A bedside commode is helpful for seniors who cannot or prefer not to use the bathroom.
A bedside commode is a portable toilet, often designed as a chair with a hidden potty/bucket underneath to catch waste.
The bucket is removable for emptying and cleaning.
Who Needs a Bedside Commode?
- Seniors with deteriorating mobility. This includes those who are bedridden or can’t walk far. Even if your elderly loved one can walk on their own but are unsteady on their feet, it’s safer to use a bedside commode to avoid a serious fall.
- Seniors who find a normal toilet difficult or uncomfortable to use (Note: If mobility is not a major problem, consider buying a raised toilet seat instead. It’s cheaper than a bedside commode).
- Invalid seniors who’ve just undergone surgery or have an injury making movement difficult.
Tips for Using a Bedside Commode
A bedside commode is used just like a normal toilet, only that there is no flushing and you have to dispose of the waste in the toilet.
- Start by locking the wheels of the commode, if it has them. If it has no wheels, make sure the commode is sitting on a flat surface with no risk of slipping. If the chair is adjustable, check that it is at the right height.
- Help your elderly loved one get on the commode. Consider buying one of those commodes with a removable armrest to make transfers easier.
- Make sure the bucket is secure underneath the seat. Add a little water to make emptying and cleaning easier. Most people prefer using disposable commode potty liners. They make emptying and cleaning the bucket much easier and more hygienic.
- Once your loved one is comfortably seated on the commode (note that you may need to help them take off clothing), give them some privacy. Also check that there is toilet paper or wipes within easy reach.
- When they are done, help them wipe (if they can’t wipe on their own), wash their hands and get back to bed. Make sure you have a pair of gloves on when helping them use the commode.
- Slide or lift the bucket out and empty it into the toilet.
- If you are using a biodegradable potty liner, simply tighten the drawstring and dispose of it in the normal household rubbish. Most commode liners quickly absorb liquids and dry out solid waste quickly, eliminating smells.
- Wash and sanitize the commode then put it back.
- Discard your gloves and wash your hands.
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Bedside Commode
a) Size and Adjustability
The first thing to check is the height and width of the commode to make sure it’s the right size for your loved one.
Height is usually not an issue. Focus more on the width. If your loved one has a wider girth, they need a wider chair that is comfortable.
If you are not sure which height is the best for your elderly family member, get a commode with height-adjustable legs.
b) Removable or Foldable Armrests
Removable armrests make it easier to transfer your elderly loved one from the bed onto the commode.
Some armrests come off completely while with others, you simply raise them out of the way.
c) Sturdy Design
Check if the manufacturer has specified a weight limit. A sturdy chair that can take a lot of weight is essential for safety.
A fall caused by a broken leg can cause serious injury.
d) Ease of Cleaning
The commode bucket should be easy to empty and clean. A quick scrub with the toilet brush and a germ-killing cleaner should be enough to get it ready for use again.
Look for a commode with a handle at the front to easily pull out the bucket.
This depends on your particular needs.
If your loved one travels a lot, look for a commode with a fold-down design. This usually requires removing the cushion and bucket first.
If you just need a commode you can move to different rooms, look for one with wheels. Remember to lock the wheels before they sit down on the commode.
Reviews of the Best Bedside Commodes [UK Market]
This is the most expensive commode among out picks. But if you have the budget, it’s worth it.
The design is very modern. It looks more like a luxury chair than a commode. It’s pretty comfortable too as a chair with soft cushioning, great back support and armrests for arm support.
When it’s time to use the commode, lift the seat padding to reveal the hidden pan underneath. The lid locks automatically out of the way when you lift it.
You can also remove the armrests for easier side transfer.
The chair is made from plastic and aluminium, making extra light. But it’s also very stable and sturdy. It stays put even on an uneven surface.
The soft ferrules at the bottom of the feet help prevent slipping even on a wet floor.
The chair’s legs are adjustable. You can raise or lower the chair’s height to make it more comfortable. The minimum sitting height is 43cm and the max height is 59cm.
The width is fixed at 56cm. The actual usable width between the arms is 41cm.
The pan slides out easily for emptying and is easy to clean. The rest of the chair is also easy to clean thanks to the smooth surfaces.
If you don’t want to use the pan, you can set up the commode over the toilet and use it as a sort of raised toilet seat. Just remove the pan and make sure your loved one can safely walk to the bathroom.
Because the chair is waterproof and safe for use on wet surfaces, it can also be used as a shower chair. The metal parts are non-corroding.
What we like about it:
- Lightweight but sturdy.
- Easy to clean and maintain.
- Versatile – can be used as a chair, a commode, a shower chair or a raised toilet seat.
If you are looking you can take with you on family trips, we recommend this lightweight foldable commode from Elite Care.
It weighs just 9kg but can comfortably support weight of up to 120kg (19 stone).
The size is pretty generous too. The sitting width between the armrests is 43cm and the sitting height is 46cm.
Unfortunately, the height is not adjustable.
A seat cushion and a padded armrest provide comfort and support. The armrests are padded as well.
When they need to use the commode, lift the cut out section of the pad to reveal a 5-litre pan with a lid. Remove the lid during use.
When they are done, the pan slides out easily by pulling a handle at the front.
It is easy to empty and clean. If you want, you can also line it with commode liners.
All other parts of the chair, including the vinyl padding and the powder coated steel frame are easy to clean. Just wipe them with a sanitizer.
For added stability, the chair has a cross brace design that allows the legs to take on more weight without buckling.
Rubber ferrules on the feet provide a firm grip on the surface, preventing slipping especially on a wet floor.
What we like about it:
- Very sturdy – safe and durable.
- Comfortable chair with padding on the seat and back.
- Chair and potty are easy to clean.
- Lightweight and foldable for easy portability.
If you are looking for something simple, basic and affordable, we recommend this steel bedside commode from Drive Medical.
Unlike the other commodes that are essentially comfy chairs with a pan underneath, this one is just a steel frame with a bucket underneath.
At 7.5 quarts, the bucket is large enough for an entire day’s or night’s use. A lid keeps smells contained.
When it’s time to empty it, there’s a convenient carry handle.
The bucket is easy to wash and sanitize.
Though simple in design, the steel commode is extremely sturdy. The steel frame can take weight of up to 350lbs.
It can also accommodate a fairly wide girth. The width between the arms is 45cm.
The height is adjustable from a minimum of 42cm to a max height of 57cm.
If you need to go on a trip, the commode folds into an easy-to-carry flat shape. You’ll need to carry the commode bucket separately when it’s folded.
Note that you can also use the commode as a raised toilet seat. Just remove the bucket and then position the frame over the toilet.
What we like about it:
- Large bucket with a lid and splash protection.
- Extremely sturdy – can support up to 350kg.
- Foldable for easy storage and transportation.
- Height adjustable.
This is a good choice if you are looking for a chair-style commode. It’s very comfortable with padding at the bottom and back.
Padded armrests provide extra support and comfort.
The chair features an extra-large commode bucket that’s hidden under the seat cushion.
The bucket is easy to remove and empty.
The seat frame is made from steel, making it stable and durable. It can support a maximum eight of 100kg.
The height and width are fixed.
The sitting height is 48cm, width is 44cm and depth is 43cm. This is big enough to accommodate most people.
What we like about it:
- Sturdy steel frame.
- Large and easy to clean bucket.
- Chair can accommodate different body sizes.
- Comfortable cushioning and back padding.
The Aidapt Essex commode chair is our top budget recommendation.
It’s cheaper than all other picks but just as sturdy and practical.
The steel frame can support up to 170kg (27 stone) and is big enough to accommodate different body sizes.
The seat width is 48cm and the height is adjustable to a max height of 59cm.
The chair is comfortable too. It comes with a padded backrest and a detachable seat cushion. So it can be used as a normal chair.
When your loved one needs to use the toilet, lift the cushion to access the hinged toilet seat and the 5-litre pail.
The bucket is easy to lift out, empty and clean.
All other parts of the chair are also easy to clean and sanitize. You can wipe down the steel frame and the vinyl cushion and padding.
What we like about it:
- Three colour options: blue, black & brown, grey.
- Sturdy and durable design.
- Easy to use and clean.
- Comfortable seat cushion and padded backrest.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Bedside commode vs bedpan: Which one is better?
It depends on the health of the user. For bedridden seniors, a bedpan is the better choice since it allows them to relieve themselves without getting out of bed.
For elderly users who can get out of bed but are too frail to walk to the bathroom or use a toilet, get a bedside commode.
If, on the other hand, someone can walk aided or unaided to the bathroom, consider getting a raised toilet seat.
2. How to clean a bedside commode?
Remove the bucket and empty the contents into the toilet. Wash and rinse the bucket using water containing a disinfectant. Let the bucket air dry before putting it back in the commode.
To make cleanup easier, we highly recommend buying disposable commode liners. The liner holds both liquid and solid waste and you dispose of it along with your normal household waste.
3. Can I use a bedside commode over a toilet?
Some bedside commodes provide 3-in-1 functionality. You can use it as a chair, for toileting, and it also works as a raised toilet seat or a toilet frame.
When using a bedside commode over a toilet, remember to remove the bucket underneath.