Toilet Transfer

This page is for people who use a walker, cane, or crutches. This page will tell you how to safely get on and off a toilet or bedside commode.

Sitting on a toilet

  1. Using your walker, cane, or crutches, back up to the toilet or bedside commode until you feel it behind your knees.
  2. Keep your weaker leg slightly in front of you.
  3. With both hands, reach back to the toilet seat or the rails on the bedside commode (See picture at right).
  4. Slowly lower yourself onto the seat.

Getting up from the toilet

  1. To get up, push off from the rails or seat.
  2. When you stand, get your balance before reaching for your walker, cane, or crutches.

Safety tips

  • Do not pull up on your walker. This can cause the walker to tip, and you could fall.
  • Adjust the bedside commode to the proper height. Your therapist will tell you how
    high it should be.
  • Check with your doctor before you stop using your bedside commode or other equipment.
  • If possible, keep the bedside commode against a wall. This will help keep the commode from moving when you sit on it.
  • If you have trouble sitting down or standing up, try leaning forward over your toes when getting up or down. Think of the phrase “nose to toes.” If you have had a total hip replacement, do not follow this tip. Follow your precautions.
  • Tuck your stronger foot under the commode to stand.
  • Once you are standing, be sure you have your balance before reaching for your walker, cane, or crutches.

Note: Your therapist may show you different ways to get on and off the toilet or bedside commode, depending on your situation. Follow the instructions you are given.​

UPMC | Affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences | Supplemental content provided by Healthwise, Incorporated. To learn more, visit

For help in finding a doctor or health service that suits your needs, call the UPMC Referral Service at 412-647-UPMC (8762) or 1-800-533-UPMC (8762). Select option 1.

UPMC is an equal opportunity employer. UPMC policy prohibits discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, sex, genetics, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, familial status, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected group status. Further, UPMC will continue to support and promote equal employment opportunity, human dignity, and racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity. This policy applies to admissions, employment, and access to and treatment in UPMC programs and activities. This commitment is made by UPMC in accordance with federal, state, and/or local laws and regulations.

Medical information made available on is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely entirely on this information for your health care needs. Ask your own doctor or health care provider any specific medical questions that you have. Further, is not a tool to be used in the case of an emergency. If an emergency arises, you should seek appropriate emergency medical services.

Pittsburgh, PA, USA |