Should You Sit, Squat, or Lean During a Bowel Movement?

Squatting and leaning can help straighten the anorectal angle, but a healthy enough diet should make bowel movements effortless regardless of positioning.


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  • 15 seconds? People strain for 15 seconds?

    Also, you reduce time pooping by removing reading material from the potty. It had to be said.

  • I was chronically constipated my whole life. I never knew what a proper bowel movement was until I become vegan last year. Possibly TMI, but I now take a big soft poop every morning and it's awesome. No more bloating, gas, a feeling like crap (pun intended).

  • "You know you're eating a plant based diet when it takes you longer to pee than to poo" bbaaahahahahaha !!! 😂😂😂😂😂

  • Can this be a cause of babies suddenly passing away? Pooping on their back – forcing it out? NY Times just ran a piece titled: A baby dies at daycare and mother asks why she had to leave him so soon. Copy, paste and Google it to read.

  • hahahahaha i was always amazed that people took so long to take a shit… mine just slides right out. i also lean forward just cause it's more comfy that way hahaha

  • I can't believe the study didn't show less straining need squatting vs sitting. I have squatted for the last 8 years and I absolutely find it easier to go. I am never going back.

  • This is great to know but what about the people that are on a plant-based diet eating fruits,vegetables and whole-grain's avoiding all animal and dairy that are experiencing sticky, slimy poop that will not go away they have gone to different doctors had different test done and no one can seem to figure out what the problem is.

  • Tall toilets do not put us in a natural position. They are designed for minimizing squat position and easing the rise up. I have gravitated toward lower (standard) height toilets. Eat plant based and let the flow make you glow!

  • generally when one is constipated, they are also bloated or may experience extreme stomach pain if reaching all the way forward and touching their hands to the ground!

  • Hold the Phone Dr Gregar.. what about the many folk who have Gastroparesis and where, in fact, more fibre, causes firmer, more solid, almost bezoar-like stools ?? how should they deal with the root cause? simply adopt an all liquid diet? even that doesn't work if the liquids contain protein and fats* no ?

  • "I remember sitting in geometry class thinking, "When am I ever going to use this? Little did I know I would one day be calculating anorectal angles with it—stay in school, kids." hehehe that made me laugh!!!

  • I was hesitant to believe this because I have a squatty potty at 9 inches in height and it seems to work wonderfully. Then I checked exactly how tall my stool is in cm, which is 23 cm. Compare that to the 15 cm stool the researchers said the participants couldn't use due to extreme discomfort; this seems ridiculous given that I have an 8 cm higher stool. Were they using severely obese participants?

    Also, the graph shows a linear decline in defecation time/straining as the stool height increases (or the closer you get to sitting position) and the graph just jumps from 30 cm to sitting (as if that's not misleading?). At a stool height of 23 cm, then my sitting position would probably be in the 15-20cm range of the graph (since they say a 15 cm stool is 26-27 cm sitting position) and thus very close to the "full sitting" bar. Therefore, I think this graph/study is misleading; a 9 inch stool isn't perfect but it's pretty close and I'd rather do that than lead forward in a weird/disgusting way. People just need to use the stool a bit more and stretch your muscles because it was hard for me at first but my body become flexible enough in about a week.

  • My trips to the restroom are so short that I don't think I even have time to think about using any particular position haha. Ever since going vegan, #1/#2 both dont smell at all, and rarely take more then a min or two in the restroom since all is so smooth

  • Here in The Netherlands doctors say it's the opposite: they say that squatting adds to straining and causes hemorrhoids and prolapses. They say it is better to sit straight on toilet and relax.

  • Time for an update, doc. Any studies on use of plant-based diet to ease defecation when using constipation-inducing pain meds?
    Great opportunity to encourage plant-based diets for all pain med users. I know the problem first hand from taking pain meds, and not remembering to drink more water. Research question: How many people could be helped by increasing fiber simultaneously with pain meds?

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