This is such an awkward question but the problem is really bothering me.

I am the only female in my department - as a result, we have the single stall bathrooms and so therefore, by California law, must be shared by both genders. That's fine, I don't mind that so much. What I do mind is that when I go to relieve myself, I, more often than not, have to wipe the toilet seat down because some of my male coworkers urinate on the toilet seat. This is not only unprofessional (IMO), it's just flat out gross.

I want to bring this up with my manager because it's causing me discomfort to the point where I almost don't want to drink liquids at work because of fear of what I'll have to deal with in the bathroom. Though, not drinking liquids is not a feasible solution because the human body requires hydration.

I want to wait until our next code review to bring it up (it's usually just a one on one code review). I don't really know what to say. Does anyone have any suggestions for how to deal with this?

  • 3
    Very related, possible duplicate: Male colleague using female bathroom and not cleaning up
    – David K
    May 30, 2019 at 15:46
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    This is something you should bring to your manager, in private, since it has nothing to do with the code review. This way you don't have to wait.
    – Donald
    May 30, 2019 at 17:45
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    I don't think this is a duplicate. Both are about work toilet messes with make it difficult to use without cleaning, but the other is specifically about a guy using a designated women's toilet. May 30, 2019 at 20:16
  • @thursdaysgeek yes, I agree with you. May 30, 2019 at 21:01
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    We had similar problems at our office (lets say chocolate zorro marked our toilet more than once). We took it to our manager and he just made it clear to everyone that as adult people, we are expected to clean after ourselves and keep the toilet clean at all times, instead of wating for cleaning personel to clean it for us. It did seem to have helped. May 31, 2019 at 9:50

3 Answers 3


Bring it up to your manager, but don't have the angle you suggest. In stead ask if the cleaning personell can come often enough so that the state of the toilets are satisfactory. This way, your manager will deal with it if it is a cost problem, and either way - you get to use a clean bathroom. Everybody wins.

It is exceedingly tricky to treat the work space as an arena for parenting your colleagues and telling them about grooming and hygiene while keeping your head down and relationships intact - I have not seen a single example of this be successful.

  • You do bring up a valid point about parenting colleagues which is not what I want to do. I appreciate your insight - thank you. I will go from here and see what I can do while taking your point into consideration. May 30, 2019 at 21:06
  • I disagree that you will get to use a clean bathroom "either way". Even if the toilet gets cleaned more often this does not mean that it will be clean when OP wants to go. To be sure of that, the toilet would have to be cleaned by the cleaning personnel after each single use, which obviously is never going to happen. The only way to achieve a toilet without sprinkles on it is to get the coworkers to stop putting them there, or a self cleaning toilet. Don't ask for something that won't help the situation. Maybe ask for a self cleaning toilet instead?
    – kscherrer
    May 31, 2019 at 11:30
  • Not to mention, the headache that you bring on the cleaning staff. All of us are human beings. They deal with the mess the other make, because they make a living of it. Not because they like dealing with it. Asking them to deal with that more often, just to compensate the inconvenience made by a careless individual? I don't think it is fair. Apr 2, 2020 at 6:49
  • I agree with bringing this to the attention of the boss. What I don't agree is putting the cleaning people in misery. If a male, taking a no.1, it is simple logic to lift the seat, because you don't have to use the seat. If people don't do it, that is either they don't know the simple ethics, or they don't give a shit about it. Either way, that is wrong. Bosses have to understand this, and make sure everyone abides by the ethics. The bosses shouldn't mind going to the extremities like "giving special training" if the people don't follow them. Apr 2, 2020 at 6:56
  • @RomeoSierra It would be better if everyone was spotless, and infact cleaned the toilets themselves. That way, they cleaning staff could be fired. Much better, no? The cleaning staff is there to clean. The dirtier it is, the more important their job is. This isn't a headache, your sympathy is misplaced. It is commendable, but misplaced.
    – Stian
    Apr 2, 2020 at 7:31

I've gone through a similar situation in my office. Speaking with your superior about the situation, and explaining it to them like you have here, will allow the them to bring it up to everyone in a non accusatory way, or otherwise deal with it how they deem appropriate. Being the next level in authority, they should be the one to talk to about it.

If it's normal to talk about things other than code being reviewed during a period for a code review, then I'd say this would be fine to bring up. Otherwise set a separate meeting with them to discuss it.

  • Thank you for your insight. I much appreciate it. May 30, 2019 at 21:05

Sorry, but in this case you are not the one to bring it up.

There are many things that provoke discomfort/ bother some people, which however, shouldn't be brought up in the work environment.

Washing hands after using the toilet is one of them. Urinating on the toilet seat another. (Unless you walk into p*ss, but the situation doesn't sound so serious). You are not these people's mother.

You need to work on yourself for it not to bother you so much/ to learn to deal with it somehow.

  • 1
    It depends. In other cases you would be right but this sounds like an easily fixable situation. Most managers would be embarrassed enough to attempt to rectify the situation. May 30, 2019 at 16:12
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    And that is wrong, if someone is leaving areas of the office in an unsanitary manner it should be reported so that it can be dealt with. Would you say the same if they where defecating on the toilet seat? In a workplace everyone is an adult and should be expected to be able to use the facilities in a manner that leaves them in a clean and useable state for everyone else.
    – Joe W
    May 30, 2019 at 16:32
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    How is sitting in p*ss so much different than walking into it? And why should she have to clean toilets when that isn't her job? Because those are the only two options you are providing with your answer: clean toilets or sit on it. May 30, 2019 at 16:39
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    @thursdaysgeek, no, actually, I haven't provided the two options you listed at all. And there are other options. Try using your imagination.
    – BigMadAndy
    May 30, 2019 at 18:45
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    @BigMadAndy Ok, I'm trying my imagination, and the other thing else I'm coming up with is the hover method, which is likely to leave an even bigger mess. Or wearing adult diapers so she doesn't have to sit in it or clean it up first. Am I close to your other options? Could you clarify your answer? May 30, 2019 at 20:26

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