High School Students' Experiences in School Toilets or Restrooms

J Sch Nurs. 2016 Jun;32(3):164-71. doi: 10.1177/1059840515611476. Epub 2015 Oct 16.


Previous research about school toilets is based on studies of children in elementary school. Thus, the aim of this study was to explore the experiences when using the school toilets reported by students aged 16-18 years. Qualitative interviews with 21 students were conducted and analyzed using content analysis. The data revealed that the toilets were considered insecure, dirty, and unpleasant. Additionally, students refrained from drinking during school hours and remained in constant movement or jumped up and down to withhold urine and stool. This was illustrated in the following categories: assessing the toilet environment, coping with the situation, and feeling exposed Hence, there is an urgent need to improve the school toilet environment in order to respect the rights of all students to void or defecate when necessary, a process which will require involvement of students, teachers, and other school staff as well as the School Health Service.

Keywords: bowel habits; constipation; defecation; elimination; environment; lower urinary tract symptoms; overdistended bladder; school toilet; student.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Bathroom Equipment / statistics & numerical data*
  • Consumer Behavior / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hygiene
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Sanitation / statistics & numerical data*
  • Schools*
  • Students / statistics & numerical data*
  • Sweden