22 July 2020
Investigating the bathroom behaviours of over 1,100 people
“Everybody poops”, we all know this to be true and yet, behind closed doors, many toilet behaviours are something of a mystery. In these moments of privacy what might seem normal practice for one person might be utterly disgusting to another.
We surveyed 1,128 people to learn more about peoples bathroom behaviours and habits.
Our survey found that 96% of people do more than just pooping when visiting the toilet, indicating that the time spent on the toilet is no longer just function but another form of leisure time.
Almost two-thirds (63%) of people said they use social media whilst on the toilet, with 81% of men and 50% of women checking their social feeds on the loo.
While social media might be the most popular activity on the toilet it’s in no way the only activity people do. Just under half (49%) of the people said they browse the news, with 53% of under 25s using the time on the toilet to catch up on the news; while more than 2 in 5 people (43%) spend the time playing games on their phone and more than a third (37%) watch videos.
It’s not just social media and entertainment we are consuming on the toilet. Shockingly, 1 in 25 (4%) people said they eat whilst on the loo, with 5% of women and 3% of men admitting to having a snack whilst doing a poo.
Meanwhile, over 1 in 10 (11%) of people admit to talking to someone on the phone whilst on the loo, 1 in 11 (9%) have worked and 4% of respondents said nap on the toilet.
The results of our survey found the vast majority of us can’t bear to be apart from our phones, with 92% of respondents saying they take their phone to the loo at least some of the time. Not only is this evident in the numbers of phone based activities people say they do when on the loo but as an individual question, just 8% of people said they never take their phone with them.
Our data found that 95% of under 35s said they take their phone with them to the loo, whilst just 79% of over 55 to 64 year olds said the same, 13% less than the total average.
Those living in shared accommodation (96%) or with a partner (94%) are the most likely to take their phone with them, whilst those living alone are the least likely as 1 in 9 (11%) said they never take their phone with them to the loo.
The old adage of using the bathroom to escape work appears to be changing, with 1 in 6 (17.7%) of people saying they participate in conference calls when on the loo. However, this number increases to more than 1 in 5 (21.5%) of people aged 25 to 44.
Men are also the most likely to take part in a conference call on the toilet, with 1 in 5 (19.7%) saying they’ve taken part in a work call whilst on the loo, compared to just 15.7% of women.
Considering the recent lockdowns across the globe and people being in their own homes, there is a good chance one or more of your colleagues has been on the loo whilst you’re talking shop.
With so many people using the toilet for more than just relieving themselves, it isn’t too surprising to find that people are spending an average of (at least) 7.4 minutes on the loo, each time they visit – adding up to over 45 hours spent on the loo each year!
However, for over a third (34%) of people, this time on the loo is even longer, spending 10 minutes or more on the toilet, with an average of 36.6% of under 25s spending over 10 minutes on the loo compared to just 20.9% of over 35s.
With lockdowns causing the majority of people to stay at home, we asked our respondents if the time they spent on the loo had changed. Our survey found that 72% of people had increased the amount of time they spent on the loo; with 41% spending an additional 5 minutes on the loo, more than 1 in 4 (26%) adding 10 minutes to their ‘pooping time’, and whopping 1 in 14 (7%) spending and additional 20 minutes or more on the toilet!
On average, people have added 8.3 minutes to the time they spend on the loo, with those living with a partner seeing an above-average increase of 8.88 minutes to their toilet habits, followed by those living with family 8.47 minutes.
It appears some of that additional time in the bathroom could have something to do with people wanting to “escape” people in the household during lockdown. Of the over 1,100 people surveyed, 36.7% admitted they had tried to avoid others in their household using the bathroom as an escape.
The most likely to use the bathroom as an escape are people in shared accommodation, with over 39% (39.1%) of those in shared households reporting to have used the bathroom as a way of evading others they live with.
Close behind, with 38.5% of people admitting to hiding in the loo, are those living with their family. In the family environment, 41.6% of women said they had used the bathroom to avoid someone in their household.
In terms of partners avoiding each other, more than 2 in 5 (42.7%) of men said they had used the bathroom as a way to escape their partner, compared to just 31.5% of female respondents living with just their partner.
Despite government calls to wash your hands regularly, our survey found that more than 1 in 4 (26.6%) of people don’t wash their hands every time they visit the bathroom for a wee and more than 1 in 7 (13.6%) people have fairly laissez-faire attitude towards hand washing after a poo.
The survey also revealed, within the people not always washing their hands, 1 in 112 (0.89%) people never wash their hands after a poo, increasing to 1 in 55 (1.8%) never washing their hands after doing a wee.
Under 25s are the least likely to wash their hands after wee, with close to a third (31.4%) not always washing their hands. Meanwhile, people aged between 45 and 54 are the least likely to wash their hands after a poo, with more than 1 in 40 (2.44%) saying they never wash their hands after a poo, increasing to 1 in 22 (4.44%) males aged between 45 and 54.
Prior to lockdown, our survey found that 34.9% of people showered once a day, with 15.9% showing even more than once per day on average, including 7.2% of people who shower 11 or more times a week.
However, since the beginning of lockdown, our survey found more than 7 in 10 (71.5%) of people say they are spending longer in the bath and/or shower, spending an average of 8.7 minutes longer bathing or in the shower, although nearly 1 in 6 (16.5%) say they are now spending over 20 minutes per day bathing or showing.
This increase in time spent bathing and showering will see many showers using an estimated additional 68.73 litres per shower.
Whether it’s getting caught short, the toilet being occupied or one of many other reasons, according to our survey, almost 1 in 3 (29.7%) people have weed in the sink at some point, with 37.6% of men and 20.1% of women admit to doing it.
More than a third (35.7%) of people living with their partner have weed in the sink, with over 48% of men living with a partner saying they’ve peed in a sink compared to just 1 in 5 (20.2%) of women in the same environment.
Shared houses aren’t much better, over 30% of people in shared houses have weed in a sink, including over 29% of women and a third (33%) of men living in shared houses.
Worryingly, almost 1 in 10 (9.9%) people when asked if they’d weed in a sink whether they’d cleaned up afterwards admitted to not cleaning the sink afterwards.
Of these to admit to not cleaning after peeing in the sink, over 1 in 10 (11.5%) of men and 8% of women.
In addition to weeing in the sink, 42.7% of people have thrown up in a sink, with those aged 25 to 44 the most likely (45.3%) to have used a sink when throwing up. In addition, the shower also appears to be a target for upset stomachs, with almost 1 in 3 (29.8%) of people saying they’d thrown up in the shower.
Our study revealed that behind the closed doors of our bathrooms many of us practice varying forms of hygiene and have turned the time spent for a bodily function into something resembling leisure time.
With 92% of people now taking their phones with them to the loo and more than 3 in 5 going on social media whilst sitting on the toilet, our ‘pooping time’ is no longer just a quick job but an escape and additional period of ‘leisure time’.
While actively using our phones on the loo might not present too many inherent dangers, other than increase in the risk of hemorrhoids and other bowel issues, a worrying aspect was the number of people failing to practice good hygiene with their hand washing.
With 1 in 7 people not always washing their hands after doing a poo, rising to 1 in 4 after doing a wee, everybody might poop but not everyone washes their hands after.
The was conducted between 05/06/2020 and 08/07/2020. The 1,128 respondents were located across the UK (66%) and USA (34%) and sourced through the Amazon Mechanical Turk network. Respondents were split 44.06% female, 54.52% male and 1.42% either preferring not to say or other.
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