Using public toilets

If you have problems with bowel or bladder control, or you have a stoma, you may feel worried about going out. Planning ahead can help you feel more confident.

Get a toilet card

A toilet card is a card that you can show quickly and easily to staff in shops, pubs and other places. It explains that you have a medical condition and need urgent access to a toilet. Sometimes it is also called a bladder and bowel card or a ‘no waiting’ toilet card.

You can order our Macmillan toilet card to carry and use when you are out in public. It also comes with a fob version that can be attached to a key ring. We cannot guarantee that it will work everywhere. But we hope it helps you get access to a toilet without any awkward questions.

The Bladder and Bowel Community also offer a free Just Can’t Wait toilet card and phone app.

Plan ahead and find a public toilet

If you are going somewhere new, it is a good idea to plan ahead and find out where toilets are before you go. Many areas have lists or maps of the local public toilets. These are often on local authority websites. Try:

  • typing ‘public toilets’ and the name of the place you are visiting into a search engine, such as Google
  • visiting the website to see a map with details of public toilets
  • downloading a toilet app for your phone that can help you find a public toilet.

Use disabled toilets

Disabled toilets often have more privacy and space. The National Key Scheme (NKS) offers access to over 9,000 locked disabled toilets in the UK.

You can buy a key online from places such as Disability Rights UK. You can also order a guide that tells you where the toilets are.

About our information

  • Reviewers

    This information has been written, revised and edited by Macmillan Cancer Support’s Cancer Information Development team. It has been reviewed by expert medical and health professionals and people living with cancer. It has been approved by Senior Medical Editor, Dr Ursula McGovern, Consultant Medical Oncologist.

    Our cancer information has been awarded the PIF TICK. Created by the Patient Information Forum, this quality mark shows we meet PIF’s 10 criteria for trustworthy health information.

Date reviewed

Reviewed: 01 November 2022
Next review: 01 November 2025
Trusted Information Creator - Patient Information Forum
Trusted Information Creator - Patient Information Forum

Our cancer information meets the PIF TICK quality mark.

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