How to Install Toilet Safety Rails (Attached and Freestanding Options)

Certified Senior Advisor®
Senior Home Safety Specialist®
20 years of medical equipment experience
Compassionately helping seniors and their caregivers solve challenges of aging

Toilet safety rails must be installed securely and properly for safe use. It is also very important that freestanding toilet frames are assembled correctly before being used. Here's the details.

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Install Toilet Safety Rails

Toilet safety rails are one option to help seniors get up and down from the toilet more easily and safely.

The best toilet safety rails for seniors and the elderly are generally installed directly on the toilet, but there are portable options that simply sit next to the toilet. They go a long way towards preventing falls and enhancing stability. 

Here are some tips and advice to ensure your toilet safety rails are installed correctly.

Types of Toilet Safety Rails

There are two main types of toilet rails, attached and freestanding options. Each of the two types of toilet safety rails requires different installation procedures.

Always install toilet rails according to the manufacturer’s instructions for safe and effective use. It is also essential to use toilet rails safely to prevent injuries.

Attached Toilet Rails

The attached toilet safety rails are further subdivided into two different kinds. The first type is designed to fully rest on top of the toilet bowl (also known as legless toilet safety rails).

While the other type partially rests on the toilet bowl and the floor – thanks to the inclusion of two front legs.

To install legless rails, you will need to remove the screws that hold the toilet seat to the toilet bowl. Once done, place the toilet rails bracket over the holes at the back of the bowl and put the toilet seat back in place before reinserting the screws.

Depending on the design of the rails, the product may come with two horizontal bars designed to rest on the back and front part of the toilet bowl; or one flat bar at the back and two pieces that rest on the front part of the bowl. The former is considered to be more stable.

Attached toilet rails that feature legs that extend down to the floor are considered to be more stable as they don’t have to rely solely on the toilet seat bolts for stability. To install them:

  1. Start by assembling the toilet rails.
  2. Remove the screws holding the toilet seat at the back of the toilet bowl.
  3. Put the bracket of the rails in place before putting the toilet seat back and reinserting the screws.

Depending on the model you choose, the legs may rest on the floor midway through the length of the toilet bowl or extend just past the front of the bowl.

how to install toilet safety rails freestanding
Freestanding toilet safety rails are designed to rest around the toilet.

Freestanding Stand-Alone Toilet Rails

Freestanding toilet safety rails do not attach to any part of the toilet. Simply put, these are frames designed to rest around the toilet.

With that in mind, installation only entails the assembly of the frame. Once the frame is fully assembled, it can be positioned around the toilet, ready for use.

One of the main advantages of these toilet safety rails is that they require minimal setup and are also highly portable. These rails also take up more space. However, since they are not attached to anything, some may be wobbly during use.

RELATED: Are Toilet Safety Rails Covered by Medicare Or Insurance?


There are two main types of toilet safety rails, freestanding and attached options. With the above guidelines in mind, you should be able to install each type easily.

However, you should note that this is only a general guide, and different products may have slightly different installation requirements.

Seniors are more likely to enjoy a higher quality of life when they can easily and independently use the bathroom without anyone’s assistance. Both of these toilet safety rails are a great aid in achieving some security in the bathroom. 

Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®
Senior Home Safety Specialist (SHSS)®
Assistive Technology Professional

Scott Grant has spent more than 20 years serving seniors and the elderly in the home medical equipment industry. He has worked as a manufacturer's rep for the top medical equipment companies and a custom wheelchair specialist at a durable medical equipment (DME) provider in WV. He is father to 4 beautiful daughters and has three terrific grandkids. When not promoting better living for older adults, he enjoys outdoor activities including hiking and kayaking and early morning runs.

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