How To Poop Properly: 5 Things You Never Knew

Do you know how to poop properly? Constipated? This may be because of how you sit or squat on the toilet. Read on to learn how to solve pooping problems fast.

By Susan V.
How To Poop Properly: 5 Things You Never Knew

If you sit on the toilet to poop, then you don't know how to poop properly.

Let’s talk about poop. It smells bad, it looks ugly, and sometimes it sounds disgusting, too. But it’s a natural part of your life, so don’t you want to know how it all works? What is poop made of? Poop is made of bacteria, fiber, food that has not been digested, fats, cholesterol, salt, and phosphates. Live bacteria is what helps you to digest your food. They also are what make your poop smell, by creating the smelly gasses methane and sulfur. Certain foods that are rich in fats and sugars can produce extra gas, making your poop extra stinky. Vegetables like broccoli and cabbage can be hard to digest can also add to the aroma of your poo. Have you ever looked at your poop and wondered what, exactly, it was you were seeing? Most of the time, your poop will appear brown in color. The interaction between bile with the food you eat is what creates that creates that hue. If your food is digested quickly, it may look green. It’s nothing to worry about, it just means that your food passed through your body faster than usual. If your poop is black, it is likely due to either iron supplements or anti-diarrhea medication. Yellow stool could be an indication of gluten intolerance, or that your body is having trouble absorbing fat. Some foods that are high in fiber pass through your body without being completely broken down. Corn and oats are examples. Sometimes, you can actually see these foods in your poo when they come out the other end. Normal poop should be “bulky,” not hard or too liquid. If you drink plenty of fluids and eat fiber, this is what to expect your poop to look like. If it is too liquid, you might have diarrhea. If it’s too solid, that’s a sign of constipation. As for frequency, once a day is normal. Twice a day is also pretty common. If you go more often than twice a day, that may be a sign of diarrhea, and if it happens regularly, you probably will want to call your doctor. If you are pooping less often than once every three days or three times a week, that is a sign of constipation, and again, a call to your doctor is a good idea. Everybody’s body is a little bit different, so whatever your poop schedule is, as long as your doctor is sure that you don’t have any health issues and it’s not causing you discomfort or lifestyle problems, it’s not worth worrying about how much or often you poop properly.

It typically takes 10 to 15 minutes to poop, so take your time and relax.

Rumor has it, in other countries, people squat on the toilet instead of sitting. What are they thinking? The truth is that they know something we don’t. To avoid constipation, squatting is the way to go.

Two things that can wreak havoc on your digestive system are holding your poop in and doing detoxification programs. Holding in your poop is just not a good idea, even if you are concerned that someone special to you may smell it. It is worth letting your digestive system do its job on its own time and avoid getting things backed up. Your body is built to detoxify itself, so drinking special tea or doing a cleanse can do more harm than good. Your digestive system is your body’s best cleaning system, so let it do its job. Squatting while pooping can make it easier to do this.

You might want to squat for this...

If you are concerned about how often you do or don’t poop, there how to do a few things to help keep things moving properly. Certain foods can slow down your digestion of food. Certain meats, like beef, can be hard to digest and can be hard on your colon. Foods like cheese that have bacteria in them can also slow down your digestion. If you are having problems going, consider avoiding these foods. Your mood can also change your poop schedule. If you are stressed out, your gut knows that your serotonin levels are low, and this can also make it hard to go. Learning methods for coping with stress can also help with this. Sitting on the toilet can also make it more difficult to poop. Squatting can help open up the muscles in that area, making it easier to poop.

If you’re pooping a little more often than usual, this also may be due to your diet. Spicy food, coffee, and alcohol can make you have to poop more often. The stimulants in coffee, the sugars in alcohol, and a chemical in spicy food called capsaicin can be hard on your colon and cause your food to be digested faster. People who love spicy food may notice that if it burned they ate it, it also may burn on its way out.

Properly Pooping: Fact 1: The Puborectalis

Your puborectalis is the muscle that is responsible for continence. In other words, it’s the muscle that keeps your poop from leaking out when you’re walking down the street. Believe it or not, when you poop in a sitting position, your puborectalis only partially relaxes, forcing you to have to push hard when you poop.

The Encyclopedia of Gastroenterology describes the puborectalis as a sling-like muscle. It forms a loop around the rectum that can close the rectum off from the anal canal, and keep fecal matter from escaping. Some people have a problem with their puborectalis sling. One cause for that is pooping in an awkward position. Sitting upright can cause the stress on the rectum and colon, which may lead to constipation or other bowel problems. That's why squatting to poop is how to poop properly.

Properly Pooping: Fact 2: Why Squatting Helps

Yes, we are on fact number two about how to do number two.

Have you ever stopped water from flowing out of a hose by bending it? This is basically what happens when you sit down on the toilet to poop. There is still a bend that occurs in the digestive tract in between the rectum and the anus. Squatting instead of sitting is how to rid of that bend and lets everything flow fast and freely.

Rebekah Kim is a colorectal surgeon at the Virginia Hospital in the Center for Pelvic Floor Disorders. She states that squatting while pooping causes less straining the sitting on the toilet.

Properly Pooping: Fact 3: Scientific Evidence.

More than one scientific study backs this theory up. One researcher from Israel was curious about this theory, so he decided to make observations of people squatting to defecate. He measured and recorded the duration of each bowel movement. Each participant then rated how difficult it was. He then compared these results to people who sat on the toilet to poop. He published the results of the study in Digestive Diseases and Sciences. The study found that the squatters took about a third of the time that the sitters did to pass their bowels. According to their ratings, squatters also found the experience much easier than the sitters.

Another study was done in Japan. In this study, six subjects allowed their rectums to be filled with a solution that was visible on X-ray. They then either sat or squatted while they expelled the liquid as they were recorded on X-ray video. The replays of the video revealed that the anorectal angle was significantly different from sitting to squatting: from 100 degrees to 126 degrees. This is just more evidence that pooping is easier and faster squatting than sitting.

Properly Pooping: Fact 4: Using a Footstool Can Help

If you aren’t comfortable with the concept of squatting on your toilet, the same effect can be achieved with a footstool that’s at least eight inches tall. It simulates a squatting position. Doing this can speed up the pooping process and make everything about it easier. In order to help yourself to poop properly, it is suggested that you keep your knees higher than your hips. It is also recommended that your feet are on a solid surface. Unfortunately, unless you have extremely long legs, it's unlikely that your knees are higher than your hips on a standard sized toilet if your feet are on the floor. This is where using a footstool to support your feed can help. Once your knees are higher than your hips, leaning forward can help properly position your body for pooping. Breathe deeply, try to relax your muscles, and let nature take its course.

Keeping a footstool near the toilet is great for adults, but it's even more important if there are children who use your bathroom. Many children's feet dangle when sitting on an adult-sized toilet. Having a footstool handy can give them somewhere solid to put their feet when they poop.

Properly Pooping: Fact 5: Squatting while Pooping Can Keep You from Getting Constipated

Not only does pooping while squatting make pooping faster and easier, but it also is thought to help with being constipated, colitis, hemorrhoids, and possibly even appendicitis and colon cancer. Of those problems, being constipated is the only one that has been scientifically proven, according to scientist Rebekah Kim, to be helped by squatting. Aside from being constipated, if you think that you may have one of these health problems, see your doctor for treatment.

More information about constipation.

According to the Mayo Clinic, constipation is when your bowel movements are infrequent or difficult to pass. It can last up to several weeks or even longer. If you have less than three bowel movements in a week, this means that you are constipated. It happens to everyone from time to time, but it is a chronic problem for some people. If it persists, it can even affect the quality of life for the people experiencing it. Symptoms of constipation can involve stools that are lumpy or hard. Having to push excessively hard or strain while pooping. Feeling like there is something inside your rectum that is blocking it. Having the sensation that you can never get all of your poop out. Needing to use your hands either to physically remove poop from your rectum or push down on your abdomen in order to poop. If you have at least two of these symptoms within a month, you may be chronically constipated. If this is the case, call your doctor. There are some causes for constipation that can only be treated by doctors. If you have a blockage in the colon or rectum, neurological issues with the nerves around the rectum and colon, muscle difficulties, or hormonal issues, these are conditions need the attention of a medical professional. For any of these conditions, squatting while pooping will not solve the causes of constipation. However, it can help open the “pipes” in that area, making the medical treatments from the doctor work even better, allowing bowels to pass more easily. While squatting to poop can help make everything flow smoother and faster, there are some other things that can help with preventing constipation. One is to eat a diet that is high in fiber. This means eating plenty of foods that include whole grain, bran, beans, vegetables, and fruit. Also, avoid low fiber processed foods, meat, and dairy. Drink lots of water and other fluids. Lead an active lifestyle, creating a daily routine that includes regular exercise. Find stress management techniques. Deep breathing, meditation, yoga, guided imagery, self-hypnosis, tapping, muscle relaxation exercises, and aromatherapy are all stress management techniques. Enjoying your favorite pastimes, like sports, dancing, or other hobbies can also help to manage stress. If you do feel like you need to do #2, do so immediately. Don’t be shy about pooping in a public restroom. Take advantage of your desire to poop and go for it.

If picturing yourself trying to figure out how to hold your balance and poop while squatting on a wobbly, modern toilet seat makes you constipated, be aware that Squat Potty has come up with a solution for this dilemma. They have designed a footstool to help the legs and body get into the proper squat position while pooping.

Until the 1800’s, chair-shaped toilets were reserved for the rich elite. Most people pooped outside or in some variation of a chamber pot. The only way to do this is by squatting to poop. When indoor plumbing was invented, the toilet seats that we are accustomed to became available to regular people, and people started using them regularly. The first known toilets come from ancient Egypt. They were basically made out of a wooden stool that had a hole drilled into it. Beneath the hole, there was a container of sand that had to be emptied fast after every time someone used the toilet. The first toilets that actually flushed were in the Indus Valley and Minoan civilization. They were the first civilization that came up with running water and sewage systems. Rich people in this civilization had chair-shaped toilets, while regular people squatted. There were public bathrooms in Ancient Rome, where people would use them as a place to socialize. These toilets had seats made of stone. Modern-day flush toilets became common in the late 1800s, followed fast by the invention of toilet paper rolls in 1890. In the Western world, toilets have not changed much since then.

The latest toilet innovation is “smart toilets.” They caught on fast in Japan and are spreading into global markets. They come with features like heated toilet seats and built-in bidets. Hopefully, a model with an integrated squat stool will be invented and developed fast.

The sitting toilet did not have the same popularity in Asia and Africa. Many public restrooms in these countries feature squat toilets instead of toilet seats. In fact, many people from these countries find the idea of sitting on a toilet in a public restroom where someone else may have pooped mere seconds before to be unhygienic.

Poop colors that you should be concerned about.

While healthy poop can come in different colors, there are a few colors that should prompt a call to your doctor. If your poop is pale or grey, it could be an indication of liver or gallbladder problems. This typically means that something is stopping the bile in your body from getting to your small intestine. Black poop could be caused by anti-diarrhea medicine or iron supplements. Red poop could be caused by beets. If you have not ingested these things and your poop is red, black or maroon, this could be a sign of an ulcer, inflammatory bowel disease, or hemorrhoids. If your poop is any of these alarming colors, it’s time to call your doctor. If your poop is the color or consistency of coffee grounds, this is a sign of gastrointestinal bleeding. Again, call your doctor.