Did you know that the “bigger stalls” in bathrooms are actually created for people with disabilities/ mobility aids/ medical equipment? According to the ADA, “overall, an ADA accessible toilet must be at least 60 inches wide with its flush lever located on the open side. The center of the toilet must be between 16 to 18 inches of space from the side wall and the toilet seat must be at least 17 to 19 inches above the floor.”
Yesterday we were at Target and we politely knocked on the bathroom stall for the accessible stall. The lady said “there are other stalls. I am currently sh**ting and don’t want my umbrella to drip on my feet.”
We ended up going into a normal stall, but found it very hard to fit. This is not the first time we have encountered the issue of having to use smaller stalls, but here is why the accessible stalls are easier as a service dog team:
•there is ample space
•The door clearance is larger so that people with wheelchairs and other aids can easily get in and out of the stalls (“There must be a whole 60 inches of clearance for easy turning of the average wheelchair.”)
•Most accessible stall doors open both ways, whereas “normal” stalls open inwards making it very hard to get yourself, your service dog, and a bag (if you are wearing one) into the stall
Handicap stalls were not put in bathrooms so that your umbrella does not drip on your feet, or because your backpack is too big for a normal stall, or you just like the bigger space. Many people who need these stalls have to end up waiting because people choose to use the handicap stall over the normal stalls that are open and available. Sometimes they aren’t able to go use a normal stall and that handicap stall is their only option.
Imagine having a service dog with you, needing to throw up due to your chronic illness, and the only stall you can both fit in is being used because someone doesn’t want their umbrella to drip on their feet….
As you can see by these pictures, using the restroom is doable as a service dog team to do normal business, but it is compacted and super uncomfortable.