Accessible Toilet Checklist: A guide to designing a wheelchair-friendly loo

Accessible Toilet Checklist: A guide to designing a wheelchair-friendly loo

3 min read

Disclaimer: I am not a professional with regards to the specifications for accessible toilets. However, based on personal experience as a mobility aid user, I consider the criteria below important. The information in this post should serve as a guide in combination with advice from an expert in this field.

Accessible toilets are an absolute necessity for many people living with a disability. A crucial part of inclusive spaces, their design features allow wheelchair users and individuals with a range of (physical) disabilities to use the toilet as independently and safely as possible. 

Below you’ll find an Accessible Toilet Checklist with some important things to consider when designing a wheelchair-friendly toilet. 

But first: Who are accessible toilets made for?

  • Wheelchair users
  • Individuals with mobility impairments
  • People with bowel and/or bladder conditions
  • People with balance issues, grip issues, or other conditions that make support rails useful
  • People with a range of invisible disabilities who also need to use the facilities
  • … and more

ACCESSIBLE TOILET CHECKLIST

Entrance

  • Is the doorway wide enough for a wheelchair user to pass through? (min. 80 cm / 32 inches wide)
  • Is the doorway threshold-free?
  • Is the door lightweight?
  • Does the door have a horizontal bar across the inside (along its full width) to help close it?
  • Does the door open outwards, allowing safe and easy access in an emergency?

Support

  • Are there grab rails on both sides of the toilet?
  • Is the toilet seat elevated?

Amenities

  • Is the mirror low enough for wheelchair users?
  • Is the sink low enough for wheelchair users?
  • Is the soap dispenser within reach for wheelchair users?
  • Is the paper towel dispenser/ hand dryer within reach for wheelchair users?
  • Is the bin within reach for wheelchair users?
  • Is the toilet paper within easy reach when seated on the toilet?
  • Is the paper towel dispenser/ hand dryer close enough to the sink and bin (so that users don't have to use wet hands on their mobility aids to move between the two)?
TIP: If you’re in doubt about any of the answers to the above questions, I recommend sitting in a (wheel)chair and testing it out for yourself. 

Design

  • Is the tap a design that doesn't require much force to operate?
  • Is the tap a design that can be used with a closed fist? (Tip: Use a lever design)
  • Is the bin a design that doesn't require much force to operate?
  • Is the bin a design that can be used with a closed fist?
  • The bin does not require the use of feet/ legs to operate (i.e. it is not a foot pedal bin).
  • The bin is large enough to dispose of diapers, stoma bags or other larger waste/ sanitary items.

Space

  • Is the toilet spacious enough to turn at least 1.5 m full circle in a wheelchair?
  • Is the space underneath the sink free, allowing a wheelchair user to roll right up to it?
  • The accessible toilet is not being used for storage space.

Safety features

  • Is there an emergency alarm cord inside the toilet?
  • Does the emergency alarm cord go around the whole parameter of the accessible toilet?
  • Is the emergency alarm cord strung along the wall approx. 40 cm from the ground?
  • Is the emergency alarm cord system fully functioning?
  • Are staff members well-trained in responding to the emergency alarm system?

Signposting

  • Is the way to the accessible toilet clearly signposted with a wheelchair icon?
  • Is the door to the accessible toilet clearly signposted with a wheelchair icon?
  • Is all signposting clearly visible from afar?

Useful Resources

Click here to go to Able Amsterdam’s Accessible Toilet Directory.

Click here for a related blog post: “What makes a toilet accessible?  Important features of a wheelchair-friendly loo”

Share this post
Follow on Bloglovin

Josephine Rees

My name is Josephine Rees (1993) and I am Dutch-British. I was raised in Tokyo and Moscow and moved to The Netherlands to study Anthropology & Human Geography in 2012. After briefly living in Thailand and Cambodia, I am now based in Amsterdam. I love exploring this beautiful city and hope to help others by sharing exciting accessibility tips.

Leave a Reply

Close Menu
Top