The Toilet Seat Position Problem, Solved!

It’s an age-old battle of the sexes (well, at least as old as toilets with hinged seats): When a male has raised the toilet seat, should he then lower it, showing courtesy to females sharing the bathroom? or should the female take responsibility for checking the position of the seat before she uses it, showing respect for the male’s manly needs?  I realized just how many people have how big a problem with this debate when I worked for an invention marketing company, where at least one invention out of every hundred was somehow addressing the issue of toilet seat positioning.

My brother and I solved this dilemma when we were pre-teens.  Our solution is equally convenient for both sexes and also improves bathroom cleanliness and safety!

Regardless of your gender or the seat position you were using, when you are ready to flush the toilet, simply close the lid.  Now the seat is down, too, so the female can’t complain about it being left up.  In order to use the toilet next time, regardless of your gender or the seat position you need, you will have to lift something; it is no more difficult to lift the lid and seat together than the lid only, so the male can’t complain about being unfairly inconvenienced.  No more arguments!

Flushing with the lid closed also prevents a cloud of toilet water from spraying all over your bathroom.  Now you can get away with cleaning a little less often, without catching every digestive bug your bathroom-mates get!

Keeping the lid closed reduces the risk that a baby or pet will drown in the toilet.  It helps to prevent young children from flushing things they shouldn’t or playing in the water.  It prevents pets (except maybe big, strong ones) from drinking out of the toilet–which may not harm them but is just yucky to think about when you are cuddling your fuzzy friend.

If the lid is closed, you cannot drop things into the toilet accidentally.  That actually was the problem that motivated my brother to suggest this solution: He didn’t want to share the low towel rack anymore, so I (being older and taller) had started using the towel rack on the wall above the toilet tank–but I wasn’t tall enough to reach it easily, and a bath towel was pretty big and unwieldy for me, and I’m just kind of clumsy, so I kept knocking things into the toilet.  It may be hilarious when your sister drops her towel into the toilet.  It may be exciting and scientifically interesting when your sister knocks the spare toilet paper roll into the toilet and it swells up gigantically.  It’s really funny when your sister sleepily tries to step up onto the toilet to get a better angle on the towel rack, failing to notice that the seat is up, and slips into the toilet up to her knee, and your mom starts singing “Tiptoe Through the Toilet” to the tune of “Tiptoe Through the Tulips”.  It’s a little frightening when your sister knocks the calendar off the wall and desperately grabs to stop it from falling into the toilet and slips and smashes her face into the toilet tank and gets a torrential nosebleed.  It’s when your sister knocks your water game (the kind where you push the button to jet the little balls up in the water and try to land them in the hippo’s mouth, an excellent diversion to have available) into the toilet that you give some thought to solving this problem.  I’m glad my brother came up with this simple solution!

I had male housemates when I was in college and was able to get them in the habit of putting the lid down, simply by asking them to do it and then by putting it down every time I noticed it was up (even if I was in the bathroom for some other purpose) so that they got accustomed to seeing lid-closed as its default state.  Then I fell in love with Daniel, partly because many of my ideas about proper living were ideas he already accepted as eminently reasonable, and this was one of them.  Now we have a seven-year-old son who has lived all his life with this custom and, as a toddler, would gasp in disapproval if he saw a toilet with the lid up when not in use!  He’s now adjusted to the idea that not everyone follows this sensible habit, but he still grumbles about that occasionally.

Keeping the toilet lid down works for me!

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4 thoughts on “The Toilet Seat Position Problem, Solved!

  1. I totally agree with you – our toilets are always closed. I actually shudder when I walk into another bathroom and the lid is open. For me, it’s the sanitary issue of the cloud of germy water spraying into the air when it’s flushed…but dropping stuff is also a good reason.

  2. I got trained, since Abby and I got married and she moved in, to always leave the lid down. Works for me! It’s great to reframe it not as an issue of the toilet seat but of the lid. That way, it’s not a he/she thing but a general sanitation/safety thing.

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  4. Great point! It’s funny (and your writing is funny, too)- we do this at our house and I didn’t realize till I read your article that this was why we never have “the seat problem” or any of the other problems you mention : )

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