What Is A Bedside Toilet Called ?


If you are looking for a bedside toilet, there are so many types and models, that it can be rather over whelming, to say the least. I have spent hours perusing medical supply websites and shops over the last few years, looking for different types of toilets, for my elderly mom. What is required in each individual case will vary, and so there is a huge variety to meet all the different needs.


A bedside toilet which operates without running water is called a bedside commode. Bedside commodes are also referred to as –


  • portable bedside commodes
  • folding commodes
  • commode chairs
  • armchair commodes
  • 3-in-1 commode
  • All-in One commodes
  • drop arm commodes
  • static shower commodes
  • transport commodes
  • rolling commodes
  • shower chair/transport commodes
  • transfer commodes
  • heavy-duty commodes
  • bariatric commodes

What does a commode chair or bedside commode do ?


Commode chairs, or bedside commodes, are portable toilets which do not have running water, so they do not flush.

Individuals, who have difficulty in getting to the bathroom to use the toilet, may use some form of bedside commode.

Bedside commodes are so-named because they are typically used by elderly, or disabled persons, who cannot easily leave their bed to go to the bathroom, so they, necessarily, are very frequently used next to the bed.

If the user is able to get out of bed alone, the bedside commode still grants them a little independence, and the chance to go to the toilet in private, without too much assistance, even if they can’t make it to the bathroom.

To keep down the odors from the commode, a lot of people like to use disposable bags which line the commode bucket, and can be very quickly disposed of without any excessive clean up of the bucket required.

If you don’t mind cleaning a bucket and disinfecting it, you can go without bags and empty the content into the toilet.


Different types of static bedside commodes ?


Back to the different names for bedside commodes.

The one thing, that all of these bedside commodes have in common is that, they are all a form of chair with a pale, or container, which operates as a toilet without running water.


Bedside commodes can be divided into two distinct groups –

  • static portable commodes – no wheels
  • rolling commodes – with wheels


Bedside commodes are built for all different body types, and are available in different widths and weight capacities.

If you see a commode which is called a bariatric commode, this simply means that it has a maximum weight capacity, which is higher than a standard bedside commode (300 – 350 lb in weight).

But the word “bariatric” does not designate, in most cases, a particular type of commode – it designates its capacity to take weight.

All the types of commode, that I listed in above, have bariatric models, i.e. super strong models for larger people.

There are for example –

  • bariatric 3-in-1 commodes
  • bariatric shower/transport commodes
  • bariatric transport commodes
  • bariatric All-in-One commodes


I think you get the idea.

Just to muddy the waters even more, the manufacturers will often use the words “heavy duty” instead of “bariatric” to simplify things, and I think it does just that.

Lightweight” is used in the same way as “bariatric” and “heavy duty“, but instead, to designate bedside commodes for smaller individuals, and can usually take up to around 200 lb maximum weight capacity.

I have an article, where I list the weight capacities of over 140 different bedside commodes, model numbers and names, of which a large number are bariatric models. The article is  “Bedside Commode Weight Capacity: A Guide With Over 140 Examples and Illustrations” and you can look at it here. I am constantly adding to the list to keep it as up to date as possible.

Common Features

Features which you will find across all the types of commodes, and which will be in the model names, are –

  • “Extra wide” is another term used in the names of commodes, but it can be applied to any actual type of commode
  • “Elongated seat” is another term often used in the same way in the name of a commode, but is available in many types – these seats give extra room for the user to clean themselves by way of a deeper seat from front to back
  • “Padded” is very much self-explanatory
  • “Folding” again is a self-explanatory feature


The last term which is a more important one is “Drop Arm”.

Drop arms are armrests which can, in some fashion, be moved away from the side of the commode, to allow for side access, as opposed to the standard fixed armrests, which you cannot move.

Drop arms are offered on most types of commode, and are designed to allow for a bedridden person, or a wheelchair user, to transfer onto the bedside commode from the side, by lifting, or lowering the arm out of the way.

Static drop arm bedside commode

Different types of static bedside commodes


The following, are the different types of static portable bedside commodes, with an illustration and a brief description of their function.


Portable static bedside commodes come is several basic types –


  • static folding – folds like a chair
  • static stacking, which does not fold at all
  • static shower and bedside commode, which may or may not fold
  • static 3 in 1 bedside commode
  • static armchair commodes


To learn more about all aspects of the different types of bedside commodes –

  • the types
  • set up
  • who needs one
  • using over a toilet
  • liners emptying
  • cleaning
  • odor control
  • where to buy
  • top brands
  • bedside commodes for larger people
  • using over the toilet
  • maintenance
  • features
  • sizes
  • and more

You can find all of that in this article, What is a bedside commode ?”.


Basic portable folding commode


This design is a lightweight folding bedside commode.

The commode has only the function of a commode

It is simply unfolded like any folding chair, with the commode bucket is placed under the seat, and the commode is ready for use.

You use the commode wherever you choose to.


Examples of this type of commode are –


Aidapt folding bedside commode

Invacare Omega Plinante folding commode

Elite Care lightweight folding commode


Static folding bedside commode

Stacking portable bedside commode


This type of bedside commode is a bit different in that it stacks, rather than folding, so it takes a little room to put away, but it is very strong.

It also has three functions, if you get one with adjustable leg height –


  • as a bedside commode
  • as a raised toilet seat
  • as a toilet safety frame


Be sure, if you want these three functions, that you get a model with adjustable legs, and that it is high enough to go over the rim of your toilet bowl.


An example of this type of commode is –


Aidapt stacking bedside commode


Static stacking bedside commode

Shower chair commode


This is a fully waterproof bedside commode which can also be used as a shower chair – you should not use a commode in the shower which is not waterproof, as the inner workings will rust, and possibly break.


Examples of this type of commode are –


Lumex padded bedside commode chair

Platinum Health UltraCommode bedside commode and folding shower chair


Static shower bedside commode

The 3-in-1 bedside commode


The “poster boy” of bedside commodes is the 3-in-1 bedside commode, which is so-called because it is designed for the three following functions –


  • a bedside commode
  • a raised toilet seat for over the toilet (without the bucket)
  • as a toilet safety frame around a (if you remove the seat, lid and bucket)


Examples of this type of commode are –


Lumex imperial collection 3-in-1 bedside commode

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

3 in 1 bedside commode

Armchairs with built-in commodes


Armchair commodes are not very commonly found, but they offer a very discreet type of bedside commode.

If you don’t lift the cushion of the commode to reveal the built-in commode area with the pale, or potty, you wouldn’t know that it was a commode.

These commodes are mostly made from wicker, or vinyl, and offer a more “chic” look !

The model, illustrated below, is a very specific one called the “Derby Corner Commode” and is built so that it cannot tip over.


Other examples of this type of commode are –


Drive DeVilbiss Healthcare (Drive Medical) Wicker Commode

Drive DeVilbiss Healthcare (Drive Medical) Basket Weave Commode

Gordon Ellis Derby Basketweave Commode Chair

Gordon Ellis Devon Commode

Gordon Ellis Derby Corner Commode


Derby Corner Commode

While you are looking for bedside commodes, there is lots more that you can do to make your bathroom a safer place for seniors, or anyone else with mobility issues.

To find out all the different things you can do, to have an instant impact on bathroom safety, take a look here, 54 Bathroom Safety Tips For Seniors – A Helpful Guide”.

Rolling bedside commodes


The following types of bedside commodes have wheels –


  • attendant transport commode
  • self-propelling transport commode
  • attendant shower chair transport commode
  • self-propelling shower chair transport commode

Attendant transport commode


The attendant transport commode is for those individuals who require assistance to go from A to B.


The attendant transport commode can be used as –


  • a transport chair
  • a bedside commode
  • or placed over the toilet as a raised toilet seat


Examples of this type of commode are –


Nova drop arm transport commode

Drive Medical drop arm commode with wheels with padded armrests

Lumex Versamode drop arm transport chair commode w/5″ wheels

TFI Healthcare commode w/ elongated seat


Attendant transport bedside commode

Self-propelling transport commode


This type of transport chair is for those individuals who are able to propel themselves in the chair.


The self-propelling transport commode can be used as –


  • a transport chair
  • a bedside commode
  • or placed over the toilet as a raised toilet seat


Examples of this type of commode are –


HBing transport commode wheelchair

Yezijaju transport commode wheelchair

LHSS transport commode wheelchair

Belltower folding transport commode wheelchair


Self-propelling transport commode

Attendant shower chair transport commode


The attendant shower transport commode can be used as –


  • a shower chair
  • a transport chair
  • a commode
  • some can also be used over the toilet as a raised seat, but you do have to check the height of these, as not all are height adjustable


Some examples of attendant shower transport commodes are –


Nova rolling commode shower chair

Nova padded commode shower chair w/ wheels

Tuffcare padded transport commode shower chair w/ wheels

Everest & Jennings rehab padded commode shower chair 5″ casters


Attendant shower transport bedside commode with four small wheels

Attendant shower transport bedside commode with medium sized rear wheels

Self-propelling shower chair transport commode


The self-propelling shower chair transport commode can be used as –


  • a shower chair
  • a transport chair
  • a commode
  • some can also be used over the toilet as a raised seat – but you do need to check with a supplier


Examples of this type of commode are –


Invacare mariner rehab commode shower chair wheelchair

Tuffcare bariatric commode shower wheelchair w/ 24″ wheels

Healthline, Ezee Life heavy-duty commode shower wheelchair


Self-propelling shower transport bedside commode

I hope that my little guide to the different names for the different types of bedside commodes, has offered a little clarity, and was of some use to you.


I’m Gareth, the author and 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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