When we were kids, our parents told us we were special—our own unique snowflake. As we grow up, we learn this isn’t really true, except in one important way: pooping.
Like the popular children’s book says, “Everybody poops,” but we all do it on our own schedule. There isn’t a “right” amount of times you should poop every week. Most dudes poop once or twice a day, but there’s a wide range of pooping habits that are considered healthy (more on that later).
Whether you poop multiple times a day or only visit the porcelain throne a few times a week, the most important thing is consistency—both in your schedule and the actual consistency of your poop. Your bowel habits are a solid indicator of your overall health, so paying attention to your deuces is more important than you think.
In this article, we’ll break down the normal range of pooping frequency, answer the questions you’re too embarrassed to ask your doctor, and explain how to poop more (or less) depending on your needs.
How Often Should You Poop?
Adults should poop between three times per day to three times per week—anywhere in that range is considered optimal digestive health. This is known as the “Goldilocks zone for pooping,” and also the “three and three” rule.
If you poop fewer than three times a week, you’re officially constipated. If you poop more than three times a day (and your stool is loose or watery) you have diarrhea.
Nearly half of people poop once per day, according to a survey of 2,000 American adults. You could call this the “brown standard.” At the ends of the stool spectrum, 28% reported going twice a day, while 5.6% said they only pooped once or twice weekly.
While it’s nice to have a routine, the number of times you defecate per day (or week) isn’t necessarily as important as having healthy poop. You want smooth, sausage-like turds—not explosive diarrhea or pebbles that barely sneak out of your backside.
Is Pooping Every Day Necessary?
You don’t have to poop every day to keep your gut health in check. As long as you’re having a few bowel movements per week, you’re in the clear.
That said, if you’re trying to poop but can’t get anything to come out, you may want to try some techniques to kickstart your colon (see below for DUDE-approved tips).
Also, if you’re experiencing symptoms of constipation like cramping, bloating, or abdominal pain, you should make an effort to poop more often. Holding in your poop isn’t exactly a great idea.
What If I Only Poop Once a Week?
If you only poop once per week, you’re definitely constipated. Even if you don’t feel the urge to go, it’s important to get your bowels moving. The longer you hold in your poop, the harder it is to push out. That’s because your stool loses water as it sits in your colon.
If you’re wondering how long you can (safely) hold in your poop, we did a thorough investigation.
What If I Poop 3-5 Times a Day?
If you’re taking three or more trips to the toilet every day, the first culprit is your diet. These foods are notorious for triggering fast, frequent bowel movements:
- Capsaicin (the active component in spicy peppers)
- Artificial sweeteners
Frequent bowel movements can also indicate an underlying gastrointestinal health condition, such as:
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) such as Celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis
- Lactose intolerance
What Determines How Often You Poop?
Your pooping patterns are a reflection of what’s going on inside and outside your body. Here are some of the most common factors that can influence your bowel movement frequency:
- Dietary changes
- Your fluid intake
- Your level of physical activity (running can give you the runs)
- Changes in your sleeping pattern
- Your stress levels
- Medical conditions, especially those that affect your digestive system
- Side effects from medications
How to Poop More Often
If you’re always plugged up and want to join the poop-once-a-day crowd, here are some ideas to kick your bowels into high gear:
- Add high-fiber foods to your diet, like fruits, whole grains, and leafy greens
- Make sure you’re drinking enough water
- Do some kind of exercise every day
- If all else fails, try an over-the-counter laxative
How to Poop Less Often
Some DUDES are cursed with overactive bowels. That’s not necessarily a bad thing (unless you’re having diarrhea) but it’s definitely inconvenient, especially if you share a communal office bathroom.
Fear not—we have tips to calm down your colon:
- Lay off the processed foods, as these can irritate your intestines
- Take a probiotic supplement to stabilize your gut microbiome
- Avoid “trigger foods” that give you the sudden urge to go (these are usually dairy products, caffeine, and spicy foods)
- When you do poop, make sure you don’t leave anything in the tank that can come back later
Take Pride In Your Pooping Pattern
Pooping patterns are like fingerprints: no two are exactly alike. Whether you drop your dookies first thing every morning, during your lunch break, or before bed, don’t let this cruel world poop-shame you. Remember, no one else has the ability to poop like you do.
Whenever nature calls, just make sure you’re ready for cleanup duty with DUDE Wipes.