Potty Talk: Redesigning the Toilet Experience to Promote Universal & Inclusive Design


Corrie Rosen

Taine Wilton
Edmonds School District

Nazia Junejo
Edmonds School District


1 Learning Units/Health, Safety, Welfare (LU/HSW)

How applies to HSW:

We believe the content of this panel discussion is focused on the criteria described in the Welfare definition, specifically, “aspects of architecture that engender demonstrable positive emotional responses among, or enable equal access by, users of buildings.”  Universal toileting supports human dignity for anyone who needs increased privacy and facilitates equitable access.


Using the toilet is one of humanity’s simplest and most essential needs. It is also one of our most private acts, one that has the power to affect every person’s sense of self-esteem and health. Recent laws, federal directives and high-profile news stories are focusing on how non-inclusivity impacts behavior, safety, health and equity for the transgender population. But this is not solely a gender issue: universal toileting supports human dignity for anyone who needs increased privacy, whether it’s due to preference, physical ability, religion, illness or families accompanying small children. So, how can redesigning the toilet experience benefit us all?   While many districts have Board policies in place to foster an educational environment that is safe and free of discrimination for all students, there are few facilities where the building supports them when it comes to toileting. This panel discussion will provide effective and replicable strategies to align the built environment with policy and design that is universal. Join in the dialogue with the Edmonds School District Capital Projects team members, a student leader, a Family Engagement Liaison who is also a parent of a transgender student, and an architect collaborating with the district on the design of a K-8 facility. Considerations will include safety and security, privacy, hygiene, signage conventions, acoustics, maintenance, cost and code implications. The panel will present different perspectives and drill down on the critical opportunities and challenges to creating safe, secure and inclusive toilet facilities that comply with the May 2016 United States “Department of Justice and Department of Education Joint Guidance on Civil Rights of Transgender Students” and the Washington Law Against Discrimination (RCW 49.60).     (We propose that the Family Engagement Liaison and students will join the discussion via video conference.)

Learning Objectives:
  • Explore the context of toileting needs today; physical, emotional, health, religious and political;
  • Hear first-hand from stakeholders positively impacted by universal toilet design
  • Identify best practices, cost and code implications, and learn to compare design details that do or do not enhance privacy and human dignity;
  • Discover new inclusive restroom layouts currently under construction or in design
Primary Competency:

Ethics/Professionalism: Provides leadership and stewardship for the responsible investment of public and private funding into school facilities – while being a known advocate for the importance of the learning environment on a child’s future. They lead and have a record of leading transparent processes that help communities find common ground in developing solutions to complex and sensitive issues – advocating for long term solutions that address the needs of all children and stakeholders including underserved groups.

Primary Domain:

Parameters: Content of this session/workshop will focus on the aspects and guidelines of a project often regulated or administered by other entities, organizations, and/or governing agencies.

Secondary Domain:

Toolbox: Content of this session/workshop will focus on the approaches, methods and applications when transitioning from design and concept into reality, actual existence through quality performance, execution and/or product.

Additional information:

In addition to the Family Engagement Liaison, the session will include Edmonds School District student leaders from the Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA). GSA is a student club that works toward a more accepting environment for ALL people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, through education, support, social action and advocacy.