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No. 1 reason most people are afraid of going No. 2 in public restrooms

On average, Americans are holding it in for two and half hours in order to poop at home – and men are willing to wait three hours, compared to two hours for women.

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Woman with protective antiviral mask and a reserve of toilet paper waiting anxious in home isolation.

The majority of Americans are full of it, according to new research. Seven in 10 Americans are holding their poop in all to avoid using a public restroom.

A new survey of 2,000 general population Americans asked about their pooping preferences and found 69% hate pooping in public so much, they hold it in until they can be in the comfort of their own home.

Men were also more likely to agree with this mindset, at 74% compared to 65% of women surveyed.

On average, Americans are holding it in for two and half hours in order to poop at home – and men are willing to wait three hours, compared to two hours for women.

Why are people putting themselves through this discomfort? The survey found 64% of respondents agreed they’re just uncomfortable with using a public restroom for No. 2.

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of MiraLAX, the survey asked respondents what the most important points of public restroom etiquette are and found peeping through the gaps in the doors is the biggest violation (48%).

Forty-six percent of those surveyed who are uncomfortable with using a public restroom shared it’s because they don’t want anyone hearing them do their business.

An additional 44% said they’re uncomfortable pooping in a strange or unknown environment and three in 10 are a little pee shy, citing they don’t like going to the bathroom around other people.

The survey also delved into the role pooping plays in the workplace – and the separate set of anxieties that come with the territory.

As many Americans return to the office for the first time in months, one in five American office workers cited having to use the office bathroom as a prime reason they are stressed about the return to the office amid the pandemic.

Of those surveyed who are employed (approximately 1,300 respondents), 71% agreed they have a special bathroom they specifically use for No. 2 at work.

Moreover, 66% of American workers admit to holding it in to avoid using their workplace restrooms. As a result, this has caused a staggering 64% of workers to become constipated.

As more and more workers return to their offices and are forced to revisit pre-pandemic bathroom habits, workstipation, the stress associated with “going” at the office resulting in a backed-up gut, is likely to rear its ugly head,” said David Ball, General Manager and Vice President Marketing – Digestive Health at Bayer. “With so many workplace bathrooms considered uncomfortable, it is important Americans are armed with effective solutions when constipation arises to aid in helping them go comfortably.”

Aside from the toilet paper and bad smells, other workplace bathroom pet peeves for employed respondents included coworkers trying to talk to them while they’re in a stall (36%) and witnessing co-workers walk out without washing their hands (31%).

Seven in 10 employed respondents shared they feel self-conscious about pooping at work – with the top reasons including fearing they use the restroom longer than others (50%) and, in turn, having their co-workers judge them for taking too long (40%).

“Americans deserve to feel comfortable when it comes to pooping at work, in spite of the many reasons workplace bathrooms can be a less-than-ideal experience, as avoiding going can cause much discomfort,” Ball continued.


  • Don’t look through gaps in the doors - 48%
  • Don’t talk, especially to someone who’s urinating/defecating - 46%
  • Keep one stall/urinal between you and the next person - 40%
  • Avoid making unnecessary noises - 39%
  • Avoid eye contact - 32%
  • Leave as quickly as possible - 32%d
  • Avoid making or taking phone calls - 32%


  • Thin toilet paper - 44%
  • Bad smells - 43%
  • Gaps in bathroom stalls - 37%
  • Coworkers trying to speak to you while you are in a stall - 36%
  • Hearing sounds coming from other stalls - 34%
  • Coworkers that don’t wash their hands - 31%
  • When coworkers are in the bathroom and you need to poop - 22%
  • Coworkers gathering and talking - 12%

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