A running joke that is common in the households with a dad seems to be how long it takes him to use the washroom. The scene is dad stands up, phone in hand and heads toward the toilet. No one will say it, but everyone knows dad will be gone for a good 30 minutes. We’ve seen this scene play out on TV, we’ve maybe even seen it happen in our own lives, and there was that viral Reddit thread last week that opened up the discussion of why does dad take so long to poop? Turns out, husbands are taking way too long, and it’s not healthy.
The Reddit thread had one mom asking for advice, saying she was pretty sure her husband was using the “I need to poop” excuse to get out of parenting their twins. She felt he was ignoring his duties and instead played on his phone while sitting on his porcelain throne. She took matters into her own hands, turning off the WiFi, and his “stomach issues” that caused him to sit on the toilet for 25 minutes at a time stopped. This caused a fight between them and mom wanted to know if she was unreasonable. The comments filled with “my husband does this too” replies, and there seems to be some truth to this scenario in other’s lives.
Men complain about how long it takes women to get ready, while they take 45 minutes to poop.
— Ally Macy (@allymacy) February 2, 2018
Romper spoke to Dr. Niket Sonpal, Associate Program Director IM residency at Brookdale University Hospital & Medical Center, to get to the bottom of this issue that seems to be more common than we realized. Is it normal for husbands to need this much time to poop, should that mom, and other women who notice similar time frames with their partner, worry about health, or could this be parenting duty avoidance?
According to Dr. Sonpal, there are health reasons why a man may spend so much time in the toilet, specifically if he is constipated. “No one should, in theory, take that long to have a bowel movement. This means the person is not getting enough water, and the stools are too hard,” Dr. Sonpal says. “They are not getting enough fiber, and the stools are not bulky enough.”
Even with all that, the doctor says that no one should be spending more than five minutes trying to have a bowel movement. “If you have a proper diet with good fiber and enough water intake, your bowel movements should be a very short occurrence,” Dr. Sonpal says. A 2017 study published in the journal Soft Matter and highlighted by New Scientist, says even that’s too long and the average mammal, yes including humans, takes just 12 seconds to poop.
It’s difficult to get mad at someone who needs to spend so much time in the washroom if there is a legitimate medical concern. Having to sit that long and try and have a BM sounds painful and I’d rather change a baby’s diaper than have that issue. But Jonathan Alpert, a Manhattan psychotherapist says dad may just be escaping from parenting duties. He told CafeMom the bathroom is a sort of hideout for people because no one ever asks what you’re doing in there, even if you take a long time.
“I guess I would call it a safe place,” Alpert says. “You know, most people aren’t going to question someone’s activities or motivation for going to the bathroom. … Everyone deserves their privacy to go to the bathroom, and I think some people might be using it for a little more than that and to their advantage.”
But, women aren’t taking that long in the washroom, or at least that’s not the troupe. We should be less upset with how long husbands spend in the toilet and just have a conversation about what you’re really bothered about. The frustration and anger about taking so long to poop (because that would be more concern and less angry) and it’s more about frustrated feelings due to the imbalance of parenting duties.
Maybe you can start that chat by turning off the WiFi and having some popcorn, which turns out is a great source of fiber.