11 Best Bedside Commodes for Elderly Seniors

When seniors can’t get to the toilet without difficulty, it can be hard on them and their caregivers.

They can find themselves rushing, which can be dangerous, and can lead to slips and falls in the bathroom. A safe, comfortable bedside commode can make a world of difference in a senior’s life – but finding the right one can pose a challenge at times.

Bedside commodes come with a variety of options and features, which can make the buying process feel overwhelming for some. No worries though, we’ve taken the time to break down all your options for you, so you can make an informed decision when it comes to selecting a portable toilet commode.

If you just want to purchase a commode ASAP, we feel that the UltraCommode Foldable Padded Commode Chair offers some of the best value for the price.

It offers everything: a padded seat and backrest, open-front design for easy personal hygiene, armrests that drop out of the way for easy transfers from a wheelchair – and it folds up for easy storage or travel to boot!

However, if you’re looking for something a bit more basic and inexpensive for just a few weeks’ use, or have specific needs for your portable toilet, take a look through our other top picks and find the perfect fit!

Best Beside Commode for the Elderly: Reviews & Rankings

1. Drive Medical Multi-Use Folding Bedside Commode

Best Basic, Budget-Friendly Pick
Drive Medical 11148-1 Steel Folding Bedside Commode, Grey, Bariatric, 18'x22.5'x35'

Drive Medical Folding Bedside Commode

Durable, affordable foldable commode chair with non-slip feet.

The Drive Medical Multi-Use Folding Bedside Commode offers a sturdy, non-nonsense commode chair that covers all the basics. It can be used as a standalone commode or can be placed over the toilet as a safety frame or raised toilet seat. It features durable construction and non-slip feet for stability – and it can fold up easily for storage.

Features:

  • Use as a toilet safety frame or raised toilet seat
  • Folds for easy storage
  • Non-slip cane-tip feet for stability

This Drive Medical commode features a flip-top cover, which can be kept closed when not in use. Many find this to be much nicer than an open pail in the bedroom, as it provides some extra privacy and limits odors.

The pail also comes with a carrying handle and lid, making it easy to dispose of the waste. A splash guard is also included to prevent leaks when a man sits to urinate on the toilet. 

Unfortunately, the Drive Medical commode isn’t padded, so it’s not the best choice for seniors with fragile skin. The lack of backrest could also make this commode uncomfortable for seniors who need back support, and some larger seniors could feel cramped on the smaller seat. 

Technical Specifications

  • Commode Weight: 13 pounds
  • Weight Capacity: 350 pounds
  • Seat Dimensions: 13.5 x 15 inches
  • Width Between Arms: 18 inches
  • Special Features: Folds for storage

Pros

  • Low price point
  • Folds for portability

Cons

  • Seat is not padded
  • No backrest
  • Seniors with larger builds may feel cramped

2. Medline 3-in-1 Folding Bedside Commode

Best 3-in-1 Commode
Medline 3-in-1 Steel Folding Bedside Commode Chair for Toilet is Height Adjustable That Can be Used as Raised Toilet (Supports 350 lbs), 1 Count (Pack of 1)

Medline 3-in-1 Folding Bedside Commode

Portable, budget-friendly, multi-use bedside commode that can function as a raised toilet seat or set of safety rails.

The Medline 3-in-1 Folding Bedside Commode is another fairly basic and affordable portable toilet for the elderly that can double as a raised toilet seat or as toilet safety rails over an existing toilet. Conveniently, this commode can fold up to move from room to room, or to store out of the way when not needed.

Happily, despite its solid build, it comes at a very low price point. 

Features:

  • Folds flat for easy storage and transport
  • Adjustable-height legs
  • Non-slip rubber feet

The commode bucket comes complete with a lid and carrying handle for easy, spill-free transportation. A splash guard is included for leak-free over-the-toilet use.  

Once again, this more budget-focused commode’s lack of padding means that this model may not be the best choice for seniors with frail skin prone to injury.

Seniors with larger builds may find it feels narrow, so double-check the seat dimensions before purchasing.

Technical Specifications

  • Commode Weight: 13 pounds
  • Weight Capacity: 350 pounds
  • Seat Dimensions: 13.5 x 15 inches
  • Width Between Arms: 21 inches
  • Special Features: 3-in-1, folding

Pros

  • Folds up for portability
  • Low price point

Cons

  • No padding
  • May feel a little narrow for seniors with wider builds

3. MedPro Comfort Plus Commode Chair

Best Extra-Wide Commode Chair
MedPro Comfort Plus Commode Chair with Adjustable Height and Extra Wide Ergonomic Seat, Convenient and Safer Toilet Alternative, Flexible Frame Design, Gray

MedPro Comfort Plus Commode Chair

Adjustable commode chair with extra-wide ergonomic seat to help reduce back pain.

The MedPro Comfort Plus Commode Chair’s seat is 20% wider than standard commodes, and it’s ergonomically designed to reduce strain on the back, making it a great pick for larger users or those who struggle with back pain.

Features:

  • Extra-wide ergonomic seat design
  • Adjustable-height legs
  • 3-in-1 design allows it to be used as a toilet safety frame or raised toilet seat
  • Splash guard

The MedPro is designed for easy clean up, with a built-in splash guard, lid, and carrying handle. The pail can be inserted and removed from either the back or the top, so you can choose the way that works best for you. 

The ergonomic design is likely more comfortable than standard commodes, but the lack of padding again means that some seniors with thin, frail skin might prefer a chair with a padded seat, backrest and/or armrests.

Technical Specifications

  • Commode Weight: 13.2 pounds
  • Weight Capacity: 350 pounds
  • Seat Dimensions: 15 x 19.5 inches
  • Width Between Arms: 23.5 inches
  • Special Features: 3-in-1 design

Pros

  • Ergonomically designed seat reduces strain on back
  • Low cost
  • Wider than standard commodes

Cons

  • No padding

4. Medline Elements Bedside Commode

Most Discreet Commode
Medline Elements Bedside Commode, Infused with Antimicrobial Protection, Height Adjustable Seat and Arm Rests, Flat Lid Cover for Discreet Storage, 400 lbs Weight Capacity, Microban, 1 Count

Medline Elements Bedside Commode

Adjustable toilet commode that can function as a bedside chair when not in use.

The Medline Elements Bedside Commode offers a more attractive alternative to other portable toilets. The pail is concealed under a flat-seat lid, and its dark bronze finish and traditionally-shaped chair design allows it to blend in better with a bedroom than a hospital.

All in all, it looks more like bedside chair than a commode – although the handy removable toilet paper holder just might give away the secret!

Features:

  • Looks and functions like a bedside chair when not in use
  • 3-in-1 design can be used as a raised toilet seat or safety frame
  • Convenient removable toilet tissue holder

This Medline commode’s legs can be adjusted between 19-22.5 inches, so it’s a great choice for taller seniors, but those with shorter legs may find the seat a little high for their liking. 

Like others, this portable toilet for seniors can be placed over a toilet for use as a safety frame or raised toilet seat, but check the overall dimensions carefully. The chair is a bit large and bulky, so it might not fit well in small bathrooms or tight areas.

The upside is that the wider design offers ample room to wipe (or for men to comfortably sit to urinate), which can be a problem with more compact models.

The Medline commode is sturdy and comfortable, although it’s not padded, so it might not be the best choice for a senior who has very sensitive or fragile skin.

Technical Specifications

  • Commode Weight: 10.77 pounds
  • Weight Capacity: 400 pounds
  • Seat Dimensions: 13 x 16.25 inches
  • Width Between Arms: 19.6 inches
  • Special Features: toilet tissue holder, 3-in-1 design

Pros

  • Sturdy and roomy enough for larger builds
  • Discreet design 
  • Backrest

Cons

  • May be too tall for shorter seniors
  • A little large and bulky
  • Unpadded

5. BLIKA Portable Folding Commode

Most Portable Commode
BLIKA 350 LBS Portable Toilet (16.5')

BLIKA Portable Folding Commode

Small & portable commode that’s perfect for travel and can be double as a shower chair.

Weighing in at less than five pounds, the Blika Portable Folding Commode is easily the most portable option among our picks. It’s usable in a variety of settings, but it’s uniquely suited for travel. Its strong steel frame folds easily and features a handy handle that makes carrying a breeze. 

Features:

  • Ultra-light weight and compact
  • Rust resistant – can be used in the shower
  • Anti-slip rubber feet

Despite its compact size, the Blika commode is strong and durable. It keeps its weight low in part due to the fact that it has no backrest – or armrests – so may not work well for seniors who need significant support getting on and off of the seat.

This portable commode won’t fit over a toilet, but it’s completely waterproof and can also function as a shower chair. In fact, its small size and non-slip rubber stoppers mean it should work quite well in many showers or tubs.

The Blika commode doesn’t come with a pail, and there’s no way to attach a traditional commode bucket. You can purchase a removable plastic ring and special bags separately, or place a two-gallon bucket on the floor underneath it. (Such as the Medline Replacement Commode Bucket – see our review below.)

The Blicka can be used at the bedside, but seniors who need a bedside commode for longer-term use may prefer a more traditional model, with an attached bucket and more arm or back support.

Technical Specifications

  • Commode Weight: 4.7 pounds
  • Weight Capacity: 300 pounds
  • Seat Dimensions: 13.8 x 15.3 inches
  • Width Between Arms: N/A
  • Special Features: Folding

Pros

  • Waterproof, and suitable for use in the shower
  • Small and portable
  • Strong and durable

Cons

  • Does not come with pail – purchase special bags, or place a bucket on the floor beneath it
  • No backrests or armrests
  • No padding

6. NOVA Drop Arm Rolling Commode

Best Rolling Chair Commode
NOVA Medical Products Drop Arm (for Easy User Transfer) Transport Chair Commode, Rolling with Locking Wheels & Removable Padded Seat, Hammertone 1 Count

NOVA Drop Arm Rolling Commode

Multi-purpose wheeled commode that can double as a transport chair.

The Nova Drop Arm Rolling Commode features a comfortable, removable seat pad cover, allowing it to double as a convenient transport chair around the home. Because it’s narrower than most wheelchairs, this rolling chair should be easier to navigate in and out of tight spaces.

Features:

  • Use as a transport chair or a commode
  • Drop arm design for easy transfers
  • Removable, swing-out footrests
  • Lockable wheels

The Nova’s unique drop arm feature means your loved one can benefit from the support of armrests, but can also fold them down and out of the way during transfers.  

The brakes on the wheels are easy to engage with your feet without having to bend over, and the removable footrests offer a safe place for seniors to rest their feet while the chair is rolling.

While the seat cover is padded, the commode seat itself is not. Seniors with especially fragile skin may prefer a model with a padded commode seat. 

While the Nova is very portable around the house, it’s a bit bulky and heavy for transporting for travel.

Technical Specifications

  • Commode Weight: 21.7 pounds
  • Weight Capacity: 250 pounds
  • Seat Dimensions: 17.75 x 17.5 inches
  • Width Between Arms: 17.5 pounds
  • Special Features: Wheels with foot brakes, removable footrests, drop arms, doubles as a transport wheelchair 

Pros

  • Armrests drop away for easy transfers 
  • Doubles as a small transport chair
  • Lockable wheels
  • Removable footrests

Cons

  • Not for use over a toilet or in the shower

7. Duro-Med Bariatric Bedside Commode

Best Bariatric Bedside Commode
DMI Adjustable Bedside Commode Chair for Adults Can Be Used with Included 7 Quart Pail or as a Toilet Riser and Safety Frame Easily Fitting Over Standard Toilet, 500 lb Weight Capacity

Duro-Med Bariatric Bedside Commode

Bariatric bedside commode that can support seniors up to 500 pounds.

This heavy-duty Duro-Med Bariatric Bedside Commode can support up to 500 pounds, while also doubling as a toilet safety frame or comfortable raised toilet seat for seniors with larger builds.

Features:

  • Works as a raised toilet seat or safety frame
  • Legs adjust in height from 16.5 – 23.5 inches 
  • Slip-resistant rubber feet
  • Extra-sturdy

The 7-quart pail comes with a snap-on lid, but no handle, so it’s a bit harder to carry than some other alternatives. There’s also no splash guard included, so there’s a chance that urine might leak from the front when a man sits to urinate (although splash guards can be purchased separately if needed.)

However, this bariatric beside commode lacks a backboard to provide back support for seniors with back pain or poor trunk strength. And, as with the vast majority of portable toilets, there is no padding on the seat.

Technical Specifications

  • Commode Weight: 19 pounds
  • Weight Capacity: 500 pounds
  • Seat Dimensions: 24 x 17 inches
  • Width Between Arms: 23 inches
  • Special Features: Can be used as toilet safety frame or riser

Pros

  • Durable, sturdy, heavy-duty frame
  • Wide, comfortable bench-style seat

Cons

  • No splash guard
  • No backboard
  • No padding

8. UltraCommode Foldable Padded Commode Chair

Best Padded Bedside Commode
UltraCommode™ Foldable Commode/Shower Chair- Soft, Warm, Padded and Foldable. XL Seat with 100% Open Front, Padded Pivoting Armrests, Adjustable Height. Free Commode Pail. (Blue)

UltraCommode Foldable Padded Chair

Most comfortable commode chair with extra-wide seat and cushy, non-slip padding.

The UltraCommode Foldable Padded Commode Chair is one of the few padded bedside commodes, featuring a soft padded seat that can protect fragile skin from skin tears.

The UltraCommode also boasts numerous other useful features – and really no drawbacks – earning it our nod as the best overall bedside commode.

Features:

  • Comfortable padded seat
  • Can be used as a shower chair
  • Pivoting arms for easy transfers
  • High-contrast coloring option
  • Folds for easy storage and portability

In addition to the standard grey color, the UltraCommode offers a high-contrast bright blue option which is easier to see for seniors with poor vision or dementia. It reduces the chance they might sit unsafely on the edge of the seat and slip off (although some toilet lights might be able to limit this risk as well).

Further enhancing safety is the non-slip padding covering the seat. It’s made from high-grade PU foam, which won’t absorb water, so it’s hygienic and easy to clean. It can also stand up to long-term use as a shower chair, allowing it to work as a multi-function bathroom device.

The foam padding feels comfortable and almost warm to the touch – a stark contrast from the hard plastic toilet seat on most non-padded commodes. 

The UltraCommode is also designed with an extra-wide seat, and a completely open front that makes it easier to access areas that need to be cleansed.

The armrests pivot out of the way for easy transfers to and from wheelchairs, and it can be folded up easily for compact storage or travel. 

Technical Specifications

  • Commode Weight: 17 pounds
  • Weight Capacity: 300 pounds
  • Seat Dimensions: 16 x 16 inches
  • Width Between Arms: 20 inches
  • Special Features: Folding, pivoting armrests, shower-safe

Pros

  • Padded seat
  • Open front design
  • High-contrast option 
  • Pivoting armrests for easy transfers

Cons

  • Higher price point
  • Won’t fit over most toilets

9. Uplift Technologies Self-Lifting Commode

Best Self-Rising Commode
Uplift Technologies, Inc. (n) Uplift Commode Assist - Self Powered Lifting Mechanism

Uplift Technologies Self-Lifting Commode

Includes a lift assist mechanism that lifts up to 70% of a senior’s weight.

Amazingly, the Uplift Technologies Self-Lifting Commode requires NO electricity to assist a senior to a standing position after using the commode or toilet! Its gentle lift relieves stress on painful joints, reduces physical demand on caregivers, and supports a senior’s dignity and independence.

Features:

  • Lift assist mechanism requires no electricity
  • Lifts up to 70% of a senior’s weight
  • Can be placed over a toilet
  • Adjustable leg height from 17-23 inches

Using unique patented technology, the Uplift Commode gently lowers the senior into a sitting position and automatically locks into place. When they are ready to stand, the senior presses a release lever. As they start to stand up, the mechanism gently rises upward to assist in a slow, controlled manner.

The Uplift only lifts to the extent needed, which helps the senior maintain their muscle strength. 

The seat is fairly wide and supportive, but does lack padding. There’s also no backrest to lean against, so seniors who need better back support might want to keep looking.

Technical Specifications

  • Commode Weight: 21 pounds
  • Weight Capacity: 300 pounds
  • Seat Dimensions: 16.5 x 16.5 inches
  • Width Between Arms: 22 inches
  • Special Features: Lift-assist mechanism 

Pros

  • Lift-assist mechanism promotes independence and relieves strain on knees
  • Can be used over a toilet or as a freestanding bedside commode
  • Requires no batteries or electricity to function

Cons

  • Higher price point
  • Seat lacks padding
  • No backrest

10. Caspian Professional Mobile Shower and Commode Chair

Best Commode and Shower Chair
Caspian Professional Mobile Shower/Commode Chair-Padded

Caspian Professional Chair

Premium commode that can double as a shower chair, with soft and comfortable support.

The Caspian Professional Mobile Shower and Commode Chair is a padded, premium commode option for seniors who struggle with mobility or trunk strength.

The Caspian offers flip-up armrests, a folding footrest, and a safety strap. This mobile commode can be used at the bedside, wheeled into the shower – or over the toilet – with the senior sitting in it, or used as a transport chair around the house. 

Features:

  • Padded seat, full backrest and armrests for comfortable support
  • Foldaway footrest provides support for lower limbs during transport
  • Can be wheeled directly over the toilet or into the shower
  • Flip-up armrests for easy transfers in and out of chair
  • Safety strap helps keep seniors with poor trunk control positioned comfortably

Along with its safety strap, the Caspian features a full backrest, which offers much more support than most other portable toilets for the elderly. 

The backrest, seat, and armrests are covered in polyurethane padding – a professional-grade foam padding that repels water and is easy to clean and disinfect. It feels much softer and warmer to the touch than traditional hard plastic. It’s also less slippery, and safer against fragile skin. 

The Caspian’s high-contrast blue color is easier to see for seniors with visual impairments or dementia, which makes it easier to sit down safely.  

This commode shower chair also includes a full-frontal cutout, which makes it much easier to reach personal areas for hygiene when helping a user clean up or wipe.

Since the Caspian can be wheeled directly over the toilet or into the shower with the senior in the seat, it’s especially helpful for those who find transferring taxing or difficult. The footrest provides valuable support to the lower limbs during transportation, and can be folded away when not in use. 

The Caspian’s 5-inch large casters have individual brakes, so it’s very secure and sturdy. While it’s very mobile around the house, it’s not especially well suited to travel.

Technical Specifications

  • Commode Weight: [not specified]
  • Weight Capacity: 330 pounds
  • Seat Dimensions: 15.75 x 15 inches
  • Width Between Arms: 22 inches
  • Special Features: Flip-up arms, footrests, padded, full seat and backrest, use in shower

Pros

  • Flip-up arms for easy transfers
  • Footrests, suitable for use as a transport chair
  • Padded seat, full backrest and armrests
  • High-contrast blue for those with vision or cognitive difficulties

Cons

  • Higher price point

11. Medline Heavy Duty Padded Drop-Arm Commode

Another Great Padded Commode
Medline Heavy Duty Padded Drop-Arm Commode

Medline Heavy Duty Padded Drop-Arm Commode

Padded drop-arm commode that supports seniors up to 300 pounds.

The Medline Heavy Duty Padded Drop-Arm Commode is a mid-priced padded commode that offers several helpful features for seniors with fragile skin or mobility challenges.

This commode offers plentiful padding, with a padded backrest for extra trunk support in addition to the padded seat. The open-front design makes it easy to perform personal hygiene without moving around too much, while the armrests have the option to drop to the sides so they won’t get in the way during transfers.

Features:

  • Arms swing out of the way for easier transferring
  • Backrest can be removed for use as a toilet safety frame
  • Open-front design for ease of personal hygiene

The Medline’s thick non-slip padding offers extra comfort as well as safety, and is a good choice for seniors with thin, fragile skin. However, it’s not latex-free, so seniors with sensitivity to latex should avoid this chair. 

The Medline’s backrest can be removed if desired, allowing it to be used as a toilet safety frame if need be. It comes with a splash guard to prevent leaks when over the toilet and its non-slip rubber feet provide a sturdy and stable base whether at the bedside or in the bathroom. 

Technical Specifications

  • Commode Weight: 27.39 pounds
  • Weight Capacity: 300 pounds
  • Seat Dimensions: 18 x 20 inches
  • Width Between Arms: 18.5 inches
  • Special Features: Drop arm, padding

Pros

  • Armrests drop away for easy transfers
  • Padded seat, backrest and armrests

Cons

  • Contains latex

Our Favorite Commode Accessory Add-Ons

1. TidyCare Disposable Commode Liners

Best Commode Liners
TidyCare Commode Liners for Bedside Portable Toilet Chair Bucket | Value Pack of 48 Disposable Waste Bags for Adults | Universal Fit

TidyCare Disposable Commode Liners

Easy to use and 100% leak-free commode liners that can fit standard-size commode buckets.

These TidyCare Disposable Commode Liners make cleaning the commode easy and sanitary. Simply insert a liner into any commode bucket. After use, remove the liner, tie the drawstring tight and dispose of it in the trash. The liners are guaranteed not to leak, keeping the mess to a minimum.

Features:

  • No need to clean or rinse commode pail
  • Fits all standard-sized commode buckets
  • Guaranteed leak-free

Some commode liners come with an absorbent pad. These ones don’t, which keeps their cost down. Most seniors find they work fine to suit their needs, but some like to add something into the liner to absorb odors or better contain large amounts of fluid. Specially made absorbent pads or gels are available, but some seniors find using an incontinence brief or adult diaper works just as well.

2. Medline Replacement Commode Bucket

Best Commode Bucket
Replacement Commode bucket with Lid, 12 qt. / 2 gallon

Medline Replacement Commode Bucket

Heavy-duty replacement bucket that fits standard commodes and can hold up to 2 gallons.

This sturdy extra-large commode bucket holds 12 quarts (two gallons) – much more than standard-sized 7.5 quart pails with a universal design that fits most commodes. Whether you’re looking for a larger-sized pail or just a replacement for one that’s worn out, this should fit most needs nicely. 

Features:

  • Extra-large 12 quart capacity
  • High-impact PU plastic construction
  • Lid and handle included

This replacement bucket for commodes comes with a tight-fitting lid and carrying handle. Constructed from high-impact polyethylene, it can stand up to heavy-duty daily use for a long time, so you shouldn’t need a replacement for quite some time after snagging this one!

Frequently Asked Questions About Bedside Commodes

What are bedside commodes? 

Bedside commodes are essentially portable toilets for elderly seniors, and they can be a godsend for seniors who have difficulty making it to the restroom in time. They consist of a free-standing frame, a toilet seat, and a pail.

How do you use a bedside commode?

A senior sits on the seat like a regular toilet. After each use, the pail is taken to the toilet to be emptied and cleaned, so that it’s ready for the next time it’s needed.

Certain commodes can also be used as a raised toilet seat or a toilet safety frame, which makes it easier and safer for seniors to get up and down from the toilet. Simply remove the bucket and position the commode over the toilet. 
Likewise, if the commode has been designed for use in the shower, you can remove the bucket and place it in the tub for use as shower chair.

What are the benefits of a bedside commode?

Bedside commodes are portable, don’t have to be installed, and don’t require plumbing. They make a welcome alternative to incontinence products for seniors who may have trouble making it to the bathroom in time, or those who can’t tolerate a trip to the toilet due to pain, fatigue, illness, or mobility challenges.

Bedside commodes also benefit caregivers who have to struggle to assist their loved one into the restroom, especially in the middle of the night, when they might be exhausted or groggy. It can also take much longer to get all the way to the restroom, which can impact their sleep.

Moving the short distance to the commode at the bedside is typically quicker, easier, and often safer.

When seniors feel rushed to get to the restroom, they may be more at risk for falling if they forgo safety precautions, like slowing down to put on shoes, using their walker, or paying as much attention as they should as to where they’re stepping. Having a commode at the bedside reduces the need to rush, and is a key part of keeping seniors safe in certain situations.

Does Medicare cover bedside commodes?

Bedside commodes are classified as durable medical equipment (DME), so Medicare Part B will typically cover a large chunk of the cost. The commode must be ordered by a doctor who accepts Medicare, and the dealer must also participate in the Medicare program.

How do you keep a bedside commode from tipping?

If you place an uneven amount of weight on one side or another of a commode, there’s a chance it can tip. Heavier commodes, and those with wide bases, tend to be sturdier and less likely to tip than lightweight, narrower, or portability-focused models. 

You can reduce the risk of tipping by ensuring your loved one is in the proper position before they start to sit down. First, they should move as close to the seat as possible – the backs of their knees should come in contact with the commode’s frame. Then they should place both hands on the armrests and push straight downward with equal pressure on both sides as they sit.

How do you clean a bedside commode?

To make cleaning easier, place a small amount of water in the bottom of the bucket before use.

To clean a commode, first pour its contents into a toilet right after use. Leaving it to sit causes odors to intensify, and can allow harmful germs to grow, which can increase the risk of developing an infection or illness.

Next, use a non-abrasive cleaner, such as mild soap and water to cleanse the pail, and then rinse, dumping the waste water into the toilet. Some seniors prefer to use non-bleach cleaning wipes instead.  

Instead of cleaning, pail liners can also be used to make cleaning even easier: simply remove the liner, tie it up and dispose of it in the garbage before replacing the liner for the next use.

What is a 3-in-1 bedside commode?

A 3-in-1 bedside commode, sometimes called an all-in-one commode, can be used as a toilet safety frame, raised toilet seat, or even (in some cases) a shower chair. You won’t want to use a portable toilet commode as a shower chair unless it was designed specifically for that purpose, because it may run the risk of rusting, which can cause the device to become unstable and unsafe.

3-in-1 commodes can be nice for seniors who want to save money and space by using the same device for all three purposes. Keep in mind that the commode will need to be moved from place to place, so pay attention to the product weight, and consider how easy it will be for you or your loved one to move it about throughout the day.

Some commodes come with wheels, which makes moving it around the house much more manageable.

What to Consider when Selecting a Portable Toilet for the Elderly

When you’re trying to determine what to look for in a bedside commode, consider the following factors.

The Senior’s Mobility

If a senior’s mobility is fair, and the commode is needed just during the night, or for short periods of time, a portable, folding commode may be a good, space-saving option.

Seniors who need assistance with transferring on and off of the commode from a wheelchair may find that commodes with drop-arms are their best option. 

Seniors with very poor mobility, who are at risk for pressure ulcers or bedsores because they can’t move well, should look for a sturdy commode with a padded seat, backrests, and armrests.

Seat Width and Design

Most commode seats look similar to regular toilet seats. They come in either a standard round shaped or an elongated oval shape. Many seniors (especially men) find that an elongated seat is more comfortable.

Open-front seats make it easier for a senior to cleanse themself after using the commode without having to stand up or move around a lot, so this may be a feature to seek out for those with only moderate mobility.

Some portable toilets offer padded seats, which many find to be the most comfortable. They are also safer than hard, standard seats for seniors with thin, fragile skin, but they are often more expensive. If you do opt for a commode with a padded seat, be sure that padding is made from easy-to-clean material.

Bariatric or Standard Weight Capacity

Most standard bedside commodes are designed to support weights of 250-300 pounds, while bariatric models will accommodate higher weights. 

Lid and Pail Design

Some commode pails come with handles – this will make a big difference in how easy it is to carry a full bucket to the toilet. Without a handle, you may need to carry it with two hands.

Look for a pail with a tight-fitting lid to contain odors. Although commodes should be emptied right away whenever possible, sometimes emptying one immediately isn’t doable, and a lid can be very nice in those moments. Lids are also nice for containing the contents on the way to the toilet.

Commode buckets vary in their capacity. Standard commode buckets hold about 7 quarts, which is plenty for a single use for most adults. However, seniors who have a large amount of output at once might prefer a large, high-capacity pail. Be sure the pail is made from high-quality plastic that will hold up over time, and doesn’t feel flimsy.

Most commode buckets are compatible with most liners, but some may not be. Liners are optional supplies that make clean up extra-easy. If you select a non-standard pail, double-check its compatibility with liners, if you opt to use them.

Splash Guard

A splash guard is an important feature for men who will be sitting to urinate. Without one, liquid sometimes tends to escape out the front, between the seat and the bucket or toilet.

Splash guards are sometimes built into the bucket or the commode’s frame. However, if a commode doesn’t include one, they can be purchased separately if needed.

Portability Versus Stability

Folding commodes offer the greatest level of portability, but it comes at the price of some stability. Heavier commodes are generally the most stable, but of course, are harder to move around. 

Some commodes are designed with casters, which can make it easier to roll from room to room if needed. If you choose a commode with wheels, be sure the brakes are engaged and working well to avoid an accident.

Before purchasing a commode, consider where you will use it, and how often you’ll want to move it around. If the commode is too heavy, it can be awkward and dangerous for a senior or their caregiver to move. If it’s too light, it can run the risk of feeling shaky or tipping over. 

Assembly

What kind of assembly is involved? While some commodes come fully assembled, others may require a bit more effort. Be sure that you or your loved one will be able to assemble the seat without too much trouble. 

Toilet and Tub Dimensions

If you are planning to use the commode as a toilet safety frame or shower bench, be sure to measure the dimensions of the toilet or tub area to ensure the particular model will fit safely. Also, be sure that particular model is designed to be used for these purposes.

If you plan to use it in the tub, pay special attention to the slopes on the sides of the tub and any non-slip features over the feet. You’ll need to be sure it will fit squarely inside the flat area of the tub, and that it will stick securely in place, even on a wet, slick surface.

Drop Arm Handles

Drop arm handles are an important feature for seniors with poor mobility, who will need assistance getting on or off of the commode. The armrests are designed to drop down and away, so they won’t get in the way of a senior who is transferring with a gait belt to or from a wheelchair. 

Adjustability

Seniors who are taller or shorter than average should choose adjustable commodes that can be properly positioned for their body size. Many commodes offer adjustable leg heights, which is important, but you’ll also want to be on the lookout for models that offer an adjustable seat width or customizable backrest and armrest height, if needed.

Cost

Commodes run a range of price points, from around $35 to hundreds of dollars, or even more. While price will certainly affect most seniors’ selection process, it shouldn’t be the deciding factor – especially when the portable toilet will be used on a daily basis over the long term. 

Seniors who are recovering from surgery and don’t anticipate needing a commode for more than a few weeks may well opt for a more basic option. However, seniors who will be using a commode routinely for months or years should be sure that they’re selecting a seat that will be supportive, comfortable, easy to use, easy to empty, and easy to clean given their unique situation. 

Consider all the time you’ll be spending sitting on it, getting in and out of it, or cleaning it – finding the right solution will be well worth any extra trouble or cost. 

Types of Commodes & Portable Toilets

There are several main types of commodes. Some commodes combine several of these design features in one.

Self Rising Bedside Commodes

Self-rising commodes feature seats that assist the senior to a standing position, similar to a lift recliner. This can make a difference in terms of senior independence, knee pain, and energy exertion from standing up. It can be a good choice for seniors who have trouble standing up from a chair. 

Padded Bedside Commodes

Padded commode seats and armrests tend to be the most comfortable. Seniors with thin, frail skin should opt for a padded seat to reduce the risk of pressure sores or skin tears. 

Most commodes are designed for easy cleaning, but, just to be sure, double check the cleaning instructions to be sure the padded material can easily be wiped down and sanitized.

Bariatric Bedside Commodes

Bariatric commodes are designed to safely and comfortably support seniors of a larger size and weight.

Multi-Purpose Bedside Commodes

Multi-purpose commodes, sometimes called 3-in-1 or all-in-one commodes, are designed to function not only as a bedside commode, but also as a toilet safety rail, a raised toilet seat, and often as a shower bench as well. 

Multi-purpose commodes can be a good choice for a senior with limited space or resources who would like to cover multiple needs with one piece of equipment. 

Because the commode would have to be repositioned whenever it was to be used in a different spot, some seniors prefer to buy multiple pieces and keep them in place so they don’t have to bother with moving it around. You can also opt for a model with casters to make moving easier.

Folding Bedside Commodes

Folding commodes are designed to collapse for easy storage and portability. This can be handy for travel, for short term use, or for seniors who need a commode only during the night, and who want to keep it out of the way – and out of sight – during the day.

Drop-Arm Bedside Commode

The armrests on a drop-arm commode can be moved down and out of the way to allow for easier transfers on and off the seat, especially to or from a wheelchair. Seniors who have a hard time transferring should opt for a drop-arm style commode

Other commodes offer arms that pivot out or swing-upward, which offer the same benefit.


So, now you know all you need to know about how to select the best portable toilet for the elderly person in your life. 

Will you choose the UltraCommode Foldable Padded Commode Chair? We selected it as our top pick thanks in part to its non-slip comfort padding, backrest, drop arm capability, and ability to fold up for storage. Or were you looking for something else?

Let us know your thoughts and any of your favorite commode hacks in the comments below!

Last update on 2021-09-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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