Recommended Products

Squatty Potty and Functional Constipation or Encopresis

The Squatty Potty is a footstool for children and adults which elevates your feet while sitting on the toilet. The footstool changes your posture so as to more closely approximate squatting than sitting. It comes in both 7" and 9" tall versions.

Squatting is thought by many GI doctors to be the most natural and efficacious position for defecation. I agree. In the squat position, the angle between the rectum and the anal canal is wider/straighter than it is in the sitting position thus allowing stool to pass through with less effort/straining.

How does this relate to functional constipation/encopresis)?

In my book, The Ins and Outs of Poop, I talk about how one or more uncomfortable or painful bowel movements can cause a child to begin to withhold stool whenever she or he feels urgency so as to avoid another uncomfortable or painful bowel movement. Unfortunately, withholding can become a conditioned or habitual response to the feeling of urgency which almost inevitably leads to functional constipation aka encopresis. 

The key to preventing functional constipation is to act quickly with natural remedies when your child has occasional constipation in order to keep his or her stool soft and the need for pushing/straining at a minimum.

In my opinion, the use of a higher than normal footstool such as a Squatty Potty should be thought of as one of the natural remedies for occasional constipation along with more common remedies such as increased fiber and exercise. Footstools like the Squatty Potty may also be of help in the long-term treatment of encopresis.


Children's Books about Poop and Potties

I recently had the opportunity to read a number of books about poop and potties to children at a local children’s book store. I was surprised at how well the toddlers and pre-toddlers (and their parents!) paid attention. I credit this to each book’s unique story and eye catching illustrations. If you are looking for books to help with toilet training, these are three that I would highly recommend.

Mo Willems book Time to Pee is great for toddlers and even includes a “success chart” with peel-off stickers.

I especially like The Story of the Little Mole Who Went in Search of Whodunit by Werner Holzwarth and Wolf Erlbruch.  How often do you see a mole in children’s books, let alone one with poop on its head?!

But the book that most captivated my audience is Mary McQuillan’s Have you Seen my Potty? It’s a story about Suzy Sue who lost her potty and needed to find it because she had something “very important to do”.

Added January 2015:  Of course I now highly recommend my new book for kids, Softy the Poop, Helping Families Talk About Poop available for for purchase here or at Amazon. This is an educational book designed to teach children (and parents) healthy poop talk and behavior.  For more information about the book, click here.

Recommended Products: "Big Potty" Step Stool

Though the features and brands are always changing, I have been recommending certain types of products to my patients for years. The ones I feature here are my current favorites. 

Last month I featured the best children's potty chair. For those children who typically sit on the "big potty," it is very important that the child's feet rest flat on a hard surface. This helps the child feel more secure and, together with the handles on a toilet seat insert (next month's featured product), provides leverage when he or she tries to "push".

I am partial to the Little Looster's Looster Booster or the Squatty Potty shown below. Their widths allow a child more ways to climb up and down from the toilet safely and makes it easier to spread their legs apart while keeping their feet firmly planted on the hard surface. I also like the BABYBJÖRN Safe Step because of its solid construction and no-slip rubber base.








Little Looster's Looster Booster


Squatty Potty

Recommended Products: Children's Potty

I have received requests to post useful poop-related products. Though the marketplace and brands are always changing,  I have been recommending certain types of products to my patients for years. The ones I will post are my current favorites.  Most are available on and in major stores such as Walmart, Target, Babysrus or Toysrus. 

Dr. Tom's Recommendation: Children's Potty



For children new to the potty or during potty training, I like the BABYBJÖRN Potty Chair shown above.  This version has a high back which provides a sense of security when teaching children to sit back and relax.  The high back and arms allow children to easily, slowly and carefully seat themselves. The high "splash" guard at the front of the interior bucket protects the floor and is especially useful with boys.  This seat comes in many different colors.