General Question

ibstubro's avatar

If the first outhouses had included a bucket draining into a 4' hole in the floor, would modern bathrooms include a urinal today?

Asked by ibstubro (18773points) November 19th, 2015

Weren’t outhouses designed for sit down bodily functions?
Men also using their “handy dispenser” for urination discretely.

I distinctly remember, as a boy, an outhouse being unfriendly to peeing. Maybe people were out of the habit of teaching us how, in the 60–70’s?

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21 Answers

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I wish I had a urinal at home.

jerv's avatar

I think that it’s because guys don’t really need a special place to piss; we can just go out and water a tree. The whole thing with urinals is partly the convenience of not having to go outside (taking a leak at night when it’s -25F is… unpleasant) and partly so that the house doesn’t smell from pissing inside.

Now, women sit down for everything, so it makes sense that they use the same appliance for both jobs, but when it came to building any sort of bathroom-type thing, well, cost, labor, and materials kind of consolidated things down to a single unit where the half of the population could just learn to aim and use it standing up when it wasn’t absolutely necessary to put one’s pants around their ankles and sit.

I don’t recall outhouses ever being more unfriendly to standers than a regular toilet though.

zenvelo's avatar

Urinals started appearing in port-a-potties because men have lousy aim.

I lived in a fraternity where sections of 4 rooms shared a single bathroom, with one toilet and a urinal. Those urinals started to reek of old pee after a while.

kritiper's avatar

As if Mom has enough trouble with men and boys spraying piss all over the modern bathroom! And the damn outhouse smells bad enough without piss all over that, too. No, no urinal!

rojo's avatar

I had a friend who salvaged a small, old fashioned, cast iron, trough type urinal from a demolition job they were doing on a police station. It was approximately 24” wide, maybe 18” deep.

He installed it in the mud room of the home he was building for himself with a mop sink style faucet mounted on the wall above it so he could use it as a wash sink. But, he made the necessary measurments and installed it at such a height that it could still be used for its originally intended purpose as well by males with the same inseam measurement, or greater, as himself.

His wife was not enthralled with an old used urinal being installed in her new house, even if it was a “sink” so he never bothered to mention to her why it was at a lower height that a normal sink would have been. She may have guessed but there are some questions you don’t ask if you don’t want to know the answer.

filmfann's avatar

Having a urinal is the definition of a bachelor pad.
I always wanted one, but these days I am convinced that they are a bad idea. Look at all the corrosion near them.

rojo's avatar

I am still a fan of the full height Floor mount urinal. They seem to do a better job controlling the spatter.

Of course, there is always the shower…...........

JLeslie's avatar

I doubt it. Just think about homes that are 50+ years old, many of them only had one bathroom. Probably, just because of expense and space they would not have put in a second fixture like a urinal. I have friends who have two story homes plus a basement and the only bathroom is on the top floor.

Way back in the day of the outhouse they had a bucket in the bedroom for peeing at night. I don’t know if people sometimes used it during the day too. Probably, there was less middle of the night urinating back then, because people weren’t so obsessed with drinking tons of water like they are now.

CWOTUS's avatar

Just think: If this had been invented years ago, maybe every bathroom and outhouse would have had a urinal by now.

elbanditoroso's avatar

@CWOTUS – it’s hard to know if that is a well-done satire website or if those are real

ibstubro's avatar

I want one too, @Hawaii_Jake!

Once upon a time, guys didn’t need a special place to pee, @jerv, and that’s the core of my question. Not true today in an urban setting. As to user-friendly, I might be remembering using an outhouse when I was less that full grown.

Yes, @zenvelo, I hadn’t thought of the ‘modern outhouse’, the port-a-pot and the newer urinal stations.

I think a urinal reduces the spray, @kritiper, evidenced by the modern port-a-pot.

We have the cast iron trough in place and in use at the auction house, @rojo. The building is a former bar. Works well. There seems to be a couple places I visit that still have floor mount. They seem impractical, but work well.

I’d love to have one, @filmfann. I think a lot depends on the model. And I thing all the overspray happens regardless of where you pee.

Great point about the chamber pot, @JLeslie.

Kind of unsanitary and smelly to pack around though, @CWOTUS? You could make a toilet friendly tube for guys, but they’d never use it.

It’s a real product, @elbanditoroso.

rojo's avatar

@elbanditoroso The concept has been around for years mainly advertised in camping magazines and the like. My wife has thought about getting one in the past but because they were a hard plastic (think tupperware) product that would have been inconvenient to carry around (either that or having one would have meant she could no longer gripe about how much more difficult women have it) she never followed through.
I will have to show this to her. It looks flexible, durable and easily manipulated.

zenvelo's avatar

One big pro-urinal reason in California is that it saves on water.

We’re already pretty adapted to “if it’s yellow, let it mellow”, but having a bowl full of unflushed pee can stink after a while.

JLeslie's avatar

My husband wanted a urinal in the master when we built this last house and I didn’t let him do it. I think they are a big turn off for women. If he had a separate bathroom maybe I would consider it.

Stinley's avatar

Guys, why not just sit down when you do a pee? Toilets are designed for sitting on, so sit!

ibstubro's avatar

Penises are designed for standing, @Stinley!
That’s the heart of my question.

If the early outhouse designers had realized that it would soon become impossible for guys to just pee in the yard, and early outhouses had looked more like today’s port-a-pot, wouldn’t there be some provision for male urination in the bathrooms of today?

CWOTUS's avatar

Those are real, @elbanditoroso, and I think they’re a fantastic idea, too. And they’re not so awful to carry around, @ibstubro, since they pack and apparently hygienically seal back in the case that they come in, for rinse-and-reuse.

Men already have a toilet-friendly tube, so no need for an added appliance. And if you’ve ever closely examined the stream as it exits your body, it’s not “bad aim” that causes the objectionable (apparent) splash, it’s the fluid dynamics of the stream itself. It’s not a perfectly-formed stream; it cannot be, considering the mechanics. There are always stray droplets, no matter how perfect the aim.

elbanditoroso's avatar

Just to shed a little light on toilet variety, I offer this link to a photo essay from the Washingto Post:


kritiper's avatar

@ibstubro So many bathrooms, especially in small houses like mine, have small bathrooms with floor space of 25 square feet, (5’ X 5’) not counting shower or tub. To include a urinal would take more floor space, as well as wall space, and increase the overall cost of construction, although not by so much. So to keep the bathrooms small, and eliminate unnecessary duplication of fixtures, no urinals could be utilized. Plus you’d have to have a big one for small and tall alike to use, more cleaning, more smell, more water use, etc. So a home urinal would not overly practical, really. Heck, if you really wanted one, just remove the water closet tank cover and pee in there!

ibstubro's avatar

Port-a-pot, @kritiper.
It’s not a matter of space, but of motivation and ingenuity.

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