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Can A Bedside Commode Be Used Over A Toilet ?

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Roughly 18 months ago, my now 90 yr old mom had hip replacement surgery, and I had the job of finding the best type of raised toilet seat for her, so she wouldn’t strain, or injure herself after the operation. After one or two false routes, I chose a portable bedside commode, which is still being used every day, and turned out to be probably our most useful and versatile purchase to date.

3-in-1 and All-in-One bedside commodes can be used over a toilet seat, as a raised toilet seat, and as a safety frame.

What is a bedside commode ?

 

As I said, my mom has been using what is a portable bedside commode for over 18 months now, as a raised toilet seat in our bathroom.

A bedside commode is simply a portable toilet which does not have running water – it is a chair, of various types, which is used as a toilet, with a bucket under the seat which can be removed for emptying and cleaning, after use.

 

Static folding bedside commode

Attendant transport bedside commode

Static stacking bedside commode

Self-propelling transport commode

Static shower bedside commode

Attendant shower transport bedside commode

3 in 1 bedside commode

Self-propelling shower transport bedside commode

Static drop arm bedside commode

Transfer bench bedside commode

Which bedside commodes can be used over a toilet ?

 

As I said, my mom has been using what is a portable bedside commode for over 18 months now, as a raised toilet seat in our bathroom.

A bedside commode is simply a portable toilet which does not have running water – it is a chair, of various types, with a bucket under the seat, which is used as a toilet, and which can be removed for emptying and cleaning, after use.

 

Bedside commodes, which can be used as a raised toilet seat, can be divided into a few types –

3-in-1, or All-in-1 bedside commodes can be used over a toilet

These portable bedside commodes have a number of uses, other than just as a bedside commode.

The 3-in-1 bedside commodes usually fold as well, but they are structurally different from the simple folding commode, have more functions, and also hold a greater weight.

 

These chairs can be –

  • a commode
  • placed over the toilet
  • a toilet safety frame

 

 

3-in-1 Bedside Commode

 

Drop arm bedside commodes can be used over a toilet 

 

This kind of bedside commode has drop armrests, which can be moved out of the way if the user has to slide over to the side, to get on and off the commode – known as a side transfer.

These can also be very practical if you need to help an elderly parent with cleaning themselves, as fixed armrest may get in your way.

Most drop arm commodes are also 3-in-1 commodes – but should always check, as you don’t want to buy one which can’t go over a toilet.

 

These chairs can be –

  • a commode
  • placed over the toilet
  • a toilet safety frame

 

Static drop arm bedside commode

 

Transfer, or rolling bedside commodes 

 

Simply put, these are bedside commodes on wheels.

 

The commode can be used as –

 

  • a transport chair
  • a commode
  • placed over the toilet

 

As you can imagine, if you are caring for an elderly parent who has trouble walking, being able to wheel them on a commode to the bathroom, if they are agreed, can greatly reduce odor control problems in their bedroom.

You need to be careful that you pick the correct height commode for your toilet, as some models are fixed height, and you have to be able wheel to it over the toilet bowl.

 

Attendant transport bedside commode

Shower chair transport commodes can be used over a toilet 

 

These are –

  • a shower chair
  • a transport chair
  • a commode
  • certain of these commodes will also fit over a toilet as a raised seat as well

 

For all these bedside commodes, you need to check the weight limits. For heavier individuals the commodes will be called bariatric commodes, and you should be able to get these in all the types of models mentioned above, except for the simple folding commode which takes less weight.

Some commodes also have models with higher, raised seats for taller people.

Attendant shower transport bedside commode with four small wheels

 A complete list of Bedside commodes which can be used over a toilet in order of seat height ?

 

I wouldn’t just order a commode based on the list below, as this is the level of the top of the seat, and not the clearance level, or level of the underside of the seat – the manufacturers all hedge their bets, and say their seat should clear most toilets…

I would measure your toilet bowl rim height and check with the site or shop where you are buying your commode that it actually will clear your toilet.

If the seat top level on the model you are buying is 6 inches higher than your toilet rim, you are probably okay to go, but if it is 3 inches, you should check the clearance level with the site or shop.

 

25 Inches maximum seat height

 

Nuprodx Multichair Folding compact roll-in shower commode chair (drop arms optional)

Model Product Number

Mc4000

MAX SEAT HEIGHT FROM THE FLOOR

25.5 inches
Homecraft drop arm padded commode

Model Product Number

081706399

MAX SEAT HEIGHT FROM THE FLOOR

25 inches
Platinum Health's GentleBoost Uplift 3-in-1 Commode and shower chair

Model Product Number

PSH2000

MAX SEAT HEIGHT FROM THE FLOOR

25 inches

24 Inches maximum seat height

 

Performance Health adjustable drop arm commode

Model Product Number

Mc4000

MAX SEAT HEIGHT FROM THE FLOOR

24.5 inches
Showerbuddy Roll-inBuddy Solo, shower commode wheelchair

Model Product Number

081706399

MAX SEAT HEIGHT FROM THE FLOOR

24 inches
Model 724T Bedside commode w/ fixed arms

Model Product Number

PSH2000

MAX SEAT HEIGHT FROM THE FLOOR

24 inches
Invacare Aquatec Ocean Standard shower/ transport bedside commode

Model Product Number

INV-OCEAN

MAX SEAT HEIGHT FROM THE FLOOR

24 inches
Nova drop arm padded commode

Model Product Number

8901W

MAX SEAT HEIGHT FROM THE FLOOR

24 inches
Nuprodx Foldable travel shower transport commode chair (drop arms optional)

Model Product Number

4000TX

MAX SEAT HEIGHT FROM THE FLOOR

24 inches
Nuprodx Multichair Ultra narrow shower commode wheelchair (drop arms optional)

Model Product Number

4020RX

MAX SEAT HEIGHT FROM THE FLOOR

24 inches
Drive Medical Deluxe drop-arm commode

Model Product Number

MAX SEAT HEIGHT FROM THE FLOOR

24 inches
Tuffcare extra wide drop arm commode chair

Model Product Number

M470

MAX SEAT HEIGHT FROM THE FLOOR

24 inches

23 Inches maximum seat height

 

Etac Swift mobile shower chair with swing-away arms

Model Product Number

MAX SEAT HEIGHT FROM THE FLOOR

23.6 inches
Performance Health Briggs heavy-duty commode

Model Product Number

5657-69

MAX SEAT HEIGHT FROM THE FLOOR

23.5 inches
AMG bariatric drop arm commode

Model Product Number

AMG770322

MAX SEAT HEIGHT FROM THE FLOOR

23.5 inches
Guardian drop arm bedside commode

Model Product Number

98202

MAX SEAT HEIGHT FROM THE FLOOR

23.35 inches
Guardian padded drop arm commode

Model Product Number

98204

MAX SEAT HEIGHT FROM THE FLOOR

23.25 inches
Carex folding bedside commode

Model Product Number

B341-00

MAX SEAT HEIGHT FROM THE FLOOR

23 inches
Duro-Med heavy duty steel commode w /platform seat

Model Product Number

23044

MAX SEAT HEIGHT FROM THE FLOOR

23 inches
Healthline bariatric drop arm bedside commode

Model Product Number

HL7206-2

MAX SEAT HEIGHT FROM THE FLOOR

23 inches
Homecraft deluxe bariatric drop arm commode

Model Product Number

081706381

MAX SEAT HEIGHT FROM THE FLOOR

23 inches
Lumex imperial collection 3-in-1 bedside commode

Model Product Number

7446A-2

MAX SEAT HEIGHT FROM THE FLOOR

23 inches
Drive Medical steel folding bedside commode

Model Product Number

RTL11158KDR

MAX SEAT HEIGHT FROM THE FLOOR

23 inches
Drive Medical deluxe steel drop arm commode

Model Product Number

11125KD-1

MAX SEAT HEIGHT FROM THE FLOOR

23 inches
Lumex 6438A imperial collection 3-in-1 steel drop arm

Model Product Number

6438A

MAX SEAT HEIGHT FROM THE FLOOR

23 inches
Nova heavy duty commode w/ extra wide seat

Model Product Number

8582

MAX SEAT HEIGHT FROM THE FLOOR

23 inches
Performance Health heavy-duty 3-in-1 drop arm commode

Model Product Number

081202704

MAX SEAT HEIGHT FROM THE FLOOR

23 inches
Performance Health Briggs heavy-duty commode

Model Product Number

INV-OCEANERGO

MAX SEAT HEIGHT FROM THE FLOOR

23 inches
Invacare Aquatec Ocean Ergo shower/ bedside commode w/ casters

Model Product Number

INV-OCEANERGOSP

MAX SEAT HEIGHT FROM THE FLOOR

23 inches
Invacare Aquatec Ocean Ergo self propelled shower/ bedside commode w/ wheelchair wheels

Model Product Number

SB6c

MAX SEAT HEIGHT FROM THE FLOOR

23 inches
Showerbuddy Roll-inBuddy Lite, shower transfer commode

Model Product Number

M450

MAX SEAT HEIGHT FROM THE FLOOR

23 inches
Tuffcare M450 extra wide 3-in-1 commode chair

Model Product Number

8900W

MAX SEAT HEIGHT FROM THE FLOOR

23 inches
Nova drop arm 3-in-1 commode

Model Product Number

150-TALL

MAX SEAT HEIGHT FROM THE FLOOR

23 inches
Healthline Ezee Life rehab shower commode chair w/ 5" casters and standard seat

Model Product Number

MAX SEAT HEIGHT FROM THE FLOOR

23 inches

22 Inches maximum seat height

 

Invacare Mariner rehab shower/ bedside commode wheelchair(18.5" x 18.5")

Model Product Number

6895

MAX SEAT HEIGHT FROM THE FLOOR

22.75 inches
Lumex drop arm 3-in-1 commode

Model Product Number

6433A

MAX SEAT HEIGHT FROM THE FLOOR

22.75 inches
Lifestyle Mobility Aids folding 3-in-1 commode with elongated opening

Model Product Number

B3500F

MAX SEAT HEIGHT FROM THE FLOOR

22.5 inches
Drive Medical portable bedside commode

Model Product Number

MAX SEAT HEIGHT FROM THE FLOOR

22.5 inches
Medline steel 3-in-1 portable bedside commode

Model Product Number

MAX SEAT HEIGHT FROM THE FLOOR

22.5 inches
Medline Guardian deluxe bedside commode

Model Product Number

G30213-1F

MAX SEAT HEIGHT FROM THE FLOOR

22.5 inches
Medline 3-in-1 steel bedside commode

Model Product Number

MDS89664KDMBG

MAX SEAT HEIGHT FROM THE FLOOR

22.5 inches
Invacare Mariner rehab shower/ bedside commode wheelchair (16" x 16")

Model Product Number

6795

MAX SEAT HEIGHT FROM THE FLOOR

22.5 inches
Drive Medical 3-in-1 Competitive Edge folding commode

Model Product Number

11148CE-4

MAX SEAT HEIGHT FROM THE FLOOR

22.5 inches
Drive Medical steel folding bedside commode

Model Product Number

11148-1

MAX SEAT HEIGHT FROM THE FLOOR

22.5 inches
Drive Bariatric Aluminum Rehab Shower commode chair

Model Product Number

NRS185008

MAX SEAT HEIGHT FROM THE FLOOR

22.5 inches
AMG Medical MedPro Euro commode with flip up arms

Model Product Number

AMG 7703755

MAX SEAT HEIGHT FROM THE FLOOR

22.5 inches
Invacare Mariner rehab shower/ bedside commode w/ 5" casters

Model Product Number

6981

MAX SEAT HEIGHT FROM THE FLOOR

22.5 inches
ActiveAid heavy duty rolling commode shower chair

Model Product Number

720

MAX SEAT HEIGHT FROM THE FLOOR

22.5 inches
Drive Medical Padded transfer bench commode

Model Product Number

12005KDC-1

MAX SEAT HEIGHT FROM THE FLOOR

22.5 inches
TFI Healthcare 3-in-1 commode w/ elongated seat

Model Product Number

3223G

MAX SEAT HEIGHT FROM THE FLOOR

22.25 inches
TFI Healthcare wide 3-in-1 commode w/ elongated seat

Model Product Number

3224G

MAX SEAT HEIGHT FROM THE FLOOR

22.25 inches
Drive Medical Plastic transfer bench commode w/ opening

Model Product Number

12011KDC-1

MAX SEAT HEIGHT FROM THE FLOOR

22.25 inches
Drive Deluxe bariatric commode

Model Product Number

11130-2

MAX SEAT HEIGHT FROM THE FLOOR

22 inches
Healthline drop arm bedside commode with padded seat

Model Product Number

HL7105-2

MAX SEAT HEIGHT FROM THE FLOOR

22 inches
Drive folding bariatric commode

Model Product Number

11117N-1

MAX SEAT HEIGHT FROM THE FLOOR

22 inches
Drive bariatric drop arm commode

Model Product Number

11135-1

MAX SEAT HEIGHT FROM THE FLOOR

22 inches
Probasics drop arm 3-in-1 commode

Model Product Number

BSDAC

MAX SEAT HEIGHT FROM THE FLOOR

22 inches
Lifestyle Mobility Aids steel drop arm commode

Model Product Number

B3900

MAX SEAT HEIGHT FROM THE FLOOR

22 inches
Nova folding commode

Model Product Number

8700-S

MAX SEAT HEIGHT FROM THE FLOOR

22 inches
Probasics heavy duty drop-arm commode

Model Product Number

BSBDAC

MAX SEAT HEIGHT FROM THE FLOOR

22 inches
Probasics 3-in-1 steel commode

Model Product Number

BS31C

MAX SEAT HEIGHT FROM THE FLOOR

22 inches
Probasics 3-in-1 folding commode

Model Product Number

BSFC

MAX SEAT HEIGHT FROM THE FLOOR

22 inches

21 Inches maximum seat height

 

Drive Medical steel folding bedside commode

Model Product Number

11148N

MAX SEAT HEIGHT FROM THE FLOOR

21.75 inches
Gendron bariatric mobile shower chair w/ 26" wide seat

Model Product Number

GDN-5226

MAX SEAT HEIGHT FROM THE FLOOR

21.7 inches
Gendron bariatric mobile shower chair w/ 28" wide seat

Model Product Number

GDN-5228

MAX SEAT HEIGHT FROM THE FLOOR

21.7 inches
Nova rolling shower chair commode

Model Product Number

8800

MAX SEAT HEIGHT FROM THE FLOOR

21.5 inches
MedPro Homecare commode chair

Model Product Number

770-315

MAX SEAT HEIGHT FROM THE FLOOR

21.5 inches
Probasics heavy duty Wide Commode

Model Product Number

BSB31C

MAX SEAT HEIGHT FROM THE FLOOR

21.5 inches
Lifestyle Mobility Aids folding 3-in-1 steel commode

Model Product Number

B3400F

MAX SEAT HEIGHT FROM THE FLOOR

21.5 inches
KPL 3-in-1 portable bedside commode

Model Product Number

MAX SEAT HEIGHT FROM THE FLOOR

21.5 inches
Mor Medical New Era PVC bariatric 26" wide rolling commode shower chair without insert

Model Product Number

DNE-126-4TWL

MAX SEAT HEIGHT FROM THE FLOOR

21.5 inches
XWZJY 3-in-1 portable bedside commode

Model Product Number

MAX SEAT HEIGHT FROM THE FLOOR

21.5 inches
Healthline Ezee Life rehab shower commode chair w/ 5" casters and standard seat

Model Product Number

150

MAX SEAT HEIGHT FROM THE FLOOR

21.3 inches
Healthline EZee Life heavy duty shower commode wheelchair

Model Product Number

185-24

MAX SEAT HEIGHT FROM THE FLOOR

21.3 inches
Healthline EZee Life heavy duty shower commode wheelchair

Model Product Number

186-24

MAX SEAT HEIGHT FROM THE FLOOR

21.3 inches
LYDB 3-in-1 portable bedside commode

Model Product Number

MAX SEAT HEIGHT FROM THE FLOOR

21 inches
Drive Medical shower padded commode w/ wheels

Model Product Number

11114KD-1

MAX SEAT HEIGHT FROM THE FLOOR

21 inches
Homecraft Heavy-duty 3-in-1 commodes

Model Product Number

081437862

MAX SEAT HEIGHT FROM THE FLOOR

21 inches
Model 724DAU Bedside commode w/ drop arms

Model Product Number

724DAU

MAX SEAT HEIGHT FROM THE FLOOR

21 inches
ConvaQuip Model 730 Bedside commode w/ fixed arms

Model Product Number

730

MAX SEAT HEIGHT FROM THE FLOOR

21 inches

20 Inches maximum seat height

Performance Health heavy-duty commode w/ elongated seat

Model Product Number

081261767

MAX SEAT HEIGHT FROM THE FLOOR

20.9 inches
AMG Medical MedPro AquaCare shower commode w/ swivel armrests

Model Product Number

AMG770300

MAX SEAT HEIGHT FROM THE FLOOR

20.75 inches
Homecraft heavy-duty drop arm commode

Model Product Number

081611110

MAX SEAT HEIGHT FROM THE FLOOR

20.75 inches
Fisthgus 3-in-1 portable bedside commode

Model Product Number

MAX SEAT HEIGHT FROM THE FLOOR

20.5 inches
Mor Medical New Era PVC rolling shower bedside commode chair, w/ soft insert

Model Product Number

DNE-118-3TWL

MAX SEAT HEIGHT FROM THE FLOOR

20.5 inches
Mor Medical New Era PVC 22" wide shower bedside commode chair, w/out soft insert

Model Product Number

DNE-122-3TWL

MAX SEAT HEIGHT FROM THE FLOOR

20.5 inches
Mor Medical New Era PVC rolling commode chair

Model Product Number

DNE-118-3TWL

MAX SEAT HEIGHT FROM THE FLOOR

20.5 inches
AMG deluxe transport commode w/ 3" rubber wheels

Model Product Number

AMG770344

MAX SEAT HEIGHT FROM THE FLOOR

20.4 inches
AMG Medical MedPro Euro commode with drop down arms

Model Product Number

AMG 770365

MAX SEAT HEIGHT FROM THE FLOOR

20.25 inches
Probasics bariatric commode extra wide seat

Model Product Number

BSB24C

MAX SEAT HEIGHT FROM THE FLOOR

20.25 inches
Tuffcare transport commode shower chair w/ wheels, front locking casters only

Model Product Number

S800

MAX SEAT HEIGHT FROM THE FLOOR

20 inches
Performance Health drop arm commode

Model Product Number

081299338

MAX SEAT HEIGHT FROM THE FLOOR

20 inches
Drive Medical Aluminum Rehab Shower commode chair

Model Product Number

NRS185006

MAX SEAT HEIGHT FROM THE FLOOR

20 or 22 inches

19 Inches maximum seat height

 

Arjo Carmina bariatric shower and commode chair

Model Product Number

ARJ-BLB1000-013

MAX SEAT HEIGHT FROM THE FLOOR

19.6 inches
Nova Deluxe shower transport commode chair

Model Product Number

8801

MAX SEAT HEIGHT FROM THE FLOOR

19 inches

How to set up a bedside commode over a toilet

 

To set the commode up over a toilet –

 

  • remove the pale from under the seat of the commode
  • if you have a small toilet, you may wish to remove the backrest from your commode – just push the buttons on the two ends of the back rest bar and slide the bar out
  • lift the lid and seat of your toilet into their upright position
  • place the bedside commode next to the toilet to see if you need to adjust the height of the legs of your commode to place it over the toilet
  • to adjust the length of the commode legs, you just push in the metal buttons and adjust the length of the commode leg
  • always have the legs all the same length for stability and safety
  • don’t adjust the height of the legs, so that when seated the user’s feet don’t touch the floor – this can cause people to fall when they stand up – most of the foot should be on the floor when the user is seated
  • place the commode over the toilet once you have the right seat height
  • lift the seat and lid of the commode and insert the commode splash guard, and put the commode seat and lid down again – you don’t have to use the splash guard if you don’t want to, especially if the seat is only an inch or so above the bowl

 

If you want to know more about splash guards, I have two articles that you can check out –

“What Is A Commode Splash Guard ?”

“How To Use A Commode Splash Guard ?”

Where to buy a bedside commode ?

 

If I were shopping by type of commode where would I go ?

 

Folding bedside commode –

All of the retailers have them and the prices are competitive.

3-in-1 or All-in-One bedside Commode –

Walmart, Amazon, Home Depot, Rehabmart.com, Home-med-equip.com

Drop Arm Commodes –

Walmart, Amazon, Rehabmart.com, Home-med-equip.com

Bariatric commodes –

Walmart, Amazon, Rehabmart.com, Home-med-equip.com

Attendant transport commodes –

Amazon, Rehabmart.com, Home-med-equip.com

Self-propelling transport commodes

Rehabmart.com, Home-med-equip.com

Attendant Shower chair transport commodes

Walmart, Amazon, Rehabmart.com, Home-med-equip.com

Self -propelling shower chair transport commodes

Walmart, Rehabmart.com, Home-med-equip.com

 

I have a full article about buying bedside commodes, the different brands and the stores which stock those brands. I also talk a little about the specialist online stores that I like, and why I wouldn’t buy certain items on Amazon, such as a bedside commode. You can find that article here – “Where to buy a bedside commode ?” 

How much does a bedside commode cost ?

Here is an overview of the range of prices that you can find for bedside commode

 

Bedside commodes cost between $37.99 and $3303.88.

The average price, by type, is –

Static bedside fixed arm commode – $220.00 (38 models $37.99 to $815.00) The basic models which are fine start at $35.00 and there are a lot around that price.

Static drop arm bedside commode – $309.82 (33 models $72.98 to $1363.74) The drop arm 3-in-1 models for standard sized models are mostly in the $70 – 120.00 range

Static shower chair bedside commode – $169.31 (3 models $119.95 to $199.00)

Transport bedside commode – $286.71 (11 models $192.00 to $449.00)

Shower Transport bedside commode – $917.05 (70 models $119.00 to $3303.88)

Transfer bench bedside commode – $404.99 (11 models $117.00 to $1845.00)

 

I have an article with a huge range of bedside commodes of all types, and you will the prices for all the models. You can read that article here – “How Much Does A bedside Commode Cost ? A Guide  With Over 160 Examples By Category”.
 

 Bedside Commode vs raised toilet seat ?

 

At the time of my mom’s surgery, we had to decide whether my mom was best using some sort of frame with a seat over the toilet, or a type of riser or raised toilet seat which was attached to the toilet bowl.

And I am guessing that this is the same question that you are asking yourselves if you have elderly parents.

The first thing you will need to do, is to take a look at the types of risers and raised toilet seats that are available, if you are not sure if you want to use a bedside commode.

I have tried to break them down in a way that is simple to understand, and that is by how they are attached to the toilet, or if not, how they are elevated over the toilet bowl.

 

I have another article, “Best Raised Toilet Seat After A Hip Replacement” in which seven 3-in-1 toilet commodes figure, in my opinion, among the best raised toilet seats, and where I explain all the benefits of the different 3-in-1 commodes as among the best raised toilet seats.

We can immediately divide raised toilet seats into two groups

 

  • those where you use your own toilet seat
  • and those where you remove your toilet seat altogether

 

Raised toilet seats using your existing toilet seat  –

 

1/ Risers

 

  • these fit between the seat and the toilet
  • you remove your seat, place the riser on the bowl, put your seat on top of the riser and bolt everything down again
  • some risers come with a hinge in them just like seats do, so that you can lift and clean
  • risers can come with or without armrests
  • they come as standard and elongated
  • you can get risers in heights from 2 to 4 inches

 

Risers are very solid due to the fact that they are bolted to the toilet along with your seat and some models also come with armrests, which will make it much easier for elderly parents with balance and mobility issues, or visual impairments to sit down.

 

Compared with a bedside commode –

 

  • risers take more work to install than a bedside commode
  • you can’t change the height, as you can with the commode
  • the commodes give you around 5 height adjustments in increments of an inch at a time
  • some models do come with removable armrests
  • both risers and portable commodes are very solid

 

Two examples of these risers are –

 

  • Nova 3 1/2 inch toilet seat riser
  • Maddak 4 inch hinged seat riser

2/ Clip On combi seat/risers

 

  • clip onto your existing toilet seat
  • you squeeze them and place the inside rim in the opening of your seat
  • hold themselves in position through the tension
  • there are no clamps or locks to fasten them
  • do not have any form of armrest or handle to help with support

 

Some examples of this are –

 

  • Ability Supertstore 4 inch Clip On Raised Toilet Seat
  • Performance Health 4 inch Clip On Raised Toilet Seat

 

Personally, due to the fact that there is no real locking device, and there are no armrests, I wouldn’t like my elderly mom to be using one of these seats.

With elderly adults who aren’t too strong, they can sit back quite hard when they are tired, and I would want the most solid of options for this, and armrests or handles for them to grab onto.

 

Compared with a bedside commode –

 

  • very quick to install, but nothing like as solid as a commode
  • they have very specific weight limits as they aren’t locked on, commodes can take far greater weight
  • no armrests for support like a bedside commode
  • difficult to hold onto when getting up and down – commodes are far easier
  • come in fixed heights – 2 – 4 inches
  • they cannot be height adjusted like bedside commodes
  • lack all the versatility of a bedside commode

 

Some examples of this are –

 

  • Ability Supertstore 4 inch Clip On Raised Toilet Seat
  • Performance Health 4 inch Clip On Raised Toilet Seat

Raised toilet seats where your existing seat is not used  –

 

3/ Seats with spacers

 

  • this is a seat with small legs or spacers on it’s underside
  • seats come in 2 inch or 3 inch high models
  • to install, you remove your old seat and replace with the new one and bolt it on
  • comes with, or without, lids
  • comes with, or without, an opening at the front to facilitate wiping
  • comes in standard, or elongated models
  • does not come with armrests

 

Due to the fact, like risers, that these seats are bolted to the toilet in the same way as your original toilet seat, they are structurally good and solid.

These seats have no armrests, or handles, for support, and this could make it very difficult for elderly parents with mobility, or balance, issues to get up and sit down. 

For people who may have visual impairments, like my mom, it’s easier to have some kind of armrest to reach back and hold onto.

You could, of course, argue that grab bars can be placed on the wall if the toilet is in the corner, or a safety frame, but this means you will need to purchase two, or three, pieces of equipment, instead of just the one.

 

Compared with a bedside commode –

 

  • it is more complicated to install than a bedside commode
  • they are bolted to the toilet, which makes them solid
  • no armrests for support like the commodes
  • they only come in 2 and 3 inch models, so are lower than a bedside commode in most cases
  • you cannot adjust the height once you have bought one, whereas a commode usually has 5 adjustments for seat height
  • you have to buy a specific model – elongated or standard – but commodes should go over any toilet
  • like bedside commodes, you can get them with a lid to the seat

 

An example of these seats is –

 

  • Centoco 3L440STS-001 raised toilet seat with lid

Elevated or raised seats

 

  • 2 inch, 3 inch, 3 1/2 inch, 4 inch, 5 inch and 6 inch models are available
  • there is no one way to install these units
  • certain models have armrests, or handles, and others don’t
  • on some models the armrests, and handles, may be removable and adjustable
  • some models have side clamps
  • some models have front locking
  • some have a form of locking and a rim at the back which slides under the rim of the inside of the bowl to reduce any wobbling of the seat
  • it’s important to check if the seat fits all toilet sizes or not
  • depending on the way the raised seat is attached to the bowl, the weight limits will vary

 

I’ll be distinguishing between the various types, by the method that they use to attach to the toilet, and the ways they do, or don’t, lock onto the bowl.

 

4/ Bubble seats –

 

  • slot onto the rim of the toilet bowl
  • often have “sticky grip pads”
  • have no clamps, bolts or locks
  • have a lip around their inside edge which goes a few inches into the bowl to help reduce movement
  • sometimes have a lip at the back of the seat slotting under the bowl’s inside rim to increase stability
  • have models for standard toilet bowls
  • have models for elongated toilet bowls
  • do not have armrests

 

Due to the fact that these seats are not attached by any locking, or clamping systems, I wouldn’t want my elderly mother using one.

They also don’t have armrests, or handles, for the person to hold onto as they sit down on, or stand up from, the seat, which again is not helpful to elderly individuals with either mobility, balance or vision related problems.

Even with a grab bar, I don’t think they are suitable as a long term solution for the elderly.

 

Compared to a bedside commode –

 

  • they are almost as easy as a bedside commode to install
  • they are nothing like as a stable, or solid as a bedside commode
  • you cannot adjust the height as you can on a bedside commode
  • there are no armrests, or handles, as on a commode
  • only some models fit all toilets, unlike a bedside commode which fits over all toilets
  • I have not seen any with a seat lid, as on a bedside commode

 

Examples of this type of seat is –

 

  • The NRS Comfort Raised Toilet Seat
  • AquaSense Portable 4 inch Raised Toilet Seat – standard toilets
  • HealthSmart  Portable 4 3/4 inch Raised Toilet Seat – universal

5/ Raised toilet seats with side clamps and front “bracket” –

 

  • this type of seat has two fixings, one on each side of the seat towards the rear
  • to fix it to the toilet bowl, side clamps are to grip on to the bowl
  • a small lip at the front called a “front bracket” is also used to fix the seat at the front
  • are available in heights from 2 to 6 inches
  • are available with or without lids
  • are not height adjustable
  • have no armrests or handles
  • some are for all toilets sizes
  • some are for elongated toilets
  • some are for standard toilets
  • have different weight capacities

 

This type of seat does at least have elements which are gripping the toilet bowl by applying some kid of pressure.

Again, though, if you are buying one for an elderly, or frail, parent there are no armrests, so you will have to buy, and install grab bars, or a safety frame, to give your parent the extra support they will require.

A long time ago I bought a seat of this type for my mom, but when we tried it, we found that it still moved all over the place.

It was also with this purchase that I became aware of how hard it would be for an elderly person to sit back onto a seat without handles or armrests.

 

Compared to a bedside commode –

 

  • these raised seats are almost as easy to install as a bedside commode
  • they are nothing like as strong, or as solid, as a bedside commode
  • they do not come with adjustable heights like a bedside commode
  • you can get them with lids like a commode
  • none of these seats come with armrests, or handles, as do the bedside commodes
  • only some of these seats will fit most toilets, whereas a bedside commode will fit over any normal toilet bowl

 

Examples of raised seats using this system are –

 

  • Aquasense 4 inch Raised Toilet Seat with lid
  • Vaunn Medical Clamp-on 4inch Raised Toilet Seat
  • Carex Universal 4 1/2 inch Raised Toilet Seat with Safe Lock
  • PCP 4″ Raised Toilet Seat
  • Drive Medical 6 inch Raised Toilet Seat with Lock

 

6/ Front Locking raised toilet seats –

 

  • have a type of clamp located at the front of the seat to fix it to the toilet bowl
  • have a small lip at the back of the seat, which sticks out and slots under the rim of the bowl of your toilet to give extra stability
  • heights of the seats will vary from 4 to 5 inches, but are not adjustable
  • most have armrests or handles, some are adjustable and others are also removable
  • are compatible with most toilet shapes, as they clamp to the front edge only
  • have different weight capacities depending on the model, but these are designed to be stronger than the previous types
  • do not have lids

 

The front locking seats are more expensive than the other seats that I have listed so far, and are a lot more solid.

The fact that they have handles, or armrests, makes them a lot easier to sit down on, but I wouldn’t really suggest one for an elderly parent with balance, mobility or sight issues unless there was either a couple of grab bars or a safety frame around the toilet. I still prefer either an elevated seat in a frame, or a bedside commode for weaker elderly adults.

 

Compared to a bedside commode –

 

  • almost as fast to install if you don’t have to remove your toilet seat and lid
  • not as strong as a bedside commode
  • most of the raised seats with front locking do come with armrests, or handles
  • you can’t adjust the height of the seats as you can with the bedside commode
  • they don’t have a lid, as does the seat on a bedside commode
  • like bedside commodes, front locking seats are generally compatible with most toilet bowl sizes

 

Some examples of this type –

 

  • Carex E-Z Lock 5 inch Raised Toilet Seat with Arms
  • Medokare 4.5 inch Raised Toilet Seat with Arms
  • Vive 5 inch Raised Toilet Seat with Padded Handles

7/ Raised toilet seats with legs

 

  • this is a raised toilet seat very similar to the previous front locking seats, except they have 4 legs
  • legs adjust to the height of the bowl
  • the seats add around 4 1/2 inches in height
  • they have armrests
  • the seat either sits on the bowl with an inner rim which slots inside the bowl, or another design features a front locking system
  • can take greater weight than seats without legs

 

These seats certainly are more solid than the seats without legs, and the armrests would make it a lot easier for an elderly person to use.

 

Compared to a bedside commode –

 

  • these seats only take a minute or so longer to install than a bedside commode
  • some models will adjust the height above the bowl by adjusting the leg height, some attach to the bowl and give one raised height only
  • like bedside commodes, they are compatible with most toilet bowl sizes
  • they do not come with a lid

 

Some examples of these seats with legs –

 

  • Maddak Tall-Ette Elevated Toilet Seat With Legs
  • Mobb Raised Toilet Seat With Legs

 

How to clean a bedside commode

 

To clean a frame or commode

 

  • clean and then disinfect
  • start by removing the armrests, the seat, the seat lid and  the splash guard and cleaning them one by one with a non-abrasive household bathroom surface cleaner and wipe them off
  • next you need to disinfect them with a household disinfectant
  • make sure to pay particular attention to the armrests and seat as this is where the skin has the most contact
  • the underside of the seat, the metal bracket holding the splash guard and the splash guard are the areas which can get soiled, so they have to be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected
  • rinse and wipe off with a dry cloth
  • then clean the frame, disinfect, and wipe and dry it off
  • check that the seat is not cracking anywhere

8/ Safety frames with raised toilet seats

 

  • safety frames with a raised seat are placed over the toilet
  • to install, you just put your lid and seat in the upright position and place the frame over the toilet
  • some frames go as high as 26 inches from the floor
  • the seat is attached to the safety frame so that the frame takes all the weight of the body
  • there is no lid to the seat
  • all the frames with seats have adjustable height – the legs are height adjustable
  • the frames also have armrests
  • they will go over all toilets
  • there are different weight capacities – including bariatric for heavier individuals

 

There really is not a lot of difference between these and commodes in terms of structural integrity and support.

The seats distribute the weight over the four legs, and there is no wobbling, as is often the case with raised seats which actually attach to the toilet bowl. For elderly parents, these are a very good choice.

 

Compared with bedside commodes – 

 

  • it is just as quick to install as a bedside commode over the toilet
  • they both are supported by a metal frame
  • each has adjustable legs
  • both safety frames with raised seats and bedside commodes have armrests offering lots of support
  • they just lack the versatility of the bedside commodes functions as a chair, or commode away from the toilet

 

Some examples of frames are –

OasisSpace Stand Alone Safety frame and raised toilet seat

Platinum Health Ultimate raised toilet seat and safety frame

PCP raised toilet seat and safety frame 2-in-1

Aidapt President raised toilet seat and frame 

Aidapt Bariatric Solo Skandia raised toilet seat and frame

Lattice commode toilet seat and frame 

 

For the elderly, or for anyone else for that matter, these safety frames with raised seats, or portable bedside commodes, are really the only options which afford total support and safety, except for special toilet lifts which are far more expensive and come with electrical, pneumatic, or hydraulic assistance systems, to raise and lower the most frail of people.

Bedside commode maintenance

 

As you clean the bedside commode, check –

 

  • that the joints aren’t rusting on the frame if it’s a steel frame
  • that there are no cracks in the plastic seating, as this could break and cause a painful accident
  •  that the rubber tips on the legs are working – if you need to replace them they are called “ferrules” and can be found easily online
  • make sure that the metal buttons/ pegs, if spring-loaded, are securely engaged on the legs, and are sticking out properly and can’t move and cause the leg to change its height
  • make sure that any parts which click together are properly fastened, especially as you will need to remove bits to clean them properly

 

Summing up…

 

Bedside commodes are very easy to use as raised toilet seat, they install in seconds over the toilet and provide a secure, very stable seat.

Along with safety frames with elevated seats, I personally feel that bedside commodes (3-in-1) give the most amount of comfort, and security, to an elderly parent, or loved one, who needs a raised toilet seat.

If the person using the seat is very frail, it is very useful to also have a walker for them to back up to the toilet with, as they can transfer their weight from one piece of equipment to the other, as they sit and as they stand up.

As I have said, my mom has been using one now for around 20 months and loves it – she actually finds the commode seat more comfortable than our actual toilet seat, which I feel may be taking it a bit far !

I hope this helps, and good luck !

I’m Gareth and I’m the owner of Looking After Mom and Dad.com

I have been a caregiver for over 10 yrs and share all my tips here.

Gareth Williams

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