Patented back as far as 1922, these devices have a long history. The "Sanitary Protector" filed for in August 1918 by Edyth Lacy, specifies a "cheap device ...[to be] used but once, being especially suitable as a sanitary device in public toilet rooms." She notes that it is "accordingly unnecessary for the user to sit upon the closet seat; and the urine is led off without danger of soiling the clothes of the user or the closet". It was to be "made of a cheap readily destructible material, such as stiff paper, which can be readily disposed of after its use".
A similar device was patented in 1956: "an efficient urine conductor for use by females eliminating all need for contacting a toilet facility...usable while in a comfortable, erect standing position". Another half a dozen devices with the same basic purpose and form were patented by the end of the century.
The Urinelle, which originates from France, appeared in 1996 and was the first to have mainstream manufacturing. The Huikeshoven Medical BV from the Netherlands bought the rights for this product in 1997. Over 35 years ago the Little John with the Lady J adapter was sold widely in the United States selling over 100,000 units.
In 2010 the market for these products is growing due to increasing awareness by women and more marketing around the various products. Hygienic options are a concern for more women and there are a larger variety of products available to choose from. 2010 leading brands include, but are not limited to: Lilium Femme, GoGirl, Shewee, Whiz Freedom, Freshette, P-mate and pStyle.