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Shit or get off the pot can't mean 20 minutes, right?
September 18, 2012 4:15 PM   Subscribe

How long does it take you or a loved one to poop?

It takes Hubby around 20 minutes to poop...once in the morning before work and once when he gets home from work (doesn't matter what time of day). 20 minutes a poop seemed really excessive to me so I asked if he was spending a bunch of that time reading or enjoying alone time, but he insists that he needs the entire time to get the deed done and that he is healthy. He absolutely denies having any other issues (i.e. constipation) that would require extra time. I do not go the same time every day but when I have to go, it seriously takes no more than a minute or two from sitting to flushing and fully dressed again.

I think 20 minutes is an absurd amount of time on the crapper absent some digestive problem. So now we are curious...what is the norm in this department? Do not include time spent reading or whatever else might be going on in there. Just the average time really needed to get deed done.

I know this is a super weird question but since our son has been born 3 years ago, I find it slightly annoying having to accommodate an adult human's pooping schedule to the degree I do. Seriously, Hubby spends 40 minutes of home/quality time per day pooping! I know this is my Price of Admission and that the Price is cheap. Hubby is super awesome and this is not an argument or point of contention between us. We have laughed about it for years and last night we finally decided to take the plunge and seek "The Truth" on the Green--Grab Bag category, not Human Relations.
posted by anonymous to Grab Bag (84 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
 
He is enjoying some "me" time. The three year old was the tell.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 4:17 PM on September 18, 2012 [39 favorites]


I'm a quick shitter, too. Unless I'm having a constipation problem it takes me 1 or 2 minutes from sitting to hand washing. SO takes a bit longer, but no more than 5 minutes.
posted by Sal and Richard at 4:18 PM on September 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


The most I take, sans reading, is 3 minutes. My husband takes 2 minutes. I admit I take longer with reading but the actual pooping is not all that long.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 4:20 PM on September 18, 2012


Depends on location. At home, with magazines and my iPad within reach, I could luxuriate the whole damn day on the toilet behind closed doors. It's so quiet in there....

If I'm in a public restroom, I just go in, do my bidness, and get the hell out.
posted by HeyAllie at 4:21 PM on September 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't want to generalize, but it's always seemed to me that it takes men longer. Or maybe they just tend to be more vocal about how long it takes?

Agreed somewhat on the "me time" angle, but I have just known so many dudes who have issues about pooping (whether time, place, props, whatever). Seriously, there are entire episodes of network sitcoms about this. So it's a thing, right?

Or maybe it's not a thing. I don't want to assume that just because I've surmised it, and there was a How I Met Your Mother about it, therefore it's enshrined in the natural law of the genders or something.

But it's always seemed to me that this was a thing.
posted by Sara C. at 4:21 PM on September 18, 2012 [4 favorites]


I have noticed that in general, guys do take a lot more time to poop. I think it's because they normally don't sit down to pee. Women, since they sit down to pee, basically can just poop whenever, without ever having to think about it much. It's just an added feature of peeing, you might say. But guys, I think, since they have to do an entirely different thing in order to poop, tend to put it off until they feel they HAVE to poop. And the longer you go between defecations, the more water gets drawn out of your poop by your colon, making it harder and more difficult to pass. (I have had many roommates of both genders and I've given a lot of thought to this lolz)
posted by showbiz_liz at 4:21 PM on September 18, 2012 [18 favorites]


Unless I am trying to get a few minutes away from the kids (or making askme comments on my iPad...) two minutes max from in to out the door.
posted by saucysault at 4:22 PM on September 18, 2012


There's a really wide range of normal here.

20 minutes is probably on the long side, but goddammit, he's a grown-ass man, let him poop in peace. Don't nag him about it. That may be why he's in there in the first place.
posted by sportbucket at 4:23 PM on September 18, 2012 [42 favorites]


I'm a man. I'd say unless something is, uh, not processing well, it takes a couple of minutes at most. I remember my father always seemed to take FOREVER, but since I was a kid I didn't have a great sense of time. I definitely wouldn't be surprised if he were really doing it just to get some alone time.
posted by primethyme at 4:23 PM on September 18, 2012


Yeah, single digit minutes for both the adults in this household unless something's not quite right that day. My mother takes a really long time though, and I don't think it's because she's doing something else.
posted by crabintheocean at 4:23 PM on September 18, 2012


2-3 minutes for me, 15 minutes for him... though he definitely reads.
posted by jorlyfish at 4:23 PM on September 18, 2012


Is he reading? Gloating over his model trains with a magnifying glass? Has his iPad with him?
20 minutes totally normal. For him, it's likely just that: home/quality time. Let him be solitary for a while.
Otherwise, it all depends on your/his diet. Low-carb seems to sadly reduce the reading time to five minutes once a day, as I found out. Lots of fibers, not so.
posted by Namlit at 4:23 PM on September 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


Also, showbiz_liz may be onto something.
posted by sportbucket at 4:24 PM on September 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's also about 2 minutes for me, and 10-20 minutes for my husband. This thread has motivated me to ask my husband tonight if that entire time is spent, um, pushing or if he's just casually sitting there waiting for it to happen on its own/reading/etc.
posted by joan_holloway at 4:24 PM on September 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


I can't believe I'm putting this on the internet, but my ex husband and I once had a conversation about this. He said that the pooping part happened pretty quickly but that the poop session wasn't formally finished until he pee'd. The pee signaled the end of the poop and sometimes it took longer than usual for the pee to happen. (No kidding, he sometimes stayed in there 45 minutes). I make no claim to the veracity of this statement, just reporting what I was told.
posted by SweetTeaAndABiscuit at 4:28 PM on September 18, 2012 [4 favorites]


My bf takes a long time, 20+ minutes. He reads while on the throne too. I think it's a combination of getting immersed in the read and also he just takes a long time to be fully done.
posted by lizbunny at 4:29 PM on September 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


Five minutes, tops for me. But I'm female, and I don't bother getting on the toilet until I actually have to poop. I feel like a lot of guys have some sort of designated poo time, and sit there until they are satisfied that all the poo has come out.
posted by yasaman at 4:30 PM on September 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


Me and my fella have talked about this because we're invariably heading out the door and he's like "Oh hey let me hit the can" and then he's there for 15 minutes pooping, sometimes less, sometimes more. It's become a bit of an inside joke with us. Me, once I've gotten the "Oh hey pooping now would be a good thing" feeling, I go in and out and it's quick. And I think this is the difference. He sort of goes in when he's thinking about it, sort of like yasaman says, [like "Oh we have a car ride or a social event I might as well poop now while it's convenient and I am near my own bathroom and magazines and whatever"] and so I think some of the time is getting his insides to get ready to poop. I literally do not understand it but that's my translation of it. He knows how often he poops and it's part of his routine. Me, I poop when I have to, don't care if I'm at home or out, don't require any reading material or other gear and it's a total non-event, never think about it except when it's happening. When the doctor asks "When was your last bowel movement" I have no real idea.... recently? Doesn't feel really "me time"ish in there either.
posted by jessamyn at 4:35 PM on September 18, 2012 [14 favorites]


My stepdad was like that, too--the bathroom was non-negotiably his for 15-30 minutes every single morning--and my mom always theorized that it takes men longer because they go when it occurs to them that it might be a good time to go (such as before and after work), while women tend to wait until they actually have to go. I don't think it's along gender lines at all (I certainly haven't noticed it among my partners and intimate friends), but I do suspect that he was raised to believe in the importance of the daily BM, and as such he just built time for it into his daily ritual.

I'd estimate 5 minutes, tops, for myself under normal conditions, and I do have a stack of bathroom reading. I haven't noticed either of my male partners (one of whom I live with) taking an abnormal amount of time, either, barring abnormal circumstances.
posted by rhiannonstone at 4:38 PM on September 18, 2012


Wait, here's another data point: my little sister used to take forever to do her business, and we eventually found out that she was being extra-fastidious about the cleaning-up part of things.
posted by rhiannonstone at 4:44 PM on September 18, 2012


like ten minutes.
although TWICE A DAY seems hella excessive as far as I'm concerned.
posted by lhude sing cuccu at 4:45 PM on September 18, 2012


I'm a scheduled pooper -- 15-30 minutes in the john after I get out of the bed in the morning. I sit down then whether or not I have an "urge" and get it over with for the day. Note that I like to clean up in the shower afterwards, and as this is something I can't do if I'm out of the house should I get a sudden urge, I vastly prefer to empty my bowels at home in the morning when I can be sure of being clean and fresh, inside and out, for the rest of the day.
posted by seanmpuckett at 4:45 PM on September 18, 2012


I don't know... I have done a lot of fieldwork with (mostly) men and they all seemed to take a lot longer than me to shit in a makeshift privy or in the woods. There's no reading your iPhone or magazines in those situations. Leads me to believe there's a difference in the old gunnyworks at play (IANAD).
posted by peacrow at 4:49 PM on September 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


Someone I know volunteered for a health group giving surveys on people's pooping habits. The results are all over the board for healthy people: there is no one right answer.

I think the duration range she quoted was anywhere from one minute to thirty minutes per deuce, with numbers of deuces per day ranging from three a day to one a week. This is for healthy people, mind you.

I believe she said the average was one a day, allowing 5-15 minutes per crap session.
posted by phunniemee at 4:49 PM on September 18, 2012 [4 favorites]


What's his diet like? Lots of red meat and cheese? Long poops twice a day seems a bit extreme, imho. I'm a once-a-day-when-the-urge-hits person. Maybe 5 minutes, tops.

That said, I'm down with what stupidsexyFlanders said...Me time.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:51 PM on September 18, 2012


A close relative of mine has a schedule very similar to your husband's and freely admits that it's "me time" that he uses to read, play with his phone/handheld video game, and relax. His actual pooping time is 3-5 minutes at the most. If your husband is an adult with no bowel or digestive problems and no OCD issues, he's just in there taking some time out.

Twice daily evacuations likely mean his intestinal transit time is fast and he shouldn't have a lot of impacted, dried-up volume to get rid of.

Perhaps you should develop an equivalent habit. Moms of toddlers need breaks, too.
posted by quince at 4:54 PM on September 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


I have a shy bowel (and I just discovered that there's a name for it! awesome!) so if I'm in an unfamiliar bathroom or anyone but, like, my family of origin or my husband are in the house with me, it can take a long time to get things going. Half hour average, maybe? Like sometimes I have to take multiple trips to the toilet because, nope, PEOPLE MIGHT HEAR (god, the things I admit on metafilter). Rationally, I know this is bull (and I'm actually pretty open about talking about bowel activities and such so I have no idea why I have this anxiety) but my body refuses to behave. Running water or reading books helps because it creates this psychological illusion that I'm alone/distracts me from other people. I can probably count on one hand the time I've pooped in public bathrooms, and unless things are really urgent, I usually can't, at all.

If I'm home and in my normal situation, it still takes me awhile because I like to read on the shitter (metafilter, usually, or my email, but also books). Probably fifteen minutes or so. Why rush it? It's solid relaxin' time.

(However, I also am exceedingly regular. 10 in the morning, every single day. You can set a watch by it. It's not a digestive problem but psychological habit, I suspect.)

My husband finds all of this mildly annoying (and knows to hit the can before 10), and it's why, when we buy a house, we will definitely be buying one with two bathrooms. Have anywhere you can install a half-bath?
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 4:57 PM on September 18, 2012 [5 favorites]


I poop once a day, usually, after lunch. Sometimes twice a day - in the evening - but not regularly.

I would say that when I'm just going it takes me maybe 5 minutes or so.

But I never just go - I mean, I almost compulsively need something to consume or do. I'll take my tablet or a book or my phone or, oh my God, if god forbid I forgot one or all of these devices or they're low on battery or something and I have nothing, I'll find something interesting online and print it and take it with me. Or I'll grab a newspaper if I can track one down. I once took an informational pamphlet for something I had absolutely no interest in, just so I had SOMETHING TO DO.

When I used to be big into like smartphone drawing - I spent a lot of time fiddling with this program, Brushes - I would always do that while I was pooping. Don't tell anybody.

Now I find I spend a lot of my time organizing my inbox and sorting messages. That way when I'm done I've pooped and organized my inbox, which is like, score.

I have problems. So, then, maybe 15 - 30 minutes, easy. It's my poop time.
posted by kbanas at 4:58 PM on September 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


I swear my hubby has IBS and yet he says, "I'm just like this, I've always been like this- I'm healthy!". He, too, goes twice a day (or more) for 15-30 a go. He swears he's 'going' the whole time even though he's usually reading his phone.

I'm in and out in under 5, but then I'm a mom of toddlers with no time to luxuriate in the quiet.
posted by PorcineWithMe at 4:59 PM on September 18, 2012


Data point: male
When I was younger I was a once a day, very strict schedule, 15-30 min pooper. I would read but I'd also be working on 'moving' the entire time. If I wasn't sitting on the toilet at my designated time it would take every ounce of will power to prevent me from pooping myself.

Now I'm a 3 times a day (sometimes up to 5), whenever the urge hits me kinda guy and I don't spend more than 3 minutes on the toilet--anything over 3 and I get antsy. I still read, but it's less fulfilling. I can only get through a page or 2 at a time whereas in the past I could read an entire chapter.

I had a female roommate who would go once every 1-3 days! Her chair time would be a good 10 minutes.

At the same time I also had a male roommate who was typically once a day when he felt the urge and he'd spend maybe 5 minutes workin it.
posted by simplethings at 5:01 PM on September 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Thanks for asking this. I'd been wanting to forever, but, you know...

I'm a guy, I approach pooping like peeing. Do it when it needs doing, do it like a bank robbery – get it done fast, get away clean.

But obviously with the whole category of "bathroom reading" and time wasting things to do while on the pot I've always been boggled by this. The bathroom when someone is a poopin' counts as one of the least pleasant "me-time" locations in the world, even if it's me poopin. So clearly I've been missing something important.

I have a good friend who takes a good 15 minutes. And when I'm at his house and he's getting ready to go into action music is put on a little extra loudly because he's obviously working hard at it the whole time. We haven't talked much about it, at least sober. It seems that his reason is that he wants to poop on his schedule, not the poop's. So he drinks a cup of coffee, wait 30 minutes, and then works it all out.

Lots learned in this thread. Never thought I'd be happy to read a thread of folks talking about dropping a duce.
posted by Ookseer at 5:10 PM on September 18, 2012 [8 favorites]


I think 20 minutes is an absurd amount of time on the crapper absent some digestive problem.

This sounds like what the actual problem is. You think popping should be X. But the human body is a weird device and perfectly healthy bodies can vary widely in what they do and why.

As others have said, hubby might be getting some 'me' time. Have him ask his doctor, to see if it indicates a problem. Otherwise, just let it go and laugh about it.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:22 PM on September 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


Venus-Mars bowel rally time trials wrap-up: apparently men are more likely to enjoy a leisurely dump, while women trend toward click your heels and a smart salute.
My suggestion? Some people are pretty reticent about their bathroom habits. You may never receive what you consider a rational explanation and you really don't need one. Unless your husband's diurnal ritual regularly impedes the household in some major way just let him have his privacy without any further ado.
posted by Pudhoho at 5:24 PM on September 18, 2012


Agreeing that even if you don't understand the slow pooper or the fast pooper or the every other day pooper, the one damn place in the world you should be master of your own domain is the bathroom. Everyone should get to go as they see fit without being criticized.
posted by SweetTeaAndABiscuit at 5:37 PM on September 18, 2012 [5 favorites]


"You poop wrong," is not high on anybody's list of polite advices.
posted by rhizome at 5:38 PM on September 18, 2012 [27 favorites]


Seriously, Hubby spends 40 minutes of home/quality time per day pooping!

He is doing it wrong, as every single one of my employees could tell him. That's 40 minutes that he could be pooping on the clock, two extra breaks per day -- at just $10/hour, he's leaving $8 in the crapper everyday by not pooping at work. At $20/hour, his pooping would be worth $16.

I used to have a coworker who would, no shit (so to speak), go into the work bathroom for forty minutes at a stretch every day. Personally I prefer the comforts of my home bathroom, but it's hard to argue with the logic of putting that time into the workday and saving time for family.
posted by Forktine at 5:39 PM on September 18, 2012 [48 favorites]


I can't believe I'm putting this on the internet, but my ex husband and I once had a conversation about this. He said that the pooping part happened pretty quickly but that the poop session wasn't formally finished until he pee'd. The pee signaled the end of the poop and sometimes it took longer than usual for the pee to happen. (No kidding, he sometimes stayed in there 45 minutes). I make no claim to the veracity of this statement, just reporting what I was told.

Huh, weird. I do this, too, and I'm a lady. It's not like I'm waiting to have to pee--just that usually I will pee when I'm all done and the intestines are empty and then it's clear I'm free to go. If that makes any sense. Never really thought about it.

Thanks, metafilter. Now I know I'm not alone.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 5:40 PM on September 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


I can't believe I'm admitting this, but I'm also a "both/and" with respect to numbers 1 and 2. Usually because it's all happening in the aftermath of coffee. It's not a ritual cleanliness thing.
posted by Sara C. at 5:45 PM on September 18, 2012


Different people take different amounts of time to poop, and they can all be in good health. Unfortunately I know this from direct experience in the military where you are so close to 20-30 other people at all times that you come to know how long they take to do this most private thing. I don't wish I could forget the things I saw in combat-- I wish I could forget that I intimately know the defecation rhythms of dozens of people that I'm not married to.
posted by seasparrow at 5:47 PM on September 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Vegetarian, drink lots of water, mid-twenties, female: I poop once a day, occasionally twice. It takes me anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes to feel like everything has truly evacuated. If I'm in a rush I can do it in 3, but then I feel like I still have to go to the bathroom later.

My partner is an omnivore, also drinks lots of water, late twenties, male: He takes all his clothes off to poop (it's a comfort thing for him), so that's up to a minute, pooping takes maybe 45 seconds, wiping can be 4 or 5 minutes for him.

People are pretty different!
posted by Pwoink at 6:08 PM on September 18, 2012


Dude...let this one go.

You know that Crazy Thing that you do? Like, the taking 15 minutes to read the junk mail flyer because you find a guilty pleasure in looking at the junky coupons? Or watching the first 10 minutes of TMZ? Or lingering in the supermarket in the junk aisle?

Yeah, give him this one.

FWIW, I'm female, my BF takes a solid 15 mins and sure, it's obnoxious, but let him have his free bingo space.
posted by floweredfish at 6:12 PM on September 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


As long as it takes to finish a crossword puzzle (of the relatively easy, small daily newspaper variety). About 10-15 minutes each morning, before showering. Since I would do the crossword puzzle anyway, sitting in a chair, I figure I'm actually being efficient. Fortunately, it's my time and I'll spend it how I wish.
posted by uncaken at 6:28 PM on September 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


I admit that this is a question that has fascinated me over the years. I am an extremely regular person (no digestive issues, eat pretty much everything). Once I am up in the morning, gravity tends to prompt me to the toilet in short order, and I am usually done in 2-3 minutes. I haven't timed it, but I probably spend more time washing my hands rather in the pooping act itself. (Now I probably will go and time it, just to be sure!)

My ex-husband suffered from ulcerative colitis for a number of years, and there was very little that we didn't share about our bathroom habits (we had an open-door policy about the bathroom). He was sometimes fast, sometimes slow, depending on whether he was having a flare-up, medication he was taking, etc. To contrast, my current BF is completely horrified by the sharing of bathroom stories, but I do know he has his own digestive difficulties. He spends at least 10-15 minutes per session. What he does in there I can't be sure of, beyond I know he's not reading or staring at his phone (he tends to get lost in his thoughts). The guys I work with also seem to spend a lot of time in the bathroom, also 10-15 minutes.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 6:59 PM on September 18, 2012


Wow, if it weren't for the mention of a son I would swear that my wife was posting this.

She takes a couple of minutes, I take twenty minutes (sometimes more). I try to poop on the clock when I can (and I work from home, yay!) but it isn't always up to me. If, when I first get that urge and I know I need to poop, I wait as long as I can and it sometimes lets me have a fast poop (under ten minutes, sometimes just five). It's not about "me time", that's just how long it takes.
posted by VTX at 7:17 PM on September 18, 2012


I'm one of those in-and-out kind of people and I've never understood bathroom reading. It pulls my concentration off of what has to done, and is not in the slightest relaxing. I'd rather cuddle up on the couch with a book. But my mom keeps a book on the edge of the tub that she exclusively reads while waiting for gravity to do its thing. I also had a friend who would go right before we'd leave to go somewhere and he took 15 minutes, on the dot, each time.
posted by DoubleLune at 7:20 PM on September 18, 2012


I'm a world record holder in the deuce drop largely because I don't head to bathroom until it's go time. I'm in and out in about 90 seconds - including a complete hand wash. I can also do the big job anywhere - work, airplane, public restroom. I don't understand the people who can only poop at home.

I grew up in a 1 bathroom home. Do your readin' and relaxin' before you rest yourself on the only crapper in the house. These 20 minute poopers are simply heading to bowl too soon.

That said, let the man drop his burden in peace. If he wants twenty minutes of alone time, then hand him a pack of matches and let him have at it.
posted by 26.2 at 7:26 PM on September 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


As with so many other things that two married people do extremely differently and each is baffled that the other doesn't do it the same way they do: "normal" and "healthy" are mostly a matter of "how I was raised to do it."

Be alarmed at changes in habit, behavior, etc., but resign yourself to existing differences.

(You would not BELIEVE the things that four different parental figures ALL manage to do in four very distinct ways. Bathroom habits are just one of many subcategories here. The things one learns in a "blended" family... ugh.)
posted by SMPA at 7:35 PM on September 18, 2012


once in the morning before work and once when he gets home from work (doesn't matter what time of day)

That sounds like a conscious or unconscious need to transition/decompress. Which is fine but it sounds like there is a possibility of a little resentment building up if he is effectively taking that time out of your schedule (you are soley looking after your child/have to delay leaving for your own obligations until he is "done"/having to "hold it" for 20 mins/a lack of a daily 40 mins to yourself). He may prefer to have 20 min poops at transition times but if there was an external force (like being in the army) he would adapt; you are accommodating to his rigid schedule however - because, as you have noted, the benefits outweigh the costs.

Be aware this is one of those "small things" that can become the straw that broke the camel's back after years of stresses; have a close look at what annoys you the most about it and change that thing. So a solution could be he takes your child in the bathroom, arranges a teen helper so you can leave while he is "busy", build a second bathroom, he enforces takes on more obligations to give you 40 mins a day etc.
posted by saucysault at 7:44 PM on September 18, 2012 [7 favorites]


This sounds like my husband. When he says he's going to poop I usually wave goodbye and yell "see you next year!" because we're classy like that. He swears it's real pooping time, not just reading. It baffles me, but there it is. And it's not scheduled; he goes when he has to.
posted by fingersandtoes at 8:08 PM on September 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


So...my husband is in there for just as long. I have a 4 year old boy that says "lets have privacy in here together!" when I go so I take 1 minute probably. Literally ONE MINUTE.

Some times I just want to take mu husband's smart phone away before he goes in and see how long he takes.

aannnnd I wouldn't even think about it but I am a stay at home mom with a four year old. You start thinking of insane things like- "geez, [husband] gets to go to the bathroom alone, and for soo long. that doesn't seem fair"
posted by beccaj at 8:09 PM on September 18, 2012 [5 favorites]


jessamyn: "Me and my fella have talked about this because we're invariably heading out the door and he's like "Oh hey let me hit the can" and then he's there for 15 minutes pooping, sometimes less, sometimes more. It's become a bit of an inside joke with us."

Not inside anymore! Anyway, I estimate that I spend actual amount of pooping and wiping time 3-to-6 minutes. However, I can get so lost in thought that I have ended up with ring-around-the-ass. From the toilet seat. Because I am sitting there counting the little tiles on the floor and discerning patterns in them.

Jessamyn has a wildly fascinating zine collection in her can, so that when I am at her pad, 6 minutes can easily turn into 12, much to her chagrin and my bewilderment at where time went. She also has a nice view from her bathroom window — that can up it to fifteen minutes!

But, for me: 6 minutes max of actual poop & wipe, and 1-20 minutes of reading. As for Jessamyn's daily duty, she's so quick about it, I sometimes don't even realize she's been to the bathroom. I'd estimate her to be at the 1-to-1.5 minute level of shitquickness.



[derail/aside]And may I recommend this book for your personal library: Bar Harbor Police Beat (written by MeFi's own LeLiLo)? Best bathroom book I've read in the past year, by far!
posted by not_on_display at 8:17 PM on September 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Mr. Sunny takes a long time to do his thing in the morning, always has. It's not just distractions, it just takes that much time. I think it is a family trait. I, on the other hand, am usually speedy.
posted by annsunny at 8:30 PM on September 18, 2012


Judging by the rhapsodic response, I think everyone who has posted in this thread would get a lot from this article: The bowel movement - What is your poo telling you about your health? It's the burning question that has everybody's head in the toilet these days.

(90 seconder here, but I have colitis so outside the mean. There is some evidence I believe [google failed to find it for me] that longer periods of active straining is associated with higher rates of colo-rectal cancer. This is not to say it causes colo-rectal cancer)
posted by smoke at 8:31 PM on September 18, 2012


When the coffee hits, i head for the bathroom. (In our house, we call it The G-8 Summit Room.) I'll take 5 minutes; longer if I'm in there with a book of floor plans. ("Things" go better with floor plans.)
Mr. Terrier will take 10 or 15 minutes, but I wouldn't dream of asking what's he's actually doing in there. He's not a reader, that much I know.
My theory is that men take longer because they eat more meat. Mr Terrier's theory is that with men, there's more excavation needed.
posted by BostonTerrier at 8:33 PM on September 18, 2012


... I'm a woman and I'll easily spend a half an hour in the bathroom. I'm like your husband- in the morning, before work, and again right afterwards.

My first-thing-in-the-morning poop is what I refer to as my "Morning Constitutional." It takes at least ten minutes, and if it doesn't happen I feel weird and horrible all day. I usually don't poop at work, so when I get home I need to go again.

I'll poop at other times, too, and those are quicker (usually only a minute or two for actual pooping, though I do sometimes take "me time" when I go to the bathroom. I can spend hours in the bathroom if I accidentally bring in a really interesting book; alternately, after coffee and an ill-advised smoke I'm in and out in less than a minute).

But I've got to take those two poops. It's like my assurance to myself that I'm regular- I don't really pay attention to the other poops, but so long as these two happen, I know that I'm doing okay. And yes, as others have said, it's also a transition time/personal time, and it's a place where you can be reasonably sure nobody's going to interrupt you/ask you questions/try to join.
posted by Cracky at 8:44 PM on September 18, 2012


Twenty minutes sounds perfectly normal to me. I'm a male in my early twenties; for me, pooping is kind of a concerto with (only) two movements. There's the first: "BLAAAAAAM, THIS IS WHAT I'M HERE TO DOOOOOO," followed by "well, as long as we're here (morepoopmorepoop)." And then wiping takes forever and then I'm done.

I can't believe I posted this on the internet, either.
posted by Chutzler at 9:14 PM on September 18, 2012 [6 favorites]


I won't lie, I take my phone in with me and do some email / news reading. I never mix the phone and wipe hands, though. Ever. I mean it.
posted by Chutzler at 9:14 PM on September 18, 2012


In my experience, men seem to take longer than women do, as a general rule, and I always assumed it was because women eat more veg and drink more water (yes, I'm generalizing, but that's my experience). I'd be interested to see if that's actually true in a larger group than the people I've known.

I take a few minutes (I'm female), male partner takes a few longer than I do. And now that I think about it, he takes a lot less time since he went on a diabetic diet and started eating a lot more veg, less cheese and meat. He used to take 10 or 15 minutes in there. We both do it in the morning, though I have a pretty sensitive stomach, so if I haven't been eating carefully enough, I can poop several times a day (until I get crabby enough about it to take some Immodium).
posted by WorkingMyWayHome at 9:15 PM on September 18, 2012


I honestly don't get the scheduled pooping thing. I know a man who schedules. He grunts and groans and strains if he doesn't really have to go, but dammit, it's happening whether his colon likes it or not. If at least one poop does not occur in a 24 hour period, internet research happens, fiber is ingested, colace swallowed, fruit eaten, coffee drunk, etc.

When informed that I go when it takes more work to hold it in than to let it out, he was actually flabbergasted and couldn't imagine this insanity. He almost fainted when I told him that I sometimes go two whole days (maybe three, with certain cheese encounters) without doing the deed.

(Once, when I was suffering from anorexia and weighed less than 90lbs., I went over two weeks without going. My stomach was like a rock, and my parents wouldn't take me to the doctor (I was 14) because it was my fault that I was having this problem. It was extremely unpleasant; not recommended.)
posted by xyzzy at 9:54 PM on September 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


I am unabashedly grinning with glee at this post. I love coming home and finding this kind of stuff on my RSS feed.

Girl. Vegetarian. 5 min tops. Usually daily. If HBC is being stupid, I will get both diarrhea AND constipation within hours of each other and have to go multiple times a day. This is highly irritating and dumb.

The only time I have to spend 5+ min is if I am having an allergic reaction to food, or if I've brought my iPad in with me and I'm distracted by Spy Mouse or something. Honestly, bathroom time is me time. They don't call it a throne fer nuthin.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 10:15 PM on September 18, 2012


My husband skews toward the upper end. I don't know how upper because if I timed it, I'd probably RAGE. I never noticed or cared until we had a kid at home. That after work "me" time when I've been at home all day with the wee bairn drives me nuts. And, yes, he's totally reading his phone.

Me? I'm all over the map, actually. However, I prefer to be in and out and get on with my day.
posted by amanda at 10:16 PM on September 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


I am a little surprised no-one else has brought this up, but the 45 minute visitor upthread suggested it and the 20 minute job(bie) in the post also allows for the possibility that the gentleman is enjoying gentleman's relaxation.
posted by biffa at 12:48 AM on September 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


I would say that if he actually needs 20 minutes to get the business done, that ain't good. When all is right with my nether world it's pretty much an in-and-out job. Couple or three minutes at most. Even when things are being... difficult... I don't think I ever take 20 minutes.

Now, as others have said, if he's reading or, ahem, "relaxing", that's different. As long as he flushes after he drops. God, I hate people who just leave it there stinking the place up while they read the newspaper.
posted by Decani at 2:37 AM on September 19, 2012


nthing that that monkey ain't spanking itself
posted by Segundus at 3:31 AM on September 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Pwoink: "He takes all his clothes off to poop"

Oh my god. I used to do this as a kid. I think I stopped because it's inappropriate in public restrooms and while at work I guess. I totally need to start doing this again at home. It's SO much better!

Forktine: "He is doing it wrong, as every single one of my employees could tell him. That's 40 minutes that he could be pooping on the clock, two extra breaks per day -- at just $10/hour, he's leaving $8 in the crapper everyday by not pooping at work. At $20/hour, his pooping would be worth $16. "

Agreed. What could be better than getting paid to poop?? Also, I'd probably get fired if I played Angry Birds at my desk.

And I'm definitely closer to 20 minutes than 5. But 5 is doable in a pinch. But it usually results in a pinch, and having to redo it shortly thereafter. Also, 1-3 times a day is totally normal. Any more and it's cause I'm not feeling well. Any less and it means I'm probably traveling. For some reason, I can go 2-3 days without pooping when I'm traveling.
posted by Grither at 5:24 AM on September 19, 2012


There are various dichotomies in life, and often we think of our actions as so natural that we don't even know the other side exists. A couple of years ago sitters were introduced to standers, and standers met the sitters, and both were confused and somewhat disgusted.

Scheduled versus spontaneous poopers are like that. I had never really thought about it but had always assumed that (barring digestive upset or illness) everyone was sensible like me and got their pooping done at a convenient time in their schedule. But no. Most of my coworkers are instead spontaneous poopers, and it's always causing a hassle in the field. We'll be driving along and one of them will all of a sudden get a panicked look on his face and either need to turn the truck around in order to race back to the nearest bathroom, or to pull over on the side of the road and race into the bushes. I'm always like, dude, couldn't you have thought about that five minutes ago when we were driving past that McDonalds? And don't you remember the same thing happening last week?

So the husband in this question is one of the few, the proud, the schedulers. I still think he would be smart to shift at least one of his pooping sessions to his workplace, but there's no way he's going to all of a sudden shift to spontaneous pooping, as some here have suggested.

I am a little surprised no-one else has brought this up, but the 45 minute visitor upthread suggested it and the 20 minute job(bie) in the post also allows for the possibility that the gentleman is enjoying gentleman's relaxation.

Isn't part of being an adult not needing to hide in the bathroom to jerk it?
posted by Forktine at 5:55 AM on September 19, 2012


Personally I am in and out of there in probably around 3 minutes, usually daily around 9AM. And it is not like I wait to reach critical mass, I just go when I need to and it is quick and over with. GF on the other hand, probably around 15 minutes. And she also swears that she has like a "pooping window," and if she misses it will not be able to go for another few hours. Different strokes for different folks I guess.
posted by cccp47 at 6:11 AM on September 19, 2012


I am a sloooow pooper. Round One takes a good 5 minutes. Then I wait. Round Two comes another 5-10 minutes later. Sometimes there's a Round Three. Sometimes it feels like there's going to be a Round Three but it's a false alarm.

Lots of salad in the diet means I get to do this twice per day... or I can go a couple days between. It's weird and variable. It's been like this since I was a kid.
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:49 AM on September 19, 2012


Isn't part of being an adult not needing to hide in the bathroom to jerk it?

I think it would perhaps be not the usual state of affairs to whip it out and start whacking it on the couch with your three year old child wandering around the house, no?
posted by elizardbits at 8:14 AM on September 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Another guy here who's in and out in 2-3 minutes. Don't do the bathroom reading thing (my ass falls asleep) and really have no desire to hang out on the throne. I never have understood guys (in particular) who disappear into the can for half an hour.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 9:23 AM on September 19, 2012


We'll be driving along and one of them will all of a sudden get a panicked look on his face and either need to turn the truck around in order to race back to the nearest bathroom, or to pull over on the side of the road and race into the bushes.

Well, wait. Most of us have basic bowel control. It should be possible to hold it if you need to wait ten minutes until it's feasible to find a bathroom. I mean, I guess if you're a cross-country trucker in rural areas where there might not be a lot of places to stop, sure, you might want to get into a poop routine. But there's a difference between routine and a rigidly held schedule.
posted by Sara C. at 9:23 AM on September 19, 2012


On bad days, my problem is getting the urge. I am quite sure that sitting on the pot waiting for the urge is highly unhealthy for the hemorrhoid situation. For what ever bizarre reason, numbers and spreadsheets do the trick. Metafilter does not.

So, it's usually a fast thing. 3 minutes. Except sometimes I have to wait for a sequel. I rarely read on the pot, but did in my youth. I do suspect that reading is aids the situation.
posted by Goofyy at 9:36 AM on September 19, 2012


I think it's more like some people have a spectrum from don't need to poop all the way to need to poop right now. I'm that way, and the husband in the question is probably that way. Hmm, kind of need to poop, do I want to do it now at home or later at work?

But a lot of people are pretty much binary in their colonic expressions. Don't need to poop, don't need to poop, uh oh need to poop right now!
posted by Forktine at 9:37 AM on September 19, 2012


Barring getting distracted by something like reading or an iPad game or whatever (and as I've gotten older I also do a lot less of bringing entertainment in with me because of reading about how it's not as healthy and also 'cause now that I'm an adult in a home away from uber controlling family members I don't need the "me time" privacy), 5 minutes or less, with the majority of the time it being more like a minute tops plus handwashing. NB I used to be one of the aforementioned scheduled poopers due to yeah, work schedule constraints/convenience (and it took me slightly longer, yes) but now I work from home so it's not an issue when I go (and it seems to be a much faster event). I too think showbiz_liz might be onto something, about how if you can go whenever you first get the urge with no waiting it probably goes much faster.

My husband and every guy I've dated and all their friends have been 20 minute+ poopers, and I know it's not because they're always reading/just hanging out because there'll be times it really needs to happen as quickly as possible and it still takes that long. Also, they speak of it with apprehension and dread, like the event is a horrible arduous experience every time. I have always found this bizarre and mentioned repeatedly maybe they should get their GI systems checked out or something (and the whole thing always seems exacerbated by how they are all lactose intolerant and eat lots of processed crap/restaurant food/not much fiber or fresh produce). I doubt it's necessarily a guy thing, just for some reason in my social circle it's turned out that way.
posted by ifjuly at 9:38 AM on September 19, 2012


> I think it's more like some people have a spectrum from don't need to poop all the way to need to poop right now.

Yeah, this too--aforementioned dudes all go from thinking they're fine and just going about their day to OMG I NEED TO POOP RIGHT NOW RIGHT NOW BATHROOM IN UNDER 5 MINUTES OR SCREWED in the blink of an eye, which I could never comprehend (it must make life stressful as hell).
posted by ifjuly at 9:39 AM on September 19, 2012


Female, early forties, omnivore, single parent to a 9 year old.

I wouldn't call myself a scheduled shitter, I go when I have to, I just happen to have to every morning when I wake up and every evening, almost always in the middle of the kid's bed time routine. If I've had to wait for ten or fifteen minutes, things get urgent and I might be in and out in under a minute, hand washing included (summer time, dress or skirt and knickers only--easy clothes makes things faster). More usually, actual pooping time would be more like a minute or two.

However! There are a number of factors that affect how long I will actually be in there. I definitely read (books or internet) and that slows things down. There's a group of women I interact with online daily, and recently someone confessed that she almost always updates to the group when she's in the bathroom. And then about 90% of us chimed in with the same confession: 2 minutes to poop, 20 minutes to check email. So, that's not just a guy thing.

Lately, things have slowed down bowelly speaking, and for the first time ever, pooping takes some work. It isn't unusual for me to now take up to 10 minutes of actual pooping time, which means, pooping, waiting, waiting, waiting, maybe more pooping, maybe more waiting. Unpleasant! And this isn't a question of my sticking to an arbitrary schedule; the urge is there, the results are not. Also not just a guy thing.

To the moms who don't get two minutes alone in the bathroom: it is so worth the effort to socialize kids out of that behaviour. It took years of repeating it, but eventually my kid stopped coming into the bathroom when I was in there. By about age 4, she better than to even talk to me through the door (barring catastrophes). I'm still working on her lingering in the hallway waiting for me to get out so that she can talk to me--which seriously pops my fuse--but it's so worth all the hard work to get my 15 minutes, twice a day, when I know she won't be demanding my attention. Every parent deserves that!
posted by looli at 9:47 AM on September 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


I timed a friend at 45 minutes once.
posted by dagnyscott at 12:57 PM on September 19, 2012


I'm so with you here. We have two bathrooms, but Only one working shower-and the beloved prefers to spend his poop time in the room with that shower. In the dark. For freaking ever. We have three kids, one a teen-it is so awesome to have to juggle showers and getting out the door around that habit.
posted by purenitrous at 3:26 PM on September 19, 2012


I do suspect that reading is aids the situation.

This would explain why every time I go to Barnes and Noble, I need to visit the restroom. Bookstores are like a laxative.
posted by 26.2 at 4:05 PM on September 19, 2012


If my diet is healthy (adequate fiber and hydration), 2 - 5 minutes. If not, maybe 10 minutes. Once a day, unless I've been eating unusual foods. I enjoy reading, and may take longer while I finish a magazine article.
posted by theora55 at 4:39 PM on September 19, 2012


For those of you wondering about the sudden people: diarrhea happens and will not obey a schedule. They aren't thrilled about having to stop either. And some folks have medical conditions.

As for the question, it depends. But you really should never ask about someone's pooping. TMI and none of your business, and do you really want to know that?

I did, however, read part of this while in the can. I also told my cousin about this thread and she muttered something about the internet being the Antichrist and how it will destroy us all.
posted by jenfullmoon at 4:47 PM on September 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


cccp47: "And she also swears that she has like a "pooping window," and if she misses it will not be able to go for another few hours."

Oh man, I never really came up with a term for it, but this is perfect! I definitely have a pooping window. Sometimes when we get home from being out and about, I'll have to #2 and my wife will say "Oh wait, can I pee quick?" and then when I get in there 5 minutes later, the window has passed, and nothing happens. So frustrating!
posted by Grither at 8:21 AM on September 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


ifjuly: "
My husband and every guy I've dated and all their friends have been 20 minute+ poopers, and I know it's not because they're always reading/just hanging out because there'll be times it really needs to happen as quickly as possible and it still takes that long. Also, they speak of it with apprehension and dread, like the event is a horrible arduous experience every time.
"

Also want to point out that as a long-pooper, I very much look forward to my bathroom time.

Even more so now that I remembered I can do it naked while at home!
posted by Grither at 8:26 AM on September 20, 2012


Yeah, back when I was a kinda-long pooper growing up as it was the only time I had guaranteed privacy, I looked forward to it too and found it relaxing. The state of my friends' bathroom affairs makes me think they have, uh, other, less common issues aside from length of time in there.
posted by ifjuly at 9:52 AM on September 20, 2012


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