Are you sitting comfortably? Many people are not – and they insist that the way we’ve been going to the toilet is all wrong. By Alex Blasdel
For their 27th wedding anniversary, the Breaking Bad star Bryan Cranston gave his wife, Robin, a gift that promises “to give you the best poop of your life, guaranteed”. The Squatty Potty is a wildly popular seven-inch-high plastic stool, designed by a devout Mormon and her son, which curves around the base of your loo. By propping your feet on it while you crap, you raise your knees above your hips. From this semi-squat position, the centuries-old seated toilet is transformed into something more primordial, like a hole in the ground. The family that makes the Squatty Potty says this posture unfurls your colon and gives your faecal matter a clear run from your gut to the bowl, reducing bloating, constipation and the straining that causes haemorrhoids. Musing about the gift on one of America’s daytime talk shows in 2016, Cranston said: “Elimination is love.”
More than 5m Squatty Potties have been sold since they first crept on to the market in 2011. Celebrities such as Sally Field and Jimmy Kimmel have raved about them, and the basketball sensation Stephen Curry put one in every bathroom of his house. “I had, like, a full elimination,” Howard Stern, the celebrity shock jock, said after he first used one, in 2013. “It was unbelievable. I felt empty. I was like, ‘Holy shit.’” The Squatty Potty has been the subject of jokes on Saturday Night Live, and of adulation by the queen of drag queens, RuPaul. This January, after Squatty Potty LLC hit $33m in annual revenues, the business channel CNBC, which helped bring the footstool to fame through its US version of Dragon’s Den, hailed the device as a “cult juggernaut”.