Squatty Potties: Help or Hype

Considering a Squatty Potty? We have intel. Learn whether Squatty Potties are help or hype

Can Squatty Potties really help you do your bathroom business?

Squatty Potties… suddenly it seems we are hearing about these popular toilet accessories everywhere. Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and even the news and talk shows, are all getting personal with discussions about bathroom habits, and how it seems that we humans have been doing it wrong since we first crawled out of the caves and put boards over a hole for a seat. Constipated consumers everywhere are rushing to stores and amazon shopping carts to purchase these oddly shaped stools that were recommended to us first by … well, a unicorn, in a strangely mesmerizing commercial.

But does this toilet tool really make a difference in how we go, or is it all just rainbows and unicorns?

What is a Squatty Potty?

The Squatty Potty was developed by a Utah family in response to one family member’s battle with chronic constipation. A doctor recommended trying a squatting position to change the angle of the colon when trying to go. The squatting position creates a better angle for the colon to relax, compared to the wider angle achieved by sitting. A more open angle creates means less pushing and straining is necessary.

Unfortunately, today’s toilets are designed for sitting, not squatting. However, an innovative family member decided to help out by designing a simple stool that fits around the base of a toilet and lifts the sitter’s knees above the hips to achieve the desired squatting position while still seated on the toilet. And wow! The squatty potty exploded onto the market in 2011, and shot to further fame after being featured on the Dr. Oz Show in 2012.

In 2015, squatty potty sales soared over the rainbow after the release a weirdly popular commercial featuring a unicorn pooping out rainbow-colored soft serve ice cream while using a squatty potty. And now it seems that everyone has at least tried one of these toilet tools to see if it’s truly easier to poop from the same position that our ancient ancestors probably used while squatting behind a glacier during a mammoth hunt.

Do Squatty Potties Really Work?

The American Academy of Family Physicians defines constipation as having a bowel movement less than three times per week, or having to strain to have a bowel movement. Every year 2.5 million Americans see a doctor to seek help with constipation. Constipation can be caused by a diet lacking in fiber, lower activity levels, and sometimes by medications.

Researchers in a Japanese study found that squatting did indeed create an angle that made complete bowel elimination easier, with less strain, than the angle created by a typical seated position. According to a gastroenterologist at Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center, the squatty potty does create a superior angle for easier elimination, but that it isn’t necessary for the average consumer. The angle created by a sitting position is enough for the majority of people.

After a study including fifty-two people who reviewed the results of using a squatty potty for two weeks, participants stated that 71 percent found going to the bathroom was faster and easier, and 90 percent stated that it involved less straining. It was noted however, that the biggest improvements were found by those participants who reported previous issues with constipation.

Squatty Potty, There's Only One Thing to Lose

While a squatty potty isn’t something that every person needs, it seems it can certainly benefit those who struggle with constipation by improving the angle of the colon during elimination and could become one of the many technological toilet advances that can make bathroom time more productive. Even those who don’t have problems with constipation can benefit from using a squatty potty as the position lessens straining, which can cause hemorrhoids. Using a squatty potty encourages more complete elimination and makes going to the bathroom faster. Of course … if your time in the bathroom is the only privacy you have during your busy home life, you may not want to speed up the process, but otherwise, you have nothing to lose by trying out a squatty potty except for … well, you know.

Resources — Healthline, Health.com, Squatty Potty