The Pittsburgh Potty

(photo from

I’ve heard rumors of this existing but have never seen one myself. If I have then I blocked it out for obvious reasons. While house hunting today I came across the following amenity listed “walk out basement with pittsburgh commode”.  You’re reading that right, they’re showcasing a toilet in the basement.

Why would there be a toilet in the basement? Is there a problem with the water pressure up stairs? Are the people too lazy? Do you sometimes get the urge and say “you know what, I’m droppin pants right here!” Do they even wear pants? Do they have a thing against walls. bwwahhhhhhhh I need to know!

Don’t think to hard about that or your ears will start to bleed.

So I went to the one place that I knew an answer could be found… The Twitter!

Within minutes I not only had the answer to my “WTF is a Pittsburgh Potty” quest but I was sent pictures, the history and even a video!  One thing is for for sure, Pittsburgh love their history especially when its as unique as a toilet.

Here were some replies


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20 Replies to “The Pittsburgh Potty”

  1. I’ve lived in at least one house with a Pgh. Toilet – and I’ve always been told they were for when men would come home from working (in coal mines, steel mills, construction) and were all filthy, they would go to the downstairs toilet so they wouldn’t ruin the nice carpets and floors upstairs.

  2. We have one, the house my mom grew up in has one. It’s THE thing to have.

    Side note: There is a house on my street for sale. My mom would babysit. Just sayin’

  3. From all the comments on twitter and from yinz I realize that no one ever takes me to their basement. That’s probably a good thing though. Nothing can be more whack than the basement at sickpuppy’s place.

  4. I never knew that those basement toilets had a name! Joe and I were just at an estate sale a few streets away from our house and there was the toilet, just sitting under the basement stairs. Odd!

  5. I went home after this discussion on Twitter and told my wife “Guess what they were discussing on Twitter today?” Snarkily she replied “What ever were they talking about on Twitter?” (She doesn’t get Twitter”. I said “Pittsburgh Potty’s!” She immediately said “You’re not putting that thing back in.”

    I love her, but this needs to change.

  6. My house in Bloomfield had one, with a shower and a radiator. I’ve seen houses with kitchens in the basement too (Italian) They never used the real kitchen unless company was in for the holidays.

  7. BrieCS is right – they’re a relic from the old days when the mills were still open, and guys would be completely covered in soot when they left work. They’d go in through the basement door, shower and use the bathroom, and then come upstairs. This was back in the days when women had to hang the laundry INSIDE to dry, because the air was so sooty it would dirty the clothes again if they hung them in the yard. Considering most Pittsburgh houses were built before WWII, it’s not surprising they’re so common.

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