Sometimes, you just gotta go. If you happen to be a nice person, you’ll probably recognize and accommodate others’ need to find some relief when nature calls.
The problem is that some people may take advantage of your bathroom privilege generosity and indulge their natural inclinations without abandon.
If you find that others are taking advantage of your bathroom consideration, it may be time to dissuade others from using your bathroom.
To stop people from using your bathroom, you can put appropriate signs on the door and tell the guests before the visit that they cannot use the bathroom at the moment. If the question arises spontaneously, you can answer honestly or invent a reason, such as repairs.
Why Do People Use Other People’s Bathrooms?
There are a variety of reasons why some may feel inclined to ask you to use your bathroom.
Given that the average person can have a bowel movement from 3 times a week to 3 times a day, some people may have the urge when stopping by and can’t find an alternative.
When you factor in other bodily excretions, there’s a fair chance that someone may need some bodily relief when stopping by. Other bathroom functions, such as adjusting feminine hygiene products, makeup, or even blowing one’s nose, may call for some to seek some solace within the confines of your bathroom.
The problem is that some people don’t know how to respect other people’s property. You may find the toilet paper roll dislodged and on the floor, the toilet lid left open, or soap messily dispensed and pooled on the counter.
Others may not understand what to properly put down the toilet (not tampons!) or how to throw things away (into the trash can!).
After a while, cleaning up others’ messes can become quite irritating and give you a reason to keep people out of your bathroom. If you find yourself reaching this point, then here are some suggestions.
How Do I Stop People from Using My Bathroom?
There are a variety of tactics you can use to keep people out of your bathroom.
1. Be honest
If someone asks you to use their bathroom, you can tell them:
“I’m sorry, but too many people have been disrespecting my bathroom and I no longer let anyone else use it.”
This reasoning is best if you are receiving guests and know in advance and are also able to let them know about the situation.
You should give anyone who is stopping by enough time to find an alternative bathroom location before or after visiting.
2. Be blunt and simple
“Sorry, you can’t use my bathroom.”
This is fine if you are just meeting someone for the first time or you already have a reputation for being blunt and straightforward.
Although this may cause someone to ask what to do instead and why they can’t use your bathroom, you at least have made it clear that your bathroom is off-limits.
3. Be very polite
“I would really appreciate it if you didn’t use my bathroom for a variety of reasons.”
This way, you have made a clear effort to be as polite as possible and deflect any interest in using your bathroom without giving any justification as to why your bathroom is inaccessible.
4. Make up an excuse
“You can’t use my bathroom right now because the toilet needs to be fixed”
“The plumbing isn’t working so it’s not really a good idea to use my bathroom”
These are pretty good excuses to keep others away from your bathroom since most people use a bathroom expecting that everything will be working.
5. More elaborate reasons
“Oh, I just ran out of toilet paper”
“I’m sorry, I don’t have enough soap.”
Once again, this allows you to deflect acknowledging the awkward situation of telling people they can’t use a bathroom while also giving a sufficient reason why others wouldn’t want to use your bathroom, to begin with.
What Do You Do If People Are More Persistent in Using Your Bathroom?
Some people are not deterred regardless of the reason. They may continue to move towards the bathroom area to confirm that what you said is true or they may not even pay attention to your reason.
Either way, stopping someone from going into your bathroom is the main goal.
If you notice that someone continues moving towards your bathroom, you can repeat once again, in a louder and more direct tone, that your bathroom is not to be used.
If need be, you may also need to physically address and intervene, standing in front of your door.
Some people may find that putting a sign on the door is a good way to keep people out, especially if you have company over who you are not familiar with but who you wouldn’t or don’t think to directly inform that your bathroom is off-limits. Then again, many people don’t read signs.
Of course, one of the best ways to stop people from using your bathroom is to have a door with a handle that locks. You probably will need to use a key so that you can control the locking mechanism, otherwise, if it locks from the inside you won’t be able to open the door when you want to use it!
Given that a locking handle for a door costs roughly $20 depending on where you purchase the handle, plus the additional expense if you don’t install the handle yourself, installing a handle can be a great way to diffuse any potential trespassers into your bathroom.
What Do You Do If People Want an Explanation Why They Can’t Use Your Bathroom?
The best thing to do if people want an explanation as to why they can’t use your bathroom is, to be honest.
If you don’t like people using your bathroom, to begin with, simply say:
“I would prefer that you use another bathroom.”
If you’ve had bad experiences in the past, you can say:
“I don’t want people coming in and trashing my bathroom again.”
Most likely, if you are dealing with people who you have a rapport with, you can establish an understanding and they will respect your preferences.
How You Can Minimize the Aggravation from People Who Want to Use Your Bathroom
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and using a little preventative intervention can deter others from the awkward situation of asking to use a bathroom they can’t use.
The easiest thing you can do is to tell those who are coming over that they can’t use your bathroom. This way, they will at least be aware of the situation and can plan accordingly.
If you happen to have an unexpected visitor or were forgetful, you can also remind someone upon arriving at your home of the situation (or whatever explanation you wish to give) as this will at least inform them in a more courteous way.
Depending on the nature of the visit, it may shorten the stay if someone has urgent business elsewhere.
You may even wish to put a sign at the entrance of your home or provide some sort of indication when someone enters your home in case you grow tired of reminding visitors or you repeatedly forget so that everyone can stay abreast of the situation.
What Do You Do If Someone Doesn’t Listen to You or Really Needs to Use the Bathroom?
If someone manages to get into your bathroom, you have a variety of options depending on what preceded their intrusion.
If you provided an honest explanation and someone just disobeyed your request, you can confront them directly and express your discontent.
It may be wise to also check the bathroom to see if anything is in a state of disarray so you can know who the culprit is (as this person may have been guilty of past offenses!). If it really matters to you, you can also ban this person from your home so you won’t have to deal with the situation anymore.
If someone innocently misinterpreted what you said or didn’t hear properly, upon confronting them you can remind them of why you don’t want them to use your bathroom.
If you made up an excuse and someone still uses your bathroom, this makes the situation slightly more precarious.
While it’s always better, to be honest, you can acknowledge the fact that you weren’t as forthcoming and were just trying to keep people away tactfully. Some people will understand, but some people may hold it against you.
You may find some people who urgently need to use a bathroom and there is no viable place otherwise. If you forgot to mention your bathroom policy or you can trust this person, then you can accommodate their urgent request.
In the end, though, most people will understand if you ask them to not use your bathroom.
When it comes to how to stop other people from using your bathroom, tactics such as preventative warnings, explanations, signs, and a locked door are great ways to keep people out of your bathroom and out of your business.
Katie Haynes is a senior author at everyday-courtesy.com with over 15 years of experience in marketing and psychology. As a freelance consultant, she also supports companies and executives in overcoming communication challenges. Katie is a passionate digital nomad working on her first book on the art of communication.