Skip to content

8 Factors to Consider before buying a Commode or Potty Chair

Factors when buying Commode or Potty Chair

Commode chairs are types of equipment that need to be carefully chosen. Before buying any for your elderly or needy person, here are the main factors to consider first.

This is because they will help accomplish everyday movements and activities of the elderly. Movement and manipulation of commode chairs should not be difficult.

The commode chairs should adapt to changes occurring to seniors as they continue to age.

You can read our guide on the best commodes on that link. However, consider the following before purchasing a commode chair, potty chair or toilet chair.

Factors to consider when buying a Commode chair

1. Weight capacity of the commode chair

Different brands and style number of senior toilets vary in the weight they can carry.

There is a basic rule of thumb that most commode seats for the elderly should hold up to 300 pounds.

Bariatric commodes designed for those who are heavier should hold up to 1000 pounds.

It is, therefore, the responsibility of the buyer to know the weight of the senior to use the commode chair before buying it.

Commode chairs that are within the range of user’s body mass will hold the senior’s weight well and keep them safer by avoiding mere accidents.

These accidents may result from arm support failure, slippage, and buckling of commode legs Buying commode chairs that can sustain the senior’s weight will prevent the chairs from becoming wobbly.

Arm-less and bench-style commodes have generous weight limits compared to chair-style and three-in-none commodes.

2. The right style of the commode

This is selecting a toilet chair that best suits the senior’s needs. Elderly people who have a significant amount of mobility can easily use the fixed-arm commode chairs.

On the contrary, bench-style commodes and drop arm commodes are suitable for use or are better choices for persons with very limited mobility and are being taken care of by other people.

Cantilever drop arm commodes and bench-style commodes are more efficient for use to people using wheelchairs. 

The three-in-one commodes are usually multifunctional. These can be used in any room in the house.

They can be used over a toilet and also as a shower chair. When using it as a shower chair it is crucial to measure the width of your shower to make sure that the commode will fit well in it.

Setting a bedside commode can be done using standard fixed arm commodes, drop arm commodes, and bench commodes.

Bench commodes and three-in-one armless commodes are suitable when you are on the active side and wish to use the commodes outside.

The model you use should be determined by the needs of the user. The chair should be well adapted to the user needs.

3. The Price of the commode

Price is one of the most important factors to consider when purchasing a toilet chair for a senior.

They range in price from less than $100 to more than $1000. This difference in cost can be attributed to manufacturers, demand, design, and features of the commode chair.

Three in one well-padded commode that has cantilever arms, splash guards and removable backrest is more expensive compared to bench-style commodes and simple chair commode.

Before buying the commode inquire whether the commode can be insured.

Expensive commodes at least should be covered to avoid huge losses in case of accidental damage.

One should, therefore, follow the procedure and instructions required to ensure that the commode is well insured. 

4. Get advise from an occupational therapist

It is important to seek the opinion of an occupational therapist before purchasing a commode for a senior lacking autonomy.

For instance, you can even ask community-based caregivers for advice and they can provide a lot of information that can help you make an informed decision.

The occupational therapist’s work is to access whether the elderly person will be able to use the commode chair effectively and whether it will be of many advantages to the senior. 

Advice from health professionals is also crucial. They are the only ones who can determine the functional, abilities and disabilities of a senior’s muscles and skeleton who is experiencing a loss of autonomy.

This will, therefore, help determine the homecare needed and the type of commode needed to cater to the real needs of the senior. 

5. The opinion of the senior

It is very important to discuss in advance with the senior whether he or she agrees or not to the introduction of a commode to his or her environment before purchasing it.

Most elderly people may have no clue what commodes are and it is important to make them aware of them.

One should talk to them about the usefulness of introducing them to their environment.

Talking about the advantages of each model will help the seniors participate in the selection of the appropriate commode that will be best for their use.

If you have little knowledge of commodes, it is important to ask for help from a specialist.

The specialist will help explain the need for a commode to the senior and may end up convincing a senior opposing the idea to accept the purchase and use of commodes.

6. Access the places to install the commode

Places, where you want to locate the commode, should be safe and easily accessible to the elderly person with reduced mobility.

The location should also be well lit with no obstacles that can cause stumbling to either the senior or the caregiver.

The place you want want to install the commode should also be easy to maintain to keep it clean and maintain hygiene.

Before purchase one should also consider the measurements of the location and the measurements of the selected commode to make sure that it will well fit in the place and avoid congestion.

7. Use and maintenance of the commode

Before purchasing the commode one should research for its care and maintenance.

Having prior knowledge of how to use and maintain a commode is important.

It avoids panic buys and makes sure that the senior is well prepared for its use.

Prior maintenance knowledge helps you buy equipments needed for maintenance.

It also helps you to set up the room and place of installation the right way.

The prior use and maintenance are then enhanced by the user manuals which will provide more instructions and guidelines. 

8. The Features of the Commode

Portable commodes come with different features. It is, therefore, the responsibility of the buyer to selected a commode with features that will be of great help to the user.

To know the best commodes for a senior or handicapped people, read this guide. However, on this section, we explain some of the features of a good commode in a section below.

Features of a good Commode or a Toilet Chair

  1. Drop arms which help the seniors using the commode to get on and off the commode easily by holding on to the handles.
  2. Adjustable legs which help in the adjustment of height to fit the height of the user.
  3. A removable back that will allow the commode to be used in different positions. This is, therefore, an important feature to consider for toilet seat chairs for the elderly with reduced autonomy.
  4. Adjustable wheels which help ease movement of the portable commode chair from one place to another.
  5. The width of the commode. It is usually not adjustable. It depends primarily on the weight capacity of the commode. For example, the width of an armchair commode with a weight of 350 pounds can be 16″ in between the arms. A 1000 pounds bariatric drop arm toilets have a width measurement of 28″.
  6. Commode chairs should be high enough to enable the seniors to sit and rise easily. It should also be low enough that the feet touch the floor when seated.
  7. Foldable commodes are suitable in times of travel. They can easily be packed and transported from one place to another.
  8. Most commodes are made of steel that increases their strength and durability.

Final Verdict

When buying a new commode, the purchase of a new one is highly recommended.

However, one can also obtain it from its local long-term care center which should guarantee its sanitary and mechanical compliance.

It is the responsibility of the buyer to consider all the needed factors either on the user’s side or on the commode itself to select the most appropriate commode for a senior.

The most important factor is to make sure that the commode will be safe for use to avoid injuries to the senior.

One should consider several commodes before selecting the most appropriate for purchase.

You can learn more about the benefits of bedside commodes and potty chairs for seniors by clicking on this link