Public Restroom Access and Design

The design of public restrooms is in great need of improvement. Whether or not you have paruresis, we all have encountered unpleasant, unsanitary, and unusable facilities in public places. The International Paruresis Association supports improvements in restroom design standards. In addition, IPA is fighting to prevent unnecessary denial of public access to restrooms, a growing problem in the United States. Many businesses and governments are closing restrooms, restricting them to “customers only”, or denying the public access for a variety of reasons. Some of these reasons include: fear of illegal drug dealing or sexual molestation, security concerns, damage to restroom facilities, and reduction of maintenance costs. While these are certainly valid concerns, IPA believes there are many solutions besides closing a restroom to the public.

IPA has the following goals regarding improving restroom access and design:

  1. Identify problems and shortcomings with current commercial and residential restroom design.
  2. Work with manufacturers, designers, managers, government and others on an ongoing basis to improve restrooms in the United States.
  3. Advocate for wide availability of public restroom facilities and requirements that existing restrooms be open to public use when there is no sane reason to restrict access.

IPA helped found and supports the American Restroom Association, a group focused on these and other important aspects of restroom access and design.

IPA has done work to identify the problems with the current state of the nation’s restrooms. As a first step in this effort, our committee has produced the following white paper: Identifying the Problem – The Implications of Poor Restroom Design.

Dr. Steve Soifer has also consented to the posting of his extensive document titled: Evolution of the Bathroom.

Please note, these documents are copyrighted and should not be reprinted in any form except for personal use without the express permission of IPA.