Reasons to Design Private Restrooms Only in New Buildings - Shy Bladder Syndrome and Much More - 2018 International Plumbing Code






The above link shows examples of private restrooms requiring less square footage than multi-stall per the new code


Up to 46 million Americans are unable to urinate in the presence of others. Shy Bladder Syndrome (Paruresis) is the name for this condition*.

In buildings designed with multi-stall restrooms, Paruresis sufferers find it difficult or impossible to urinate when others are in the same room.  Toilet stalls, urinal partitions or background music often do not provide relief.  This environment damages the quality of life people expect while functioning in society.  

Single-occupancy (private) restrooms can require less square footage than multi-stalls.  They do not need a dedicated room for the public to move around in and not bump into one another.  Egress corridors, lobbies and other commmon areas - in newly designed buildings - provide this circulation area at no additional cost. 

The 2018 International Plumbing Code, Section 403.1.2 allows all restrooms and bathing rooms to be designed single-occupancy and unisex - see above floor plans for examples. Variances, modifications or state code committees can approve it in advance.      

The code helps Paruresis sufferers, provides safer environments for families with children, reduces waiting lines for everyone (gender parity) and solves transgender Bathroom Bills by birth certificate as in North Carolina.

The National Organization for Women, a proponent for more single-occupancy, unisex and family restrooms, asks that toilet seat covers and hand soap dispensers be maintained in them per their support of the 2010 Bipartisan Restroom Gender Parity in Federal Buildings Act. 

In new building designs, architects can reduce the total building size when single-occupancy restrooms require less space.  The resulting energy savings pay back the 6% additional costs of the private restrooms in the above floor plans as examples - for more doors, walls, etc.        

With single-occupancy restrooms, employee and customer satisfaction will increase leading to better productivity and increased sales.  Buildings become user friendly, inviting, more in demand and an environment people can function in.  

The Americans With Disabilities Act includes mental impairments (see below) which is what Paruresis is. The 2008 ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA) and the 2011 EEOC Regulations make this determination even easier to prove that could lead to costly implications -

Clearly, architects must design private restrooms only in buildings to avoid these problems.  This will vastly improve conditions in society as well.     


The American's With Disabilities Act (ADA) Title III PROHIBITION OF  DISCRIMINATION BY PUBLIC ACCOMMODATIONS:  "(a) General Rule.--No individual shall be discriminated against on the basis of disability in the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations of any place of public accommodation by any person who owns, leases (or leases to), or operates a place of public accommodation."  ADA also states that a person is "considered to have a disability if he or she has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities."


* A Study by Williams and Degenhart (Wikipedia) found 14.4% of the population having Paruresis, equaling 46 million Americans, based upon the 2015 USA population of 320,098,857.  A Harvard University Study - Social Phobia Subtypes in the National Comorbidity Study - American Journal of Psychiatry, 155:613-9, May 1998, found 6.6% of the population with Paruresis equalling 21 million Americans as of 2015.