How could we make the lines for women toilet’s shorter?

Every woman has been there: You leave the table at a restaurant, seats at the concert or even your desk at the office to use the restroom—only to find that the women’s line is infinitely longer than the men’s.

You may have even snuck into the men’s washroom a time or two to avoid the wait.

But never fear: In 2017, researchers from Ghent University in Belgium took a look at this “queuing” problem.

They figured out how to cut women’s bathroom wait times by more than half—and the solution is surprisingly simple.

First of all, the Ghent University researchers studied why women’s bathroom queues take so much longer, and discovered that the problem can be explained by three main factors.

1. Men’s Rooms Accommodate More Occupants
Stalls take up more space than urinals do, so a men’s bathroom can, on average, actually accommodate 20 to 30 percent more users than the same-sized women’s bathroom.

Losing just one toilet space in a bathroom can increase the wait time by about 172 percent, according to the researchers.

2. More Time Spent
Women spend more time in the restroom, generally due to practical reasons, with women taking 1.5 to two times as long in the bathroom as men do. While men spend a minute heading in and using the urinal, women usually need to open and close stall doors, remove more clothing, and clean toilet seats—and that precious time adds up.

When you factor in the extra time it takes women to use the restroom AND the fact that there are fewer toilets available, you see a big difference in the wait times for men and women.

3. Less Space + More Time Spent = Longer Lines
The third reason, researchers found, was how busy restrooms were. Since women had less space and took longer in the bathroom, busy periods—such as during lunch breaks or at the end of a work day—amplified wait times for women.

In other words, it’s already worse for women than men. But when the system is stressed—say at the end of a sporting event—the wait times for women get out of control.

After identifying the reasons behind women’s longer wait times, the researchers used several simulated layouts in order to try and fix the problem. They found that doubling the number of toilets available to women evened the wait times between genders, but that would require installing double the amount of toilets for women.

However, another solution seems easier and more effective: “The holy grail,” the researchers wrote, “is to use unisex toilets.”

A unisex approach (with two stalls to one urinal) would allow men to use urinals and both genders to use bathroom stalls—and it would reduce overall wait times by a whopping 63 percent.

A wait time that’s more than halved? Now that’s something we can all get on board with.

The scientists believe this solution can cut the average wait time from about 6 minutes to less than 90 seconds!

Of course, there’s been lots of debate about unisex bathrooms recently. But just for a minute, set aside your political beliefs, and think of all those poor woman silently mouthing “I gotta pee” to each other while they wait in mile-long lines.

Check out my related post: Can you make money off of S***?

Interesting reads:


  1. Had this situation in college, it worked, but we were all young and it only worked because on our floor of the dorms, the only bathroom was for for the guys – showers, sinks, urinals and stalls. We were the go to “party floor”, so when everyone was drinking no one really cared.
    Now as an adult and 30+ years later, this arraignment just isn’t a practical solution. Did the study even consider the effect of removing urinals to add more stalls and that effect on the efficiencies of Men’s line tines? Probably not, because, well because who cares if our times go up. Better to build 2-1 W to M bathrooms. Men’s rooms are nasty enough, we don’t need women making our space even worse – having talked with many janitorial staff over the years you will find women’s public bathrooms are far more trashed than public men’s rooms.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for sharing. Yes, I believe most planning guidelines suggest a large number of stalls for W. Somebody suggested reducing stalls within M bathrooms. So much for number 2.


  2. One of the main differences between men and women is that men pee when they need to, and women pee when they have a chance to, whether they need to go or not. Therefore most queues outside women’s toilets are full of women who don’t really need to go – they just go because a toilet is within sight and therefore this might hopefully save them from becoming desperate in the next few hours. Us women need to get out of this mindset, but it’ll be hard to do!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I totally agree to what @stevie Turner said on this.
    Most times, we women do not really need to pee, we do it because the toilet is close by. Sometimes, we accompany a female friend to pee and if there is a queue we join, but eventually it’s only one of them who will use the toilet while the other stares in the mirror while waiting for her friend to be through. In some situations, some women use the rest room more than once especially if it is squeaky clean. You hardly see a female who goes to a restaurant and not use the rest room 😄 we must go there . #just the mindset anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

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