How to Ask for the Bathroom in English

This is one of the most important things you need to know how to ask in English. Imagine needing the toilet and unable to ask for directions to one!

In the UK (so using British English), people are quite straight forward and will tend to ask

‘Could you tell me where the bathroom is please’
‘Where are the toilets please?’ 
‘Where are the ladies’/gents’ please?’ 
‘Are there are any public toilets nearby please?’

Occasionally you may hear people using slang words like

‘Excuse me but where is the loo?’ 
‘I’m just going for a patter on the porcelain’ 
‘I’m just off to point Percy at the porcelain’ 
In the USA people tend to be rather coy and ask

‘Could you tell me where the restroom is please?’ 
‘Whereis the ladies’/men’s room please?’ 

You may also hear them use slang like

‘Where is the john?’
‘I’m going to the head’
‘I need to take a leak’

It is recommended that everyone should wash their hands after using the restroom (it’s only hygienic!) and it is mandatory that employees in the UK and USA have to wash their hands before returning to work.

How do you ask for the toilet in your language? Are there funny slangs for the word ‘toilet’?

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  1. Q. “How do you ask for the toilet in your language?”
    A. In Italy we use expressions like “Mi scusi, c’è un bagno per favore? ” or “Dov’è il bagno per favore?”

    Q. Are there funny slangs for the word ‘toilet’?
    A. Yep. In Italy we call it “cesso” and often say “devo andare al cesso” (kind of rude expression for “I have to go to the toilet”). Other expressions may be “Devo cambiare l’acqua all’uccello” or “devo cambiare l’acqua al pesce”. Use them with caution! Never, ever use such expressions in public or any formal context, you have been warned!!

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