How to Say “Go to the Toilet” in English: A Comprehensive Guide

Learning how to express the need to use the toilet is an essential part of any language acquisition. In English, there are various ways to convey this message, depending on the formality of the situation and regional variations. In this guide, we will explore both formal and informal expressions for indicating the need to use the toilet in English, along with plenty of tips and examples to help you master this important language skill.

Formal Expressions:

When it comes to formal situations, such as in professional or polite conversations, it is crucial to use appropriate language. Here are some formal ways to express the need to use the toilet:

1. Excuse me, I need to use the restroom.

This is a polite way to indicate your need to use the toilet. It is commonly used in formal settings such as in business meetings, official gatherings, or professional interactions.

2. May I be excused for a moment? I need to visit the lavatory.

This expression is more formal and respectful, suitable for situations where a higher degree of politeness is required, such as in formal dinner parties or upscale events.

Informal Expressions:

In less formal situations, such as with friends or family, you can use more casual language to express your need to use the toilet. Here are a few informal expressions:

1. Can I use the bathroom?

This is a commonly used phrase among friends and family. The word “bathroom” is often used in informal situations instead of “restroom” or “lavatory.”

2. I’ll be right back, nature’s calling.

This expression is more light-hearted and humorous. It is suitable for close friends or family members when you want to convey a sense of urgency in a playful manner.

Regional Variations:

English is spoken in various regions around the world, and certain expressions may differ based on regional variations. Here are some examples of how to say “go to the toilet” in different English-speaking countries:

United Kingdom:

  • Blokes: “I need to spend a penny.”
  • Ladies: “I need to powder my nose.”

These expressions are commonly used in the United Kingdom, indicating the need to use the toilet in a playful and euphemistic way.

United States:

  • “I need to hit the john/restroom.”
  • “I need to use the facilities.”

In the United States, these informal expressions are commonly used to indicate the need to go to the toilet. “Hit the john” is a slang expression, while “use the facilities” is a more polite way to convey the message.

Tips and Examples:

Here are some additional tips and examples to further enhance your understanding of how to say “go to the toilet” in English:

  1. Be mindful of the context and choose your expressions accordingly. In formal settings, opt for more polite phrases, while in informal situations, feel free to use casual language.
  2. If you’re unsure about which expression to use, it’s always safe to stick to more standard phrases like “use the restroom” or “go to the toilet.”
  3. Remember that regional variations exist, so be open to learning new expressions when immersed in different English-speaking cultures.


Formal: “Excuse me, I need to use the restroom before the meeting starts.”

Informal: “Hey, can I use your bathroom real quick?”

UK Variation: “Sorry, love, I need to spend a penny.”

US Variation: “I’ll be right back, just need to hit the john.”

In conclusion, being able to express the need to go to the toilet is an essential skill for effective communication in English. By using the formal and informal expressions provided in this guide, along with the tips and examples, you should feel confident in navigating various situations where such communication is necessary. Remember to adapt your language based on the formality of the setting and be open to learning regional variations to further enrich your language skills.

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Written by Ida Helen

Hi there! I'm Ida, a language enthusiast with a knack for explaining the subtleties of language translation. From "Aceptar" to "Zi", I've pursued my passion for capturing the essence of words across cultural lines. Besides being a wordsmith, I find joy in sipping different types of coffee and hiking—finding peace in nature's tranquility. I believe languages are not just words, but a bridge bringing us closer despite our backgrounds. Join me as we venture through the vibrant world of language, uncovering its beauty and depth. Let's discover words together!

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