What is the right way to sit on a toilet?

Heather Campbell
 min read

What is the right way to sit on a toilet? We discuss how both men and women can best sit on a toilet, place their feet and legs and how to regulate their breathing to help the process both peeing and pooing.

What is the right way to sit on a toilet?

There are also posture tips for men who prefer to pee standing up, and we finish up with pointers on what not to do when on the toilet.

What is the right way to sit on a toilet? Introduction

We go to the bathroom every day to pee and poop. But what is actually the best posture on the toilet?

Most people just sit or stand and do their needs without thinking about it.

But incorrect (sitting) posture can have unwanted health consequences.

In the article below, you can read about the best postures during urination and defecation for both men and women.

Health risks

Every day we have to go to the toilet, usually to pee and with great regularity also to poop (unless you suffer from disrupted transit and need to poop regularly but can’t manage to do it).

Our parents teach us a lot about hygiene around going to the toilet but often don’t teach us the best way to sit or stand while doing our business.

However, incorrect posture on the toilet is not as innocent as one might initially think.

For example, if you do not urinate correctly, there may be residual urine in the bladder.

Such a urine residue in the bladder is an ideal breeding ground for bacteria and can cause a bladder infection.

Failure to adequately relieve the bowels can lead to constipation (blockage).

Because the rectum withdraws fluid from the stool, this stool will be in the rectum too long and will become increasingly harder with all the consequences.

The poop will have a more challenging time leaving the body with an incorrect posture. One then tends to squeeze harder, causing, for example, hemorrhoids.

In itself, the above problems (with possible medication) can be easily remedied. Still, prevention is, of course, always better than cure.

Before you go to the toilet

Don’t delay your toilet visit too long. You may hold it for a while, but holding it too long can cause problems.

If you hold your pee for too long, it can cause bladder problems, for example.

You also need to urinate again reasonably quickly because the pee is squeezed out too quickly during high urgency, and the bladder is not emptied optimally as a result.

If you hold your stool too long, the urge may disappear temporarily.

This may not seem like a big deal, but nothing could be further from the truth because this can also cause annoying blockages.

Most people want to go to the bathroom quickly and don’t really take the time to do their business.

This is also unwise. Always take your time to empty your bladder and bowels because, again: Haste makes waste.

Proper posture and technique when urinating | What is the right way to sit on a toilet?

Seated urination for both men and women

Sit properly on the toilet seat, not on the front tip, not as far back as possible, and absolutely do not hover over the toilet.

Place your buttocks as centrally as possible on the seat, and don’t hang too far through the toilet seat.

Tip: If your toilet seat is not a very good fit for your plus-size body, check our other page to find the best toilet seat for a heavy person.

Sit upright on the toilet with your knees and hips at a 90-degree angle and your feet flat on the floor.

Make use of a footstool if necessary. This is highly recommended, especially for smaller adults and children.

Lower garments sufficiently or, in the case of a dress or skirt, pull up the clothing in such a way that you are not impeded in your freedom of movement.

Put your knees slightly apart.

Take your time and relax your upper body but stay upright so that the urethra (urinary tube) remains in a vertical position.

Relax the pelvic floor and wait for urine to come naturally, then urinate completely without stopping.

Do not press along. Because squeezing can create pressure on the urethra, partially pinching the tube and making urination more difficult.

Gently squeeze, wiggling back and forth a bit and tightening the pelvic floor briefly to drain the last remnants from the bladder.

Peeing standing up for men

Set your feet slightly apart and facing slightly outward. Do not overstretch your knees in the process.

Tilt the pelvis forward and make your lower back hollow. In this position, the urinary bladder can be emptied optimally.

Take your time and relax but maintain the proper posture.

Relax the pelvic floor and allow the urine to flow on its own, then urinate completely without stopping. Never push hard along. This will actually make urination more difficult.

Squeeze a little more and briefly tighten the pelvic floor to remove the last of the urine from the bladder.

Sometimes one needs to pee very badly, but it doesn’t work anymore once one is on the toilet.

You can tighten your pelvic floor muscles a few times and then relax them again to induce urination. It also sometimes helps to tilt the pelvis a few times.

Proper posture and technique when defecating | What is the right way to sit on a toilet?

Sit properly on the toilet seat, not on the front tip, not too far back, and especially don’t hover over the toilet. Instead, place your buttocks as centrally as possible on the seat.

Make sure your garments are not in the way.

Your hips and knees should be at a 90-degree angle with your feet flat on the ground.

Slightly arch your back to place the anus in a vertical position.

Be careful not to sink your buttocks through the seat; your hips should remain at a 90-degree angle.

Put your knees slightly apart and relax the pelvic floor.

Take your time and wait for the natural urge. Sometimes it takes a while before you feel the urge.

In such a case, you can tilt your pelvis a few times and breathe gently through your abdomen. This usually triggers the urge.

Then slowly build up the pressure to your anus:

  • inhale slightly and hold your breath for a moment,
  • then make a rounded belly,
  • put some pressure on your anus so that the sphincter opens, and
  • gently squeeze along with the stool.

Even though you have a strong urge, there may still be no stool coming.

It is best to actively exercise for 15 minutes and then revisit the toilet in such a case.

What not to do during your toilet visit

  • Do not cross your legs while urinating and/or defecating.
  • Never sit on the toilet backward (you will not be able to maintain proper posture).
  • Do not hang or lean forward.
  • Do not pee with breaks in between (streaky pee) as this can leave urine in the bladder and increase the risk of a bladder infection.
  • Do not press hard.

What is the right way to sit on a toilet? Conclusion

We’ve described at length how men and women can properly position themselves on the toilet in order to both urinate and defecate.

For men in particular, we’ve shared posture improvement tips for standing while peeing.

Finally, we’ve gone over a couple of things to avoid while on the toilet.

Last tip: Eat fiber-rich foods, drink about two liters of water (fluids), and exercise vigorously for half an hour each day to optimize intestinal transit and urination.

If, despite a healthy lifestyle and good toilet posture, you still experience regular problems with defecation, it is advisable to consult a (family) doctor.

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About Heather Campbell

As a nutritionist, my field of specialization is science-based nutritional advice but more importantly, it is my goal to share capturing and inspiring stories, examples and solutions which can help plus-size individuals overcome their specific difficulties. Read More