How to Buy a Toilet

It’s no secret that we parents deal with a lot of crap, both the metaphoric and the all too literal. A good therapist can help you clear away the former and this post can help you dispose of the latter. If you’re not flush with excitement every time you have a date with the plunger it might be time to rethink your toilet.

And there’s a lot to think about.

Today’s toilets provide many options. Some even come with apps. But let’s pretend you’re not prepared to drop $6,000 for that model, even if it does allow you to program a custom playlist as well as set the temperature of the gentle breezes that dry your derriere.

Height: Toilets seats are positioned 3-4 inches higher in newer “comfort” models, but they might not be so comfortable for children or petite adults. Potential users should sit on it, making sure both feet (shoes off) can be planted firmly on the floor during use.

Bowl shape: A traditional toilet with a round bowl takes up less space but some find elongated bowls more comfortable and such bowls may be easier to keep clean.

One flush or two? New dual flush models can provide a small or larger rinse based on what the situation demands. You can also look for WaterSense Certification. You’ll find it on toilets that meet EPA standards. These water-efficient toilets can save a family about 4,000 gallons a year over older models.

Boys or girls? We flirted with the idea of installing a urinal for our boys because some days it seems like I still need those training targets for my two junior high students. The next best thing, though, is a toilet like the one pictured above. Notice how few nooks and crannies it has. It’s going to be so much easier to keep clean.

Whatever kind of toilet you get, do not attempt to flush your tampon crafts down them.

Got girls? This might be the toilet for you!

photo credit: Kim Moldofsky

About Anissa Mayhew

You can read more Anissa at her blog Free Anissa and as a contributing writer at Babble. She's at Twitter, FacebookG+, and Pinterest too. And yes, she's probably up to no good either.



  1. You gotta watch out for those new fancy elongated ones if your household still uses potty seats. My mom got one, since they’re supposed to be comfier for big American butts, but the grandchillen’s potty seat won’t fit it properly. In fact, it’s so bad, the first poor grandchild who tried got flipped onto the floor on her face, potty-seat flying through the air. We had to find a special adjustable potty seat ( that would work.

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  2. Amy says:

    Hubby brought home a new toilet from one of his FREE ON CRAIGSLIST episodes, sigh. Yep, it IS brand new and pretty dear hubby, too bad it doesn’t FLUSH everything (and I am not talking feminine protection either).

    Anyone want a near new pretty toilet that, ahem, leaves things behind?

  3. Amy says:

    Oh the stories I could tell… Thankfully he has somewhat ‘recovered’ from that addiction (although he did bring home a gawd awful 1970′s orange/yellow/brown plaid armchair home the other week. It is in the BASEMENT.

    I can see tampons being a problem but poop? Poop should flush right?!?

    • Poop should flush, yes, but if we meet at a blog conference sometime, I can regale you with stories of a certain boy who was once nicknamed The Pipe Clogger.

      Your husband’s Craigslist addiction is why I refuse to join freecycle. I’m scared that if I do, I’m going to wind up on an episode of hoarders.

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  4. We just recently had to replace our toilet and one thing that we needed to consider was finding a toilet with a smaller rough in. Typically they are 12″ and we needed a 10″ rough in as we live in an older home and our old toilet was turned at an angle. (not as cool as it sounds, if it even sounds cool at all.) That being said we only had one choice at the local hardware store, we liked it and it worked well, but make sure you measure before you go, you (or your husband) will thank me later.

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    • Good point, Heather. The rough-in is the distance from the wall to the bolt that attaches your toilet to the wall. The standard rough-in is 12 inches and if that’s what you have in your house, you’ll have many off-the-shelf options. If you live in an older home, you may have a 10 or 14-inch rough in and may need to special order your toilet.

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