Let’s talk about a subject that doesn’t come to the forefront of your mind when talking about survival. What are you going to do when you have to, you know, go? Whether we are talking about roughing it camping or handling an emergency situation, when nature calls, you have to answer.
While you could stick to the tried and true methods of making sure to bring a shovel and digging a hole, let’s face it, sometimes that just isn’t going to cut it. Especially when you can come prepared with a few items that won’t cost you much to make your own personal Port-A-Potty.
There are a few simple steps you can take to make your spouse and kids elated when times are hard. If you do a search on the web, you’ll find all kinds of crazy expensive offerings for camping toilets when in all honesty; you can just make one yourself.
I’m going to cover a couple of different variations for you so you can go as fancy, and private, or as minimal as you want.
Your Cheapest Port-A-Potty Option – The Pool Noodle Portable Toilet
This option is your quickest, least expensive Port-A-Potty choice; that doesn’t require many materials to make.
One of the pros to this type of camping toilet choice is by using a pool noodle as a “seat”; you don’t have to worry about a super cold place to sit.
The one con to this type of portable toilet would be the pool noodle will only have so much life. The better you take care of it and keep it out of the elements, the longer it will last you. If you’ve ever had a pool noodle start rotting because of weather, you know what I’m referring to.
This option should cost you about $10 to build, and the supplies can be found very easily at any local store, if not in your home.
What You’ll Need
- 5 Gallon Bucket – This needs to be a sturdy bucket since people will be sitting on it and putting their full body weight on it.
- 1 Pool Noodle
- A knife or box cutter
- A Bucket Liner of your choice – This is optional, but keeps clean up to a more pleasurable task. I recommend biodegradable bag products that can be buried without worrying about its longevity. If you do choose to use regular trash bags, make sure to get heavy-duty garbage bags so that they don’t rip when you try to pull them out of the bucket.
- Clumping Cat Litter or Sawdust- Both work well to absorb moisture, but the cat litter will also cover some of the smell.
How to Make It Work
- Line your bucket with whatever liner you choose. Make sure that the liner flaps over the outside of the bucket as to “seal” it in place with the pool noodle.
- A biodegradable liner works great because you can bury it when the time comes. You can also use trash bags, or nothing at all if you are willing to clean it out as time goes on.
- Cut your pool noodle lengthwise so you have a long noodle with a slit going down its side.
- I won’t give you an actual length for how long you’ll need to cut it because not all buckets measure the same. Do this by either measure the circumference of the top of your bucket or just start attaching the pool noodle around the top opening of the bucket and figure out where to cut that way. You’ll want to leave a gap at the front because as you wrap the noodle around the top of the bucket, the noodle on the inside of the bucket will be slightly longer than the area of the noodle on the outside.
- Fit the pool noodle over the edge of the bucket. If you put the liner in the bucket in the first step, make sure that the pool noodle holds down the liner, so you don’t have to worry about this piece slipping back into the bucket and making a bigger mess to clean up.
- Put enough cat litter or sawdust in the bottom of your liner before the first use to help absorb any moisture and smells. The weight of the litter or sawdust helps if you are experiencing a windy day and the liner is trying to blow out of the bucket. After each use, add a little more cat litter for continued absorption and odor control.
- If you use a bucket that has a handle, you can pull one of the sides of the handle out, attach a toilet paper roll, and reattach the handle.
Your Second Option – The Toilet Seat Port-A-Potty
This is another incredibly easy option for an emergency portable potty. You can find bucket emergency toilet seats from camping stores and on Amazon. This option will save some time, but will also add to the cost.
Pros to making this type of camping toilet are the seats! Not only do these types of seats feel more like a regular toilet seat, but most of them come with a closable lid.
The lid helps to keep bugs out of your Port-A-Potty. Being that all the parts are made of plastic, as long as you take care of the seat, you should be able to store and use this type of Port-A-Potty for a long time.
What You’ll Need
- 5 Gallon Bucket – Again, this needs to be a sturdy bucket, so make sure to find one with thick walls.
- A Bucket Emergency Toilet Seat – Yes! They make such a thing!
- A Bucket Liner of your choice
- Clumping Cat Litter or Sawdust
How to Make It Work
- Place your bucket liner in your bucket leaving the top draping over the sides of the bucket.
- Place your bucket emergency toilet seat on top and secure it in place following the directions that come with the seat you purchased.
- Put enough cat litter or sawdust on the bottom of your liner before the first use to help absorb any moisture and smells.
- Put down the lid, and you are ready to go!
- You can also use the same step to attach a roll of toilet paper to one of the handles on the bucket.
Either of these options should help you with your portable potty needs. Both are quick, easy and don’t cost you much to put together. I’ll be honest; it’s a great idea to have either of these around the house for smaller emergencies like water line repairs, or water backups.
Ways to Upgrade Your Port-A-Potty
You can always apply a couple of upgrades, or hacks, depending on the situation you are in when using your portable potty. If you are having to handle multiple people, genders, or are in severe weather conditions, these upgrades can make a world of difference.
You can also have a tent that is designated just for the portable toilet. A tent can help to keep bugs out, and you can keep all the toiletries in the same place. Just make sure that you have the ventilation flaps opened, and you keep the tent secure. You don’t want that thing blowing away in high winds!
Keep your cat litter or sawdust in a secure container that won’t get damp. This step should be self-explanatory. If the cat litter or sawdust gets wet, it won’t do much to absorb any of the liquids it was intended. Another smart idea would be to keep a small scoop or old cup paired with these items if you don’t want to use your hands to do the scooping!
Keep your toilet paper in a secure container by using items you have around your house, like coffee cans to keep your toilet paper dry if you don’t want to spend the money on a particular container. Just make sure to mark it clearly, and keep it with your toiletry supplies.