You are in a toilet and someone knocks on the door. What do you say to him so that he won't enter?

Is there a formal and an informal phrase?

4 Answers 4


There are numerous ways to inform someone that you're using the restroom. Here are some brief ways.

  1. Occupied.

That's the first thing that came to my mind.

I think a more polite phrase would be

  1. One moment please.

Some more causal ways would be

  1. Just a minute. (Note that this is not a literal minute, but a request or notice for an additional moment.)
  2. Someone's in here.
  3. I'm in here. (If the person outside knows you.)

You could even simply say/ask

  1. Yeah./Yeah?

This is enough to let the outside person know it's occupied.

If you want to give a long sentence, then maybe something like:

  1. The restroom is currently occupied. Please return momentarily.

Honestly, even a grunt, "uh", or some similar interjection can suffice. It's a bit of an awkward situation, so people will understand that you might not want to say much. They'll understand you're in there anyway.

  • "Momentarily" is not used in that way. Have a look in a dictionary.
    – WS2
    Nov 4, 2018 at 9:34
  • 4
    @WS2 This is what I meant: after a moment, after a while. The ODO has momentarily: "North American At any moment; very soon. ‘my husband will be here to pick me up momentarily’". I think it fits.
    – Em.
    Nov 4, 2018 at 9:36
  • My apologies. It is apparently used in that way in America - the OED confirms it as sense4, and labels it as "North American". It is not used in that way in Britain, where "momentarily" can mean "for a moment", as opposed to "after a moment" or "in a moment".
    – WS2
    Nov 13, 2018 at 0:29

You can say almost anything you like, but obvious choices are things like "Occupied!" (to describe the state of the bathroom stall, which is occupied by you) or "Don't come in!" (the basic imperative). Or you can simply make some obvious noise to signal your presence, like grunting.


I personally would say, "I won't be long."

In the event that I had severe bowel problems I might say, "I'm sorry, I could be some time."

The advantage of this is that it gives the person knocking an indication of how long they will have to wait - they may need the facility urgently!


You can say

Someone’s in here be right out in a second.

If you don’t want them waiting at the door.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .