Introduction: This Footstool Is a Better Way to Use the Toilet

Picture of This Footstool Is a Better Way to Use the Toilet

On the television show "Shark Tank", where entrepreneurs seek funding to help bring new products to market, I was introduced to a product called the "squatty potty". The goal of the product was to re-align a persons internal plumbing when seated on a toilet thereby resulting in a more natural squatting position when defecating. Simply raising the feet off the floor accomplishes the desired result. Lo and behold, the sharks bought in and agreed to help finance and distribute the product. At the time, while I found the idea interesting I also saw it in a mildly amusing light. However, some time later I mentioned the show to my daughter and son-in-law and was surprised to hear that they owned one and loved it! A subsequent google search showed a number of different designs online so, rather than buying the plastic version, I decided to make a nicer looking one myself and give it a try. I'm glad I did. I'll be darned if it doesn't work!

Step 1: Easy to Build

Picture of Easy to Build

It only takes four pieces of wood to build your version of this "defecation station" (bad joke name #1). It consists of a top, two legs and a center support. I was able to build two units for under $30 which is roughly the cost of one plastic "poopin' pedestal" (bad joke name #2, sorry!) from a retail store.

The general dimensions are as follows:

Top: 20" x 9"

Legs: 7" x 8"(7" is the height the legs before making a second, angled cut to pitch the top of the stool at a slight downward slant after assembly. Simply take a straight edge and draw a line from the back of the leg to the front so there is approximately a 3/4" difference in height. Make the angled cut to arrive at the final dimensions of the legs: 8" long by 7" at the rear and 6 1/4" at the front).

Center support: 1 1/2" x 13 1/2"

Using any nice hardwood will allow you to stain and finish the unit to your liking. I chose 3/4" red oak which I purchased at my local home center.

Step 2: Shaping the Top and Legs

Picture of Shaping the Top and Legs

Shaping and then rounding the top and bottom of the legs is simple and straight forward.

1) Draw the pattern for the top - a place for each foot with a cutout allowing the unit to be pushed under the toilet when not in use. I used a hole cutter to draw the internal curves of the top.

1) Using any round lid or can just trace the desired curve on the outside corners of the top and legs.

2) Take a jigsaw and cut out the pattern and corners on the top and legs. (Use the hole cutter to cut the internal curves for the top.)

3) Sand by hand until smooth and any burn marks have been removed.

Step 3: Assembly

Picture of Assembly

I assembled my footstool using pocket holes and screws. Pocket hole construction provides rock solid joinery that often doesn't require gluing. If you don't have a pocket hole jig it is just as easy to drill angled holes for nailing the pieces together. If nailing, be sure to add glue for additional strength. Clamping the pieces before screwing or nailing is a must.

Since your feet simply rest on the footstool there won't be a lot of stress on the legs so whichever method you choose for assembly should be fine.

Step 4: Stain and Finish - Then Take a Seat

Picture of Stain and Finish - Then Take a Seat

The final step is to stain and finish your footstool. After staining I applied two coats of Watco Danish Oil to the entire stool. I then applied three coats of polyurethane to just the top for extra toughness and protection.

That's all there is to it. A simple weekend project that you enjoy using whenever nature calls.


ghhillbilly (author)2017-05-04

i'm gonna make some of these thanks

bidetfan (author)2017-03-14

Awesome idea! Thank God you can't make an attachable bidet out of wood because I'd be out of business real quick! LOL. We think that the only thing which can make going to the bathroom even more comfortable and effective is using water instead of toilet paper to clean. And the most cost-efficient way to do this is through a bidet attachment. We sell a line of attachable bidets and would love your business (pun intended!). Please visit our website and give us a try! You have nothing to lose - we have a 30 full money back guarantee. Check us out! Thanks a lot!

wood8 made it! (author)2017-02-28

Great instructions, thanks!

ColH2 (author)2016-10-28

I cannot believe the amount of comments that are negative with regards a squat stool. I cannot believe any doctor states there is no scientific evidence to support the benefits, because their is scientific proof. I started squatting on the top of public toilets over ten years ago for hygiene reasons and I instantly enjoyed total evacuation of my bowel without having to wipe my butt more than once. I looked forward to going to the beach every day just to squat. I have a stool at home, but it is not quite as good as the deep squat, thus why I am here today. I can only believe that the negativity from some has to relate to the fact that squat toilets are something Islam has given to the world, or your bowel is so twisted nothing will help.

Adam12hicks made it! (author)2016-04-15

Solid zebrawood for the pooping win!

mrstan (author)2016-02-03

Can not resist.. have to post this classic related picture.. Someone has to do it!

Bethrideout made it! (author)2016-01-27

This was a fun and easy project for this beginner woodworker. Thanks for posting!

pgoff made it! (author)2016-01-11

It's not every soon-to-be six-year-old that asks for a squatty-potty for this birthday, but mine did. :) I have not idea if it's actually better for the ... experience, but he's pumped to poop.

Donna55959. (author)2016-01-10

Squatting is the natural way to poop. Humans have always squatted - there were no toilets in the pre-historic age and it is only in fairly recent times that we have had porcelain toilets to sit on. Many people who suffer from constipation find squatting works much better. I had a friend who lived in Dubai (where their toilets require you to squat) and she said she never suffered constipation while she was there. A baby poops lying down because they cant squat. as soon as they walk they squat. Humans are meant to squat.

Adamik (author)2016-01-05


NPNana (author)2015-12-17

I don't know who first came up with this nonsense, but my doctor says just the opposite. Look at a baby. Do they get in a squatting position to poop? No. Do they have any problem? No. They are stretched out straight. My doctor says to stretch your body out as straight as possible to get the best results. I'll take my doctor's advice over some unknown entity trying to sell a product.

marvelljones (author)NPNana2015-12-30

Once they learn to walk, they squat every time. Until they're potty trained. Most other primates with solid food diets squat. It needs more scientific study. It's possible our bodies adapt over time to using toilets. Maybe we need to study isolated primitive peoples and see how they go.

Brettler (author)NPNana2015-12-21

haha, ya cause all doctors know everything right.... they are all knowing and all of them are never wrong.... babies also dont have a very developed digestive system yet not to mention most of what is put into them is either a liquid or mush, so its easy to go through them in general as their digestive system developes. It is so amazing to me how people have completely lost all ability to use common sense and even more so that common sense is somehow being lost from society. Even with all the information at the tips of your fingers ....

zorrothefox (author)NPNana2015-12-18

Take a look at this video... It shows the anatomical reason why you SHOULD be squatting... There is a muscle at the end of the large intestine which keeps the colon clipped shut... This muscle opens up completely when you squat at a particular angle.

ccrazed (author)zorrothefox2015-12-20

The video is an advert trying to sell something and as such is not a viable source of fact.

JohnR17 (author)ccrazed2015-12-21

Invalidating something without evidence is simply silly. YEs they have a video explaining how it all works. The vid is accurate the info is fairly accurate. The choice is to buy one or not, nothing more.

ccrazed (author)zorrothefox2015-12-20

The video is an advert trying to sell something and as such is not a viable source of fact.

zorrothefox (author)ccrazed2015-12-21

then check this out

"Conversely, relaxation of the puborectalis reduces the pull on the junction of the rectum and the anal canal, causing the anorectal angle to straighten out. A squatting posture is also known to straighten the anorectal angle, meaning that less effort is required to defecate when in this position.[15]"

Hope that helps!

JohnR17 (author)NPNana2015-12-21

If you have ever served in the Army, toilets do not abound where you may end up. Squatting with the back against a tree for support , allows for everything (i do mean everything) to come out. No need to push down hard to get things moving. .

ishamsul (author)NPNana2015-12-18

I'm not sure if you've ever travel to Asia. Squat toilets are normal there, and even if there are sitting toilets, you'll find people that are not sure how to use this, so they squat on the seat (thus the foot prints on the seat... yes not very nice). My Malaysian great grandmother was a midwife, she told my dad that after sitting toilets were introduced in Malaysia, women started struggling to give birth at home, apparently due to the underdevelopment of core, hip and leg muscles.

wmistler (author)ishamsul2015-12-19

Until a couple hundred years ago humans always squatted. Our evolution is still set on squat.

willbillclark (author)wmistler2015-12-19

When I was in Japan --years ago, I was also struck with the squatting method; thinking it was rather primitive. When I found out that hemorrhoids are almost non existent and constipation rare, I realized that "form should follow function". If I was building a home from the start, I would put one in.

SpecimenB (author)NPNana2015-12-17

There was an article not too long ago asking a gastrointestinal doctor if there was any benefit to squatting. He said there's no harm in it but no scientific benefit. It's not going to make you poop better. This is just like the toilet paper over or under debate. It makes no difference.

wmistler (author)SpecimenB2015-12-19

Bean counters have it put in backwards. The frustration from use apparently makes the roll last longer.

EveD5 (author)NPNana2015-12-19

Many Drs say this is best for Most people.

rjessup (author)NPNana2015-12-17

Wow how many babies have you seen poop because every one I have ever seen draws up thier whole body in a fetal position when they have to strain.

fw 190D (author)rjessup2015-12-19

Isn't that the faecal position?....

itchn2go (author)NPNana2015-12-19

babies cry when they poop

mikes4222 (author)NPNana2015-12-18

For that matter, why trust a Dr who has a vested interest in seeing you as much as possible, to address new and recurring health problems? I knew a Doctor who refused to drink WATER, saying that it was a solvent!

CharlieM31 (author)mikes42222015-12-18

water IS a solvent. For water soluble substances.

Fik (author)NPNana2015-12-18

Do look at a baby: it spend most of its time in a fetal position, just like squatting. It is when the baby grows and straightens that it stops pooping all the time, in fact to do so it squats (hopefully over the potty)

My personal experience is that it's easier to poop squatting, I use a couple or small stools (bad word to use in this context...), but they always seem to be away from the toilet. Maybe this design would keep the thing where it should be.

mikes4222 (author)NPNana2015-12-18

I'd say that your Dr is full of **it.

lclaiborne (author)NPNana2015-12-18

Yeah. Right. Look at other vertebrates, like your dog or cat. Look at the 3/4 of the people on Earth who squat to poop and have no interest in adopting Western style commodes. Now go read the reveiws for the actual, hygenic, product. People love Squatty Potty, there's a reason why. And doctors aren't actually very well informed on an amazing number of things, including functional anatomy as opposed to cadavers.

CrustyBarnacle (author)NPNana2015-12-17

Dude... I have a 3 1/2yr old and a 1 1/2yr old. They so squat-squat-squat to poop when the diaper is on. Babies also cry all night and have horrible sleep patterns. Are you following those patterns too? Silly arguments, good Sir.

BrettS2 (author)NPNana2015-12-17

Why must we hate...? Perhaps one might best examine how early hominids did it when they began to walk upright. They had neither diapers nor toilets. They squatted with their knees in their armpits. You don't get any more natural than that. Besides, who really cares, if it floats your...boat?

koshy6 (author)NPNana2015-12-17

Ok go ahead & trust your dr to tell you what is right, but common sense says to squat & it really works!! If your doc says to get as straight as you can, please get another dr. I have one and it has changed my elimination for the better. Try it!

rmoore28 (author)koshy62015-12-17

You got it right! Doctors are not infallible! They don't know it all! It's right to get a second opinion if it doesn't make sense to you or help your condition. Get as straight as you can, and have skid marks from now on! LOL!

boocat (author)NPNana2015-12-17

How does that work out for you? Must be a thrill for your family...??? Teasing aside, I have seen the anatomical diagrams of the bowel location. Our ancestors used to - ahem - squat and get the business done. This emulates that natural position, that's all. Less stress might mean less diverticulosis, etc. Doctors have been known to be wrong, you know. I have met a couple who were, that is why we routinely get second opinions.

Lt72884 (author)NPNana2015-12-17

if i could get away with lying on the ground, or anywhere for that matter, and stretch out like a baby and just poop, life would be fantastic.. but untill that day, it looks as if this DIY will do the trick.

Passing You (author)Lt728842015-12-17

The person talking about lying flat out and pooping does not mention the diapers and stench. Plus who is going to wipe my behind!

brucethehoon (author)NPNana2015-12-17

I understand that YOUR doctor might say that, but unless your doctor is a colorectal surgeon, MY doctor trumps yours. The science appears to be on the squatting side based on studies that have been performed as well as understood effects of varying anorectal angles in individuals. You might read "Contribution of posture to the maintenance of anal continence" by Donato F. Altomare et. al.

Mick Gibson (author)brucethehoon2015-12-17

ALL doctors take the same test! Then its up to the doctor what field that he will do!

Aswa (author)NPNana2015-12-17

Who first came up with this "nonsense"? I'd ask you who would ever come up with the nonsense of pooping while standing. Why don't you ask your doctor for evidence, given he's pretty lonely with his opinion in this field.
Maybe those whose livelihood is the sale of moist toilet paper would have an interest in people soiling a maximum amount of skin while eliminating, haha!
By the way, babies in western countries aren't a good example to go by, given the fact that through the use of super-absorbent diapers, they are being taught that it's ok to soil their clothing, which isn't what you're supposed to do as an adult, either.

GordonH2 (author)NPNana2015-12-17

my kids squatted, and so did my grandkids.
try to have a normal bowel movement standing...

WilliamH48 (author)NPNana2015-12-17

see how the Indian people go to the logo -– a hole in the floor and squat with your arms around the front of your legs or your elbows on your knees. They've been doing it since time began and still do so today rather than use our modern bowls.

Navier-Stokes (author)NPNana2015-12-17

That's odd, I heard in the olden days women used to just squat in the fields and pop a baby out! Also all over south east Asia they use squatters instead of our "western toilets" with great success!

clazman (author)2015-12-20

Isn't the distance from the toilet seat to
the footstool more important than the height of the footstool to the
floor, given the fact that toilet seat heights vary?

Other variables, are the persons feet height relative to the toilet seat, whether or not a toilet riser is being used ( we have one), or if a commode is used with its adjustable height.

Maybe I need to develop one with adjustable height

Catley (author)clazman2015-12-25

Good point, Clazman!

razamatraz (author)2015-12-17

Unless you have cats. They are far less likely to unravel a roll that is under, while finding it very easy to unroll a roll that is over.

Ellexis (author)razamatraz2015-12-18

Our cat is one of the best behaved I've ever seen and to date has never bothered the toilet paper in any of our three bathrooms, which are all in "over" mode.

About This Instructable




Bio: It's said that to perfect a skill takes about 10,000 hours of work and study. If that's the case I've got ... More »
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