Squatting may help people complete a bowel movement, particularly if they are constipated, but this position can be difficult with a pedestal toilet. Using a foot stool can help replicate a squatting position.

Constipation can occur at any age, although it may be more common among older adults and pregnant people. Lifestyle changes, such as eating more fiber, drinking enough water, and getting more exercise, can help individuals in the long term.

More immediate relief may come from changing the sitting position on the toilet. Research suggests a defecation posture modification device (DPMD), or footstool, reduces straining and shortens bowel movement duration.

This article explores different positions while pooping and shows how changes in posture may help people have more satisfactory defecation experiences. It also offers tips for relieving constipation and adopting healthy toilet habits.

A baby squatting in the best poop position.-1Share on Pinterest

Most experts agree that squatting is the best position for people to poop. In a 2019 article, researchers claim that this position allows the abdominal muscles to work efficiently, helping individuals empty their bowels.

Western toilet design encourages people to sit upright while pooping. Sitting is a less effective way of pooping as it adds unnecessary kinks in a person’s rectum, making it harder for them to have a bowel movement.

People who use a DPMD, or footstool, that lifts their knees higher than their hips recreate the squatting posture and straighten out these kinks.

This adjustment may help people achieve a more satisfactory poop by reducing straining and bowel movement duration.

Pooping is the body’s way of getting rid of waste products from digestion. People feel the urge to poop when the inner sphincter — a ring of muscles in the rectum — opens, and their pelvic floor relaxes.

Ideally, a person should act on this urge and use the bathroom. It is possible to delay a poop by squeezing the abdominal and pelvic floor muscles. However, those who do this regularly may risk getting constipation.

Healthy toilet habits to practice include the following:

  • allowing enough time to poop without straining
  • trying to poop at regular times each day
  • using a stool to raise the knees above the hips when sitting
  • using the toilet after feeling the urge to poop
  • wiping from back to front
  • washing hands thoroughly after pooping

As well as adjusting positions on the toilet, people can make some simple lifestyle changes to reduce their likelihood of constipation. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases suggests the following tips:

  • keeping well hydrated by drinking enough water
  • eating more fiber, including fruit, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and beans
  • limiting or avoiding fast foods and heavily processed foods, such as hot dogs
  • taking regular exercise
  • trying to poop at the same time each day

If constipation persists, people can speak with a healthcare professional about medication that may help or about stopping current medication that could be worsening their digestive issues.

Below are the answers to common questions about poop positions and constipation.

Is it better to lean forward or backward when pooping?

Leaning forward with the knees raised and elbows resting on the knees may help people recreate a squatting position, which keeps the rectum aligned with the anus and allows for easier bowel evacuation.

However, some people find leaning back helps when they are constipated. They may rock gently backward and forward or get up and walk around.

Is there a way to poop instantly?

The best way to poop instantly is to visit the bathroom as soon as possible after feeling the urge to go. However, if someone is constipated, their poop may be dry, hard, and lumpy, making it difficult to pass.

Laxatives can act quickly to help a bowel movement, while stimulant laxatives make the muscles in the digestive tract contract.

When a person uses stimulant laxatives as a suppository, they typically work within 15 minutes to 1 hour. Orally, they usually work within 6–8 hours.

How can someone relieve painful constipation?

Taking a walk or doing another form of gentle exercise may help relieve discomfort and other symptoms of constipation.

Taking steps to treat constipation, such as taking over-the-counter medication, staying hydrated, and changing position on the toilet may help encourage a bowel movement. People can speak with a doctor if the pain persists or worsens.

Squatting is the most effective position for people to poop in, but Western toilets typically encourage sitting. Using a footstool to lift the knees above the hips recreates the squatting posture, allowing a person to poop more easily.

Most people can manage symptoms of constipation with lifestyle changes. These include eating more fiber-rich foods, drinking more water or other fluids, and getting regular exercise.

If constipation symptoms do not improve after making these changes, people can speak with a healthcare professional for more help.