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What is the difference between an ADA toilet and a non ADA toilet?

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About 2" to 4" is the difference between ADA and standard toilets.
ANSI 117.1a 2003, which is determined to be "SAFE HARBOR" for accessible design, requires that an accessible toilet be 17" to 19" in height. Most regular toilets are 14" to 16" in height.

NOTE: if you are looking to modify your existing toilet there are lids that add 2" to the height. My neighbor, who is very tall, has his master bath toilet as an ADA toilet to keep his knees out of his chin... just because he can.

It is correct that ADA toilets are higher but the other difference is in the size of the "goose neck". the ADA has a larger goose neck therefore has a higher flush capacity for the harder bowels which is usually found in the older generation or certain medications.

Some personal opinions from the community:
  • I am a short person, and the ADA toilet height requirement is NOT helpful to me. It only makes sense that if something is better for one person, it will be worse for another. The distance between my heel and the back of my knee is 14.5 inches. So, you can figure the math. My feet dangle when I sit on the ADA seat.
  • I'm 59 and I have terrible arthritis as well as a bum knee (recent problem). I've been using a cane to get on and off a standard height toilet, and even that sometimes proves to be difficult. I'm having ADA approved toilets (19" high) installed in both of my bathrooms next week. I live in a retirement community where the entire house (except for the toilets) is designed for people who use walkers or who are in wheelchairs. Having ADA approved toilets in this type of house is a selling feature. I know they're probably too high for short people, but I believe you should probably think long term about whether or not you might be using a walker or a wheelchair as well as whether or not potential buyers will scoff at standard height toilets. I "tried out" an ADA approved toilet before I decided to buy them for my house and you wouldn't believe the difference it makes in getting on and off the toilet ... no more canes for me.
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