I was just reading a past post by Brit Gal Sarah about British and American public conveniences. In the US they're referred to by a multitude of names - restrooms, (although there usually aren't any seats), washrooms, and even comfort stations, which to my mind sounds more like somewhere you'd go when you've had a really bad day. I haven't actually been into a comfort station so they might well give out cups of tea or self-help leaflets. In the UK restrooms are called Toilets, Lavatories, WCs, or loos, bogs, privvies if you're being uncouth.
I can't really come down on either side being better or cleaner as I have had good and dodgy experiences in both countries. Brit Gal has apparently had a much better "restroom experience" in the States than I have, as a) there are very few public conveniences here in Chicago, and b) the ones at the beach here are fairly disgusting.
No, my beef about American restrooms is the complete lack of privacy. In the UK, if you want to find out if the cubicle (or stall) is occupied, you can knock or push the door (very gently since the lock might not be working). This gives the occupant time to leap forward, pee all over her feet, and push the door back. (As a side note, ladies, if you can't stop your pee mid-flow you haven't been doing your Keigel exercises and your pelvic floor is in grave danger.)If there's a gap at the bottom, you can also peek to see if there are any feet.
In the US, there's no need for any detective work because you can immediately see if there's someone in - through the two inch gap on either side of the door. In fact, you can usually see if work is still in progress or if the occupant is almost ready to exit.
I am sure most Americans don't even give it a second thought, and indeed the huge gaps between floor, door, hinges etc. makes it very easy to keep an eye on your kids if you've made them wait outside. But for heaven's sake......