Intro: 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
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
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
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
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.