We have been potty training our son. We got him comfortable going sitting down first, and now he is learning to urinate while standing.

What should I teach him to aim for when peeing while standing up, at the water, or at the side of the bowl?

I have always aimed for the water, but my wife just informed me, after 3 years of cleaning the toilets, that she noticed that sometimes there is splatter on the adjacent walls. Does aiming at the water create more splatter than aiming at the bowl?

I tried an experiment in the urinal at work today, and aiming at the bowl seemed to result in splatter also, but my theory is that at least the splatter from the water is diluted (or is pure toilet water), while the splatter from the bowl is at least 99% urine. I couldn't find much research, at least nothing I could take seriously. Is there any evidence to support either argument? I considered conducting an experiment to measure the splash, but having a hard time figuring out how to collect data.. maybe I could hang some sheets of paper around the bowl and look for spots. Any ideas?

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    At the cheerios. Seriously, my mother did it for both my brother and I and it works. – corsiKa Nov 4 '14 at 18:32
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    I must congratulate you for not having to clean the toilet once for three full years. – Buhb Nov 4 '14 at 20:44
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    The only reason I avoid hitting the water directly is when I am trying to pee quietly. – Octopus Nov 4 '14 at 23:46
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    Judging by your wife's comment, I'd say you need to ask your parents this question, and do the opposite of whatever they say. – Dawood ibn Kareem Nov 6 '14 at 10:52
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    Worth mentioning, peeing at the water gives a feeling of power. – Gras Double Nov 7 '14 at 3:33

11 Answers 11


Not to take the fun out of devising your own experiment, but the fine fluid dynamics physicists at the Splash Lab (at Brigham Young University) are trying to figure out how to prevent urinal splash-back right now! Fluid dynamics scientists (calling themselves the "wizz kids")

set up a water tank and nozzles (emitting colored water) to mimic the natural flow of human urine as it leaves the body. They then filmed the action using high-speed cameras. Scrutiny of the video allowed the team to clearly see which sorts of techniques cause the most, or least splash-back.

You can see the surprising results at Phys.Org and more at ExtremeTech.com

Interestingly, they examined splash-back at different angles on water and porcelain. They found a splash-free zone exists right around the rim of the bowl, but it

"increases the odds of actually missing the bowl altogether", Hurd noted. "I wouldn't recommend this approach to anyone but military snipers," he added.

The absolutely best way to reduce splash back?

Sitting while urinating.

An interesting aside: I taught my boys by drawing a target on a square of toilet tissue and floating the target mid-bowl. I found that there was very little splash back when they hit it. Adopting this technique in public restrooms eliminates almost all splash-back. Nice to see it finally in print!


First, any fast moving stream of anything with mass is going to splatter when it hits something else -- it's really all about the angles (source & target) and velocity as to where it goes during the impact. Toilets are shaped differently, too, with some longer, shorter, taller, etc.

You're potty training though -- not refining bathroom skills. Most parents will be happy that it lands in the toilet, not necessarily worrying about where inside was the target. That said, aim for the center and forget the splatter. The further off from the mark he ends, the more likely he'll remain in the primary target and that will make much less of a mess.


A few people have touched upon this (he says sarcastically) but the best way to reduce it is by sitting down. An increasing number of men are sitting when they use the toilet as it's supposed to be more hygienic (as there isn't urine all over the place). I beleive Sweden and Japan are a couple examples of this.

Failing that, don't tell him where to aim, but make him clean up after himself. He'll quickly learn the best way to do it then.

UPDATE: Additionally, making him clean after himself means he'll hopefully learn to take responsibility for his mess.

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    sitting is also the only way you can go sometimes if you are "pee-shy". i was reading a while back that if you can't pee at a public urinal you should try adding two numbers in your head to distract you. all i found was that i am unable to add two numbers in my head at a public urinal! – Michael Nov 5 '14 at 22:28
  • The trick I use is imagine yourself doing the most embarrassing thing you can think of. Like peeing on the leg of the guy next to you. Usually helps. – Prinsig Nov 6 '14 at 9:40
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    When we are younger, shorter, closer to the toilet, it is fairly easy to get everything into the toilet. As we get taller, not so easy. There are also times where the stream does not stay together, bifurcates or just shoots off in different directions. Sitting down is easier than wiping down the seat. After doing this for a while my dad visited and I started to notice there was a waterfall down the front of the toilet and puddle in front after he uses it. My brother has a sit down only rule in his house and the bathroom is easier to clean. – BillyNair Feb 10 '15 at 8:31
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    I have moved to Germany 6 years ago and was surprised to see that many toilets have a symbol saying its FORBIDDEN to pee santind up, and showing that the person has to pee SITTING. For me, that is the most clever trick of all human history! I do this myself now and this is pretty good! – user5193682 Mar 7 '15 at 6:58

According to a recent study, the optimal way to reduce toilet splash (besides sitting down) is to:

drop a few pieces of tissue into a toilet bowl to soften the blow.

For a urinal:

stand slightly to one side, and aim downwards at a low angle of impact

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    Using tissues every time you urinate--when you don't have to--is wasteful and contributes to the global tree genocide. – DBedrenko Nov 5 '14 at 10:44
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    @NewWorld. Wrong. We have tree farms meant for paper production just like we have lettuce farms meant for lettuce production. This is all sustainable. Neither of these has anything to do with the Amazonian rain forest. I'm not sure how that's relevant. – user2023861 Nov 6 '14 at 14:24
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    @NewWorld, paper? No. I'm not saying that deforestation isn't happening. I'm saying it's not due to paper production. If you're so concerned about "global tree genocide", but you think toilet paper usage is the culprit, you're not very well informed. – user2023861 Nov 6 '14 at 16:01
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    @JasonC using just a few pieces (2-3) is NOT "using tons of tissues every time you urinate." And it may very well be worth the 'expense' if it improves hygene – sbell Nov 6 '14 at 17:54
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    @sbell If everybody does it it is. We're all in this together, babe. Do your part. – Jason C Nov 6 '14 at 17:58

anyone ever tried putting a mist of water inside the toilet bowl?

Just a spray that starts when someone stands in front of it, maybe downward from the top of the back of the bowl under the rim. The droplets would knock down any splatter.


When aiming at the bowl instead of the water, note that the shape of the bowl makes a big difference. To be precise, a steeper angle of the surface being hit creates less splash-back. This is why anon's answer mentions "near the rim" - the sides of the bowl are the steepest.

We're teaching our boys to sit down for any business, except in nature and in gross places.

As a resident in Austria, it never ceases to amaze (and disgust) me that toilet bowls in Germany and Austria are shaped like this... you'd think it would kinda force people to sit down for their #1 business, but they don't. (Okay... some do.) And the #2 business doesn't go into the water until you flush. Ew. Still, my wife insists we have at least one of these in the house, her argument being that it's useful to know the amount and substance of the output. I'm glad I could convince her to have a "normal" one in the other bathroom.


  • Surely you understand by now the purpose of the "inspection shelf"? – Dave Clarke Nov 4 '14 at 18:07
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    @DaveClarke What's the purpose? Is it to easily retrieve the cellphone you drop, or the ring you swallowed? – Mallow Nov 4 '14 at 20:40
  • @Mallow: my understanding is that it's to allow you to check (visually) your faeces for signs of tapeworm. Could be wrong. – A E Nov 5 '14 at 10:13
  • It prevents the splash too. – Jasmine Nov 5 '14 at 18:57
  • @Jasmine - what prevents the splash too? The shelf certainly doesn't, on the contrary. The higher elevation of the "target surface" means that more of the splashback leaves the bowl. The only way to avoid it is by sitting down. – Torben Gundtofte-Bruun Dec 12 '14 at 7:58

Being a male and owning a penis for as long as I can remember, I have found that aiming here is most efficient for minimal ricocheting

enter image description here

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    what do you do when you get unexpected multiple streams? – Michael Nov 5 '14 at 22:29
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    @Michael Yeah; in my experience you really need to start aiming for the center first and then move to the side once you're sure you've got one stream going straight. – Jason C Nov 6 '14 at 4:33
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    @Michael I never seem to have that problem, unless it's a morning "situation" and then i sit down – SaturnsEye Nov 6 '14 at 12:35
  • @JasonC Yes, i do aim more at the center then quickly move off to the left. – SaturnsEye Nov 6 '14 at 12:35

Some urinals provide an aiming point:

enter image description here

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    Cool picture! The study by the Splash Lab states, however, that many manufacturers misplace the 'marker', complicating, not helping, the issue. – anongoodnurse Nov 5 '14 at 18:45

As far as i have tested, the best way is to hit a wall being the angle bettween your liquid and the porcelain as small as posible, allowing the fluid to stick to the toilet and be slowed and scrattered/spread enough to not splatt at all.

Really folks, just test by yourself

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    "test by yourself" will only work for about half the parents who use this site ;) – Acire Nov 5 '14 at 22:28
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    Oh, right, you are completly right. I didnt just forgot that, still the said aproach would be hard to understand for a kid. Given the situation, must agree with other responses about the best way is to sit down – Noman_1 Nov 6 '14 at 8:10
  • @Erica go-girl.com – Jason C Nov 7 '14 at 3:41

By the looks of the toilets....I would say sit backwards for number 2 since that is where the big hole in the toilet is,and you can hold on to the back of the toilet at the sametime. As for guys urinating...try sitting down so you don't spread your urine,(germs) everywhere, that is being hygienic and courteous of others. If you insist on standing,try tossing a piece of toilet paper in first, it reduces the splash the same as when you do a bowl movement. There is nothing worse than being splashed with toilet water on your bum or touching a wall coated with someones urine. Think about it...would you like it?

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    While urine on the wall is not exactly something any of us aim for, urine is not typically germ-containing until after it leaves the body (if it were, you'd be very sick!). – Joe Nov 5 '14 at 21:00

Any man who urinates naked soon learns where to aim, depending on what he feels splatting up his legs.

Aim for the water!

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