Toilet talk: Let’s go with the flow

So let’s talk about toilets. That’s what a friend and I did over lunch recently as we brainstormed Boomer Haiku topics. She pointed out that this once-pedestrian bathroom fixture – long a lowly receptacle that no one discussed in polite company – has been elevated to virtual rock star status in some homes.

I sh*t you not.

Comfort-height toilets: Size does matter

Let’s start with the plethora of porcelain thrones now available in what’s called “comfort height.” Conforming to ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) standards, these toilets sit about 16.5 to 18 inches high – two or three inches higher than usual – purportedly making it easier for our aging bodies to get on and off.

So, aspirational types that we are, Hubs and I opted for comfort-height toilets when we redid our master bathroom and powder room. And darned if they really aren’t more comfortable.

In fact, I got so accustomed to the comfy chair-like height that when I’d occasionally use the older, lower toilet in the guest bathroom, I’d invariably crash down on the seat because I expected to make a landing sooner. We eventually caved and replaced that toilet with a “right height” version, too. Which just goes to show what a difference a couple of inches can make, especially at our age (wink, wink).

Squatty Potty® to the rescue

Comfort aside, however, today’s higher toilets may spell trouble in pooping paradise. Evidently, while today’s commode is convenient at any height, it has one major fault: it requires us to sit, and studies show the natural squat position is better for elimination – thereby relieving such ailments as bloating, hemorrhoids and constipation (with which many boomers have become all too well-acquainted).

To address this problem, enter Squatty Potty, a toilet stool (ironic name, huh?) on which you rest your feet while you do your business. This promotes a “healthy toilet posture” so you can poop better.

To read the testimonials on Squatty Potty’s website (, this product has changed users’ lives. No less-illustrious an enthusiast than radio personality Howard Stern exclaims, “Oh, Squatty, you’ve saved me again! I’ve had another perfect doodie.”

Hmmm…I might just have to give this a go.

The slow-close toilet seat

In the meantime, Hubs and I couldn’t resist another trendy toilet accoutrement: the slow-close seat. This must-have accessory closes on its own with just a slight nudge to get it going. Designed with special hinges, the seat and lid lower slowly and make virtually no sound when they come to their closed position.

The only downside, however, is that now when we use a toilet without one, we often forget and inadvertently make the seat/lid slam shut. No biggie, unless it’s in the middle of the night in someone else’s home.

Other advances in toilet technology and aesthetics

Today there are other advances in toilet technology and aesthetics that range from the sensible to you’ve-got-to-be-shitting-me. For example:

  • Dual-flush johns let you choose a light flush for liquid waste and a heartier flush for solid waste – saving water and, in some cases, money (or you could just not flush every time you tinkle into a “regular” toilet)
  • If you’d rather conserve paper instead of water, there’s a unit that washes and dries your nether region, sans TP – like a toilet-bidet combo (probably not the best option if you’re in a hurry)
  • There are toilets with touch-free flushing – you just wave your hand over an electronic sensor (you may be in deep doo-doo if the battery dies, however).
  • And for those who have to get up in the middle of the night to pee (and who doesn’t at our age?), there are toilet seats with a nightlight that illuminates your loo in a soft glow, guiding you to your destination.
  • Or you can gild the throne – Kim Kardashian and Kanye West reportedly spent $750,000 on four gold-plated toilets for their Bel Air abode. But that’s pocket change compared to the over-the-top toilet made of solid 24-carat gold and coated with gems that’s on display at Hang Fung Gold Technology’s showroom in Hong Kong. Seriously?

And for the clog-prone…

I’m particularly enamored of today’s more powerful toilets that promise no stop-ups (I’m sure you’ve seen the ads showing how they can dispatch a bunch of golf balls with ease) because – TMI alert – I have a knack for clogging toilets.

I’ve had to call housekeeping when I’ve stopped up the toilet at a hotel or two (once I even got moved to a different room). My aunt had to knock on her neighbor’s door to borrow a plunger when my deposit clogged her toilet (my aunt’s, not the neighbor’s). And once when I went to visit my father in Florida, I did it to his toilet, too. Since I didn’t meet my father until I was in my thirties, I told him that clogging his commode was payback for the fact he never had to change my diapers.

So just as some people always verify where emergency exits are, I’ll scope out whether a new-to-me bathroom has a plunger before I can relax and let nature take its course. But with these newer toilets (which we have at home, thank gawd), I have a new (re)lease on life.

Let’s celebrate this life passage

Our parents and grandparents are probably rolling their eyes – or rolling over in their graves – at all the attention we boomers pay to our bathroom business. Even Hubs was a bit taken aback when I told him about this week’s Boomer Haiku topic.

But as we age, the quest for regularity is akin to the holy grail in some households (in ours, we have an elderly cat—nicknamed “Pooper”—who gets a stool softener daily to keep his bowels moving). Doesn’t it follow that we’d invest in the best-possible receptacle to support us in this endeavor (for us humans, I mean – the cat still has a litter box).

Boomers led social
movements in our day. Now we
strive to have BMs.

And why not celebrate when we achieve our desired gastrointestinal outcome? Sure, there’s traditional-but-festive champagne, or perhaps a high-fiber treat might be in order. Or you can share your proud achievement with the world and wear a t-shirt that declares, “I pooped today!” It’s available on the Squatty Potty website.

I sh*t you not.

What about you? Have you upgraded to a fancier-schmancier toilet as you’ve gotten older? Do you find yourself discussing BMs in mixed company? Does a good poop make you happier than you ever thought possible?






Roxanne Jones

About Roxanne Jones

By day, Roxanne Jones is an award-winning freelance copywriter specializing in health and medicine. She launched Boomer Haiku, a humorous blog about life as a baby boomer, in 2015, and a Boomer Haiku greeting card line in 2016 (available at 6 Maine stores; visit to learn more). Born and raised in Brunswick, she left Maine after high school (Class of 1971) and, after living in Massachusetts and California, came screaming back to her home state in 2006. She enjoys chardonnay, laughing at the foibles and frustrations of getting older, and contemplates plastic surgery to get rid of the wattle on her neck.