open, also.

I feel there is a whole raft of related questions in this topic. Especially as things such as door status, penis beaker routines, and the habits of cats, complicate matters.
posted by Wordshore at 8:30 AM on June 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


My toilet seat and lid can be dropped and will slowly settle into place without any noise. It's very satisfying, but can sometimes result in a shock when I forget every toilet is not the same.
posted by ODiV at 8:30 AM on June 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


What is this "error rate"? The only acceptable error rate is effectively zero. As the error rate approaches zero, all strategies become valid and people just need to get over themselves.
posted by gurple at 8:46 AM on June 4, 2015


Lid and seat go up, pee goes in, lid goes down, flush.

If its yellow, let it mellow.
posted by biffa at 9:00 AM on June 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


Yes, ODiV, those folks who haven't yet discovered the silent-closing toilet lid are the problem.
posted by scruss at 9:01 AM on June 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


My girlfriend is always perplexed by the fact that I shut the door to the bathroom. In her parent's house, the door is left open to show there is nobody in the toilet and it can be freely used. In my opinion, that's how you poison an entire neighborhood.
posted by maxsparber at 9:10 AM on June 4, 2015


Closed door = occupied
Door ajar = vacant
posted by yesster at 9:14 AM on June 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


Lid down, because we have a wobbly cat who likes to explore, and no one wants to fish the cat out of the toilet.

I worked in an office once where I was the only woman on that stretch of hall, and the toilet was a...room with a toilet. No urinal. The men I worked with were old enough to know better, and I still ended up having to put a damn sign in the bathroom asking that they clean up any pee drops from the floor or the rim of the toilet where the seat arms didn't meet.
posted by rtha at 9:18 AM on June 4, 2015


Given the mathematics presented here, what corollaries are there when you factor in the over/under toilet paper controversy?
posted by njohnson23 at 9:24 AM on June 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


I would put it under the window, overlooking the forest in the back forty, and watch all the little animals frolic in the meadow while I do my business. Also, I would face the commode accordingly, to enjoy the view, because one of the stupider habits we've taken up is rapping in a closet.
In the bar at the top of the Torre Latinoamericana, the bathrooms have a panoramic vista of the city 44 floors below. I can't remember whether the bits associated with elimination have windows, but the hand-washing parts certainly do. It's something all toilets should aspire to.

The real question is what one should do in a public restroom. If you assume there are lazy people who won't bother to lift the seat, then leaving the seat in the up position is likely to cause the least distress. But, years of training in other contexts make me feel slightly guilty for doing that. I want to leave a note, indicating that leaving the seat up was a carefully thought out policy designed to maximize wellbeing, and not a lazy absence of thought. But, leaving such notes in public restrooms requires materials that I don't normally carry with me while visiting the toilet. I should probably get some business cards printed espousing my public restroom toilet seat philosophy.

Also, the fact that you all have toilet bowl rims that aren't grimey with neglect and cat hair and thus worth hiding from the world for aesthetic reasons is surprising.
posted by eotvos at 9:29 AM on June 4, 2015


there is no one in my house but me so if the bathroom door is closed i am calling the police.
posted by poffin boffin at 9:30 AM on June 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


conversely it always confuses me when people are like FINALLY I AM ALONE IN THE HOUSE AND THIS MEANS I CAN POOP WITH THE DOOR OPEN. why the hell would anyone want this terrible state of affairs. why do you want your whole house to smell of poops. why don't you love yourselves.
posted by poffin boffin at 9:31 AM on June 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


a remarkably large percentage of men were required by marital fiat to sit down while peeing. (Remarkable to me. I had never heard of such a thing.)

Apparently signage like this (warning: cartoon genitals depiction) is common in Germany.
posted by exogenous at 9:34 AM on June 4, 2015


sitzpinklen
posted by poffin boffin at 9:46 AM on June 4, 2015


I'm a guy. I sit to pee. The only toilets a guy can pee in while standing are those that he doesn't have to clean himself.

I was trained young that you sit unless there's a urinal because it's just easier and cleaner. The lid goes down for a whole pile of reasons listed above. It works for me and more so now since I'm so tall that there's a vast expanse to travel if I'm standing. That's a lot of room for error and mess that I don't want to clean or make someone else have to clean.

Many years ago a coworker came back into the office and said with a plain face and tone "Every time I go to the bathroom I think about hydrodynamics." He went on about how an engineer had to design urinals for the least splashback, etc. but I can still picture him saying that first line like it was yesterday and I smile every time I do. Coincidentally he's the guy who introduced me to MetaFilter.
posted by Clinging to the Wreckage at 9:46 AM on June 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


poffin boffin: "conversely it always confuses me when people are like FINALLY I AM ALONE IN THE HOUSE AND THIS MEANS I CAN POOP WITH THE DOOR OPEN. why the hell would anyone want this terrible state of affairs. why do you want your whole house to smell of poops. why don't you love yourselves."

Because my poop doesn't smell. ... :)
posted by TheLittlePrince at 9:57 AM on June 4, 2015



(This is not actually required, but certainly the entire comparison become mute if the household only has members performing Sitting events.)


By "mute" does the author means there is nothing to say about it?


I think they meant 'moot', not 'mute'. Although 'mute' does almost work.
posted by Arandia at 10:19 AM on June 4, 2015


Oh, fuck off with your "standing events vs sitting events" bullshit.

If you go to pee and you're bleary and not paying attention and oops, the seat is down: worst case scenario, you pee on the seat. If I go to pee and the seat is UP, worst case scenario is I fall right the fuck into the toilet.

Put the seat down you fucking monsters.
posted by showbiz_liz at 10:23 AM on June 4, 2015


Hey, guys, man the fuck up and just sit down to pee, unless there's a urinal. "Standing events" do not really exist in domestic situations.
posted by yesster at 10:28 AM on June 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


toilet seat administration policies

...is not a phrase I had ever expected to hear uttered.
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:44 AM on June 4, 2015


I've witnessed (and, in some cases, participated in) the seat up/down, toilet paper over/under and other such evacuation-related debates. Today, however, is the first time I encountered the toilet lid up/down question.

Is aerosolization a for-real thing? Is that really the reason to keep the lid down? Because, otherwise,it strikes me, absent infants and pets, as hugely inconvenient to have to raise the lid every time one needs to use the toilet.
posted by the sobsister at 10:52 AM on June 4, 2015


I don't mind putting the seat down. LID down, however, would just make me constantly suspicious that someone has clogged the toilet and left it for others to find. At worst, YOU'RE KEEPING THE POOP SMELL IN.
posted by chrominance at 10:53 AM on June 4, 2015


LID DOWN 4 LYF because I have shelves above the toilet upon which rests a collection of extremely fucking expensive moisturizers, which, should they fall into the toilet, will be ROONT FOREVER.
posted by poffin boffin at 10:55 AM on June 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I don't really buy the "closing the lid is too inconvenient" argument because having to undo your pants is also inconvenient, but no one's ever tried to use "toilet inconvenience" as a justification for porky pigging it.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:56 AM on June 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


I love the mathematical approach to this problem, but I think a simulation framework would be more appropriate. It is not trivial to define p - you have to consider household sex ratio, bladder size, and stochasticity. Simulating over a range of values would allow the author to ultimately arrive at a threshold sex ratio beyond which one policy or the other is most efficient, which would be helpful for households to choose their policy (and to refine it as the sex ratio changes).

Regarding public bathrooms, I'm a man and I almost never see the seat left up. Dudes are just lazy. I just assume that, whether up or down, the seat has been peed on, and I wipe it off thoroughly if I need to sit down.
posted by infinitemonkey at 11:06 AM on June 4, 2015


Hey, guys, man the fuck up and just sit down to pee, unless there's a urinal. "Standing events" do not really exist in domestic situations.

Strictly speaking there is no such thing as a purely sitting event for me - I can't empty my bladder completely while sitting down. Is this an unusual experience? It's true though that one can sit down then stand up over the toilet to finish, which I'm sure is cleaner than traditional standing (if you have the extended external multi-purpose version of the urethra).

I grew up in a house with (mostly) sex-designated bathrooms, which has always seemed the best solution except for the cleaning issue - having seen it mentioned in here putting a urinal in the boys room would be fantastic.
posted by atoxyl at 11:19 AM on June 4, 2015


Yes, it's a thing.

The only issue with putting the lid down when you flush is that you now have to clean in the underside of the lid regularly (if you don't already). But I'd MUCH rather that just be stuck to the lid than be launched up in the air.
posted by VTX at 11:20 AM on June 4, 2015


Lid down. Door open a crack when leaving.

One of the public toilets at work, which has no lid, sprays water like a geyser all over the seat and a bit on the floor when flushed. I wish people would leave that seat up.
posted by Foosnark at 11:34 AM on June 4, 2015


Lid down because somewhere on the internet there is this horrifying vid of what toilets actually do when flushed. No superfine shitto misto on my toothbrush please.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 11:44 AM on June 4, 2015


"Members who always sit are incapable of getting pee on the seat"

Challenge accepted.

(Lid down.)
posted by robcorr at 2:29 PM on June 4, 2015


"..a significant driving force behind most toilet seat administration policies is to eliminate or reduce the sitting in pee."

He has already missed the point. The microdroplet splashback generated a standing, perfectly aimed urine stream from the water in the bowl has a surprisingly high urine content; and those droplets are deposited on the walls and floor around the toilet. If those "extra" surfaces aren't cleaned frequently, the olfactory signal is unmistakable. This odor is absent when the sitzpinkeln protocol is adopted.

(seat down, lid down; peeing out back if I can, preferably on the tomatoes).
posted by the Real Dan at 6:05 PM on June 4, 2015


I would put it under the window, overlooking the forest in the back forty, and watch all the little animals frolic in the meadow while I do my business.

If I had a back forty, I would be peeing out there, at least in decent weather. Because of work, I use the outdoors a lot more than bathrooms during the week, and it is a nice job perk.

In other people's houses, I always make sure to leave the toilet lid and seat exactly as I found it, because that is just polite. At home I leave it up though despite minor domestic strife on the subject. If I ever do a serious remodel, I will install a urinal because that is far and away the most civilized option for peeing indoors, and in the process permanently solves any debate over how to leave the toilet seat.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:55 PM on June 4, 2015


peeing out back if I can, preferably on the tomatoes

Personally I'd pick a plant that is not eaten raw.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:56 PM on June 4, 2015


'Peeing out the back' is usually just called the runs.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:06 PM on June 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


I just want to know why some of the other women at my workplace a) use those goddamn ass gaskets that are a wasteful solution to a nonexistent problem, and then b) can't be bothered to look behind them to make sure the seat covers have flushed. I can only postulate that they're so fearful of the entire toileting process that they build these paper nests and keep their eyes tightly shut the whole time.

There aren't that many of us working on that floor, and I am sure I would have noticed by now if someone had a sprinkling problem. Those seats are clean and dry and their rears are not too precious for direct contact with them.

I guess they could all have some kind of terrifying open sores on their thighs and/or butts they're protecting us from, but then you'd think they'd be more careful about exposing us all to their gross paper detritus.

And ain't a one of them ever heard of "shake and fold." Bunch of savages in this town.
posted by asperity at 8:17 PM on June 4, 2015


> I just want to know why some of the other women at my workplace a) use those goddamn ass gaskets that are a wasteful solution to a nonexistent problem,

I also wonder this! My office is not.... a sports arena, or bar, or other public accommodation sort of place where people might be drunk and/or careless. Everyone I work with is nice and smart and dresses well for the workplace and seems to shower every day, and yet I have a few co-workers who use those seat covers and it makes me a little crazy because I don't get why.
posted by rtha at 8:36 PM on June 4, 2015


it makes me a little crazy because I don't get why.

And we can't just ask them since that would be weird and rude. Sometimes I hate trying to fake being a respectable human being.
posted by asperity at 9:15 PM on June 4, 2015


The obvious solution is for men to pee in the sink.
posted by Chrysostom at 12:56 PM on June 10, 2015


Just men?
posted by ODiV at 2:09 PM on June 10, 2015


Fair enough, though you may need a step stool if you are a woman.
posted by Chrysostom at 2:15 PM on June 10, 2015


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