If you’ve traveled for any extended length of time you’ve most certainly come across many Westerner’s ultimate bathroom nightmare: The Squatty Potty

When traveling you make all sorts of fun bathroom discoveries—toilets without TP, toilet stalls without doors, toilets that don’t have seats, toilets that don’t flush, manual flushing toilets, etc. Most of these don’t hold a grain of salt compared to the squat experience.

I could bet you that most Westerners can recall the precise moment when they first experienced a squatty potty. For those of you not familiar with this dreaded bathroom feature, it is not much more than a standing platform for your feet, and a hole in the floor.

To do your business…

Photo Courtesy of BohemianTravelers.com

Photo Courtesy of BohemianTravelers.com

…to do your business while squatting.

This is the point when many Westerners begin to sweat as they try to figure out the logistics of how to drop their pants, squat, and keep everything dry, as well as off the floor, at the same time. When you are finished using such a device, you may be provided with some water and a bucket (if you’re lucky), in which you can manually “flush” the goods down the drain.

And that’s that. The inner workings of a squat toilet.

I admit—when traveling around in Mexico, Europe and Asia for almost 3 years, I only encountered a squat toilet on 3 different occasions (once in Spain, and twice in Asia). None of these occasions required me to do the business that is trickiest in a squat position (thank goodness)!!

While a Squat Toilet may seem so “third world” to many people, you may be surprised to learn it is one of the healthiest ways to defecate. Yup—just like with many other modern inventions—introducing the porcelain toilet fixed something that wasn’t actually broken.

Be forewarned—I’m about to provide you with more information than you may want to know.

So, here is a lesson in anatomy that I recently learned, compliments of the SquattyPotty.com website:

Let’s review the mechanics of going to the bathroom. People can control when they defecate, to some extent, by contracting or releasing the anal sphincter. But that muscle can’t maintain continence on its own. The body also relies on a bend in the rectum (where feces is stored), and the anus (where feces comes out).

When we’re standing or sitting the bend, called the anorectal angle, is kinked which puts upward pressure on the rectum and keeps the feces inside. The sitting posture actually keeps us in ‘continence mode’. This makes elimination difficult and incomplete, creating the need to STRAIN. Some researchers have compared the anatomical predicament created by sitting on a toilet to trying to defecate through a kinked garden hose. It just doesn’t work.

anorectal-problemsolution

In the squatting posture, the puborectalis muscle relaxes allowing the bend to straighten out resulting in easier defecation. Squatting is the natural way to achieve easier and more complete elimination. Research shows that squatting relieves the kink effect. Also, the pressure of thigh muscles against the lower abdomen helps with exertion and elimination.

Assuming the squat position is the natural way to achieve easier and more complete elimination. Research has shown that in some people, the kink is completely gone while squatting.

So, what is a Westerner to do?  Pull out the porcelain throne and start using the hole that’s left gaping in the floor?  Yeah…not so much.

Enter the Squatty Potty stool. Yes, there really is such a thing!

squatty potty

The Squatty Potty ® is a custom-designed stool that wraps around the bottom of your toilet, and elevates your legs to create proper toilet posture on existing toilets. “It provides a safe, stable platform to elevate the feet and legs, allowing greater hip flexion and straightening out the anorectal angle (kink).”  It actually stores tucked under the toilet when not in use, and then can be pulled out when needed—so it’s not a bathroom space hog, either.

Why would you want to use a Squatty Potty on a regular basis? For starters, it takes your body from continence mode to elimination mode, reduces straining and decreases pressure on the rectum, and allows for complete emptying of the bowel.

Health Benefits include relief from:

• Constipation
• Hemorrhoids
• Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
• Pelvic Floor Issues
• Bloating
• Straining

Squatting also reduces the time required to do our business, and I am a big fan of spending as little time as possible in the bathroom! Don’t just take my word for it, check out the research studies done on squatting for yourself.

So, after reading all about squatting, I just had to try a stool.

During my last month of pregnancy I acquired the 7” Ecco toilet stool and began to use it on a regular basis. I’m not going to lie—it took a little getting used to. At first it felt weird to have my knees up higher, however, the toilet we were using at that time was super tall, and previously barely allowed me to touch my toes to the floor when sitting (I am only 5’, and yes, it was a very tall toilet). I was thrilled to have a stool that helped me feel more grounded, and I almost wished we had the 9” stool to give my knees a bit more height. You know—make it a bit more challenging as well as effective.

Fast forward two months and we moved into our new home with normal size toilets—and the 7” is just right! You may wonder what my husband thinks? Well, he’s often not to be bothered with things that are out of the ordinary (sigh). Since he is blessed with a full foot more height than me, he finds it a bit awkward to have his knees up. Sadly, he is not reaping the benefits of such a cool device tucked under his toilet.

However, I must admit that I love it. I mean, seriously. It’s kind of weird to admit to the big wide internet world that I love a potty stool—but I do.  Do I feel like I’m enjoying all of the health benefits listed above (many of which I used to suffer from)? Most certainly! Do I recommend it? Absolutely!

And want to know something else really cool?  Although their disclaimers emphasize that their Ecco stool is not to be used as a child’s toilet step stool, let me tell you something—it is the sturdiest child’s toilet stool that I have EVER seen. I have tested this thing by standing on the rim and intentionally trying to tip it, and it still will not budge. Try that with any other child’s toilet step stool on the market and tell me if you get the same results.

Bam! Two birds—one stone!!

Ditch the hole in the floor. Ditch the standard porcelain throne. Get a Squatty Potty stool, and let it change your life!  Or at least your bathroom experience…

And if nothing else, click on this link to read some delightfully humorous Squatty Potty success stories, and you’ll soon be dreaming of the beauty of a Squatty Potty in your life!

And maybe, just maybe, you’ll want one of these shirts:

sp-tshirt-pooped-mens-2

My name is Alisa, and I love traveling the world with my adventurous husband and rambunctious 4 small children. I am passionate about gorgeous scenery, meeting new people, and eating vegetables. Most of all, I love making memories with my family, and I enjoy sharing our travels with others!

 

Thank you to Squatty Potty for providing me a complimentary Ecco stool for review. I appreciate the opportunity to share my honest opinion, and I do not receive compensation for stool purchases made by my readers.

12 Responses to “The Truth about the Squatty Potty”

  1. Ha ha! Great article and post! I definitely have a memory of the first time I came across a squat toilet, Bulgaria – roadside stop off the hwy. I thought I’d accidentally walked into the men’s toilets!! Nope…but there was no waiting, I was pregnant and needed frequent peepee breaks! That glorious encounter was also my very first experience of PAYING for toilet paper/use of the facility in general.

    • Oh, Stacey! The first time you have to pay for TP or a toilet is also a rude awakening, too! And then you start to realize that most of the world does it that way…and suddenly FREE toilets seem SOOOOOO cool!! Hahaa!! Oooh–I can’t imagine being FULLY pregnant and having to use a squatter. I’ll take my stool!!!

  2. That is excellent!! I love that you have one of those. I used squat toilets often while in Asia for 2 years. We traveled by bus a lot and so it was often times the only choice. But sometimes there was the choice between squat or regular, and you know what?? I actually started choosing the squatter. I really liked it and even for pee felt it “worked” more efficiently. Love the squatter but wish they cleaned the area better, or with less water anyway! In Asia wet mean clean..just do not agree!

    • Mary, I know what you mean about the wet bathrooms. That’s what I find hardest about using those…trying to keep everything OFF the wet floors in the bathrooms with squatters! (Okay, or ANY Asian bathroom, for that matter)!!! When you settle down, you definitely need one of these stools!!

  3. Unfortunately, I seem to have a lot of “user error” when on a public squat potty. Practice makes perfect, I guess.

  4. You know, I had a lot of pictures of squatty potties from my visit to China on my blog. You could have had your pick. :) Awesome post. Do you think Greg will get me one for Christmas? :)

  5. I have encountered these in many international locations and they are not so bad once you get past the first initial shock…Peru, Hong Kong, China, Thailand….the worst is when there is no water to flush, or my personal favorite was in a public bathroom in a park in Hong Kong where you stood over a trough that ran down the hill…..once I realized this, I wish I had chosen the stall at the top of the hill if you get the idea! I also could not help but think that this also explains the “wind releasing” pose in yoga! :)

    • Tanya–YES to the yoga!! :-) An open trough? Oh…lovely. I imagine you mean to say you wish you had NOT chosen the stall at the top of the hill?! Or you wanted less stench…so the top of the hill was preferable?! Either way–open troughs are no fun! My parents lived in China for awhile, and were teachers. They said the kids came back from their breaks smelling like pee from squatting in the stalls (and it splashed their pant legs).

  6. This squatty potty is on our wish-list. Incidentally, the anatomy reasons for squatting for #2 are also the reasons why giving birth while squatting makes a lot of sense. I’m glad I found your blog, we recently stumbled across it because of a backlink from my friend’s blog at earlylearningessentials dot com. Our family is preparing to travel in an RV full-time so I’ve been reading up on family travel blogs. It was fun to find another LDS family. Anyway, I’m a new lurker here. Great stuff!

    • Yes–so true! Which is probably why I did that position for my #4 birth :-)

      Thanks for saying “hi” and congrats on your upcoming full-time RVing!! Please contact us if you are coming towards Southern Oregon!!!

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