Sara Grossman has spent the summer going to music festivals, but not as much for the music as for the notoriously grimy public restrooms.

When Grossman stands in front of a row of port-a-potties, she has a message for the women in line: You don't have to sit down on that pee-covered seat.

Grossman is the inventor of Stand Up, a bright pink triangle that folds out, origami-style, into a funnel.

It lets women stand up over a toilet without worrying that they're going to accidentally dribble urine down a leg.

It's not the first product of its kind, but Grossman hopes it may be the first to go mainstream--something you might eventually find at a drugstore or gas station rather than at REI.

"This is something you wouldn't be embarrassed to take out of your purse," she says. "I don't want people to feel embarrassed to be holding this. I want it to be something that they feel like is an accessory."

She experimented to come up with something that would be compact enough to fit in a small purse, but long enough to actually work.

"I tried a number of different designs before I finally got to the one where I didn't pee on the floor," she says. "It was also important that it was really aesthetically pleasing."

The result, made from thick paper, is also biodegradable.

2014-08-15

Co.Exist

No More Hovering: Now Women Can Pee Like Men With This Pretty Paper Funnel

"This is something you wouldn't be embarrassed to take out of your purse."

Sara Grossman has spent the summer going to music festivals, but not as much for the music as for the notoriously grimy public restrooms. When Grossman stands in front of a row of port-a-potties, she has a message for the women in line: You don't have to sit down on that pee-covered seat.

A recent Stanford University grad and former staffer for Michelle Obama, Grossman is the inventor of Stand Up, a bright pink triangle that folds out, origami-style, into a funnel that lets women stand up over the toilet without worrying that they're going to accidentally dribble urine down a leg. In fact, women using the funnel are instructed to pee like men: facing the toilet.

It's not the first product of its kind, but Grossman hopes it may be the first to go mainstream--something you might eventually find at a drugstore or gas station rather than at REI.

"This is something you wouldn't be embarrassed to take out of your purse," she says. "I don't want people to feel embarrassed to be holding this. I want it to be something that they feel like is an accessory."

After a lifetime of wishing she could stand up at public restrooms--and overhearing other women continually bemoaning the germ-laden state of toilets while inside--she finally had an epiphany while hovering over a dirty airplane commode. "I thought, 'Should I just make this? I think about this every time."

She experimented to come up with something that would be compact enough to fit in a small purse, but long enough to actually work. "I tried a number of different designs before I finally got to the one where I didn't pee on the floor," she says. "It was also important that it was really aesthetically pleasing." The result, made from thick paper, is also biodegradable.

Eventually, Grossman may use a one-for-one model to bring Stand Up to places like India, where unsanitary public restrooms can be a frequent source of disease.

So far, she says, the reviews have been positive. "I think the most surprising feedback that I've gotten is that it's really fun to pee standing up," she says. "It's exhilarating. It's like a little adventure in the bathroom."

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24 Comments

  • Matt Hauser

    This is actually not a new product. I remember seeing this maybe 10 years ago.

  • Jack Rigby

    As one of the last of my kind in the wild ..... old and old-fashioned male, I have always had great sympathy for the plight of the lower class (women) and wondered why such a simple device wasn't long universal. Sheer mechanics make it too difficult to give females the same facilities - but you can put 5 male troughs in the space of one throne.

    I well remember the horror when a world favourite show called Allie Mc Beal destroyed itself by two events: Ally hunting for giant penises and the final ignomy of the first ever shared office toilets! The last vestige of decorum has since vanished all over. In my own small country town, new fashionable toilet block replaced the old perfectly functionable red-brick with completely separate facilities with a strange mixture of shared stalls and separate traditional male urinals - which had warning signs for females.

    A row of ten handbasins were for sharing. Females don't, I observed when males are around.....

  • alice

    This is just going to create litter since no one is going to walk around with a bit of cardboard covered in wee to find a bin.

  • John Goldsmith

    Now women will realize that peeing standing up IS what creates urine on the seat. Eventually, everyone needs to have a seat, like it or not, because ish*t happens.

  • Variations of this have been around for years and years - I was at a music festival in the 90's and to demonstrate its effectiveness, a woman peed into a bucket on stage

  • !! I've been thinking about this for years having been involved in the rock & roll music business, attending huge music events w/ lines at the porta potties that overflowed due to crowds! This is great. I hope to connect with her as I'm bridging new ideas, products, inventions into mainstream to create a more harmonious, just, sustainable New Earth. Suni Pele Nelson, San Jose, www.ISIS6Group.com

  • Tristan Ward

    the thing is, there are disposable seat covers in just about every public restroom (at least in CA) just use them. also, not squatting ON the toilet like your in a 3rd world country pissing over a hole. it is gross when i go into a stall in what used to be the LADIES room and see pee ON the seat. - oh and didn't mum teach you the secret - FREE seat covers called toilet paper?

  • In theory the disposable seat covers would be fine except many of the toilet stalls that have them, have toilets that flush before you have time to unbutton/unzip your pants and sit down, and the seat cover flushes right down too before you've had a chance to get your butt onto the seat! I DO use toilet paper on the seat often, but some ladies rooms have a breeze blowing that moves the toilet paper before you've had a chance to sit... or the toilet tissue is so narrow that it doesn't properly cover the filthy seat! I am not sure any of the devices that have been invented to stand in for a penis, really work that well . I do think the combo, special underpants AND device "might" work, but am not sure. For wilderness, yes, maybe... but in a ladies room, not so sure. If it's a reusable device, what about the pee that remains on it? Disposable/biodegradable sounds better, but it's true, as someone said, not all ladies rooms have trash receptacles, though most do!

  • Michael Smythe

    I am reminded of an old Victorian cartoon (Punch I think) that my dear departed mother used to quote - a little girl discovers a little boy peeing behind a tree, looks, and says, "I say, that's a handy thing to take to a picnic!"