Living with a Badly Placed Toilet
June 4, 2016 7:51 PM   Subscribe

Deeply embarrassed, but need to tap the groupmind for brainstorming on an indelicate subject: using a badly placed toilet for a year's time or more.

That's not my toilet, but I've got the same issue.

My new apartment has a small toilet with its right edge directly up against a wall, identical to the linked image. I think this'd be a problem for even those of normal frame, but I'm a larger man.

My new place has many good things, and I expect to be held to my lease without solution from the (generally good guy) landlord. Even if I were to be let go from the lease, I'm not sure I'd want to move.

I do live in a city, so have thought about trying to use nearby public restrooms when possible.

Anything sold for this kind of situation? Positions that will suit? Or any brainstorming whatsoever?
posted by WCityMike to Grab Bag (22 answers total)
Oh god, I'm embarrassed to even post this, but Squatty Potty will fix this.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:53 PM on June 4, 2016 [3 favorites]

So uh, I've dealt with this problem in my own life, and my solution was to ride it sidesaddle.
posted by makonan at 7:57 PM on June 4, 2016 [7 favorites]

Things may go better if you can install a built-in warm water nozzle style bidet.
posted by carmicha at 7:58 PM on June 4, 2016

Don't be didn't install it!

In lieu of moving the wall (which would be ideal), can you sit on it sideways with your back to the wall?
posted by the webmistress at 8:00 PM on June 4, 2016

A friend just said to ask your landlord whether or not you could use an offset toilet flange to move the toilet farther away from the wall. It involves removing the toilet from its pipes and putting the offset flange over the one that's there, and reinstalling the toilet. Google around for details if it's a possibility. I do not know how reliable this advice is. IANAP.
posted by the webmistress at 8:08 PM on June 4, 2016 [5 favorites]

Bidet's are awesome and easy to install, but if you shift around they spray water up out of the bowl.

The squatty potty will probably work side saddle style.
posted by jbenben at 8:10 PM on June 4, 2016

Def just sit sideways
posted by greta simone at 8:13 PM on June 4, 2016

Changing the toilet seat from the horseshoe style to a closed front will make the sidesaddle experience a lot better.
posted by jamaro at 8:18 PM on June 4, 2016 [14 favorites]

Yes with the sidesaddle! I never knew there was any other way.
posted by BostonTerrier at 8:53 PM on June 4, 2016

It is what results when the plumber places the waste pipe out of position, and the builder puts the wall where the plans say it goes. The solution is to shift the wall - if it is not an external/load bearing wall. This is normal building practice, obviously done when the frame is being installed.

You could discuss with your landlord the option of shifting the wall, especially if the building is still new and under warranty. In any event, fixing it is in the landlord's interests, as it will definitely put some potential tenants off.
posted by GeeEmm at 9:46 PM on June 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

If moving the wall is not an option, could the toilet be reinstalled at an angle?
posted by Dr Dracator at 11:05 PM on June 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

OMG! There's such a thing as an offset toilet flange?! And they're only about $20!!

Here's a video on how to install.

Imma tell you something true. Every time I see a toilet get replaced, I think: That's it? Gee that's easy.

It's dead simple to do this job yourself, although honestly, you 1000% should alert your landlord and get him to have his plumber do it.

Good luck!
posted by jbenben at 11:44 PM on June 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

This is one of those basic city code things. I'd be surprised if you couldn't easily break your lease over it: "toilet unusable due to position."
posted by salvia at 3:23 AM on June 5, 2016 [8 favorites]

My friend has an old house and the guest bath toilet is wedged sideways into a tiny alcove where the left side edge is against the wall and you literally can't sit on it without your knees smashed against the wall in front of you. We call it the Naughty Stool. Unless you're a child, you have to sit crosswise to use it. It's a bit awkward, but doable. Good luck!
posted by cecic at 4:50 AM on June 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

Definitely check out the offset flange but it may not shift it enough depending on just how bad yours is. And, they probably will not work on a concrete floor, at least not without a lot of hacking away of the floor to allow the offset fitting to sit down in the floor.

As a plan B, how about replacing the S trap toilet with a P trap, and running the outlet through the wall to pick up the sewer somewhere outside. I have seen this done, but the plumbing lines and building form have to be right to make it possible.
posted by GeeEmm at 5:16 AM on June 5, 2016

I'm a larger person and while my parents toilet isn't as close to the wall, it is right next to a radiator and I have to turn sideways to avoid being burned when its on. Its no big deal really and I wouldn't see if as a reason to try and get out of a lease or leave an otherwise good place.
posted by missmagenta at 6:42 AM on June 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

Removing/replacing a toilet is one of those things that's conceptually simple but IRL can be fraught with problems especially if it's an older installation. Like disintegrating pipes. We had to have a plumber replace a toilet in a 1978 apartment, and the outflow pipe had to be cut back and a new section added because it was falling apart.

So if you try to move it yourself, have a backup plan for restroom facilities in case something goes wrong and yours is off-line for a spell. Also have a plumber pre-selected and their phone number handy just in case.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 9:44 AM on June 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

Depending on how this impacts you, I would check with your local tenant's right group to see if a note from your doctor would allow you to make modifications to your apartment (on your dime) or seek a different unit from your landlord. (Or possibly be released from your lease.)
posted by Room 641-A at 10:18 AM on June 5, 2016

Yeah, don't try to move it yourself. A screwed up toilet installation can rot out the subfloor. You don't want the responsibility. It's completely inappropriate that the toilet is where it is, and the landlord should definitely fix it. The offset flange, if it works, could make this a very cheap problem for the landlord to fix.
posted by salvia at 1:36 PM on June 5, 2016

Not threadsitting, but I suspect the offset flange wouldn't be a solution in this case -- after having using it a few times, the bathroom is so small (it's a 300 sq. ft. apartment) that if the toilet were to be moved via an offset flange, it could likely only be moved right into the sink. If construction was a solutoin, I think the best solution would've been to move the wall out, but that was probably more than they were willing to do as part of the overhaul.
posted by WCityMike at 4:39 PM on June 5, 2016

There are toilet/sink combinations available. Most are cold water only but there are more pricy ones that have hot water too.

Also look for diy hacks for installing the sink over top of the toilet as an option.
posted by mightshould at 5:46 AM on June 6, 2016 [1 favorite]

Your followup makes it seem like moving out is the only real option. Sounds like a 'fix it or I am out' conversation with the landlord.

I would also get some photos of you/someone sitting on it (as well as some measurements), to demonstrate the gravity of the problem - useful if there is a dispute, and (dare I suggest) social media. This landlord/apartment deserves to be named and shamed if the problem is not fixed properly.
posted by GeeEmm at 10:58 PM on June 6, 2016

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