What Is the Squatty Potty and Does It Really Work?

Even if you don’t have one in your bathroom, you’ve definitely heard of the Squatty Potty (Buy It, $25, amazon.com). The pooping stool is said to give you an extra oomph on the toilet so you can put the days of painful pushing behind you.

But does the Squatty Potty really live up to all the hype? Here's everything you need to know about the Squatty Potty.

The Basics of the Squatty Potty

Similar to the products kids use during potty training, the Squatty Potty is a stool you can place in front of your toilet that elevates your feet (options include 7-inch or 9-inch height), putting you in a squatting position that’s said to “open the colon for better elimination,” according to the product’s description. Translation: It helps you pop the type of squat that’ll help you poop more efficiently — but more on how that efficiency works in a bit.

Funny as it sounds, don’t knock it ’til you squat it. The stool has an impressive cult following, with tens of thousands of rave Squatty Potty reviews on Amazon claiming “it works like charm.” “You will wonder how you got along without it all these years,” wrote one reviewer. “After finishing, my lower abdomen is SO much more relaxed than a bowel movement without the Squatty. There is NONE of the strain/tightness/cramping I usually feel in my lower abdomen,” wrote another.

The Benefits of Using a Squatty Potty

Rumored to be the number-one tool to go number two, the Squatty Potty is meant to fix your posture when sitting on the toilet. If you’re wondering, “Wait, what’s wrong with my toilet posture?!” here’s the down-low: Many people contract and strain their abdominal muscles to make themselves go to the bathroom, says Robert Glatter, M.D., an assistant professor of emergency medicine at Lenox Hill Hospital, Northwell Health.

For most people, there’s not necessarily anything wrong with this. But for those who struggle more than the average person to have a bowel movement — i.e. people with hemorrhoids, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), chronic constipation, etc. — that strain can actually have an adverse effect by weakening the pelvic floor, potentially leading to an inability to control urination and bowel movements in the long-term, explains Dr. Glatter.

So, the idea with the Squatty Potty is that by raising your feet, you can change the angle of the pelvic floor, notes Dr. Glatter. “[This] in turn relaxes the [abdominal] muscles, making it easier to go to the bathroom,” he explains.

To be clear, though, experts say you don’t necessarily need the Squatty Potty (or any other type of stool) to improve your toilet posture. You can change your posture — and, in turn, help angle the pelvic floor downward to promote a better bowel movement — on your own. All you need to do is straighten your spine (instead of hunching over), relax and bulge out your stomach, and lean forward with your elbows on your knees (again, though, with a straight, not rounded, spine), according to the Continence Foundation of Australia.

Is the Squatty Potty Expert Approved?

Yes, but there’s a catch. Experts acknowledge that the Squatty Potty serves a purpose and, judging by its commercial success, serves it well. However, for someone with IBS, Crohn’s disease (a chronic inflammatory bowel disease that causes the intestines to become swollen), and/or other bowel movement issues, constipation is a symptom that comes from digestive (and sometimes even mental health) conditions, explains Niket Sonpal, M.D., an internist, gastroenterologist, and adjunct professor at Touro College.

Read more  Benefits of Walking with a Weighted Vest

So, yes, the Squatty Potty might help alleviate pressure if you’re bloated and relax the proper muscles to promote easier bowel movements. But, sadly, it’s not a miracle worker, so it can’t make you regular if you’re chronically constipated, especially if the constipation is related to a separate health issue, says Dr. Sonpal. “The Squatty Potty can make bowel movements more comfortable in some patients,” he explains. “[However,] if you’re constipated — meaning, going to the bathroom noticeably less than usual and especially if you’re going having less than three bowel movements a week — it’s productive for you to visit your doctor for a consultation to rule out bigger causes,” recommends Dr. Sonpal.

Bottom line: The Squatty Potty is a potentially useful tool, and there’s no harm in adding it to your routine, note the experts. But in order to have consistently healthy bowel movements, regularity starts outside the bathroom, they say. Drinking plenty of water and including aerobic exercises such as walking, jogging, and cycling — really any physical activities that get you breathing and your blood pumping — in your fitness routine can go a long way toward promoting healthy bowel movements, says Dr. Glatter. “A diet rich in fiber is also recommended,” he adds.

But beyond adding beans, legumes, and bran cereal to your grocery list, it’s also important to identify foods that don’t work for your body, notes Dr. Sonpal. “Maintaining a healthy digestive system has much to do with how we take care of our bodies and how we nourish ourselves,” he explains. “For those who are living with a condition [that affects bowel movements], learning to manage it and navigating your body’s reactions to certain foods can be an important first step,” he adds. (FYI: A low-FODMAP diet can often help those with IBS.)

— Update: 10-02-2023 — cohaitungchi.com found an additional article Squatty Potty®: Gimmick or Game Changer? from the website www.premierhealth.com for the keyword benefits of squatty potty.

  • Digestive Health
Benefits of squatty potty

Remember your mom getting on your case about your posture? “Sit up. Stand up straight. Stop slouching.” Well now, it appears you need to be aware of your toilet posture as well. Wait, what?

That’s right. Toilet posture. Enter the Squatty Potty®.

The product claims that the only natural defecation posture for a human being is squatting, and that doing so with the Squatty Potty can aid in better elimination. If you’ve ever had a bout of constipation, you understand the fascination with “having a good poop.”

So, does the Squatty Potty really work? Can it really help you achieve a faster and more effective elimination like its website says?

How Does the Squatty Potty Work?

The Squatty Potty is a curved stool that nests against your toilet and elevates your feet, converting your “sitting” posture to a “squatting” posture. The resulting squatting position creates an easier pathway for fecal matter to travel by:

  • Increasing the rectal canal angle
  • Relaxing a key pelvic muscle
  • Unkinking your colon

Better elimination may decrease constipation, straining, bloating and hemorrhoids, according to the Squatty Potty blog.

What Do Doctors Think About the Squatty Potty?

Benefits of squatty potty

While the Squatty Potty cites medical research supporting the effectiveness of squatting for easier, less strained bowel movements, some experts believe the research is limited.

“They’re case studies and not large research with a lot of people,” explains Kenneth Reed, MD, Premier Gastroenterology Specialists. “There’s no proof one way or another how humans are supposed to have a bowel movement.”

Read more  Icing Your Face Is the Cheapest and Easiest Way to Soothe and Tighten Skin At Home

Physicians acknowledge that the Squatty Potty does increase the rectal canal angle, which opens up the rectum. However, some people might have the right angle just by sitting and trying different toilet positions, Dr. Reed says. 

“It’s really about getting the sigmoid colon (final segment of colon just before the rectum) to straighten out,” he explains. 

In addition, many other factors — like diet, activity level, medications and overall health — influence the makeup of your stool and how easy it is to eliminate. 

“Some peoples’ problems aren’t related to angle,” Dr. Reed says. “Some don’t have bulk, or their bowels are sluggish. Whether they’re in the right position or the moons are aligned, it still might not help.”

He recommends addressing these factors first to resolve constipation, potentially avoiding the need for an item like the Squatty Potty in the first place.

Who Might the Squatty Potty Help?

Dr. Reed says there’s no harm in trying the Squatty Potty if your elimination problems are mild. And it might also help people who strain during bowel movements.

“The good thing about it is that it’s not medicine. It’s not going to hurt you,” he says. “If it helps, great. If not, then you’ve only lost the cost.”

Whether you use the Squatty Potty, your own stool or simply sit on your toilet with feet on the floor, Dr. Reed reiterates the importance of contacting your doctor if you experience changes in your bowel movements. This is especially important if you’re in your 40s or 50s and have constipation.

Source: Healthline; Kenneth Reed, MD, Premier Gastroenterology Specialists, Premier Health

— Update: 14-02-2023 — cohaitungchi.com found an additional article Squatty Potty: Does It Really Work and Is It Right for You? from the website www.healthline.com for the keyword benefits of squatty potty.

The makers of Squatty Potty claim they’ve designed a product that makes emptying the bowels easier and more comfortable by ensuring the user is squatting — not sitting — at the best angle and reducing strain. But what do experts think?

Claim #1: Squatty Potty creates the optimal angle

In the Squatty Potty video, the prince says that sitting on the toilet with your feet flat on the floor creates an angle that makes it harder for your bowels to empty.

This claim is based on a 2010 Japanese study that compared how effective it was to sit, sit with hips flexed, or squat while having a bowel movement. Squatting is similar to using the Squatty Potty. Researchers found that squatting created an angle in the rectal canal that led to less strain.

Ashkan Farhadi, MD, a gastroenterologist at Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center in Fountain Valley, California, agrees.

“The Squatty Potty does increase the rectal canal angle from 100 degrees to 120 degrees,” he says. “When we increase the angle, the rectum opens up. When we want to have a bowel movement, we open the angle.”

This makes sense because the digestive system contains a series of sphincters, or rings of muscle that guard various openings. The anal sphincter expels waste from the body.

When you squat during a bowel movement, the sit bones are able to separate. This allows the sphincter to fully expand and waste to move through with the help of gravity.

In a 2019 study to evaluate typical bowel patterns, 52 participants recorded their bowel movements for 4 weeks. After using the Squatty Potty for 2 weeks, participants reported:

  • increased bowel emptiness
  • reduced straining patterns
  • reduced bowel movement duration

Read more  10 Science-Backed Benefits of Tai Chi, From Improved Balance to Pain Relief

A 2017 study of 33 participants echoed these findings. Researchers found that pedestal toilet bowel movements, where the user is seated upon the toilet, took an average of 113.5 seconds. Meanwhile, using a footstool lowered the average to 55.5 seconds. All but one participant reported less effort in a squatting position.

Another 2019 study noted that in countries where squatting toilets are the norm, there are fewer incidences of several pelvic-related conditions. This may indicate that Western or pedestal toilets play a role in the onset of these diseases, including:

  • hemorrhoids
  • pelvic or uterine prolapse
  • irritable bowel syndrome
  • inflammatory bowel disease
  • appendicitis
  • colon cancer
  • ulcerative colitis

The study also notes the role that British colonization may have played in introducing the pedestal toilet, once reserved for royalty and those with mobility limitations, to India and other nations which colonizers considered “primitive.”

Is it true? Yes. The Squatty Potty does create an angle to help the rectal canal be more open, and even those with average bowel patterns can benefit. Still, sitting normally also creates a reasonable angle for most people, Farhadi says.

Claim #2: We were designed to squat, not sit

The Squatty Potty uses a 2002 Iranian study to showcase how humans were naturally designed to squat rather than sit on a toilet.

Researchers asked participants to compare their experiences using unraised squat toilets and Western toilets. The participants deemed the squat toilets to be more comfortable and efficient. However, only 30 people participated in the study, none of them had any rectal problems, and they were already used to squatting for bowel movements.

“The act of having a bowel movement is very complex. It’s much more than just the angle of the colon,” says Dr. Tom McHorse, a gastroenterologist at Austin Regional Clinic. Factors like the makeup of your stool — influenced by your diet, activity level, and overall health — also determine how easy it is for you to go to the bathroom.

Is it true? This point is contested. According to the 2019 study mentioned above, some believe that seated toilets are the legacy of colonization. Still, there isn’t enough scientific evidence to prove this.

“The claim that sitting is unnatural is not a correct claim,” says McHorse. “In a small number of patients this can be helpful, but the claim that we’re not made to sit on the toilet isn’t bound by scientific evidence.”

However, he notes that using the Squatty Potty won’t do any harm, and might even be helpful for certain people.

Claim #3: It helps bowel movement

According to another small 2003 study the Squatty Potty uses to support its claims, it requires less effort to empty your bowels when you’re squatting compared to sitting.

The studies above also support this claim.

Still, Farhadi says this claim applies to some, but not all.

The Squatty Potty is “a useful tool in a particular group of patients,” he says. “Patients with infrequent bowel movements probably wouldn’t benefit, unless they’re also straining.”

If you’re straining, the Squatty Potty might help, but if you’re having problems with regularity, don’t expect it to solve your problems.

Is it true? Emerging evidence points to yes, though it’s not the consensus yet. Farhadi says that although there are only a few high quality studies to back the Squatty Potty claims, it makes sense that squatting reduces strain based on how our bodies are designed.

“There’s no question that, physiologically, this should work, but the question is, does everyone need it?” he says.


Recommended For You

About the Author: Tung Chi