I’ve been using one of the greatest products of my life every day for the past three weeks, and if I gave you 250,000 guesses, you’d never be able to figure out what it is.
So I’ll stop the guessing games and tell you it’s called a Squatty Potty and it does for you what man—and woman—did for themselves for thousands of years, before the invention of the modern flushing toilet in 1596, when Queen Elizabeth I’s godson built one for her. They squatted, as in getting down on your haunches, to defecate. (I discussed masturbating in a recent blog, so why not move on to defecating? After all, we all do THAT, don’t we?)
Anyway, the Squatty Potty is physically nothing more than a sturdy piece of white molded plastic—placed under your feet when you’re sitting on the john—which effectively raises your legs above your hips, so you can relax the proper muscle (called the Puborectalis), which, in turn works with the rectum, anus and sphincter muscles to allow defecation with ease. It’s designed to mirror the angle and efficiency of natural squatting, while allowing for the luxury and comfort of your own toilet.
I like the way Slate explained “the mechanics” of going to the bathroom: We control the way we defecate, to some degree, by contracting or releasing our anal sphincter muscle. But that muscle alone can’t maintain continence, so the body also relies on a bend between the rectum—where feces builds up—and the anus—where feces comes out. When we’re standing up, the extent of this bend, called the anorectal angle, is about 90 degrees, which puts upward pressure on the rectum and keeps feces inside. In a squatting posture, the bend straightens out, like a kink ringed out of a garden hose, and defecation becomes easier. Proponents of squatting argue that conventional toilets produce an anorectal angle that’s ill-suited for defecation. By squatting, they say, we can achieve “complete evacuation” of the colon, ridding our bowels of disease-causing toxins.
I don’t know about you, but I do know lots of people (lots and lots of people) who are always complaining about being constipated. Young people, older people, thin people, heavier people, men, women, people who are in shape and people who are out of shape. We’re a pretty constipated society, which also aids in the development of hemorrhoids. I have been known not to defecate for days on end (I have a long colon, the doctor told me once)! No more. The Squatty Potty is my new pal, and when I use it, I don’t even need to take STAR magazine into the bathroom.
Lori Greiner, from the
Shark Tank, and also called the “Queen of QVC,” liked
Squatty Potty so much, she invested $300,000 in it for
a 10 percent stake.
And wouldn’t you know it, this brilliant idea was conceived by an FOF, Judy Edwards, who has suffered from constipation most of her life. The mother of seven and grandmother of 24, Judy gave me the backstory (can’t help those puns).
What made you come up with the idea for Squatty Potty?
I’ve been constipated my whole life, just one of those kids who grew up with constipation issues. I tried a lot of different things as I grew older, including drinking more water, exercising, and eating more fiber, but nothing would give me the real results that I wanted. When I moved into a new home 10 years ago, and put in one of the higher toilets, it only escalated my problem. So I decided to see a colon hydrotherapist to clean myself out, and she told me I should never use the bathroom without my knees raised above my waist. That was the first time I had ever heard of such a thing.
When I got home and started researching the subject, I was amazed at what I found. Anatomically, our bodies are designed to squat in order to eliminate. The Puborectalis muscle that wraps around the colon keeps us continent when we’re standing or sitting. The only time that muscles relaxes is when we’re in a squatting position; when our knees are above our waist, at a 35 degree angle or more.
I had never heard of such a thing and I’m in my 60s, so I said to myself, ‘this is ridiculous.’ But then I found these studies done in Israel, Iran and Japan, and I met all these doctors who were pushing the idea overseas. Two-thirds of the world still squats. A doctor friend told me he studied about squatting in medical school. Because the toilet is so convenient, and it puts us in somewhat of a sitting position, it makes do and people still go. But it’s like going to the bathroom through a kinked garden hose. It restricts the flow. We’ve never had anyone—not one professional—email us or say anything derogatory about the squatting position.
Squatting is an instinct from birth, but we take it away when we toilet train our children.
They’re scared and that’s where a lot of constipation starts. My 38-year-old son, Bobby, came to the same knowledge at about the same time that I did. He was determined to share this knowledge with the public. ‘This can be life changing,’ he said. Bobby took design classes at college so he designed the stool and he’s been the one to get it out to the public in a tasteful manner.
What’s happened since you introduced Squatty Potty?
Pooping is a taboo subject and getting people over the taboo has been our biggest challenge. No one likes to admit we do it, but everyone does. We talk about what we put in our bodies but we don’t dare talk about what comes out. We have many channels that won’t even carry our ads. We see Viagra ads, but no one wants to talk about pooping.
Howard Stern did a great deal for us. Robin (his sidekick) bought one and when they talked about it on his show, Howard said he wanted to try it. After he used it, he talked about it on air for 20 minutes. Now we pay to have him do live reads. It’s also been featured on The Doctors and Dr. Oz, which gave it even more credibility.
Bed, Bath & Beyond did so well when they put Squatty Potty into 100 stores that it’s now putting it into all stores. We’ll also be in another big chain after the first of the year. We have a 90-day money back guarantee and few returns. Over 90 percent of our customers say they wouldn’t return the product. A gastroenterologist in town says this helps his wife’s bowel more than anything he’s ever done.
Do you have plans for other products?
We’ll have an inflatable travel version by the end of the year. It’s made of heavy plastic, weighs less than one pound, and folds into a little ball. Once someone starts using Squatty Potty, they want to use it all the time, even when they travel.
Although we have a patent on a kid’s version, the current version also makes a great potty trainer, if a child’s legs are long enough to be raised a bit over their knees. Kids like Squatty Potty because it gives them support and they’re not frightened of being on the toilet anymore.