Toilets are bathroom fixtures used for the sanitary collection and disposal of human waste products such as urine and feces. Consisting of a bowl and seat, toilets provide hygienically safe and convenient facilities for relieving ourselves. Toilets come in a variety of disposal methods that range from common flush toilets, dry toilets, and vacuum toilets to pit latrines, portable toilets, and chemical toilets.
Toilet bowls are typically made of ceramic (porcelain) but other disposal designs may be made from concrete, plastic or wood. Toilet manufacturers also offer diverse options for seat styles and bowl design along with new possibilities to integrate technology into the toilet that may improve your experiences. The most common toilet design variations are two-piece, one-piece, and wall-hung toilets.
In ancient times, civilizations like the Romans and Indus Valley had basic communal latrines and sewage systems. Over the centuries, the concept of personal sanitation evolved. Medieval castles used garderobes, which were simple holes that emptied outside. By the 19th century, with growing urbanization and understanding of disease, there was a push for better sanitation. The invention of the flush toilet in the late 1800s marked a significant advancement, improving hygiene and comfort. Over time, toilets transformed from simple pits or outhouses to the sophisticated plumbing fixtures commonly found in modern homes and public places.
Toilets are becoming more advanced and eco-friendly. Modern designs focus on water conservation, with features like dual-flush systems and waterless urinals. Smart toilets with automated cleaning, heated seats, and health-monitoring capabilities are also emerging. However, with global water scarcity issues, there's a push for sustainable sanitation solutions, especially in underdeveloped areas.
Composting and bio-toilets, which recycle waste without needing a traditional sewage system, are gaining attention. Additionally, in densely populated urban areas, creating efficient, hygienic public sanitation facilities remains a challenge. As we progress, the emphasis is on blending comfort, sustainability, and innovation.
Toilets are designed and manufactured in a range of sizes and styles with typical depths between 27”-30” (69-76 cm), widths around 20” (51 cm), and back heights from 21”-31” (53-79 cm).
The distance measured to the top of the toilet seat, not the bowl height, must be between 17”-19” (43.1-48.3 cm) to be ADA compliant. Before recently, most standard toilets were manufactured to be 15” (38.1 cm) in height which does not meet accessibility requirements.
The Rough-In measurement of a toilet refers to the distance from the back wall to the center of the drainpipe at the base of a standard toilet. The rough-in measurement of a standard toilet design is typically 12” (30.5 cm).