Scientists have determined precisely how many seconds it should take you to poo.

We’ve all done it. You just want a little more time to yourself – a few minutes away from screaming children or nosy coworkers – to sit and think and, erm, poop.

But new research has found that you might be spending way too much time on the toilet – and that your toddler and/or workmates could be onto you. It’s time to put down that magazine and step away from the porcelain throne.

According to a study recently published in the (aptly named) Soft Matter journal and highlighted in New Scientist – it should only take you 12 seconds to poo. Yep, your average TV commercial goes for longer than that.

poo time
It should only take you 12 seconds to poo. Image via iStock.

The study, led by Patricia Yang, a PhD candidate in mechanical engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology, analysed videos of 34 different species of mammals who were doing their business. That's a whole lot of poop.


The mammals ranged from four kilograms to 4000kgs and included both herbivores and carnivores, and they all got down to business pretty quickly.

The study also found the length of each piece of faecal matter was five times as long as the diameter of each of the animal's rectum and the mammals all used the equivalent level of pressure to push through a bowel moment.

You see, in the wild, a fast, easy poo can be a means of survival.

"The smell of body waste attracts predators, which is dangerous for animals," Yang told New Scientist. “If they stay longer doing their thing, they’re exposing themselves and risking being discovered.”

"If they stay longer doing their thing, they’re exposing themselves and risking being discovered."

Listen to everything women are talking about this week, on Mamamia Out Loud. Post continues after audio. 

Obviously, as humans, we're less likely to entice predators while we're on the loo, but we might just attract a little judgement from our colleagues and housemates.

Yang also says that spending too much time on the toilet can lead to haemorrhoids - enlarged blood vessels around the rectum which occur when you push too hard.

So the lesson is - poop or get off the pot. And if you're taking longer than usual you may need to seek medical advice.

Do you enjoy sitting on the toilet?