There is a distinct difference between public toilets and the one in your own home.
The shape of public bathroom toilets is a result of the seat having a gap at the front, forming a u-shape. but The seat in your bathroom at home will go all the way around.
The answer is fairly straight forward, but puzzling out the reason why is enough to send you round the u-bend.
Public authorities in the US have specific plumbing codes that are mostly due to hygiene.
“All closet seats in California, except those at intervals dwelling house units, should be either of the open front sort or have AN automatic seat cowl dispenser,”
The move was first brought in the American Standard National Plumbing Code in 1955 and then later in the Uniform Plumbing Codes in 1973.
The gap in the seat means to give the user a little breathing room to refrain from touching the seat with your genitals and provide one less place where urine could splash.
“The U-design shape facilitates women to wipe the perineal area after using the toilet without contacting the seat,”
According to Lynne Simnick, the senior vice president of code development at the IAPMO – International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials, the gap in the seat is also meant to make it easier for women to wipe.
The fact that seats with the gap are cheaper to produce and less likely to get stolen might also play a role.
“The appearance of u-shaped seats is something that has dampened in the UK,” said Roger Barry, managing director of the UK’s Healthmatic.