Ask LH: How Can I Learn Not To Leave The Toilet Seat Up?

Ask LH: How Can I Learn Not To Leave The Toilet Seat Up?

Dear Lifehacker, I recently got married but have encountered my first challenge to wedded bliss. As much as I try, for the life of me I cannot remember to put the toilet seat down. The repercussions for this apparently heinous act are getting progressively worse. What started as a cheeky dig from the wife has grown into a punishable-by-death offence after a recent late night trip to the bathroom went wrong with her falling in. Any suggestions would be much cheaper then marriage counselling. Thanks, “Currently Living” Husband

Dear CCH,

Like many men before you, you have just encountered the first steel trap of unholy matrimony — within a year, you will be 100 per cent obedient and (metaphorically) neutered. Enjoy these last gasps of rebellious freedom while they last. Soon, the shimmer of moonlight on an open toilet will be nothing but a distant memory.

Kidding aside, there are actually several good reasons to get into the habit of keeping the toilet seat (and lid) down, ranging from increased cleanliness to child and pet safety. One possible solution to your problem would be to fasten a reminder on the toilet’s inside lid with clear contact paper. (The downside is that any guests who use your toilet will know you’re a scatterbrain with a harridan wife.)

Alternatively, you could try installing a toilet seat lock which are widely available at baby stores (check out an example video here). The act of unfastening the lock will force you to think about the lid, and thus indirectly jog your memory that it needs to be closed.

If any fastidious (or spouse-fearing) readers have a suggestion of their own, feel free to let CCH know in the comments section below.

Cheers Lifehacker

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  • As marriage will ultimately rob you of your manhood anyway, you could give in now and just sit down to pee.

    As they say, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em!

    • I put both the seat and lid down when I’m finished. That way my wife has to do the same amount of work as me before using the loo.

      Fair’s fair.

      • I see it as a hygiene issue. Aussie toilets spray droplets of the stuff in the bowl into the air, even with the lid down – but there’s a helluva lot less that way.

      • Totally – I have always said the same thing… It’s not about the seat, it’s about the fricken lid – no-one wants to see in there!

      • I go one step further ad rouse on the missus when she forgets to put the lid down. It’s a hygiene thing.

      • How is that the same amount of work? You want to have a piss you have to lift the lid AND the seat – or do you just have a spectacular aim? – while your wife only has to lift the seat. Or does she like to stand up while pissing, or even more alarmingly, shitting?

          • If you are a man and want to piss, you lift the lid AND the seat. That is, assuming you like to stand up for a number one. With both closed, a woman only has to lift the lid (unless she likes the cold hard feel of porcelain on her arse). Even if, as you say, you lift seat and lid in one motion, the weight of both is greater than the lid alone. Therefore, more work.

  • A mate of mine has hooked up one of the foot pedals from a recycling bin to his toilet lid. If you want to lift it up, step on the pedal and hey presto the lid is up. When you’re done, take your foot off and it closes. Problem solved 🙂

  • Attach string from the door to the toilet lid. When you close the door, it will pull the lid down…….I figure this is what they would do in cartoons.

    On a side note, I wish this was the biggest problem I had in my life *sigh*

  • how hard is it to close the lid? i mean do you close the car door when you open it? or the front door to your house? no wonder your wife is getting annoyed at you, she has to close the lid after you and make sure the L & R haven’t been rubbed off your slip on shoes

      • that was the part that surprised me too, since I generally at least glance at the toilet before use.

        I wonder if she falls over when her desk chair is slightly to the left of normal? It must be weird living in a completely static house.

        • I can only imagine it was dark and she hadn’t turned on the light. With an office chair one might put a hand down to test where it was, but…

          • If she has to touch the seat to put it down in the first place, there’s no reason why she can’t reach out to where the seat would be if it’s up to see if it’s there.

  • Chris, I think what you’re referring to is putting the toilet lid down, whereas CCH is referring to the actual seat. I’ve never known anyone to be fussy about having to put the actual lid down.

    Nevertheless, of all the domestic “rules”, having to put down the toilet seat is the one that has always struck me as the most useless and arbitrary. Who the hell doesn’t check to see whether the toilet seat is down before sitting on it? And if it’s up, it takes almost zero time and effort to flick it down.

    • In my own experience, both the lid and the seat are expected to be down when not in use (the advice still works even if it’s just the seat she’s worried about, anyway).

  • Just realise what the lid is for, which is keeping the contents of the toilet from flinging around the room when you flush (plus safety reasons of course). As a result, you should have the lid down before you flush every time anyway, which solves the issue entirely.

    If you don’t believe me, check out Dr. Karl

    • I never imagined the humble toilet room could turn into a whirling maelstrom of fecal matter at the press of a button. The mental imagery you provided there has given me a new found fear of all toilets, bar the long drop.

  • I got into the habit of putting the seat and lid down. That way, nobody can tell what was done before they got there, and it puts everyone on an even playing field. Everyone has to do SOMETHING before they can use the toilet… but also, how hard is it to look before you pee? Men have to, to know the seat is down… But I also have no aversion to peeing sitting down either… Means I can relax and let the nerve tingles do their thing without losing any balance and peeing all over the place…

    • Indeed. When there’s a seat there, why would you lift it just so you can stand to pee? You’re at home: take a load off and relax, I say 😀

  • I don’t get why some women make such a big deal about this. I mean look at the physics; we are asking them to do an easier job then they are asking us to do. Dropping a lid down takes much less effort than having to lift it up every time.

  • Yes, the toilet lid vs toilet seat debate are quite seperate.

    There are good reasons to put a toilet lid down.

    The only reason to put the toilet seat down is to make life easier for the next person who wants to sit on the toilet.

    Which always raises the question for me, why isn’t it anyone’s job to make life easier for ME next time I want to stand at the toilet?

    Of course, whilst I have raised this once or twice in my own relationship, I have since ceased to pursue this eminently logical and rational course of debate.

    • My first thought was a tiny contact switch under the light being fed to an arduino with a time-delay alarm. If the seat stay up for more than a couple of minutes, flash a light or buzz a piezo.

  • While I agree with putting the seat and lid down for hygiene and child safety I have to ask the philosophical question of why do men HAVE to put the seat down? At the end of the day fair is fair, if the seat is always down then we men have to lift it up. So I guess it’s ok we have to lift but not ok women have to put it down every now and again?

    Equal rights sucks now doesn’t it? Shhh… I think my misses just caught on to what I was typing 😉

  • Marriage is a partnership. Both partners should sacrifice their preference for the other’s benefit.
    – Husbands should leave the seat down for their wife.
    – Wives should leave the seat up for their husbands.

  • Your wife should just learn to put the seat down if you’ve left it up.

    In our house we had the issue for the first month of marriage of which way the toilet roll goes on. We’ve resolved this issue by who ever puts the new roll on puts it on their way.

    • There’s clearly a correct way to put a toilet roll on though. Do it the wrong way, (generally with cheaper TP), and it keeps breaking when you try and unroll some.

  • Putting the LID down, I can see it being an issue. My wife leaves the lid up and being somewhat paranoid, I fear my toothbrush will be like it’s been dunked in the toilet before use

    Putting the SEAT down? A minor thing, and if your wife is wanting to kill you for leaving the seat up, then you need to seriously talk to her, or else everything, will become a heated argument. It’s about seeing both sides of the argument, not just “I’m right, and your opinion is not valid”.

  • How about a compromise? Put both seat and lid down, thus everyone, regardless of gender and what they have to do, has to lift something and then lower something.

    Also, I agree with those commenting on the wife looking before sitting. It’s not that hard. Even if she’s half asleep I assume she’s awake enough to watch where she’s walking while going to and from the toilet so she doesn’t walk into walls or doors, so why not also watch to make sure she’s not about to wedge herself into a toilet? I’ve never had such a problem. But then again I don’t have a partner who I can yell at about something as unimportant as toilet seats. 🙁

  • If you’d really like to curb your toilet seat habbits, just watch this video:

    Ever since I saw this episode of “How Dirty is Your Bathroom? | Curiosity – World’s Dirtiest Man” I religiously put the toilet seat down before flushing!

  • Use a permanent marker to write “PUT THE SEAT DOWN WHEN FINISHED!” on the underside of the seat.

  • Tell him a civilised man always puts the seat and lid down, and an uncivilised man doesn’t. Which one does he want to be?

    • You’re asking a man that question? And you know which he’s going to answer with? Isn’t it like 50/50

  • To all those people saying that the lid is an issue and the seat isn’t. You’re absolutely right.

    But here’s the thing: putting the lid down means putting the seat down. So just put the lid down and stop making an issue of it.

    All users of the toilet are then responsible for either lifting the lid or lifting the lid+seat and restoring lid or lid+seat to a closed position afterwards. No double standards or gender differences to worry about.

    It’s about health and aesthetics, not about who has to exert themselves most on going to the toilet. But if you want to be pedantic on that front: it is actually more work for women than for men if the seat is left up (for women) or down (for men), because half the time they visit the loo men will be sitting down and therefore will want the seat down anyway, whereas women need the seat down every time. 🙂

  • Who on earth doesn’t close the lid when they’re done already? Because ew.

  • The lid should always be down before flushing anyway, so I don’t see why this is an issue with some couples. Anything else is just kind of gross O_o

  • My wife and I ended up in stalemate – so there’s become an unspoken status quo where the toilet seat gets left in whatever position the last person used it. She doesn’t complain when I leave it up, I don’t complain when she leaves it down.

  • CCH should get a new wife. Anyone bringing up toilet seats that early on in the marriage has some serious issues.

  • I’m trying to train myself to be a “lid down” kind of person, for hygiene reasons, even though that isn’t the way I was raised. But here’s my issue with “lid down”: When I raise the lid, sometimes there are….. DROPLETS on the lid. I have long hair, and frequently wear nice jackets to work. So when I sit to do my business, the hair, jacket, or both likely comes into contact with the lid. Now *THAT* to me is *EWWWW*. What’s the solution to that?

    • Do you live in a volcano or something? Even on the hottest days, I don’t think I’ve ever had droplets of any kind on the lid.

      • OK, I laughed. Thank you. But actually, no, I live in a world where the stuff in the bowl splashes the inside of the lid, when the lid is down during a flush, as recommended. See how that could happen? They’re the same droplets (and random germs) so many people are worried about escaping into the air if the seat isn’t down. Now they’re on the inside of the lid, and when the lid is raised and I’m seated, guess where they end up next?

        • In droplet heaven? I guess if they’re bad they go to droplet hell. Or maybe that only applies to Christian droplets? I don’t know, this isn’t my area of expertise.

          Jokes aside, the splash makes sense but hadn’t really occurred to me, as I’ve never used a toilet that splashes the seat when it flushes. If the bowl is shaped properly that shouldn’t really happen. On the hair issue though, I suppose your solution would be to use toilet paper to wipe down the lid if it was contaminated, the same way you’d wipe down the seat.

          • Yeah, that’s what I do (wipe off the part of the lid facing my back), but it doesn’t feel like a complete solution. And hmmm, you must not have toilets with the same courage of conviction that i tend to find. They very insistently spring forth with forceful enthusiasm on the full flush setting.

  • I don’t understand why men need the seat up, is it that much more harder to get the pee in the smaller hole that is available when the seat is down? Is the hole that much smaller? Honestly, I don’t understand.

    I have had my own bathroom for years and I usually pee in the middle of the night when I’m half asleep so I’m not used to the seat being up, or the lid being down, so I can imagine that if I had a SO that put the seat up all the time, I’d fall in a lot… in the middle of the night…

    I personally hate the lid being down, especially in public toilets, I don’t want to touch any part of the toilet other than the flush with my hands and sometimes you get nasty surprises, it’s so much worse when you’ve touched the lid to lift it only to see even more grossness. May sound irrational but that seems worse to me than any spray that can occur.

  • I always put the lid down before I flush to prevent excess faecal molecules from spreading all over the bathroom when flushing. It seems like a sensible thing to do all the time anyway.

    • A few people have said that through this thread, so I feel obliged to point out that every time you fart, you spread a lot more ‘faecal molecules’ through your house, car or workplace than flushing the toilet will do. All your stuff is covered in a layer of shit no matter what you do, no point getting overly paranoid about it.

  • Urgh… Why this is an issue for anyone is beyond me.

    You’ve got arms; it’s got hinges. Use them & move on with more important life issues.

  • I suggest applying a little mental discipline. Establish a routine, or a ritual. For this, I suggest a SHAKE, SHUDDER and SHUT. i.e. Do the shake, then that weird little shudder that seems to occur after a good piss, then shut the lid. Works for me.

    Incidentally, I once had a female housemate from Thailand who used to leave the toilet seat up. It used to perplex me no end and I wondered how I could possibly enquire if she was not in fact a ladyboy without appearing indelicate. After a little research, I assumed that like many in Asia, she was simply lifting the lid, then squatting on the rim to do her business. To be frank, I am not sure this explanation completely eased my mind either.

    • By shudder, I assume you mean the fact your body notices that a large portion of its stored heat has just disappeared down the drain.

      • A little research on the net: post-micturition convulsion syndrome. Your theory makes sense, tho it’s also theorised that it’s a response of the ‘autonomic nervous system’; a sort of switch that gets reset so we don’t have to think about holding on to our piss all day. At least, that’s how I understood it.

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