To squat or not to squat? It’s not even a question!
One of the biggest culture shocks that someone can have in Japan is going to a public restroom and coming into contact with a toilet that, to the untrained eye, looks like a hole in the floor. And to be fair… that’s kind of what it is.
▼ For those who have never seen one before,
here is what a squat toilet looks like in all its glory.
Understandably, if you’ve never used a squat toilet before, the idea of it may make you slightly nauseous. But as it turns out, those of us using sit-down Western-style toilets may have it all wrong. In fact, there are so many benefits to using a squat toilet that, perhaps, we’re the weirdos after all.
That’s why today we’re counting down the top five reasons Japanese squat toilets are awesome. These things get a pretty bad rap, so today it’s time to change that and focus on what makes them the superior human waste receptacle!
So let’s get to it! Starting off with…
#5. Squatting promotes strong leg muscles
If you’ve never done a “squat” before, then perhaps you should count yourself lucky. It’s an exercise routine to build strong legs and rear-ends, and it looks like this:
▼ Except when we do it, it’s minus the abs, nice hair, good posture,
and with a whole lot of extra horrible, horrible groaning noises.
Runtopia (@blast_running) January 19, 2016
And while squats are definitely good for building/toning muscle, they are a pain to do just by themselves. If only there were some way everyone could easily add some squats to their daily routine….
And that’s where squat toilets come in. Even though the squat position you assume in order to use it isn’t as tough as doing a session of up-and-down squats, it still requires a decent amount of muscle by itself. Plus you can feel the burn when you’re done and finally stand up, just like you’ve done a mini workout.
▼ Every single time.
"Man, my squats and lunges are paying off nicely!" 🍑 https://t.co/HRCoO3ILtM—
Swole University© (@SwoleUniversity) May 16, 2017
#4. No splashback from toilet water
鏡音リン (@OrenjiPrincess) June 16, 2012
Okay, so maybe the typical amount of toilet water that splashes on you when you use the toilet isn’t quite as extreme as that picture above, but honestly when you’re sitting there, any drop of water getting on you feels like a waterfall of toxicity.
▼ Okay, I think I’m far away enough from
the toilet seat to miss any splashback now.
May your life be like toilet paper. LONG and USEFUL. https://t.co/4zGdaKfIwE—
Lupo Phoenix (@ExconUncle) May 17, 2017
But with squat toilets, there’s no worry of any splashback! While some of them have a small amount of water inside, many of them don’t, and the water only comes when you flush. So you don’t have to fear and can go ahead and let loose with the biggest, juiciest–
▼ …instead of finishing that sentence, here’s a picture of a unicorn
using a squatty potty accessory, for optimal bathroom-use positioning!
Thorogood Marketing (@ThoroMarketing) May 11, 2017
#3. Easier to clean
Cleaning a normal sit-down toilet is the worst. Not only is there the smell and stains to deal with, but once you finally start getting in there with your brush, bleach, and hazmat suit, you’ll find that there’s a whole bunch of nooks and crannies that you never even knew existed… and they are filthy.
But with a squat toilet, cleaning is a lot easier. All it takes is a swish or two of a brush and you’re all set to go.
▼ No crusty crannies here!
…was that too gross?
And since the entire squat toilet is always visible, it makes knowing when to clean it a lot easier. Sit-down toilets can get disgusting between all the different seats, and you might not know for a while… considering us guys are the ones who usually lift up the seats to use the toilet, and we have a pretty high tolerance for gross toilets.
▼ Bachelor Frog just tells it like it is, man.
Lazy foul-bachelor frog with disposable income https://t.co/cjSNNRQnOR—
Only Advice Animals (@animals_advice) April 27, 2016
#2. Don’t have to sit on the same surface as someone else
We’ve all been there. You go into a public restroom, open the stall door, and find that the previous user has left you with a toxic wasteland.
▼ And it takes an entire roll of toilet paper to set up
enough safety padding between your butt and the seat.
Ashbosh (@ashbosh) August 24, 2015
Even in less-than-toxic scenarios, having to sit down using your bare bottom on the same location that perhaps hundreds of other bare-bottoms have sat down on is just not the most appealing in general.
But with a squat toilet, there’s no worry about becoming unbeknownst butt-buddies with a stranger! You’re not supposed to actually sit on the toilet when you use it, you’re supposed to squat a few inches above it, so the odds of you coming into contact with something unpleasant are lower than for a sit-down toilet.
▼ And we’d guess a sit-down toilet has 18 times more bacteria than
a squat toilet… though we are just completely making that up.
NCNW UCF (@NCNWUCF) November 10, 2016
And the #1 reason Japanese squat toilets are awesome is…
1. The squatting angle may be better for intestinal health
Whether or not squatting while taking care of business is actually better for you than sitting has been the subject of debate for decades.
The one thing that most seem to agree on, however, is that the squatting angle allows for easier poop passage, meaning less strain on the rectum area. This means that if you’ve had problems with hemorrhoids or constipation, then lubing up the tubes with an easier angle might be just what you need.
▼ Again, was that too gross? Here, let’s just read some advice
from Pokémon GO while we think about it.
Always leave the squat toilet looking clean for the next person while playing Pokémon GO. https://t.co/BZFh52VnVp—
Advice, from Niantic (@niantic_advice) March 11, 2017
The claims that some people make, among them famed fiber and squat-enthusiast Denis Burkett from the U.K. and Squatty Potty inventor Robert Edwards, that squatting can help with everything from bloating to colon cancer may be a bit extreme. But there’s no denying that for more minor problems, squatting could be an easy fix.
In the end, for most people and especially the elderly and disabled, sit-down toilets are perfectly fine. But for those for whom the trip to the bathroom is a feared event rather than an exciting mini-vacation, they might want to consider at least trying out a Squatty Potty of their own.
▼ Or at least watch this commercial for the Squatty Potty.
It is guaranteed to change your life.
So there you have it, the top five reasons Japanese squat toilets are awesome. Are you a squat-supporter or a sit-down-softie? Let us know in the comments and be sure to bone up on the top five most confusing Japanese compound words the next time you’re sitting – or squatting – on the toilet.