A Q&A with Robert Edwards, creator of the Squatty Potty
Certain grandmothers may speak freely of the frequency and quality of their BMs, and parents count and analyze the color and consistency of their babes’, but most of us don’t think about poop or talk about it much until it becomes a problem. And eventually it will. If Indra Devi is to be believed.
And we believe it. Is Beerasana obsessed with poop? Dunno. But we’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: squatting is the way. Several months ago our friend and local yogi Jamie Phipps fashioned us a squatting stool that resembles the Squatty Potty. At first I felt it made our bathroom look like a nursing home facility, and I would be annoyed when I kicked it barefooted in the dark, but now it seems strange to go without it. Our house guests, at first skeptical (even hostile), came around, too.
Squatty Potty recently contacted us, asking if we’d like a model to try out and review. For a change my answer was unreservedly yes, because I knew we’d dig it, and they’re not super cheap. And so we happily received the $59.95 Squatty Classic. It’s painted white and made from recycled wood fiber, so it has some heft to it, and it blends in pretty well with the toilet. Rubber nubs on the bottom make it feel stable, but not so easy to kick out of the way when not in use. All in all, the thing is great, and we believe it’s the most practical brand on the market. But whether you buy from a different maker, go DIY, talk to Jamie, or order up a Squatty Potty, we think you’ll be pleased with the results. Just get your feet up!
Robert Edwards, creator of the Squatty Potty, was kind enough to humor my questions.
In an effort to help alleviate the strain caused by using the modern toilet, Robert Edwards created the Squatty Potty, a toilet footstool that improves bathroom posture, making it easier to assume the squatting position for more effective colon elimination. Its convenient design helps properly align the colon, and can easily be stored at the base of the toilet to prevent bathroom clutter between uses. You can learn more by watching this short video explaining the trend of squatting and benefits of the Squatty Potty.
Beerasana: What did you model your stool after? Was there another on the market when you invented yours? And did you ever consider calling it the Stool Stool?
Robert Edwards: Actually, we created the Squatty Potty from scratch. My mother has suffered from lifelong colon issues and spent years trying to find a way to alleviate them. A colon hydro-therapist suggested putting her feet up and so she started gathering boxes and stacking phone books in front of the toilet to serve as squatting platforms. The results were immediate, but the method was inconvenient and was always in the way, so we designed a footstool that fits snugly underneath the toilet when not in use and is the correct height and slant for use with the western toilet.
We considered many names, but “Squatty Potty” was the perfect fit. “The Stool Stool” does make for a good laugh, doesn’t it?
[Ugh, not really; sorry about that. – Jenny]
Beerasana: What is keeping people from buying these? What do you think people have to “get over” before they make the switch?
RE: We’re taught to believe that sitting to poop is civilized, since it has been adopted as the primary method in westernized countries. In fact, many countries still use squat toilets including many parts of Asia and Europe. Physiologically, we are designed to squat. I think a great example can be seen in children that are still in diapers who squat to poop. Many of them then struggle to poop when sitting on training toilets because it is unnatural — they instinctively squat.
We have a hard time talking about pooping, but I think that the topic of conversation is gaining traction because more and more people are suffering from constipation and other bowel-related ailments. As we move away from “potty talk” being a taboo thing, I think more and more people will start to talk about their issues and be more inclined to make the switch.
Beerasana: Are hospitals big customers of yours?
RE: I wouldn’t say that they are BIG customers, YET. At first, the majority of our business came from word of mouth, but now we are seeing an incredible amount of new business coming in from all kinds of sources, including clinics.
We have many clinics and hospitals throughout the country that are recommending the use of the Squatty Potty. Given the ease and affordability of the Squatty Potty Many Doctors are now glad to have something they can recommend to elderly patients who have elimination problems. The Stanford Pelvic Floor clinic requires that post-op patients use the Squatty Potty when elimination to avoid re-injury.
Beerasana: What do you think of your (few) competitors? What do you think of the Lilipad?
RE: First, I want to say competition is good. We feel the more people out there talking about this concept the better it is for the health of the people and the health of our company. We feel we have perfected the ergonomics of the squatting footstool. Our Stool has a positive (raised) heel allowing for a more natural squat and we have priced ours to be affordable for anyone. The Lilipad is only available through mail order from New Zealand and is more than $100.00 just for shipping. [Ed. $169 total.] Nature’s Platform is great for squatting purists, but is not practical for most. You have to understand, most of our customers are over 55 and can’t squat. We feel that just because one can’t squat doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be afforded the health benefits. So we designed a stool that EVERYONE can use. My Grandmother (who is 84) takes her squatty potty with her on vacation. She says she can’t “go” without it.
We took all of these considerations in mind when we designed the Squatty Potty. To create the best possible product, I consulted with doctors, nurses, alignment specialists and natural health experts to identify the perfect height, position and angle ideal for squatting in addition to reading numerous studies on the subject and working with pelvic floor clinics and gastroenterologists nationwide to develop something that they would (and do) recommend to their clients.
In the end, the Squatty Potty is cheaper, lighter and more user-friendly than our competitors’ products.
Beerasana: Are any of your three models made in America?
RE: The Squatty Classic and Squatty Ecco are both made in the USA 🙂
Thank you, Robert! America is proud. Poopers, order one for yourself or someone you love at Squatty Potty. If you don’t like it, Beerasana will make it up to you in some way, provided you are easily appeased.