Well, this is useful….

In case you didn’t know, here are instructions for opening your bowels (via Clusterfock, Kottke, and Kevin, MD):


I wonder if I’ve been doing it wrong all these years. I mean, I don’t think I’ve ever used a footrest…


  1. #1 llewelly
    February 24, 2007

    Uh-oh. I’ve been crapping without a foot rest my entire life.
    Will I get some kind of RSI? Orac, aren’t you an expert?

  2. #2 Ali
    February 24, 2007

    where’s eneman when you need him?

  3. #3 Fred Bastiat
    February 24, 2007

    A couple of years ago a female presenter of a radio health program in Melbourne Australia had a guest doctor who was explaining the same facts of life. He said that one should put one’s feet on a small stool which broke up the presenter. The doctor feigned ignorance as he gently questioned her and drew her into deeper waters as she tried to explain her mirth.

    She soon realised that he was setting her up and she wisely reverted to a professional attitude and moved the conversation back on-topic.

  4. #4 Skeptico
    February 24, 2007

    Looks like they forgot the step that involves dropping your trousers. Rather an important step to miss, I’d have thought.

  5. #5 Rugosa
    February 24, 2007

    As a very short person, I sometimes encounter toilets that are high enough that my feet don’t reach the ground. A bm is still, of course, possible, but doesn’t go quite as smoothly as when my feet are firmly planted. /graphic description

  6. #6 Joshua
    February 24, 2007

    Could this be a guide intended for nudists, then?

  7. #7 Ahistoricality
    February 24, 2007

    The traditional Asian toilet — still found in many older buildings — is not a “seat” at all, but a porcelain slit trench over which one squats. It’s really very effective, sanitary and, according to the above, much to be preferred. It gets awkward if you have any kind of leg or hip trouble, though.

  8. #8 bones
    February 24, 2007

    Hey, where’s the step about remembering to breath? I guess without instructions for that during bowel evacuation one would die of rectal asphyxia!

  9. #9 John Stone
    February 24, 2007

    Since I am over 3’6″ tall I have never even thought of the advantages of a footstool … but now, since I am reminded, my mother had me use one when I was a wee tyke. Maybe I should use it again since I still can’t hit anything but the floor and walls in the middle of the night.

  10. #10 qetzal
    February 24, 2007

    I’m not sure I trust those instructions. That fourth panel has arrows pointing in every direction except the one that really matters.

  11. #11 hipparchia
    February 25, 2007

    Funny. But nothing compared to the brochure I saw about the benefits of “asian” toilets- the ones where you have to squat. Did you know the modern toilet seat will wreak havoc with your health, causing major misalignment of your chakras, energy blockages and whatnot?
    Funnier still, it seems squatting toilets are also used in…maternity wards. Absolutely shocked me.

  12. #12 Melissa
    February 25, 2007

    You’ve obviously never been a post-partum female…

  13. #13 epador
    February 25, 2007

    Q, you definitely crack me up! Amazing I didn’t notice until your quote. Good thing I didn;t try this at home first!

  14. #14 beajerry
    February 25, 2007

    I love it!
    A “Squeezing out your grumpies” footrest!

  15. #15 coracle
    February 25, 2007

    As an undergraduate, after having indulged in some rather too-good mexican food, I was obliged to use the campus public conveniences. Whilst voiding my bowels I perused the rather erudite graffiti, noticing on the door the silhouette of two feet and the legend “If in trouble, place feet here and push“.
    It amused me at the time.

  16. #16 mark
    February 25, 2007

    It’s not clear–does one place one’s feet inside a box, or have them amputated first?

    It’s really very effective, sanitary and, according to the above, much to be preferred.

    I encountered these in China. There would be one along the road. The trench led to an opening in the outside wall. That’s where a guy with a hoe could pull the crap out into a wheelbarrow and then take it into a field where the “night soil” would be spread. This is one reason we were all advised to eat only things that were well cooked–no raw fruits or vegetables. Even the water had to be boiled first.

  17. #17 Justin Moretti
    February 26, 2007

    I haven’t used a footstool to go to the toilet since I was old enough not to go in my pants…

    I saw the trench loos in China. Fine, but what if you miss? Or worse, slip over? There was piss EVERYWHERE in the place you put your feet, and the place where your lower-half clothes would rest on the ground.

  18. #18 Chuck Field
    February 26, 2007

    Wow. No wonder I hate having to do Number 2 in a public restroom intended for wheelchair folks! Actually, I seem to remember hearing about newly designed toilets that are much lower to the ground, to facilitate the exit of unwanted materials. I suppose this is all backed-up by some 3 year research project paid fro by the US Goverment.

  19. #19 kai
    February 26, 2007

    Bah, what you really need is Paddy’s toilet use instructions.

  20. #20 Ktesibios
    February 26, 2007

    Boy, I’ve heard of instructions that tell you where to pee and when to write home to Mama (answers: only where it already smells and only when you get work) but a set of “how to s**t” instructions really takes the chromo.

  21. #21 Anon
    February 26, 2007

    I appreciate the humor of the directions, but as someone who has seen the darkside (as it were) of the digestive system, anything that can help the sufferers of hemmorrhoids, anal fissure, or chronic constipation is a good thing. A very good thing.

    My understanding is that this is something that can help some people. And I’m surprised to see a couple of physicians making light of it.

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