The last few days I had to use Canadian toilets. Now I'm from Europe and I'm used to Central European toilets:

enter image description here

As you can see, the water is really far down the toilet and if "things" fall in there, you won't get splashed. On the other hand, toilets in Canada look more like this:

enter image description here

As you can see, there is quite a huge flat area in the toilet that is normally full of water. So every time I take a dump I splash myself with water.

Seriously, how can I avoid that?


2 Answers 2


Well I wish you had used a photo of a cleaner European toilet for comparison. What will the Canadians think?!

Indeed this is typical of North American toilets. The same applies down in Good Ole USA too. In fact I've seen much higher water levels than this.

There are two answers really:

  1. Man up and take it! In some places in Europe they have a much crazier thing next to the toilet called a bidet and you don't want to know what that does!
  2. Some of the more sensitive people in that part of the world mitigate the problem by creating a layer of toilet paper over the surface of the water before commencement of activities.

Since you brought up this particularly tasteful topic I have some related observations:

  • A gentleman using a low-water toilet can aim at the porcelain to reduce the chance of waking anybody unfortunate enough to be sleeping within earshot. With a high-water toilet there is only the noisy option.
  • High-water toilets seem to have a propensity to overflow. It seems to occur or at least be mentioned in American sitcoms and I've definitely seen it happen at a friend's place in LA, but I've never seen a low-water toilet overflow.
  • High-water toilets, so the justification goes, provide total submersion for unpleasant substances thus reducing the propagation of nasty odours.
  • High-water toilets put on a much more exciting show when flushed. Rather than just "foosh" and it's all over with a low-water toilet, you'll often see the contents of the bowl turn into a whirlpool at an accelerating pace until everything is banished into the abyss with an accompaniment of merry gurgling sounds.
  • 1
    Hint: Any yellowish hue or objects either submerged or floating suggest a pre-flush wouldn't be a bad idea. Aug 14, 2012 at 8:19
  • 1
    A proper low-water toilet is designed to fill completely when the drain is clogged - so unless you keep pushing the button, they will not overflow. And since the bowl is full, as soon as you clear the clog, they whoosh through the drain like crazy, it's fun. Your "submersion" reason explains a thing or two about the state our NA colleagues leave the toilets in :/ We're just used to cleaning the "unpleasant substances" after flushing. And there's many different low-water designs - the French style has the same "splash problem", even though it's low-water.
    – Luaan
    Apr 19, 2016 at 16:43

OK then...warning, this gets graphic.

The problem

enter image description here

North American toilets tend to be siphoning toilets - that is, the water-ways in these toilets are designed with slightly smaller diameters than a non-siphoning toilet, so that the water-way will naturally fill up with water, each time it is flushed, thus creating the siphon action.

The recognised problem is the splashing that frequently occurs upon load. Due to the increased water, often higher water level, and area and size of wet target when released, the odds are increased dramatically.

How to avoid the dreaded splash

There are a few suggestions here:

  • Watch this video on avoiding splashing yourself in a public toilet (graphic)
  • Read this Lifehacker article (with video) on how to use toilet paper to weaken splash occurrences
  • Follow further advice that a light towel or toilet paper (disposable) will reduce/eliminate splashback
  • to clarify, if sitting, sit ON the toilet, do not perch: enter image description here
  • Aim when possible, for the porcelain, rather than the water. Try to angle where you're not hitting a surface at right angles to the surface, but along it instead. The change in velocity is less dramatic, and it will 'dribble' rather than splash.
  • Experiment with different positions (if sitting) - further forward, further back, perhaps to a side.
  • If peeing, try kneeling down; less velocity when the liquid hits the water
  • If desperate, consider jumping away, but this can end up even worse...

Final, desperate solution - when in doubt and you need a technological solution, you can always rely on the Japanese to come up with something. I introduce - toilet knee pads!

enter image description here

  • Some of this sourced from 9gag or you are also a talented artist? Aug 14, 2012 at 8:43
  • Oh I'm assuming it's 9gag, but it was posted on a random other site. I'm trying to find the original.
    – Mark Mayo
    Aug 14, 2012 at 8:44
  • I've seen the "Do not stand on the toilet seat or bowl" sticker at the University of New South Wales. I assumed most people would know the difference between a sitting and a squat toilet, until I found out about the Anglo-Indian toilet, which allows either sitting or squatting.
    – Golden Cuy
    Aug 16, 2012 at 23:38
  • Careful pasting stuff here from random other sites. At Stack Exchange we try to honour copyright! Apr 9, 2013 at 2:54
  • 1
    I've seen foot prints on the toilet seat in Dubai Airport... May 30, 2013 at 8:48

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