When the time comes that you have to poop at work, it is completely acceptable as long as you follow etiquette.
Shut the door and get down to business!
At home, you can leave the door wide open if you like, but at work, taking a dump is a bit more complicated. If you've been wiggling in you chair for more than thirty minutes and the urge to poop hasn't gone away, it's time to face the toilet. You're going to have to poop at work. If you haven't done this before, if you've never taken the long walk down the hallway to the bathroom, feeling everyone's eyes on you as you distract them from their work, and have been wondering how everyone else seems to get away with it, it's because they follow the rules for pooping at work.
If you follow this workplace etiquette on how to properly poop at work, we can flush your poo nerves out of like . . . Well, like that burrito from lunch you're trying to move through your system. Here's how to find the perfect spot to poop along with the perfect bathroom door to do it behind.
Timing is everything: How to time your workday dump.
Remember to use etiquette--avoid busy bathroom-use times--before and after work and before and after lunch
In a perfect world, the bathroom would be empty when it's time for you to drop your deuce. This means avoiding times when everyone at work wants to take a leak, like right when they get to office or right before leaving work. Other busy times also include right before and after lunch, you know, the optimum time for going poop. Take all of these times into consideration and head to the restroom forty minutes before or after and the bathroom should be clear and you’ll have plenty of time to get away unnoticed. Don't share this secret with co-workers however, because you'll never have anytime alone to use the bathroom at work.
Follow the rules: No workplace poop session should take more than ten minutes, even before or after lunch.
It's not acceptable to linger behind closed doors
At home, you can take has long as you want on your throne, but at work, poop time needs to be efficient. If you’re gone from your desk for more than ten minutes, people will notice and your anxiety is going to spike, making it even harder to get the last drop of poop out. Once you’re securely in your stall, relax, and let everything just slide right through. Don’t distract yourself with your phone or a newspaper. Hopefully your co-workers are respecting your time and allowing you privacy, but the longer you take the longer you keep everyone out, pissing them off and possibly pissing themselves. Even worse, you might be stopping someone from doing exactly what you’re doing, and that’s just not fair. The only exception to this rule is unplanned health problems at work. If diarrhea, food poisoning, or other health issues are the case and leaving work isn't an option, strictly adhere to the other rules and your co-workers will have no right to judge you. And no, hangover poops does not count as a health emergency.
Location, location, location: How to properly pick a pooping location that is still acceptable to use.
Use isolated bathrooms.
If you work in an office that offers gender-neutral or single stall bathrooms, make use of them only during poop sessions during work hours. Don’t waste that space checking makeup or simply peeing. If there aren’t any, find the bathroom on vacant floors or floors with little foot traffic. If there’s another floor to go to, you’ll feel less awkward there because you’ll hopefully know fewer people. If you’re stuck on your floor, find a bathroom that’s as far away as possible from the majority of the cubicles. Also, if there are bathrooms specifically set aside for visitors, it's not acceptable to take away these safe havens from them. If they have a bathroom emergency, they don’t need you stalling them or making their nice personal bathroom wreak.
Use a fly-by to scout good pooping locations.
If this isolated location is already taken or where you work doesn’t have a bathroom off the beaten path, do a casual fly-by to see what’s happening in your bathroom of choice. If there’s people milling around the entrance, odds are someone is in there doing exactly what you need to do. So either pick a new place or make an excuse as to why you were walking by in the first place—stretching, heading to your bosses office, getting something from your car. If you can find a way to check the same bathroom on the way back to your office, do it. If there’s still people there stalling your time to poop, check again in ten minutes. Once the outside coast is clear, walk in to simply wash your hands or face or check your makeup. If there’s no one lingering in there and there were no obvious threats outside, fire away. Claim your space. Make that stall your throne (for no longer than ten minutes).
Make sure there's proper spacing between stalls.
For pooping, you should follow the same rules as men with urinals: There is a minimum of one stall between you and the next person, but that’s only if that’s the maximum you can do. If there’s room to put more than one stall between you and someone else or you and the door, go as far as possible. This spacing will allow anonymity as well as a greater distance for any smell to travel between your poop and the exit.
The S's: How to diminish the smell and sound of your poop.
Use a courtesy flush.
There is another way to cover up any horrible smell your poop decides to take on, which is honestly the worst part of pooping at work, the most incriminating evidence of digestive needs. As your poop is released, immediately flush the toilet. This allows the shortest amount of time for the smell to live in your work’s world and the quickest release of it into the pipes below. The flush is also a great sound cover. If there’s going to be multiple dumps in one sitting, though, you’ll have to cover up the noise rather than the smell. Even so, if you keep your legs close together and trap the poop’s smell underneath you and flush after everything is out of your body, you’re still limiting the smell, and isn’t that least you can do for your coworkers?
Use cover-ups to hide particularly large poops.
Another embarrassing factor about pooping at work is the noise: the sound of your poop plopping into the waters below. Under the best circumstances no one will be around to hear the splish-splash, but if you get an unexpected visitor or couldn’t hold out for an empty bathroom, there are some solid cover-ups sounds to mask your dump. There’s the cover cough, timing a loud hack of the lungs everytime part of your breakfast, coffee, or lunch hits the water. If you have multiple drops, you might sound like your dying of Whooping cough, but it’s still better than little thumps against the porcelain. Another method is the Astaire, aptly named after the dancer Fred Astaire. If the noises your poop is making are more like little raindrops than big thuds, start tapping your toes. This is a great cover as well as a signal for anyone who might be entering during your poop storm. If things get really bad, you’re already half-dance, so you might as well start humming if you have to. Put on a little show. Avoid singing, though, because that will carry out into the hall and will be a dead giveaway to what you’re doing.
If you've managed to break every single one of these rules, this catch-all will save you if you're coworkers play along (and they will): Don't ask. Don't Tell.
Have an exit strategy.
Michael Sykes, President of International Center For Bathroom Etiquette (Yes, it’s a real thing: http://www.icbe.org/pages/staff.shtml) says this is the golden rule of workplace pooping. “This is pretty similar to what I call the golden rule for normal bathroom etiquette, keep your mouth shut. Be quiet in there," Sykes said. This is more for people who accidentally stumble upon a coworker doing their business. If you catch someone in the middle of their work day poop, you have two options: back away or act like nothing is happening. It does not matter what smells you inhale, what sounds you hear, it's still a normal day in the bathroom. If you’re the one spending time during work pooping, you do the same. Don’t apologize for anything. Don’t comment on anything, and please don’t describe anything.
Never acknowledge what you're doing.
If anything has transpired in your stall that is uncommon for a work pooping session and there are witnesses around, you’ll need to have a way of discreetly returning to work. If the witnesses are in other stalls, make a quick exit while still making it obvious that you’ve washed your hands. If there’s someone at the sink or just entering, this is one of the other few times the ten minute rule can be broken if it doesn’t exceed an extra two minutes. Once a newcomer has entered a stall, you’re safe, but if they are just freshening up, wait until they’ve vacated the premise. But this stalling method can only last so long. They might be waiting for you to leave so they can have their own little work break. At this point, adhere to the follow rules.
Avoid eye contact at all costs.
Once out of the stall and if there isn’t any lingering evidence of the events that have transpired, you can make polite talk with anyone who braved your storm, but keep it to “Hi there, quite the weather today. Did you get those reports done?” There should be no eye contact, and this is the last place where the knowledge of what just happened lives. Even after washing hands, no handshake should be given. Maybe it's unprofessional in a work place, but there's too much knowledge of what those hands have just done. This knowledge will only die once you’ve both moved out of sight of each other.
Most importantly, RELAX! At the end of the day, just remember that EVERYBODY POOPS!
This will all be over faster if you allow your body to relax and let go. If you're still nervous to poop at work, just remember that we all are. We all wish we could hold it until we punch out. We all wish we weren't hungover and have hangover dumps. We are clinging to these rules to make it the least awkward experience possible for everyone, whether we're the one pooping or the one trying to pretend like someone else isn't. We all wish pooping could be normalized in public settings because sometimes an unexpected poop just can't be helped. Until then, though, this workplace etiquette is perfect in guiding you through how to avoid any unnecessarily embarrassing situation regarding your poo. In time, you might just feel like Jonah Ray, even when you're at work.