How to Solve Difficulties with Getting Up from the Toilet

Many individuals have trouble with getting up from the toilet. This can be due to multiple factors ranging from a low toilet to not enough strength to stand up.

This article will highlight why someone may be unable to stand from a toilet, followed by the strategies and equipment that can provide support for getting off the toilet.

Why Someone May Be Unable to Stand Up from the Toilet

A range of physical ailments and disabilities can impact someone’s ability to stand up from the toilet. These can include the following:

  • Decreased overall strength
  • Low or poor balance
  • Muscle loss after a hospital stay
  • Overall decreased level of endurance
  • Blindness or inability to see transfer supports
  • Respiratory conditions affecting the ability to catch one’s breath
  • Decreased body coordination due to a medical condition
  • Medication side effects resulting in drowsiness
  • Toilet height is too low
  • And much more

In many cases, these issues can be addressed through assistive transfer devices, medical intervention or chronic disease management through guidance from one’s medical practitioner. In other instances, issues can be more challenging to address such as blindness and the inability to see the surroundings.

How to Get Up from the Toilet

This article will mainly focus on the physical trouble someone may have with toilet transfers and ways to overcome this difficulty. Let’s now discuss five ways to help with getting off a toilet seat:

  1. Exercise Program – Strengthening and conditioning the muscles

People may have difficulty getting up from a low toilet because their muscles are weak and deconditioned. As a result, one method of improving toilet transfers is to engage in a strengthening and conditioning exercise program.

An individualized exercise regime can be designed by a physical therapist to focus on muscle growth and development of key parts of the body involved in getting up from the toilet.

For instance, the following muscle groups can be worked on to improve toilet transfers:

  • Leg muscles – improves weight bearing ability and balance
  • Abdominal core muscles – improves balance through better trunk support
  • Upper arm and shoulder muscles – improves the ability to push off the toilet seat or grab a transfer aid for support
  1. Transfer Aids – Used to make standing easier

The following transfer aids can help with getting up from the toilet:

A device that is connected to the toilet bowl and increases the height of the toilet to make a low toilet seat taller. In turn, this makes it easier to stand up from the toilet as one would be sitting at a higher position.


Generally, you want the toilet seat to be around the same height as the back of someone’s knees when they are in a standing position. As a result, this transfer aid is usually used for seats that are too low, but not for toilet seats that are already high enough for a short individual. 

Raised toilet seats usually come in 2”, 4” inches or other combinations of heights. In most cases, an additional 2 inches of height for the toilet is sufficient. In more extreme cases where the toilet is very low to the ground, and an individual is taller than average, a 4” riser may be needed.

This device’s main purpose is to provide supportive grab handles that are either connected to the toilet itself, or surround it as a stand alone safety frame.


These handles can be pushed on in a downwards motion to help someone get the momentum to stand up.

Effectively, this transfer aid uses the strength in the upper body to compensate for weakness in the legs.

Grab bars are installed into wall studs within grasping reach of the toilet. Ideally, they are placed adjacent to the toilet or directly in front of it if the wall is close enough.


This equipment provides a sturdy handle to grab and pull on to get into standing. It allows for weakness in the legs to be compensated by strength in the arms. 

If the grab bar is placed in a lower spot and positioned close enough to the toilet, it may be utilized by pushing downwards on it.

Tip: Consult with a home safety expert or medical vendor regarding proper installation locations for grab bars.

A pole that runs from a base situated on the floor to the ceiling. This equipment can be held in place temporarily by tension or permanently secured by drilling it into an anchor point.


This pole is pulled on to help someone stand up from the toilet. As a result, sufficient arm strength is required to use this device.

  1. Proper Toilet Transfer Technique – Maximize effective use of energy through proper body mechanics

If one does not have the support of transfer aids, getting up from the toilet can be made easier by following proper transfer technique.

Steps for standing from the toilet:

  • Shift body forward to the front of the toilet seat
  • Bring your feet underneath your knees or slightly behind them
  • Lean forward so your upper body is over your knees
  • Use your hands to push off the toilet seat
  • Weight bear through your legs simultaneously to stand up
  1. Support From Caregivers – Rely on the strength of others to assist with standing

Family and privately hired health care aides can provide support for getting off the toilet by either physical assistance or close by supervision until the need for help becomes apparent. 

This allows someone to maintain their personal hygiene through toilet assistance, while also giving them autonomy and dignity if they are able to independently complete their own toileting and transfers part of the time.

  1. Bathroom Renovation – Change the toilet seat height to maximize transfer success

Help getting off the toilet seat can be achieved through renovation of the bathroom itself.

For instance, low toilets can be replaced with high rise toilets that have a taller seat. Alternatively, a toilevator riser can be installed at the base of an existing toilet to boost the overall height.


These modifications make it easier to stand as one does not lower themselves as far down when sitting. As a result, less energy is required to stand up because you are already closer height wise to a full standing posture.

If the bathroom is utilized by multiple people, including a shorter than average person, having a high rise toilet may make it challenging to get on or off. 

For example, short individuals getting off a tall toilet may have a slight drop before their feet touch the floor, which can be an opportunity to lose one’s footing and sustain a fall.

As a result, individuals that need to use a low toilet due to being short, may benefit from using transfer aids if they struggle with getting up.