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If you’ve ever found yourself perched precariously on the edge of the toilet seat, you know how uncomfortable and inconvenient a too-small toilet seat can be.

A properly fitting toilet seat is important for comfort and safety, but many standard residential toilets come with seats that are too small for the average adult user.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question:

The main options for dealing with a too-small toilet seat are getting a larger replacement seat, using a seat extender, or replacing the whole toilet. Look at elongated or comfortable height models for more room.

You may need to replace bolts to match a new seat.

Measure Your Existing Toilet Seat

Before you start looking for a new toilet seat, it’s important to measure your existing one to ensure a proper fit. Here are a few steps to help you with the process:

Confirm seat shape and size

The first thing you need to do is determine the shape and size of your current toilet seat. Most toilet seats come in two shapes: round and elongated.

Round seats are typically about 16.5 inches long, while elongated seats are around 18.5 inches.

Measure the length of your seat from the front edge to the back edge to confirm the size.

Additionally, take note of any special features your existing seat may have, such as a soft-close mechanism or built-in bidet. This will help you find a replacement seat with similar features if desired.

Measure from mounting holes

Next, you’ll need to measure the distance between the mounting holes on your toilet bowl. This measurement is crucial, as it determines how the seat attaches to the toilet.

Most standard toilet seats have a mounting hole distance of about 5.5 inches.

However, there are some variations, so it’s important to measure to ensure a proper fit.

To measure the mounting hole distance, start by locating the two holes at the back of your toilet bowl where the seat attaches. Measure the distance between the centers of these two holes.

This measurement will determine the width of the seat attachment, so be sure to get an accurate measurement.

Once you have these measurements, you can start your search for a new toilet seat that matches your existing one. Remember to double-check the measurements before making a purchase to avoid any compatibility issues.

Choose a New Toilet Seat

Elongated vs round front shape

When it comes to selecting a new toilet seat, one of the first decisions to make is whether to choose an elongated or round front shape.

Elongated toilet seats are designed to provide more surface area and are generally considered more comfortable for adults.

On the other hand, round front seats are compact and take up less space, making them ideal for smaller bathrooms or for households with children.

Consider the dimensions of your toilet bowl and the preferences of those using it to determine which shape is the best fit for your needs.

Larger rectangular vs round seats

Another factor to consider when choosing a new toilet seat is the size of the seat itself.

Some people may find that a larger rectangular seat provides more comfort and support, while others may prefer the simplicity and compactness of a round seat.

It’s important to take into account the dimensions of your toilet bowl and the size of the individuals who will be using the seat to ensure a proper fit and maximum comfort.

Comfort height seats

Comfort height seats have gained popularity in recent years due to their ergonomic design.

These seats are taller than standard toilet seats, making them easier to sit on and stand up from, especially for individuals with mobility issues or seniors.

Comfort height seats are typically about two to three inches taller than regular seats, providing a more comfortable and accessible experience.

Consider the needs of the people using the toilet to determine if a comfort height seat is the right choice for your bathroom.

Pick material and features

When choosing a new toilet seat, you’ll also want to consider the material and features that best suit your preferences. Toilet seats are commonly made from materials such as plastic, wood, or molded wood.

Plastic seats are lightweight and easy to clean, while wood seats offer a more traditional and durable option.

Additionally, some seats come with features like soft-close hinges that prevent slamming and quick-release mechanisms for easy cleaning.

Take into account your personal preferences and budget when deciding on the material and features of your new toilet seat.

Install the New Toilet Seat

Remove old seat and bolts

Before installing a new toilet seat, it is important to remove the old seat and bolts. Start by locating the bolts that secure the seat to the toilet bowl.

These bolts are usually located at the back of the seat, near the hinge. Use a wrench or pliers to unscrew the nuts on the bolts.

Once the nuts are removed, you can lift the old seat off the toilet bowl.

Attach new bolts if needed

Depending on the type of toilet seat you are installing, you may need to attach new bolts. Some toilet seats come with their own set of bolts, while others may require you to purchase them separately.

If your new seat requires new bolts, follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to attach them.

Make sure the bolts are securely fastened to the toilet bowl.

Set new seat on toilet

Once the old seat has been removed and new bolts (if needed) have been attached, you can now set the new seat on the toilet bowl.

Align the seat with the holes on the toilet bowl and gently lower it into place. Make sure the seat is centered and level on the bowl.

Once the seat is in position, use the nuts provided to secure it in place. Tighten the nuts evenly on both sides to ensure a secure fit.

It is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when installing a new toilet seat, as different seat models may have specific installation requirements.

If you are unsure about any step of the installation process, consult the manufacturer’s website or contact their customer support for guidance.

Consider Replacing the Whole Toilet

If you find that your toilet seat is too small, one solution to consider is replacing the entire toilet.

This may seem like a drastic step, but it can provide a long-term solution to your comfort and convenience.

Old toilets may be too small

Many older toilets were designed with smaller seat sizes, which can be uncomfortable for some individuals. These toilets were often manufactured when space was a premium and efficiency was the main focus.

If you have an older toilet, it may be worth considering replacing it with a newer model that offers a larger seat size.

According to a study conducted by the National Kitchen and Bath Association, the average lifespan of a toilet is around 50 years. So if your toilet is nearing or has surpassed this age, it may be time for an upgrade.

Elongated and comfort height models

When choosing a new toilet, look for models that offer elongated seats and comfort height options. Elongated seats are typically larger and provide more surface area for better comfort.

Comfort height toilets are taller than standard toilets, making them easier to sit down on and stand up from, especially for individuals with mobility issues or joint pain.

According to a survey conducted by the American Society of Interior Designers, 78% of homeowners prefer elongated toilet seats over round seats for their increased comfort.

Hire a plumber for replacement

Replacing a toilet can be a complex task that requires knowledge of plumbing systems. It is recommended to hire a professional plumber to ensure the job is done correctly and to avoid any potential issues or leaks in the future.

A plumber will be able to assess your current plumbing system, help you choose the right toilet model, and install it properly.

Use a Toilet Seat Extender

If you find that your toilet seat is too small and uncomfortable, a toilet seat extender can be a simple and effective solution. Rather than replacing the entire seat, a toilet seat extender can be easily installed on top of your existing seat to provide additional space and comfort.

Quick fix without replacing seat

One of the biggest advantages of using a toilet seat extender is that it offers a quick fix without the need to replace the entire seat.

This can save you time and money, as well as the hassle of finding a new seat that fits your specific toilet.

Additionally, a toilet seat extender can be easily removed if you no longer need it or if you want to clean your toilet seat thoroughly.

This makes it a convenient and versatile option for those who are looking for a temporary or adjustable solution.

Check extender is sturdy and fits

When considering a toilet seat extender, it’s important to ensure that it is sturdy and fits securely on your existing seat.

Look for an extender that is made of durable materials and has a reliable locking mechanism to prevent it from shifting or moving while in use.

Measure the dimensions of your toilet seat and compare them to the dimensions of the extender to ensure a proper fit.

Keep in mind that some extenders are adjustable and can accommodate different seat sizes, while others may only fit specific seat dimensions.

May not work with some toilets

While toilet seat extenders can be a great solution for many people, it’s important to note that they may not work with all types of toilets.

Some toilets have unique designs or shapes that may not be compatible with standard extenders.

If you have a non-standard or unconventional toilet, it’s recommended to consult with a professional or contact the manufacturer to determine if a toilet seat extender is a suitable option for your specific toilet model.


Dealing with a frustratingly small toilet seat doesn’t require living with discomfort or buying a whole new toilet.

In many cases, replacing the seat with a larger elongated or comfort height model can provide more room at minimal cost and effort.

For a quick fix, toilet seat extenders are also an option. With some simple measurements and planning, you can find the right toilet seat solution to suit your needs.

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