How Do You Raise The Height Of A Toilet Seat ?
After my mom had a full hip replacement 18 months ago, she like many other people recovering from surgery, or suffering from mobility issues, had to find a way of raising her toilet seat to be able to sit comfortably, and without hurting herself. Luckily there are many ways of doing this.
How do you raise the height of a toilet seat ? To raise the height of a toilet seat you can –
- change the height of the seat itself
- place a seat on a frame above the toilet
- lift the whole toilet higher from the floor
Let’s start with raising the seat itself
- “risers” which are basically toilet bowl-shaped rings of plastic placed under the toilet seat raising it up a defined height
- new seats with spacers, or legs, which replace your existing seat, and are bolted on in the same way as your previous toilet seat was
- seats which slot onto the top of the toilet seat and into the bowl called raised or elevated seats
- seats that are placed on top of, and with interior rims going a few inches into, the toilet bowl, which have plastic side fixings – also called raised, or elevated toilet seats
- seats which sit on, and over the rim of the toilet bowl, with a clamping lock on the front and a lip on the back (of the raised seat’s inner rim) which slips under the inside rim of the toilet – called elevated or raised toilet seats
Risers are a ring of plastic of a specific height, and shape, which are bolted onto your toilet bowl underneath the seat.
They can come with, or without, arms.
To install –
- the seat and lid are removed from your toilet
- the riser is then placed on the rim of the toilet bowl
- there will be bolt holes in the riser which are to be aligned with the holes in your toilet where your seat bolts on
- you then place your toilet seat and lid on top of the riser, and pass the extra long bolts which come with the riser, through the holes and fasten everything on the underside, where the seat was fastened before removal
Some risers are hinged, just in front of the bolt holes, so they can be lifted for cleaning in the same way as the seat and lid.
Some examples of these risers are
- Nova 3 1/2 inch toilet seat riser
- Maddak 4 inch hinged seat riser
Seats with spacers
One type of toilet seat comes with small plastic legs or “spacers” – the seats come in 2 inch, or 3 inch high models.
To install –
- remove the existing toilet seat and lid
- attach the new seat with the bolts in your toilets bolt holes
The seats can be bought with, or without, lids, and with, or without, an open front to the seat.
The models are for either standard, or elongated toilets.
These seats do not come with any form of armrest, so they are not very easy to use if you need some kind of support when sitting down, and getting up.
Grab bars around the toilet, a safety frame , and, or, a walker, would be advisable additions if your loved one is at all fragile and lacking in strength/coordination.
Examples of these seats are –
- Bemis Independence open raised toilet seat
- Centoco 3L440STS-001 raised toilet seat with lid
Elevated or raised seats
Elevated or raised seats are a combined riser and seat.
The seats come as 2 inch, 3 inch, 3 1/2 inch, 4 inch, 5 inch and 6 inch elevations.
There is no “one way” to install these units, but they all require that you remove the seat and lid of your toilet.
Certain models have arms and others don’t – the arms may be removable and adjustable.
The different types all have different weight capacities, so be clear about how heavy a person they can hold, so you, or your loved ones, don’t have a serious accident.
Some raised toilet seats are adjustable, having two or three heights at which they can be set – they tend to be more expensive of course.
To install –
- some simply slot onto the toilet bowl without any bolts or clamping. they have an internal part which goes down a certain way into the bowl to give grip
Some examples of this is –
AquaSense Portable Raised Toilet Seat
Yunga Tart Raised Toilet Seat
Herdegen Contact Plus Raised toilet seat
- some slot on and have fixings on the sides which squeeze onto the bowl and provide stability in that way
Some examples of this is –
Carex 4 1/2 inch Raised Toilet Seat with Safe Lock
Aquasense 4 inchRaised Toilet Seat with lid
Vaunn Medical Clamp-on 4inch Raised Toilet Seat
- other types have a clamping or locking system which is actioned by a front knob on the seat
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
Don’t forget that all of these are designed to fit different shapes of toilet, so you will need to see what type you have – generally it will be “elongated” or “standard”.
If you want to know more about how to measure for a raised toilet seat, and how to find out if your toilet is a standard model, or an elongated on, you can find all you need to know in my article, How to measure for a raised toilet seat ?
For people looking for the raised toilet seats which take a certain weight capacity, I have a list of over 180 raised toilet seats, elevated frames with toilet seats, and bedside commodes which can be used as raised toilet seats with their weight capacities, manufacturer, and their model number.
I know how confusing it can be, so I double checked all the names and numbers on the manufacturers websites to eliminate doubles etc. The list is in my article “Raised toilet seat weight capacity: over 180 examples”.
Placing a safety frame, toilet lift or a portable bedside commode over the toilet
Safety frames with elevated seats
Safety frames with elevated seat are placed over the toilet, so you can just lift up the seat and the lid, and the place the frame over the toilet.
The seat itself is attached to the safety frame which takes all the weight of the body, and not the toilet itself. They are very stable from this respect.
All the frames with seats have adjustable leg height meaning, that the height of the seat is adjusted respectively when you adjust the frame leg height.
If you have ever used, or played with crutches, the legs adjust in the same way, using push buttons which are spring loaded, clicking in and out of small holes at different heights.
The frames also have large armrests, which make getting on and off the seat much easier, and you can sometimes adjust the height of those too.
The frames are very solid, but as with all the seats of any frame type, make sure that you have the frame with the right weight capacity for the user.
As I said earlier you can check the weight capacities in my article, How to measure for a raised toilet seat ?
Some frames also have adjustable width, but check all of this before you make your purchase, and if you look at the article above, the names of the frames state if they are extra wide or not, along with their weight capacity.
To install –
- lift the toilet seat and lid into the vertical position on your toilet
- measure the height the seat needs to be for you or your loved one
- adjust the legs of the frame accordingly to that height
- if you wish to, you can remove the backrest on the frame
- if the frame has a width adjustment, set it to your preference
- place the frame over the toilet bowl
Toilet lifts can have pneumatic, hydraulic or electric mechanisms.
These are seats which are placed over the toilet bowl to lift the user up from the sitting position to standing, or to lower them down from standing to sitting.
Depending on the device, the amount of assistance given will vary accordingly.
The installation of each is very different as they vary greatly in design.
The Easy Access Tilt Toilet Incline Lift is actually attached to the bowl of the toilet, and does not stand independently. It can be battery run or corded.
The Uplift Commode is a safety frame with a seat and a toilet lift. The frame is simply placed above the bowl of the toilet, like any other frame.
The seat and lift are incorporated into that frame.
It works with a pneumatic system, and is designed to take 80 % of the body weight, so that the user maintains a little of their own strength without straining themselves.
The Liftseat Powered Toilet Lift is an electric lift that can be used over most toilets, and can lower the person on the seat.
It has an independent frame which is placed over the existing toilet.
The Drive Solo Lift with Arms is another electrical system which fits round and over the toilet, but it is far more expensive and is equipped with armrests which tilt up and down.
Portable bedside commodes
Portable bedside commodes can be used just like safety frames.
You must of course remove the potty and the backrest, and leave the seat and lid in place.
The commodes have four adjustable legs, so the height can be easily set to fit over the toilet bowl, once the seat and lid of your toilet are raised up.
Just like the safety frames with seats, some models also have adjustable widths, and armrests.
Again, make sure if you use one that the weight capacity is correct for you, or your loved one.
If your commode comes with a splash shield, you can place this under the toilet seat of the commode, and it will avoid any splashing as it fits down into the toilet bowl – but to be honest we have never needed to use ours.
My mom has used a bedside commode over our toilet for the last year and a half and loves it !
Some examples of this type of commode are –
Drive Medical steel folding bedside commode
Medline MD589664 3-in-1 steel bedside commode
Drive Medical heavy duty bariatric commode
Drive Medical steel folding bedside commode
UltraCommode bedside commode
Raising the actual toilet higher off the floor
You can buy and install a plinth, or riser, which fits under your existing toilet, raising the seat level up by the equivalent height of the riser you buy.
The advantage of these risers is that they look like the toilet, they don’t replace your seat, and the whole toilet structure remains just as sturdy, but is simply taller.
To install –
- the toilet has to be uninstalled
- the new riser is placed on the floor
- the toilet exit pipe is re-attached with new section the height of the riser
- the riser is bolted into the old bolt holes
- the toilet is then sat atop the new block, and it is bolted in place
Examples of these –
Medway Easy Toilet Riser
Thetford toilet riser
Easy Toilet Riser
If you raise a toilet higher using a plinth, don’t forget that for elderly loved ones you will probably still need some kind of grab bars on the walls or a sfety frame around the toilet, so that there is something to hold onto to maintan their balance.
So to summerize…
Having had experience with raised toilet seats, I would suggest a safety frame, or portable commode for those who are elderly and fragile, as it is too easy to lose one’s balance, strain, or injure yourself when sitting down or standing up.
Having four legs the frames are much more stable.
My mom did try a raised seat on our toilet, but she didn’t have confidence in it, and immediately changed to using a portable bedside commode over the toilet instead.
Safety frames and portable bedside commodes have the added benefit of adjustable heights, and widths, just like crutches, so you can change the height a number of times.
Frames and portable commodes, by virtue of there 4 legs can usually take far greater weight as well.
using a plinth is also a very solid way of doing it, but a lot more costly, and you will still need to have something for your elderly loved one to hold onto when they are sitting down and getting up.
One last tip, using a walker to grab ahold of when sitting down, or getting up from the toilet is a good idea if a person’s balance isn’t good.
I hope this helps.
Good luck !
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I’m Gareth and I’m the owner of Looking After Mom and Dad.com
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