What Is A 3-in-1 Commode ? And What Is It Used For ?


As a caregiver we are often looking at ways of saving money and trying to do as many jobs as we can with the materials we have, and I know that the following question is one I have asked myself.

A 3-in-1 commode, also known as an All-in-One, is a portable bedside commode which has been designed so that it may be used in three specific ways –

(1) as a bedside commode
(2) as a raised toilet seat with a frame over a toilet
(3) as a toilet safety rail


A bedside commode is a portable toilet which works without running water.

3 in 1 bedside commode

3-in-1 bedside commodes

A 3-in-1 commode, or All-in-One, is not a simple folding commode, which unfolds like a standard folding chair.

The simple folding bedside commode can’t be used as either a raised toilet seat, or as a toilet safety frame, because of the way they are built – their frame structure will not allow for them to be placed over a toilet, as will the frame of a 3-in-1 bedside commode .


The 3-in-1 bedside commode can come in quite a variety of model types and features –


  • bariatric or heavy-duty models for larger individuals – there are a wide range of different models with different weight capacities
  • models of varying width are available – narrow, standard, wide and extra wide
  • especially tall models for taller individuals – the Tuffcare model being the tallest
  • models with elongated seats
  • models which have drop arms – these models are for individuals who require side access to transfer to the commode
  • models which have padded seats and back rests
  • frame seat height can vary – usually the commodes have adjustable height legs, but the amount they adjust by can vary, so if you are wanting to use it over your toilet, you will want to check the height of your toilet bowl rim


The 3-in-1 bedside commode frames are generally made from aluminum, with the bariatric models being made from steel and employing multiple layers of tubing in their construction.

The standard bedside commode will take an individual weighing up to around 300 lb, but if you want specific weight capacities for specific models you can just go to my article “Bedside Commode Weight Capacity: A Guide With Over 140 Examples And Illustrations” – the model names, numbers and weight capacities are all listed so that you can just copy and paste them into any search engine to easily find them.

If you are interested in finding a bedside commode for a larger person, I have an article about all the different types of bariatric commodes, including transport commodes and shower commodes and I list over 60 different examples with their model numbers and their weight limits. You can find that article here.


Well known brands of 3-in-1 bedside commodes


Here’s a list of well known brands which can be relied upon for their quality of commode –


  • Arjo
  • Carex
  • Drive
  • Guardian
  • Homecraft
  • Invacare
  • Medline
  • Nova
  • Performance Health
  • Probasics
  • TFI Healthcare
  • Tuffcare
  • Guardian
  • Vive

How to set up a 3-in-1 bedside commode


Once you have taken the commode out of it’s packaging –


  • the main frame should come partly assembled
  • swing the legs out towards you, and the frame sides and back should be standing independently, but lacking a front crossbar
  • attached to what is the back of the commode chair frame is a metal commode bucket platform – it is attached to a horizontal bar between the back legs,
  • grab a hold of the free platform bar and swing it upwards – the two free ends will clip into the joints on two front legs at the level of the seat, securing the square base of the chair frame
  •  insert into the top of the two back legs the back rest bar -it just pops  into the joints at the top of the legs
  • with the legs and back rest secured you can place bucket in its holder
  • the plastic seat will simply clip onto the bar at the back of the bucket platform
  • the seat lid can then be clipped onto the same bar
  • the height of the legs can be adjusted by pushing in the spring-loaded buttons on each leg


How to set up a 3-in-1 commode over a toilet ?


Using a 3-in-1 commode as a seat with a safety frame or as a raised toilet seat and frame is a very good option for elderly loved ones.

The armrests make it easy to grab a hold of when sitting and standing, the structure doesn’t wobble like many raised toilet seats, and they can’t come off the toilet, because they are not attached to it.

After my mom’s hip replacement surgery, she tried out a few different raised toilet seats, and these didn’t give her any confidence – they wobbled so much it was like being at sea.

We purchased a 3-in-1 bedside commode, and she has used it ever since, both as a bedside commode immediately following the surgery, and then over the toilet to give her a slightly raised seat.

She loves it, and she feels much safer than with any of the raised toilet seats we had tried. 

 To set up a 3-in-1 commode over a toilet –


  • remove the commode bucket from the bucket platform
  • note how high the toilet bowl rim is from the floor
  • adjust the length of the commode legs accordingly so that the commode seat is higher than the toilet bowl
  • to adjust the height of the legs push in the spring-loaded buttons on the tubing  and make sure that they click loudly when they are in position – give them a good jiggle to make sure the buttons have popped out well
  • check that the legs are the same length, so the commode doesn’t wobble
  • make sure that your actual toilet seat and lid are in the upright position
  • place the commode frame over the toilet and to check it clears the height of the bowl and that it is at the height which suits the user
  • the user’s feet should touch the floor when they are seated on the commode – not just the toes – at least half the foot, otherwise this can cause frailer individuals to fall when trying to stand up
  • lift the seat and place the splash guard in the bucket platform
  • replace the commode seat down over the splash guard and your commode is ready to use over a toilet


3 in 1 bedside commode installed over a toilet

How to set up a 3-in-1 bedside commode as a toilet safety frame


To set up a 3-in-1 commode as a toilet safety frame, you do exactly the same as for a raised toilet seat, except that you do not raise the commode seat any higher than the lowest possible height for your toilet.

There is no need to use the splash guard the commode sea is only about an inch above your toilet bowl rim.


Where can you buy 3-in-1 commodes ?


You can find all the types of commodes and shower chairs at major retailers, both in shops and online, such as –


  • Amazon.com – just be warned on Amazon there are some models which disappear after a month, not to be heard of again – stick to the popular brands
  • CVS
  • American Discount Medical Equipment – home-med-equip.com
  • Lowes
  • Target
  • Walgreens
  • Walmart


Other types of bedside commodes


Other than a 3-in-1 bedside commode the main types of bedside commodes are –


Static folding bedside commode

The simple folding commode is the most basic and lightweight portable commode, very easy to fold and pop into a cupboard.

These have the lowest weight capacity of all the bedside commodes.


Static shower bedside commode


The static shower commode is waterproof and can be used as both a shower chair and as a bedside commode.


Static stacking bedside commode


The stacking bedside commode is so-called because it doesn’t fold.

It is a simple portable bedside commode, but some models do have adjustable height legs, which allows them to be used over a toilet.


Static drop arm bedside commode


A drop arm commode is one which has armrests which are not fixed in position, and which can be moved to allow for side transfer onto the commode, usually from a wheelchair or a bed.


Attendant transport bedside commode


A transport commode is quite simply a commode with wheels, which can also be used to transport your loved one from A to B if they have mobility issues.

If the commode has adjustable height legs, it may also be used over a toilet – it’s always best to check this with a supplier

Attendant transport commodes require that a caregiver pushes the commode.


Self-propelling transport commode


Self-propelling transport commodes are transport commodes for those individuals who are able to propel themselves.

As with the Attendant transport commode, they can be used as a transport chair, a commode and in many cases over a toilet.


Attendant shower transport bedside commode with four small wheels


The attendant shower transport commode chair is a commode, a shower chair and a transport chair combined, and in addition can often be used over a toilet.

This chair again requires a carer to transport the user from A to B.


Attendant shower transport bedside commode with medium sized rear wheels


This type of attendant shower transport bedside commode has medium-sized rear wheels which are designed to make it easier to get into a shower, should there be a lip or small ridge at the entrance.


Self-propelling shower transport bedside commode


The self-propelling shower transport bedside commode, is another example of a commode that can be used in the shower, as a commode, as a transport chair, and can often be used over a toilet as well.


Transfer bench bedside commode


Transfer bench commodes are both a commode and a bench for transfer into the bath or shower.


Armchair style commodes are bedside commodes which are a little more stylish and are designed to be like an armchair and not recognizable as a commode.

This example is an armchair style bedside commode which has been specially designed to fit into a corner so that it cannot tip over when the user sits down – it’s called a Derby Corner Commode.

Derby Corner Commode

I hope that this was helpful to you, and I have lots of other articles about bedside commodes, cleaning them, the different types, the issues of odor control, using and disposing of commode liners, and how to choose one.

You can find all of these both in the Beginners’ Info category and also  the Personal Hygiene category on the main navigation menu.



Articles you may also like …


What are medical alert systems ?

What does telecare mean ? What does telecare do ?

48+ Caregiver tips for elderly hygiene issues and care

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

Recent Content