The Best Position To Poop, According to Science

Morgan Moran | 28 Sep, 2023

Woman in a squatting position on the toilet.

Have you been pooping wrong your entire life? We cover which position is best to...

The Best Position To Poop, According to Science

28 Sep, 2023

Taking a crap is some of the slickest science out there. Our body combines biology, chemistry, and physics to turn food into energy and the leftovers into projectile poop. Amazing! But sometimes, our approach to shitting leads to some unwanted science – like popping out a strangled hemorrhoid.

Quick pooping anatomy 101: When food passes through your stomach and small intestine, the body is hard at work absorbing its nutrients. Everything that makes it to the colon is undigested waste––food that no longer has anything nutritional to absorb. This waste does release water to the body but mainly, it’s just passing along to the rectum holding tank. It’s there that your brain signals your sphincter muscles to relax and release.

How we sit can 100% affect how well we empty that rectum. Here are some of the best positions to poop in for strain-free, prolific dumps.

What’s the Best Position To Poop In?

The official term for poop positions is “defecation postures”––which would lead you to believe there’s this in-depth pooping universe we’re all missing out on. (Reverse toilet girl?) Nope. Science is  sticking with squatting and sitting. Here are the core definitions and variations: 

  • Most Effective But Least Comfy: Squatting
  • Most Comfy But Least Effective: Sitting
  • Best of Both: Sitting with your feet up
  • Sitting PLUS, Option A: Hips flexed
  • Sitting PLUS, Option B: The thinker, aka the stinker



Squatting is the OG power move when it comes to pooping more completely  without strain. Gravity and colon alignment are primo as you bend at the knees and gently bear down into a deep squat. We’re talking bootyhole at ankle level.

You prob don’t have a European hole-in-the ground toilet tho, right? If you have freakish balance, you can literally perch on your existing toilet seat like a frog in waiting––just make sure your seat is bolted on tight.


You know this defecation position well, which was made popular in the 19th century when indoor plumbing went mainstream. Sitting is easy on your joints and allows for max multi-tasking, like scrolling Facebook marketplace. But it doesn’t always allow your rectal muscles to relax in a straight line. Some GI experts attribute conditions such as IBS and chronic constipation to generations of sitting poopers. 

So what are we constipated westerners supposed to doo? Answer: Combine the comfort of sitting with the benefits of squatting. Most poopers choose to invest in devices that simulate squatting on a Western toilet, like a modified toilet seat or foot stool which flexes the hips and elevates the feet.

Sitting With Your Feet Up 

You don’t need a pilates bod to achieve this posture. Propping your feet on a toilet stool or even a trash can lifts your legs into a superior pooping position without putting pressure on your joints. This is the sweet spot between sitting and squatting, and you may notice more *complete* dumps as a result. 

Sitting With Your Hips Flexed

Take a seat and open those hips like it’s the third date. (Sorry.) Seriously though, flexing your hips away from your body at a 60-degree angle can help move your rectal muscles into a more neutral pooping position. This can help reduce painful straining.

The “Thinker” Position

This forward hunch can have big scientific benefits, like increasing your anorectal angle and perineal plane distance to relieve your body from constipation.  You should also consider resting your elbows on your knees for full effect.  

Out-Science Constipation from the Inside-Out 

Even the best defecation postures can’t undo severe dehydration, chronic stress, or a diet of straight T-Bell. Pooping is a complete science. Meaning everything affects everything else.

In order to set your new toilet moves up for success, make sure you’re:

  • Eating plenty of fiber. Aim for 25 to 38 grams every day to soften and bulk out your stools.
  • Staying hydrated. Not drinking enough water (6-8 glasses daily) can result in hard, painful-to-pass stools. Remember, alcohol and sugary drinks cuts into your daily hydration. 
  • Moving your body. ALL your organs benefit from exercise, including your colon. Regular movement can stimulate blood flow to your abdominal area, triggering a BM.
  • Paying attention to the rhythm of your body. Never ignore the urge to go––pull a Kevin Malone and SCOOT. And try to poop at the same time every day ro regulate your schedule. 

You Know Your Butt + Body Best

Physiologically speaking, the correct position to poop is squatting because the flexion within our hips allows our rectoanal canal to straighten. But every body works differently and responds differently. Experiment with the postures above. Try a pooping stool. Make some lifestyle changes. If you’re straining to keep things pain-free and regular, talk to your doctor. Everybody poops and EVERYBODY struggles with it at some point. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Know If I’m Constipated? 

Two big giveaways: frequency and consistency of poos. Are you going fewer than three times a week? And are those poos small, hard, and painful to pass? You might be constipated. But don’t fret, constipation is extremely common and can be easily alleviated with some simple lifestyle changes. 

Should You Push When You Poop?

Pushing when you poop is fine, so long as you aren’t straining or holding your breath. When pooping is painful, try a modification (like a pooping stool) instead of bearing down for a fight. If you can’t go after 15 minutes, go for a walk, drink some water, and try again later.  

What’s The Best Way To Stimulate A Bowel Movement?

Our digestive systems are creatures of habit, so they LOVE routine. Regulating your system is the ultimate ticket to euphoric poops. Here are a few quick fixes to get you realigned and on your way. 

Can Toilet Height Affect Bowel Movements?

100%! A raised seat or too-tall toilet can increase your risk of constipation. Remember, your knees want to be ABOVE your hips to relax your pelvic floor and align your rectal muscles. Experiment with a lower seat or introduce a pooping stool to raise your foot placement.

Uplevel your hole bathroom experience.


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