Once in a while, a product comes along that is so amazing, you will whip out your wallet and say “Shut up and take my money!”
This is not one of those products.
However, I do think it is worth taking a look at the Squatty Potty, and maybe even buying one. With that ringing endorsement, let’s find out what exactly this thing is, and why you might consider buying it.
I actually have two, and I’ve been using them for several months, so here is a detailed review.
The footstool allows you to mimic a more-or-less comfortable squatting position while you poop.
Now, why would anyone want to do that?
Well, because humans are evolved to poop in a squatting position. When you sit on a toilet to poop, your puborectalis muscle is not fully relaxed. It can create a small kink in your sphincter, and make it necessary for you to strain a bit while you poop.
This can lead to constipation, hemorrhoids, urinary incontinence, and may also contribute to a whole bunch of other conditions, including Irritable Bowel Syndrome and colon cancer. (I’m not sure how solid the evidence is on those last two conditions, but the research does support a full squat position as the best position for defecation, and for possible relief of constipation and hemorrhoids.)
What are the pros and cons?
The Squatty Potty allows you to get into a full squat position for a few minutes, without straining your back. Most of us never get into during the day, although it really is that most natural position for urination (for women) and defecation (for everyone).
It’s pretty affordable.
It stores nicely under your toilet and is pretty unobtrusive, even if you have a small bathroom.
My biggest gripe about the Squatty Potty is that the footplates are shaped incorrectly. Most people are going to feel slightly uncomfortable because the foot plates are both too wide and not angled out. I’m not sure if it would be possible to design this differently while still making it easy to store under your toilet, but I wish the footplates were much closer together and/or slightly angled out. My heels hang off the inside edge of the Squatty Potty, and the width of the plates makes me feel like I have to work hard to keep my knees over my toes.
This is the position that the Squatty Potty wants you to sit in. Not a comfortable position for my knees, nor a healthy one. I prefer to have my feet closer together, even if my heels hang off the back edge.
Squatting on the Squatty Potty may be somewhat uncomfortable unless you completely remove your pants. This depends on what kind of pants you are wearing.
What size should I get?
Most modern toilets are tall enough to require a 9″ stool. But even if you have an old, short toilet, I think the 9″ allows you to squat more deeply, which is ultimately a better position to be in.
I hate the position of the footplates. Hate hate hate hate. But in the end, for less than $30, the Squatty Potty is a quick, convenient, and affordable experiment that is worth trying.
Who might benefit from the Squatty Potty? You might, if you have constipation, incontinence, hemorrhoids, back pain, or if you have a job/lifestyle where you sit more than 4-6 hours per day. Which is basically 90% of people I know.
So, in conclusion, I’d highly recommend the Squatty Potty, even though I hate the placement of the footplates. If you don’t want to spend $30, I’d highly recommend putting some telephone books or a small stool in your bathroom to elevate your feet. Or build yourself a squat latrine. Or poop in the woods exclusively.