Basically, when it comes to poops, nobody does them better than me. Or at least, that’s what I thought before discovering the Squatty Potty on Reddit (while I was on the toilet, no less).
I visit the porcelain throne three to four times per day. That’s right, I poop after my morning cup of joe, my daily yoga flow, my afternoon snack, and my CrossFit WOD. Like a queen.
Basically, when it comes to poops, nobody does them better than me. Or at least, that’s what I thought before discovering the Squatty Potty on Reddit (while I was on the toilet, no less). Before I knew it, the Squatty Potty-a $25 stool that helps you squat, instead of sit, while you poo-was in my shopping cart.
The Squatty Potty-essentially a step stool that sits on the floor in front of the toilet-first rose to fame on Shark Tank, where its founders claimed that proper pooping posture makes all the difference (more on that posture below). Since then, it's become the hottest piece of bathroom paraphernalia on the market.
But uh, does it really make it easier to poop? I would be the judge of that with my own Squatty Potty review.
First, I wanted to learn a little more about the Squatty Potty-like why squatting is better than sitting.
It turns out that pooping is a little more technical than sitting on the seat and doing your business.
The rectum and the anal canal are poop's last stop before leaving your body, and there are a few muscles down there that make sure that we don’t automatically poop our pants every time we sit. One muscle (called the puborectalis) pulls the rectum forward, which creates a 90-degree angle that kinks your colon (like a garden hose) when you're sitting or standing, thereby helping to keep the poop in place, explains women’s health certified specialist, Lori Mize, P.T., D.P.T.
But it also means that when we sit to poop, there's a kink in the way, she says.
Enter: the deep squat-not only does it help build a juicy peach, it’s also the only position where that magical muscle fully relaxes, straightening the kink in your bowels and letting things flow as nature intended, explains Mize. According to one small study published in Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms, squatting helps relax the puborectalis muscles, opening the rectum and straightening the colon, which could make for easier pooping.
Another thing the squatting position might help with: reduced straining. “For women in particular, straining is a problem because repeated straining over many, many years may weaken the pelvic floor, which can lead to bowel control problems and even the pelvic floor dropping,” says Mize. But here's the good news: Another study published in Digestive Diseases and Sciences found that pooping while in the squatting position results in less effort, less strain, and more satisfactory bowel emptying-a win-win-win, if you will.
The Squatty Potty may also be helpful if you're prone to hemorrhoids, suggests researchpublished in Townsend Letter for Doctors & Patients. After all, the less you're straining, the lower your changes of developing a swollen vein in your rear, says Mize.
According to Peter Stanich, M.D. a gastroenterologist with The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, those with constipation (and, likely, hemorrhoids) are really the Squatty Potty's intended market: “The purpose of the Squatty Potty is to make pooping easier and faster for people who are constipated or who have incomplete evacuation,” he says. “Using it when you’re not constipated and don’t have to strain won’t cause any harm, but you don’t necessarily need your pooping to be faster,” he added.
Again, I have zero issues pooping, so Stanich predicted the Squatty Potty wouldn't have an effect on me; still, I was curious if I would feel emptier after a week using the tool. After all, sometimes, frequent pooping can be a sign that, each time you go, you aren't actually getting everything out, says Rudolph Bedford, M.D., a gastroenterologist at Providence Saint John's Health Center in Santa Monica, California.
All in all, squatting was starting to sound pretty good.
I opened up the Squatty Potty and started using it as soon as it was delivered.
Here's the thing about the Squatty Potty: You can't miss it-it's literally a plastic stool that fits around the base of your toilet that you put your feet on while you poo (again, so you can put your body into the squatting position comfortably).
The first time I used my Squatty Potty was after yoga. I shimmied my sweat-drenched leggings down mid-calf, tried to step on the stool, and tripped. Turns out that stepping onto a nine-inch stool with compression leggings around your ankles isn’t easy. So, after catching myself on the sink, I took my pants all the way off and lowered my Squatty Potty by two inches (it's adjustable, btw).
It took me two good minutes to actually get into pooping formation, so by the time I sat on the toilet, I was sure I was going to poop my pants from the delay. I’d rank my first usage as a solid D. Not only did I have to do it half-naked, but the whole thing happened so fast I didn’t even have time to scroll through Instagram or play a level of Candy Crush while on the pot (which, honestly, is probably a healthy thing when it comes to pooping).
The second time I used it was after my second cup of joe for the day. This time, I was wearing a pair of boyfriend jeans (much easier to navigate). I shimmied them down to my ankles, and popped a squat. Then, I lifted my legs to rest them on the stool. Getting into position was much quicker this time-I was getting the hang of it. And no, there was no straining. My third poop of the day also went smoothly (yes, pun intended).
Because I work from home, most poops happen in my apartment, where I stored and used the Squatty Potty. And while there is a certain shamelessness required to chronicle your week of poop, I was not about to lug my stool with my on the subway and to my gym. Which meant that I’d have to defecate without my accessory at least once per day-which also ended up happening without any issues.
Honestly, it was a total breeze to use the Squatty Potty-but it took some getting used to, mentally.
With my legs on a stool and my knees near my chest, sitting on the squatty potty felt like I was a giant sitting on a normal-size person's toilet-or at least an adult using a kid's potty. Even Mize and Stanich warned me that the setup might take some getting used to.
Of course, I did get used to it-and honestly, my whole Squatty Potty week went off without a hitch…dare I say, it may have even been boring and anti-climactic. Did I have the promised best poops of my life? No. Did I feel emptier? Eh, not really. But to be fair, when you’re already pooping four times a day, it’s hard to feel emptier.
Overall, I decided to stash the Squatty Potty away in the closet by the plunger (it made my Brooklyn apartment feel smaller-a definite downside). But, tbh, if I ever get a bad case of constipation or hemorrhoids, I'll definitely pull that baby out again.