Did you realize that squat toilets are the norm for the majority of people throughout the world? If you grew up using a Western toilet, you might find this surprising but . . . squatting is the natural position for better elimination.
In China, babies are allowed to follow their instinct and squat when they need to go. Although they usually wear diapers for the first few months, they’re quickly weaned off diapers and clothed into crotchless pants that make it easy for them to go when they need to.
When a child is outdoors, the caretaker usually tries to get the child to go on the nearest tree or landscaped area, sometimes holding him or her from their knees in a hanging squat position until the child is finished.
When an adult sees a toddler going down into the squatting position, it’s obvious that the child is getting ready to go. I remember many times, when living in China, seeing babies and toddlers stopping in their tracks and stooping to squat. The parent or caretaker, and everyone else around, knows exactly what’s coming!
America is the land of dog and cat lovers. It’s socially acceptable for animals to pee or poo near trees or grassy areas, but many Western travelers sneer when they see human babies doing the same.
The health benefit for the child is that their bottom isn’t soaking in their pee or poo in their diaper. It’s all wiped away immediately, just as adults do for themselves. Some Asians view diapering as a dirty and unhealthy practice. Which is more important? The cleanliness of the sidewalk area or the cleanliness of the baby’s bottom? Your culture has taught you the “right” answer.
Before you cringe about hygiene, keep in mind that dogs, cats, birds, and nearly all other living creatures defecate in their natural settings. They don’t have indoor plumbing. In all cases (whether animals or humans), it’s best if the excrement is collected and disposed of properly, especially in highly populated areas.
Did you hear the joke about the toilet? Never mind, it’s too dirty. Great Clean Jokes
Before I traveled to China, I didn’t know much about squat toilets, but within a few weeks of living there, I noticed the benefits of squatting. Not only did it feel more natural, I also gained more strength in my calves and thighs from squatting several times throughout the day.
Consider the following seven health benefits of squatting:
- In general, squat toilets are more sanitary than Western toilets because your body doesn’t need to touch any of the toilet parts. Passport and a Toothbrush
- Squatting is the natural position for elimination. It positions your muscles in a more ready position for elimination. Wellness Mama
- Squatting helps to alleviate hemorrhoids. Lillipad
- According to Dr. Oz, constipation is the #1 gastrointestinal complaint in the US and, in rare cases, can even be fatal. Squatting is a natural treatment for constipation. Squatty Potty
- Squatting allows you to better empty your bowels which reduces your chances of irritable bowel syndrome, appendicitus and fecal stagnation which can lead to colon cancer. Nature’s Platform
- Squatting when you eliminate may help prevent numerous health issues caused by western toilets such as: bladder incontinence, diverticulosis, endometriosis, GERD, heart attacks, hiatus hernia, hysterectomy, pregnancy and childbirth issues, prostate disorders, sexual dysfunction, uterine fibroids and much more. Adam Huber
- Squatting helps to increase your flexibility in your ankles, calves and thighs. It can help you maintain balance. This is especially helpful as you age. Squatters tend to have better health throughout their lives and are therefore less likely to be as needy in their later years.
If four out of five Westerners suffer from one of these Western-toilet related ailments, does that mean that one enjoys it? Porcelain Poetry
Some experts believe the western toilet was one of the worst inventions in modern times, as detrimental to people’s health as cars. Just as cars have taken away people’s need to walk when they want to go somewhere, Western toilets have taken away people’s natural tendency to squat when they need to go. If you believe it’s more “civilized” to sit on a toilet, sit in a car, sit at work all day, and sit on the couch in the evening, you must also conclude that it’s more “civilized” to have more health issues. Real Constipation Remedies
When I moved to China I found it fascinating to see people relaxing in the streets or in the subways in the squat position. Interestingly enough, while I lived in China it quickly became a comfortable and relaxing position for me as well.
When you feel the urge to go, try to go soon. If you make a habit of going in the squat position when nature calls, you do yourself a big favor. Holding it puts extra stress on your bowels, your stomach, and your digestion system. Squatting allows for a full release.
“But where do I put my feet?” Here are some basics on how to use a squat toilet:
Don’t assume that a Western toilet, or “porcelain throne” is better just because you’re accustomed to it.
If you have a Western toilet at home, consider purchasing a platform that allows you to squat. It relaxes the muscles in your back and throughout your body making it easier for you to release fecal matter.
If you’ve never tried squatting, you can work your way up to it by using higher and higher footstools near your toilet. You can also practice extra squats throughout the day. Over time your flexibility will increase.
You don’t have to go to a gym to work out. If you squat each time you go to the bathroom, you can work on increasing your strength and flexibility multiple times a day wherever you are.
Trainers recommend that you breathe out as you squat down and breathe in as you stand back up. This may be something helpful to think about as you’re practicing squats. Squatting improves the flexibility in your legs and back, and it also helps to maintain your core strength. If you can already squat down and balance on your feet for several minutes, you’re probably in fairly good shape.
If you aren’t flexible enough to squat yet, begin incorporating squats into your daily routine. Practice squats throughout the day when you’re doing household chores, gardening, or reaching for things on low shelves. With practice, you can increase your strength and flexibility.
If you’re interested in purchasing some type of device to help you get started at home, begin by using a stool to prop up your feet in front of your toilet or purchase a toilet adapter from the Squatty Potty (7″ or 9″ foot elevation) if you’re a beginner, the Lillipad (12.75″ and 15″ foot elevation) once you’ve developed some flexibility, or Nature’s Platform (adjustable to the height of your toilet) when you’ve achieved maximum flexibility.
The next time I remodel, build, or buy a home, I definitely want to have at least one squat toilet. In the meantime, I’ll keep lifting the toilet seat to squat on western thrones. Always lift toilet seats when squatting because they often shift when you put all your weight on them.
Once you increase your strength and flexibility, you can practice squatting on Western toilets when you’re away from home. When you’re using Western toilets in public restrooms, choose handicapped stalls whenever possible because they have handle bars to hang on to. This helps to make it a little safer.
Although I have more I’d like to share with you, I really need to go . . .