I Pooped Today! A Squatty Potty Story
It takes a pretty creative marketing campaign to get people to part with 28 bucks in exchange for what’s little more than a plastic stool, but that’s exactly what the people at Squatty Potty have done. What’s more, they’ve suckered me into buying one. Why? Because colon health is very important to me. And why is colon health so important to me? Why, it’s because the health of my colon is, well, unhealthy. But first, a warning. If you haven’t figured it out yet, this post is about poop. And pooping. If you’re sensitive to that kind of thing, click elsewhere. But ours is a household where our pooping habits are frequently a topic of discussion. We believe in healthy, open discussions about poop, because it’s important, and because, like the beloved children’s book says, ‘Everyone Poops.’ Even you, I’m assuming. Anyway…
My wife says that this web log of mine (I call it a blog) is a little bit schizophrenic. I’m talking about obscure novelty records one day, light bulbs the next. And then in the same conversation she insists that I write a little bit about my brand new Squatty Potty. It’s almost as if she likes my schizophrenic blogging ways.
I know this blog is all over the place; it has no real purpose other than for me to occasionally shoot my mouth off about things that are on my mind. And as much as I’d love for it to find its special purpose, if it never does that’s fine too. It is what it is. But we’re here to talk about the Squatty Potty, so let’s get down to business.
Squatty Potty: It’s All in the Name
By now I’m sure you’ve all heard of the Squatty Potty. It’s kind of all over the media these days. The Squatty Potty project started out as a winning project pitch on the TV show Shark Tank, where the creators pitched their little poop stool idea, and apparently impressed somebody. So you maybe heard about it then. But lately, it’s their little promotional video featuring a soft-serve pooping unicorn that the company created to explain their product that’s capturing all the attention. As I mentioned at the top, it takes clever marketing to get people’s attention, and that’s no more true than a product that’s supposed to help people basically take better dumps. Haven’t seen the video? Let’s change that right now:
Squatty Potty also has a rather clever slogan: “The Stool for Better Stools.” Kind of obvious, but witty nonetheless.
It’s a marketing campaign designed for 10 year old boys, perhaps created by 10 year old boys. Because when it comes to pooping, which let’s face it is still kind of a sensitive, even taboo, subject, that’s the maturity level of most of us. But while the cute video and witty puns capture our attention, the more important question is this: DOES SQUATTY POTTY WORK?
The Science of Squatty Potty
Now, the information I’m about to share here is taken exclusively from the Squatty Potty website. I’ve done no research; I have no idea if there’s any factual scientific evidence behind their claims. But believe me when I tell you this: I have trouble sh*tting. There. I’ve said it. I’m not ashamed of it. It’s a lifelong dilemma, inherited from a long line of constipated, hemorrhoid-ridden pot sitters. It’s my lot in life. And at least one of my children seems to be heading down the same unfortunate path. But I’m always trying to make things better. If a $25 plastic stool can help, that’s money very well spent.
I eat reasonably well, I get plenty of exercise, tons of fiber…I drink so much water…yet still I suffer. I was diagnosed way way back with IBS, so far back it wasn’t even Irritable Bowel Syndrome yet, it was something called ‘Spastic Colon,’ which I think is a much cooler name. It seems that all of the stress, all of the anxiety, all of the worries of my modern everyday life is piled up by my mind and transmitted directly to my digestive system, where it manifests itself in the form of IBS: constipation, cramping, diarrhea, hemorrhoids…all that fun stuff. People handle stress in very different ways; some people get sore backs, some get migraines, some people eat too much; I happen to have trouble going potty.
Enter the Squatty Potty, and its kinda-sorta juvenile marketing campaign. According to the company, the human body evolved millions of years ago to do its business in a much different way than we do it today. Way back when our species split off from the apes and came down out of the trees, whenever we had to do a no. 2, we just squatted down and let things rip. For hundreds of thousands of years, humans squatted to poo. And our bodies evolved to accommodate this squatting position. According to Squatty Potty, the body has a little rubber-band shaped muscle called a ‘puborectalis’ that wraps around the bottom of the colon. Its purpose is basically to hold things in and prevent us from shitting our pants at random, inconvenient times. In that respect, we should all be glad we have it. But apparently, when we sit in the conventional way on our modern toilets, this puborectalis muscle remains contracted around the colon. It creates a kink in the colon, and we therefore have to strain to push our poo through it. And straining is not a good thing when it comes to going to the bathroom. I’ve included an image here for all you visual learners. Click on it for a larger image. Go ahead, it’s science.
Our modern, toilet-sitting bodies haven’t had the time to evolve to make things right. If squatting is better, shouldn’t we still be squatting to poop? Sure, but there’s a problem. Modern plumbing was invented to eliminate the problems associated with millions of humans squatting to poop. You see, humans had a tendency to squat and poop in the most convenient places in order to get their waste out of sight. Places like holes in the ground and rivers and streams. And that led to problems, horrible stench being the least worrisome. When people were squatting and pooping all over the place, nasty diseases had a tendency to follow.
Consider London, England. In the 17th, 18th, and well into the 19th century, it was the largest city on earth. Millions of citizens densely packed together. Think about 7 million people in one city. WITHOUT PLUMBING. Think about 7 million people squatting and pooping. All that squatting, all that pooping, all that foul stuff ending up in ONE RIVER. Then think about how much you love modern plumbing and the water treatment plant and how much you appreciate sitting on the clean, hygienic flush toilet.
We’re obviously not going back to squat-pooping our waste into rivers. And standing and squatting on our modern toilets would be awkward at best, downright dangerous at worst. The Squatty Potty simply and elegantly solves the problem. By elevating the feet off the bathroom floor, the body is able to assume a squatting position without any danger or discomfort. And once we’re squatting over the pot, stuff’s just supposed to happen easily, effortlessly, and quickly. The puborectaclis is relaxed, the colon is unconstricted, and elimination is quick and healthy the way millions of years of evolution have designed it to be. That’s the pitch, anyway.
My Squatty Potty arrived last week. It’s a nice design; when it’s not in use it slides right up and hugs the shape of the toilet bowl perfectly. It’s comfortable to sit on when in use, though it does make magazine and book reading a bit more difficult. But does it work? Too early to tell as far as my long-term ailments are concerned, but I can say that things (when I say ‘things’ I really mean ‘pooping,’ I hope you’ve all caught on to that by now) do seem to be working better. Faster. Without going into details that some may find too graphic, the elimination process does in fact seem to be more efficient. At this point I’m glad I bought one, and I plan on using it and keeping track of its effect on things. If it makes even a small improvement, it’s worth it in my book.
What do you think? Does anybody else out there have a Squatty Potty? Does it work for you? Are you interested in buying one? The Squatty Potty website says they’re for sale at Target, but I found them only online. They’re also supposedly available at Bed, Bath and Beyond stores, but seeing as I avoid going into B,B and B’s whenever possible, I can’t vouch for that fact. Amazon sells them. That’s where I got mine, and you can find them by clicking RIGHT HERE. You can also order them directly from the Squatty Potty website. They sell the original plastic versions (called the ECCO model) as well as fancier wooden models and even an inflatable plastic version. They also sell other easy-pooping items like a bidet and natural constipation relief pills. They even sell this awesome t-shirt you see here. I told my wife I was going to buy one. She thinks I’m kidding.
By the way…I’m not being paid or supported in any way by the Squatty Potty company. I bought mine at full price, with my own money. My views and opinions on whether it works or not are mine and mine alone. All the information on the benefits of squatting were, as I mentioned, taken from the Squatty Potty website and are not endorsed by me or any medical professional. So don’t sue me, please. And if I find over time that the Squatty Potty’s not doin’ it for me, believe me I’ll let you know! (But I hope it works. I really do.)
So here’s to better bowel health! Yours AND mine. And if you think this post was totally full of shit, I’m not going to disagree with you.