The Squat Toilet, or TMI
The first time I ever saw a squat toilet I literally didn’t know what to do.
I had been living in Taiwan for a few months already when I found myself in a public restroom in downtown Taipei. The theme park I worked in (shout out to LeoFoo Village!) had western toilets, as did the apartment our american cast was housed in. We would chuckle at the occasional footprints on the rim of the toilet bowl and the signs instructing guests to the Park to sit not stand on the toilet seat.
Suddenly I find myself needing the facilities and facing the same cultural quandary as our park guests. I gotta go, but how? (We won’t get into the sudden realization that toilet paper is not generally provided, a total surprise!)
Squat toilets are shallow troughs about a foot long and 4 or 5 inches wide. Let’s be honest, it’s basically a hole in the ground with flush capabilities.
I took my best guess, stood with a foot on either side of the trough and sat as close to the ground as I could without falling down.
Here comes the TMI- it was the best poop of my life! Until that moment I had never given a single thought to what it felt like to go to the bathroom. I remember having the conscious thought- oh! this is how it’s supposed to work in nature! It was easy, and I felt… well, empty. (I know, gross, I'm sorry. But we're already in this, so let's forge ahead.)
I was way too scared of falling into the bowl to try to the standing on the rim trick (plus every sign intimated that the risk of the bowl breaking in half was indeed strong) so I had to wait until I came across another squat toilet to confirm my suspicions that something about this was better than our western thrones.
These days a great deal of my work revolves around the imbalances and unhealthy patterns in the body caused by hours of sitting each day. Walking meetings, standing desks, leaning stools all help give us alternatives to sitting, but what about the one place at home and at work where sitting is the only option, but where we have to go every day?
I saw an ad online a few years ago for the Squatty Potty, a stool that fits around and under your toilet bowl that when you put your feet on it closely mimics the action of squatting. Genius! I thought. This is like when I was in Taiwan! I could get that back and maybe help my hip mobility while I was at it!
But, Iike a lot of us, that thought did not turn to action and, sadly, I was not an early adopter of this incredibly simple yet genius solution.
Then the other day I was in Bed Bath and Beyond with my trusty coupons and I see an entire endcap display of white 9” Squatty Potties! Turns out one of the clever Sharks on Shark Tank also saw the wisdom of having better elimination and using our bodies more like nature intended. Coupons in hand, 2 came home with me. One for my bathroom and one for my guest bathroom- it’s no good to keep this to myself!
A few days with my new-old technology and I must say, I can feel the difference. I feel it in my hip mobility and my internal mobility (I’m running out of euphemisms!)
If you want to see if this little change can work for you Squatty Pottys are available at big box stores all over. You can also keep a low stool in your bathroom and put your feet up on it when you go. Do what works for you.
Don't want to use a squat toilet? I get it. Try just getting down and holding that bottom position of a squat for 30 seconds, as you work your way up to 2 minutes you'll see the mobility of your hip and back start to change.
Have you tried a Squatty Potty yet? Have you lived in or visited an area of the world with squat toilets and have a (fun please, not gross!) story to share? Let us know.
**I have no affiliation with Squatty Potty and they did not provide me with anything. I just think it’s a great idea.