Originally published on: April 6th, 2017. Last modified on July 13th, 2021
Trying to maintain a good toilet position may be useful for people that find it difficult to pass a stool, who strain when defecating or who suffer from constipation. There is no right or wrong way to sit on the toilet; however following these pointers may help make emptying your bowels easier, to find the correct toilet position for you.
How to relieve constipation on the toilet
Find the best way to sit on the toilet for you, with these simple pointers.
- Lean forward when you are sitting on the toilet with your hands resting on your thighs
- Make sure that you knees are bent and are higher than your hips (it may help to use a footstool if your toilet is high or you are not very tall)
- Make sure your feet are resting on the ground -(or on a footstool)
- Try to breathe to the bottom of your lungs with your mouth open to prevent straining and contracting your pelvic floor (diaphragmatic breathing)
- Bulge your tummy muscles forward as you take a deep breath in and then ‘brace’ your tummy to prevent it from bulging further forwards. Do not tighten your tummy.
- Relax your anal sphincter to open your bottom and let the stool out
- Use your deep breath to increase the pressure in your abdomen and push down towards your anus.
Only try this a maximum of 3 times. If it does not work, get up from the toilet and walk around. It may help to try having a warm/hot drink.
How to sit on the toilet
Remember these four points when sitting on the toilet to help you relieve constipation.
- Keep your knees higher than your hips – a foot stool may help
- Lean forwards, and put your elbows on your knees
- Bulge out your abdomen
- Straighten your Spine
Good toilet habits
In addition to the above guidance, also consider the following each day:
- Don’t put off going to the toilet when you feel the urge as delaying a bowel movement can contribute to constipation.
- Allow yourself plenty of time to sit on the toilet; a good time for this maybe after breakfast or lunch, when your bowels are most active.
- Make sure you sit on the toilet properly (see diagram).
Drink plenty of fluids to keep your body well hydrated – aim for 1.5 to 2 litres of fluid a day, or more in hot weather or if you are exercising.
You may want to read our post on methods of encouraging a bowel movement if the above isn’t working for you. If you struggle to find a toilet when you are out and about, it may also help to have a toilet card. Get the Original Just Can’t Wait Card below.