A toilet sitting on top of a cell phone. There are four stars hovering over the toilet. In the background is a pencil and post it.

My Life as a Restroom Critic

Thirty-plus years as an IBD sufferer, and I can't even begin to tell you how many public restrooms I've experienced. Actually, any Crohn's or UC person possesses firsthand knowledge of all "the good, the bad, and the ugly" when it comes to the facilities of gas stations, rest areas, restaurants, schools, stores, etc.

An app to rate public restrooms

I'm jealous. Why didn't I think of it?

How did I not think of making a restroom rating app for life on the go? Dang it! We IBD patients should have come together first and figured out this potential goldmine of an idea!

Seriously, as I headed to the restroom yesterday in the school where I teach, I wondered if such an app exists. Sure enough, Charmin beat me to the privy...umm, punch!

Now, I offer full disclosure here: I haven't downloaded the app. But I'm curious enough to check it out.

In my app store search, I indeed found the “Sit or Squat: Restroom Finder” created by Charmin, P&G Productions. Apparently, here is the spot one can search and view over 100,000 public restrooms.

Ratings, photos, and filtering for different needs

Even better, individuals can rate the facilities by choosing "Sit" (this is a good one) or "Squat" (beware of what lurks below). Users of this tool can also filter their search by features such as handicap accessibility, baby changing accommodations, and current sit-or-squat ratings.

Additionally (and weirdly this is the part that really cranks up my interest), participants can add photos from their potty adventures or misadventures. (I'm already envisioning the photos of the “Squat” watering holes.)

I shudder as I think back to some of the dark caverns I've visited during my UC flares. Charmin claims all the content and “honest opinions including pictures” are provided by app users.

For a few more details, I note this service is free of charge and all users must be 4 years of age or older.

That got me thinking...

Are there many, say, 5-year-olds playing around on this app? Am I that far behind, technologically speaking, that kindergarteners have surpassed me at age 50 with a restroom rating app? Sheesh...my UC bum needs to catch up!

Nevertheless, I do think I'll download it.

Thinking back on good and bad bathroom experiences

Sadly, it's been a year since my husband and I last traveled. The pandemic temporarily has halted our trips. With fond memories, I consider the wonderfully NICE restrooms I visited in Pittsburgh a little more than a year ago. I would rate them all as “Sit.” Good job, Steel City!

Who would I ding with a “Squat” from this past year? Definitely, outhouses on a nearby backpack trail. Doing a 40-mile through-hike this past summer really tested my “squatting” abilities in more ways than one.

But...that's another poopy story for another day.

Finally, this barely-tech-savvy sufferer sees this “Sit or Squat” tool possesses a 3.3 rating out of 5. I guess the next time Mother Nature wags her mean UC finger my way and I find myself running to the nearest restroom, I'll take time to read user reviews.

Since we IBD sufferers spend more time taking a “sit down” than non-sufferers, I believe I'll have time to read all 35 reviews.

In the end, that might determine whether I log on and bother to submit the good, the bad, and the freakishly ugly photos.

If anyone uses this app, please feel free to leave your comments, reviews, and suggestions here. For now, I'm still waiting for my second round of the COVID-19 vaccination before I venture out into the dense wilderness of public restrooms.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The InflammatoryBowelDisease.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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