Pooping: You’re doing it wrong.
What if someone told you there was a simple device that would solve every poo problem you’ve ever had? Constipation, hemorrhoids, UTIs, appendicitis, chilly cheeks (that is so a real problem) – all solved! You’d want to try it like rightthisverysecond, right? Which is how I found myself in the bathroom this morning with my knees elevated to eye level as I hovered my hiney precipitously over the bowl. As I hung out there – literally and figuratively – I contemplated all that had led to this very exciting moment in poo history.
Like all things popular in health right now, it started back in the Stone Age. Since there were no primitive porta-potties, mankind had to figure out how to squat outdoors in such a way as to relieve the pressure and yet not get one’s shoes all wet. And shoes weren’t even invented yet! All through the ages since then, people have been squatting over a hole, pot or generously sized coconut shell to do their business. Despite the many advances in health care, this method of baking butt brownies stayed basically the same for centuries. That is until the advent of the porcelain throne in 1776 (an auspicious year!), although it didn’t become widely popular until the late 1800′s.
Now, starting from a very young age, we are trained to sit on a chair-like device with a hole leading to a water-filled bowl which then noisily whisks your brown dive bombers away. No wonder little kids are so scared of the things! The other problem, according to people who study these things (poopologists?), is that sitting like you’re sitting on a chair is not your body’s natural poop posture making your colon all kinky.
Nothing like starting off your day with a cartoon sphincter! But as you can clearly see from the diagram lines your poop needs an exit strategy with blue emergency lights just like the ones on airplanes. And also maybe a protractor.
This may surprise you, being as entranced with bodily functions as I am, but all of this was news to me. I mean, I’d heard people talk about squatting to sink a link but I always took it with a grain of salt as these were usually the same folks using their menstrual fluids in their compost (love you Laura!) and sleeping on the floor. (Not that there is anything wrong with those things! I still wish I could be a pillow-less matress-less sleeping beauty.) So when a friend on Facebook tagged me in a post about “natural” pooping, I was all ears. And butts. Yes, plural. There are lots of butts in my house. In fact we talk about them ALL the time. Case in point:
As I was putting dinner on the table I hear Jelly Bean pipe up, “Um mom? You made us…BUMS for dinner??” Then Son #1 chimed in, “No, those are WHOLE WHEAT bums.” I hadn’t thought of the dinner rolls that way as I was making them but clearly yes, I made bums. The fart jokes are never ending.
Anyhow, the author wrote about his experience using a Squatty Potty – a little plastic stool that elevates your legs to mimic a squatting position on the toilet. Of his experiment he said, “Things changed folks. Elimination took a lot less time, I didn’t have to go as often, and my elimination was complete. I didn’t have the urge to go again a couple of hours later. Nothing lingers in my colon anymore, which is a great feeling!” Plus, in addition to protecting you from bad stuff and helping you poop happier, squatty pottying also helps strengthen the pelvic floor and quad muscles.
image courtesy of Squatty Potty
Plus, and this is huge, lots of squatters say it’s so clean YOU NEVER HAVE TO USE TOILET PAPER. Whoa.
But I had two problems:
1. I actually don’t have any poo issues. Nope, none. I’m pretty much never constipated (I eat so much fiber that my shiny colon is visible from space, just like the Great Wall of China), I got hemorrhoids from childbirth but since I’m done in the breeding department that isn’t a problem any more and when I do go, everything seems to, er, go as planned. So how was I going to tell if squat-pooping was helping me? Although I daresay I’d love to know how it feels to have “nothing lingering in my colon”! Mostly because I can’t tell when something IS lingering in my colon. Like, right now, what exactly is happening in there? Are the pomegranates and beets from dinner conspiring to give me poop like bloody entrails? I would not put it past them.
2. I don’t have a squatty potty.
Me being impetuous, I decided to just ignore the first problem because this whole thing sounded like crazy fun. And thankfully there are many easy solutions for #2. (ha!) When I posted about this on Facebook, tons of people chimed in saying things like “Two milk crates. Boom.” and “Paint cans. Save your $$.” and “My legs are so long that normal toilets make me do this anyhow.” (Hi Jeff!)
After checking out the squatty potty site, I discovered they have two heights: 7″ and 9″ depending on the height of your toilet. On the Amazon reviews (which are hilarious, entertaining and highly informative), they recommended the 9″ only for flexible people. Hey, I happen to be a very flexible person! So I took that as a challenge to find the highest squatty-potty-esque thing I could. And also because I’m too lazy to measure things.
I ultimately decided on a laundry basket. Mostly because it was already in my room. (See above: Lazy.)
But the pressure was on. Because I typically only have to return Pooh to the Hundred Acre Woods once a day that meant I only had one shot to get this right. (Or I’d have to wait a whole other 24 hours which when you’re as impatient as I am is tortuous.) So I lined up my basket and waited:
When the big moment arrived I hopped on it only to realize that I had no clue how to use it. Was I supposed to stand on the basket and hover over the toilet? I tried that first but have you ever tried holding a below-parallel squat? HAVE YOU?? I was in too much pain to poop. Plus I didn’t trust my aim. So I tried it with my hands on the toilet seat to support my weight:
Don’t worry this is just a REENACTMENT. I do not potty with my pants on. But hey, you dig my jammies? It’s like 3 layers of plush – I get cold!
But then this happened:
Yeah I broke my laundry basket. Apparently they’re not meant to be squatted upon. Oops.
I took it out to fix it and discovered this scene of debauchery:
Ken, you devil!
After that I just sat on the toilet with my feet on the basket and leaned forward. (Which after reading the squatty potty site further is what you’re really supposed to do. Good to know!)
It felt a little awkward, not gonna lie. But despite having my knees practically up to my chin, I pooped! And it was… great! Like usual! I used TP anyhow though. I didn’t get a visual but I wasn’t chancing anything. It didn’t really feel any different to me. My colon felt as vacant as Charlie Sheen. But it didn’t feel worse either. It really wasn’t uncomfortable. So, win? I’d try it again.
After I’d finished, I found a ruler to measure the height of the basket, just to see how good I am at judging inches. 13″ says not very good. Oops. Eh, it worked anyhow. Plus, like I said, I’m very flexible – who knew that would come in handy for toileting??
Your TMI turn!! Do any of you squat? What do you use under your feet? Or is a real “squat toilet” (a.k.a. hole in the ground) better? Are you convinced enough to try it yet??
P.S. Thank you so much for sharing all your wonderful stories about paying a compliment to a stranger and giving someone the benefit of the doubt – I’ve just been grinning and grinning. Seriously you guys make me SO HAPPY:)