Proper Toileting Position - Legacy Physical Therapy
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Proper Toileting Position


Did you know there’s a proper way to sit on the toilet? In fact, we find the vast majority of our patients who have difficulty emptying their bowels or bladders are not sitting correctly on the toilet. We tend to find that people sit upright and tall, hunch over, or even do the dreaded hover over the toilet.  Try these tips to ensure you can effectively empty while sitting on the toilet.

1. Don’t HoverMake sure you are making full contact with the toilet seat. This will allow the muscles that control your bowel and bladder function to fully relax. 

2. Elevate your knees higher than your hips.The optimal position to empty the bowel & bladder is in a seated squat position. We recommend a product called the Squatty Potty to help you get in this position. A squatty potty is designed to fit right on the base of your toilet and has placement marks for your feet. If you don’t have a squatty potty, you can use a step stool or some stacked up old books. Especially if you have an elevated toilet, you will want to also have something like the squatty potty to help get the knees higher than the hips.

3. Knees out wide and clothing down at feet. Knees and hips are wide and slide your clothing and underwear down to your feet. This lets the pelvic are be open and relaxed.

4. Lean forward onto hands or forearms on knees. Keeping your back straight, lean forward from the hips. Think about this position like the guy reading the Sunday paper.

Why does this position matter?

Getting into this position allows the bowels to line up more vertically and assists in straightening out the “kink” that is present towards the end of your bowel tract. Leaning forward also applies more pressure onto the bladder to assist with complete bladder emptying. This position lets the pelvic floor be open and relaxed- something that needs to happen for normal urination and bowel movements.

Give this position a try. If you are still having issues with bowel movements or bladder habits, we are here to help.