There are many benefits of a toilet stool. Let’s face it: Talking about poop is taboo. We’ve been ashamed of our (hopefully daily) bowel movements for ages. Children are taught from a very early age that pooping is something to laugh at or be uncomfortable about — and that it’s totally a topic you don’t bring up in mixed company.
One company is looking to change that attitude “one stool at a time,” as they say. If you haven’t heard of the Squatty Potty, you’re not alone. I myself had to do some research to figure out exactly what’s going on with this little stool.
Squatty Potty Toilet Stool For Optimal Elimination
It’s actually pretty simple: A toilet stool like the Squatty Potty is a small stool that turns your standard bowl into a squatting toilet; you rest your feet on it while going to the bathroom, putting your body in the correct alignment — a squatting position — and end up emptying your bowels the most effective way possible. When not in use, the Squatty Potty slides conveniently against the toilet, out of the way. A bamboo Squatty is a sturdier, higher-end version of the, but basically carries out the same job.
It may sound like a wacky new way to go to the bathroom, but evidence suggests that the way we use the john in the West may be responsible, at least in part, for problems like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), hemorrhoids, and constipation.
Dr. Joseph Mercola, a physician and go-to source for people seeking alternatives to Western medicine, did his own research into the concept of toilet stools and squatting toilets. He points out that “infants instinctively squat to defecate,” and anyone who has been around a toddler knows the classic posture: a squatting position usually accompanied by a scrunched-up face.
We spend a large amount of time on the porcelain throne, and the way we do our duty in the West could be to blame for certain health issues. The Israel Journal of Medical Science published a study that investigated the non-infective intestinal diseases among various ethnic groups in South Africa.
The researchers found that diseases of the bowel, such as appendicitis, IBS, and colon cancer, occur more frequently in Caucasian South Africans and individuals in affluent Western countries. In contrast, the South Africans who lived traditional lifestyles — which included squatting to poop — had fewer incidences of these and other bowel problems. This and other research has led inventors and doctors alike to create solutions that enable Westerners to take advantage of a toilet stool or squatting toilet.
I recently had the opportunity to talk to Judy Edwards, who created the Squatty Potty with her son Robert “Bobby” Edwards, for exactly this reason.
HC: What prompted the development of the Squatty Potty toilet stool?
JE: They say that necessity is the mother of all invention. I suffered for years from constipation; it’s something I’ve lived with my whole life, but I never felt good about taking anything with chemicals to fix it. Fiber made it worse at times, and some things would help, but nothing really consistently worked in the long run.
I visited a colon hydrotherapist who told me that we should never go to the bathroom with our knees at or below our waist. So I started researching and I found that people in third-world countries — where they squat to void their bowels — don’t have the same (gastro-intestinal) issues that we do here, or at least not to the same extent that we do.
I started using a little stool when going to the bathroom, but the design was bad; I once nearly broke a toe in the middle of the night. At the same time, someone had mentioned the squatting toilet concept to my son, Bobby. We put our heads together to create it, but he’s really the one who designed it.
Try the Squatty Potty Toilet Stool for Yourself!
HC: Why the name, “Squatty Potty”?
JE: We wanted to approach the product with a name you’d remember, but also one that makes light of a very serious subject. We all go to the bathroom, but no one wants to talk about it. We wanted to put a light, fun twist on it. The name gets your attention. You associate it with its use, but it’s also kind of silly. Kids love it!
HC: Did you find that people were receptive to the idea of turning their regular toilet into a squatting toilet?
JE: When the idea of the Squatty Potty first came up, I wanted to make sure the information I’d read on squatting toilets actually made sense. I talked to a couple of doctors to ask them about our anatomy, and learned that many doctors are taught in medical school that squatting is the best way to empty our bowels. People just don’t want to give up the convenience of the toilet.
Clinics that specialize in aging populations were some of the first (to contact) us. … They wanted to refer patients to the concept of a stool, but there wasn’t really anything … on the market. So the medical community was onboard from the start.
HC: What about private consumers? Have you found that attitudes toward the squatting toilet and the Squatty Potty have changed since the company was founded?
JE: We haven’t had a hard time introducing it to the public. People realize that this isn’t something that you ingest; you can’t hurt yourself when you use it. So unlike other naturopathic solutions, there’s no concern over how it can negatively affect your body. Essentially, if you know the anatomy behind it, you understand it.
HC: Does diet play a role in the effectiveness of a squatting toilet like the Squatty Potty?
JE: Once we got rolling, we had some studies done and the results were very positive. Over 90 percent of people who used the Squatty Potty were helped in some way. We get great testimonials every day. My family has always eaten well, and I’ve always been health-conscious, so I always advocate eating mindfully. But from what we’ve learned, the Squatty Potty improves your lifestyle no matter what, regardless of your diet.
That said, you may find that you have other issues underlying your constipation. … For me, I’ve never produced enough liquid in my bowel(s). That’s a problem some people have, and it starts from childhood. So we developed a supplement … we call Good Move to help stimulate the muscles involved in voiding, and to bring water into, essentially, a lazy bowel.
HC: If it’s not too personal, how has using a Squatty Potty toilet stool changed your life?
JE: I use it in conjunction with Good Move, and together they’ve been life-changing. I rarely have gas or bloating. I can tell you, though, that if I don’t take my Good Move for a few days, I can feel it. You really have to do what’s right for you; you (might) not need supplements. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that everyone is different, but everyone’s anatomy is the same.
HC: Is there a funny story you’d be OK sharing about the process of developing a toilet stool?
JE: Well, let’s see: Some of them are kind of gross, but in 2010, we made a prototype Squatty Potty and sent a few to family and friends as gifts. I’d even printed up a little pamphlet of info that told everyone about it. I’ve always been into living healthy, but everyone thought I’d gone crazy. … After about two weeks, (though,) I started getting calls and texts from people, and they loved it. I was actually talking to one of my daughters-in-law, and she told me her son — who was about nine or 10 at the time — yelled from the upstairs bathroom, “Squatty Potty, I love you!”
HC: What’s one of the funniest things you’ve heard from Squatty Potty users?
JE: One of our biggest complaints is: “Now where am I going to read?”
Take a moment to watch this video about the Squatty Potty squatting toilet:
A Squatting Toilet Will Improve Your Health
Watch Dr. Andrew Ordon talk about the Squatty Potty and using a squatting toilet on “The Doctors”:
Megan Winkler, is an independent writer from Dallas, Texas. She spends her mornings meditating and studying, her days writing for various websites and publishers, and her evenings sipping tea and laughing with friends and family. Her own journey through health challenges has led her to dive into the world of wellness in search of better ways to eat, play, and live. Her undergraduate studies in psychology and master’s degree in military history inform her perspective on how humans interact, relate, communicate and get along in life.
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