The title says it all. I understand that in this case the acusative case should be used, but why "auf" instead of "in"? Can I say "Ich gehe in die Toilette"?


3 Answers 3


Because Toilette means in everyday language toilet and not bathroom, so in die Toilette gehen means to step into the toilet bowl. Auf die Toilette gehen comes from auf die Toilette setzen (to sit on the soilet seat)

The room, in which the toilet is, is called Toilette in German (Wikipedia), too. However, I (and the internet agrees) would use Toilette as name for the room only in the sense of "Wo ist die Toilette? (Where is the bathroom)" or "Ich gehe zur Toilette". But in both cases it could also be understand as the toilet itself, too.

If the room contains a toilet and a shower, I would use Bad or Badezimmer instead. For example:

A: Wo bist du?

B: Ich bin im Badezimmer (even though I am actually sitting on the toilet) or Ich bin auf der Toilette or Ich bin auf dem Klo.

  • According to dict.leo.org, "Toilette" can also mean "bathroom". In Spanish, this would be "baño", which refers to the room where the WC is, not precisely the WC.
    – Charlie
    Oct 21, 2016 at 10:12
  • 1
    @Charlie I do not know how it is said in Spanish but I think English and German are similar at this topic. For example, in English, you say also I go to the toilet, not I go into the toilet. Oct 21, 2016 at 10:57
  • 1
    @Charlie, you are right, I edited my question.
    – Iris
    Oct 21, 2016 at 11:43
  • "into" might probably imply you're trying to enter the bowl - both in English and German
    – tofro
    Oct 21, 2016 at 13:26
  • @Iris Without any context to the sentence in the question, how do you know that, as you say, "Toilette here means toilet not bathroom"? Maybe the test continues in this way: "Ich gehe in die Toilette und schraube die Kloschüssel ab."
    – user4973
    Oct 21, 2016 at 14:15

"In die Toilette" can be interpreted as into the toilet bowl instead of the bathroom (although people are smart enough to figure out that that is not what you mean).

Here are a few example of "in die Toilette":

  • "Nicht mehr benötigte Medikamente gehören nicht in die Toilette oder den Ausguss." (Umweltbundesamt)
  • "Mir ist das Handy in die Toilette gefallen (...)" (Reinigungsforum.de)
  • "Darf man Speiseabfälle in die Toilette schütten?" (Die Zeit)

Many people use "ins Klo" as a synoym for "in die Toilette", and "aufs Klo (gehen)" as a synonym for "auf die Toilette (gehen)".

  • Your first sentence is wrong. No one would think I put my vacuum cleaner in the toilet bowl if I say: "Ich stelle den Staubsauger in die Toilette."
    – user4973
    Oct 21, 2016 at 14:11
  • @what, do you really say this? I wouldn't.... For me that is a "Bad/Badezimmer"
    – Iris
    Oct 21, 2016 at 14:32
  • @Iris Ich weiß nicht, was deine Muttersprache ist, aber ein Raum mit nur einer Toilettenschüssel und einem Waschbecken ist im Deutschen kein Badezimmer. In einem Badezimmer wasche ich mich. Das mache nicht nicht in der Toilette. So haben z.B. die Züge der Deutschen Bahn eine Toilette, aber kein Badezimmer. Versuch mal den Schaffner zu fragen, wo das Badezimmer ist. Ich muss schon lachen, wenn ich das schreibe! In manchen deutschen Wohnungen gibt es eine Kloschüssel im Bad, aber sehr häufig sind Bad und Toilette getrennt, und in Einfamilienhäusern gibt es oft eine sogenannte Gästetoilette.
    – user4973
    Oct 21, 2016 at 14:41
  • @what Do you mean that the sentence "Nicht mehr benötigte Medikamente gehören nicht in die Toilette oder den Ausguss." is wrong??
    – Tsundoku
    Oct 21, 2016 at 14:41
  • @ChristopheStrobbe Is that your first sentence? No. I wrote: "Your first sentence is wrong." Your first sentence is a generalization, and it is wrong. I said nothing about the rest of your answer, so don't bring it into the discussion.
    – user4973
    Oct 21, 2016 at 14:50

The question here is what you want to express.

If you want to say that someone is going to defecate, you are speaking of the toilet bowl ("Toilette") and you do not go into the bowl to defecate but sit on it. The common way to express this is to say: "Ich gehe auf die Toilette." or: "Ich gehe zur Toilette."

If you want to say that someone enters the room ("Toilette") that contains the toilet bowl for some other reason than defecation, you may say both: "Ich gehe auf die Toilette." (and maybe mislead the listener to think that you need to pee) and "Ich gehe in die Toilette." (which will make it clear that you do not intend to use the toilet bowl).

To be more explicit, "in die Toilette gehen" is not false. According to the Duden, you can say "auf die, in die, zur Toilette gehen".

There are many examples for "in der Toilette sein" in the corpus of Die Zeit, for example: "Vor Gericht sagte er, er habe in der Toilette einen Einbrecher vermutet." Here, the room is meant, and "in" is used. Had the author written "auf", the readers would have assumed the burglar was sitting on the toilet bowl.

Other corpora also list countless examples for "in die Toilette gehen", for example: "Nach ein paar Abenden fiel allerdings auf, daß ich in die Toilette hineinging, aber nicht wieder herauskam."

So don't let the other, wrong answers dissuade you from using a perfectly correct German phrase and feel free to say "Ich gehe in die Toilette" whenever you just want to do your hair.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.