Everyone Poops. Tiny House Toilet Options.

I came across an interesting article about toilets and thought I would share it with you all, as toilets seem to be a favorite topic of discussion among tiny housers.  Click HERE to read the Fast Company article about Bill Gates’ sponsored toilet inventions around the world.  One submittal:

China’s toilet submission.  Not sure where you sit.  Looks dangerous…

My fave was China’s toilet design submission that “extracts and disposes fecal sludge on-site”.  Not to pick on the Chinese… but c’mon, do I really want to dump fecal sludge outside my home?  I’m sure there’s some way to make it “odorless” right?  … but I have no trust for systems claiming to be odorless, as that has been our main complaint with our Incinolet incinerating toilet.

Our Incinolet incinerating toilet.

I happily (and naively) blogged about our incinerating toilet previously in this blog, prior to having used it.  We bought it used for less than half the new purchasing price ($1,900-$2,100!!) and have thus far replaced almost every major mechanism in the toilet (almost $200 more), and it still has an odor!  Thankfully the odor is all outside now, unlike when we fired up our first batch of “brownies” (as we lovingly call our waste) and filled the house with smoke!!  Shane’s repairs restored the toilet to working condition but there were still odors outside that would waft in through open windows.  (I cannot believe the neighbors never complained….)  We have since minimized outside odors by adding a 4″ pvc vent stack outside that rises above the roof level.

So what are the toilet options for Tiny Houses? 

Here’s what I’ve seen so far, would love to hear everyone’s feedback on their experiences.

1.  RV low-flush toilets

RV low flush toilet shown in a tiny house.

1.  RV low-flush toilets with a holding tank… that must be emptied… somewhere.  Or drained directly into a preexisting sewer system.

  • Pros:  fairly clean, small, no smell inside, simple typical American toileting experience.
  • Cons:  uses clean water and generates blackwater.  need connection to a sewage system or a place to dump the tank.  more plumbing adds initial construction costs.  without a municipal sewage system, a septic system would be cost prohibitive to many.  to sum up the Cons in a word: sewage.

2.  Incinerating Toilets

Incinolet brand incinerating toilet.

2.  Incinerating Toilets available in electric (Incinolet) or propane (Scanlet or Storburn).  Using 20amps of power (arguably too much for off-grid / solar…) this toilet burns waste to a minimal amount.  A metal bowl full of ashes is emptied into the trash twice a week, in our experience.

  • Pros:  no water!  great for arid climates.  waste is reduced to a very small amount. no plumbing in the house, no septic system, no blackwater.  don’t need to be connected to a sewage system.
  • Cons:  expensive!  $1,900 to $2,100 new.  high energy useage.  complicated to use.  prone to mechanical problems.  smelly.  (ever smelled burning poop?  mostly this smell is outside… but still not pleasant)  to sum up the Cons in a word: electricity.  smoke.  odor.  (one word wasn’t enough.)

3.  High-Tech Composting Toilets

One style of composting toilet: Nature’s Head.

3.  High-Tech Composting Toilets would include SunMar, Nature’s Head, Envirolet, Biolet, etc. etc.  Manufactured self-contained toilets that convert waste to compost with or without electricity spurred mechanical stirring.

  • Pros:  no water or low water.  no plumbing in the house, no septic system, no blackwater.  don’t need to be connected to a sewage system.  turns waste into a useful material like compost (regenerative)
  • Cons:  expensive!  $900 to $2,000.  large.  you have to do something with the “compost” or straight-up urine in some models – not ideal for city/town use.

4.  Low-Tech Composting Toilets

Bucket Toilet

4.  Low-Tech Composting Toilets or a bucket toilet like the Loveable Loo by Joseph Jenkins, author of the Humanure Handbook, which is a highly recommended read!  The first chapter on humankind’s parasitic behavior makes it worth the purchase price.  These are a 5 gallon plastic bucket with a toilet seat; sawdust is applied to waste after each use, then waste is put outside in a compost pile.

  • Pros:  small.  inexpensive ($250) or you can make your own for much less.  no plumbing.  no sewage.  turns waste into a useful material like compost (regenerative)
  • Cons:  potential for odors inside.  need sawdust and other composting materials.  need a site with several humanure compost piles that you can maintain and let cure for a year before use.

5.  A Litterbox.


5.  A Litterbox.  I’m joking about this one (kind of…).  We recommend “multi-cat”.  Enough said.  Ha haha  haaa?


Here’s a good source I found with way more info than I just scrounged up for this post if you want to read more about toilet options: environalternatives article.

Would love to hear everyone else’s feedback and research.

I leave you with this:

Categories: Living In the Tiny House, Tiny House Design | Tags: , , , , | 109 Comments

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109 thoughts on “Everyone Poops. Tiny House Toilet Options.

  1. We decided to go with the low-tech composting toilet in our tiny house, on the assumption that we could always upgrade later if it didn’t work for us. So far it has worked quite well, and with two people living here and occasional guests, we only empty it every week or two. We started out using sawdust, but are now using Peat Moss instead due to the particles being smaller than most sawdust and dispersing more readily. We haven’t had any problems with odor as long as we don’t skimp on the peat moss (we add a good 20 oz. of it after each use), but we also have a high-power bathroom fan in the room as well so I’m sure that helps a lot. We are very lucky to live on a piece of land with space for us to place our compost piles, which I know not everyone is so fortunate to have. I know some tiny housers have to dump their composting waste into the trash due to not having anyplace to allow it to compost. That’s our two cents on the low-tech composting toilet.

    • Margo – this is great feedback! where do you buy your peat moss? is it hard to find? is it expensive?

      • et

        You can find peat moss at any garden supply store. In small bags or big bales.

  2. anotherkindofdrew

    We have actually decided not to poop. We just feel like it is too time-consuming and a toilet of any sort takes up too much precious room. So, we have just cut it from our “needs list.” From this point forward we are just going to roll the dice with our internal organs and see what happens. Stay tuned (if you dare…..). HAHAHAHAHH.

    • Cheryl

      LOL! After researching my options, I am thinking the same!

    • Brian

      Thats genius !!! As an added bonus you wouldn’t need to eat either.
      Just think of the space you would free up in the kitchen !
      I assume you would still drink ( what am I saying ? of course you would still drink beer and wine)
      You could store your pee in old milk jugs and toss it out the window as you drive on the highway, like some people do ;(
      or recycle it like Bear Grylls (i.e. Urotherapy)

    • matt

      Hahah lol I was leaning toward this area after racking my brain for the cleanest/simplest solution and we came across the same conclusion

  3. Dave M

    #4 Low Tech Composting Toilets – Heh. Full time boaters have a name for this – “Bucket and chuck it” 🙂

  4. I like the idea of the Low-Tech Composting Toilets the most. It’s regenerative. That’s important to me. Human waste is given such a bad wrap. We need to change that, I say! 😛

    • I totally agree – I like the idea of turning waste into something useful. In a small space it is VERY important to consider smells…. But maybe an outhouse would be the best way to deal with this? I have heard of tiny housers who opt not to have a bathroom in their house and use an outhouse.

      It’d be so nice to have the toilet space available for a full height closet or a full size bathroom sink / counter…

      • To help the paradigm shift along… Jenkin’s isn’t talking about “turning” waste into something useful. It’s already useful, we have just erroneously turned it into an ecological disaster by viewing it as not useful to begin with

    • If you are looking for a complete waste management system for your poop, etc, google “BoonJon”. There are videos that explain the use of soldier flies in conjunction with your composting toilet. BTW, you can dehydrate your poop and burn it using a dehydrator and urine diverting composting toilet. I wouldn’t do it if you have neighbors close by as it does put off an odor like cheap cigars unless you toss it in a roaring fire. Just FYI.

  5. leepera

    This makes me a bit scared, Carrie, as we have three incinolet toilets on our lot. None of us using them fulltime yet. I’ll let you know in a few months what our experience is. Hopefully we can make them work! : )

    • I hope they work for you! please let us know if they do, because maybe our Incinolet is just a lemon….
      – Carrie

      • It must be a lemon. I have had mine for two years now, and it works great. We do have to dump it a bit more frequent than they say though. We use ours full time and dump the pan at least 4 times a week. Found out it burns better when the pan is cleaner, which causes a lot less smoke, and odor. The other thing about taking care of odor is that you must have the vent pipe somewhere between a foot to 18 inches higher than the peak of the roof.

      • this is great to hear! we were wondering if anyone had any luck using an Incinolet. Yes, we found the vent stack needed to be much higher than manufacturer recommendations. we still got some odor in the mornings especially when the air is sitting low in the valley.

  6. anotherkindofdrew

    I think there is a lot of confusion when it comes to this conversation. As you pointed out all the toilet options have pros and cons and if you are truly looking to remain mobile you have to think about what is best for you situation, whether or not you have to worry about neighbors, and what maintains a safe sanitary area. I would strongly encourage all folks looking to move into a tiny house or small house with “alternative waste solutions” to use a Lovable Loo (the bucket and chuck it) for a week or so to see what sort of effort they are willing to put into waste disposal and if they can transition from a water tank toilet effectively.

    • Cher Darr

      Good point. While building my mini mcmansion ;).. I’ve been 9 months in my RV. I use a PortaPotty for urine; and for pooh, double lined the existing rv toilet after plugging the water entry hose. I use a big bag to line the actual toilet, then a smaller (4Gal.) in a bowl. If urine is an accident during pooh, I have kitty littler on stand by and only had to use it a couple of times.

      Your suggestion of ‘try before you by’ is a good one. In thinking of my new home nearing completion, I wanted a one-sit solution without a bunch of fancy ‘connections/vents’ etc. I purchased a “SmartJon” on Ebay, mainly because it looked pretty and white. Well.. it has several issues, mainly that the urine tank only holds 2 days worth AND the connecting hose is 1/3 of the way down from the top, so more like 1.5 days. (Don’t ask me how I know). I may try to incorporate some small collection station outside of the house somehow, but.. it is essentially a bucket toilet with a urine diverter.

      I have bio bags and a neighborhood dump, or the Jenkins option since I have land. I used to think Poop in bags to the dumpster was HIDEOUS. I got over it. SOMEONE needs to get something to the land fill to help degrade all the rest of that mess!!

      Just adding my 2 cents and bit of experience hoping to help some other tiny home-ers! 🙂

  7. et

    I’ve lived off and on for years with an outhouse. Given a choice I don’t want a toilet in my house. A shower or bath would be nice, tho.
    I have a narrow storage space with a door that opens outwards if I ever need to set up my tiny house with a bucket/composting system.

    Don’t forget that many of these options aren’t legal.

    • Carrie

      thanks for the comment! cool to hear what others are doing. I am sure it is better “feng shui” to utilize an outhouse too…

  8. oh my gosh! the kitty litter is HILARIOUS!!! and the “ha ha haaa?” – you should be a stand up comedian!

  9. Lauren Neher

    Lamarr at Simple Solar Homesteading has a bit of a twist to the low tech toilet. He dumps the waste into a “solar” composter with a clear plastic lid that encourages the composting process along tremendously.

  10. Amanda

    Do you think it would be possible to burn the stuff in the wood stove for heat in the winter instead of composting? I have heard about people using dried cow dung as fuel in India.

    • Well maybe. But cows eat grass and once that goes through there system and comes out it dries back into grass. So if you do burn human compost I would only burn it if you eat like cow.

  11. M

    So… do you just pee in the bucket as well? Do you somehow separate the urine? Nobody really mentions these specifics :/

    • if you’re asking about the low-tech composting toilets like the “Loveable Loo” yes, it is my understanding that all waste goes into one bucket. Brad Lancaster of Rainwater Harvesting has a very complex composting toilet system that separates the urine. then he adds water to it and pours it directly on landscaping at his Tucson complex. I’ve heard some of the high-tech composting toilets do separate the urine…

      • Erika Eaton

        We have a bucket in the mudroom for me to pee in (my husband just goes outside.) Then we have another bucket outside in an outhouse for pee & poo. We line it with garbage bags & when it’s full, we take it to the city sewage plant. Other people just take it to the dump. I don’t put anything in it besides human waste, but we live in the arctic. The indoor pee bucket can get really stinky though!

    • Jinni

      You can pee in any small container and ‘flush’ it down the sink or shower drain. No big deal. Diluted urine can also be used directly on plants and lawn.

      Poo can be incinerated immediately. Use paper, wrap it up and burn. As for heating the house, we don’t make enough. If you use junk mail paper, you are ‘recycling’ as well as reducing sewage issues on our fair earth.

      I have plans for making a solar composting outhouse, which I will be building this year. Will try to get back here to let you know how it works out.

      If you are interested in hearing directly how it works, email me at ms.kameilyon@yahoo.ca

  12. Sarah

    Yes you pee and poop in it. Compost heats up better with moisture so it will turn into compost more quickly given more liquid. We have separate 5 gallon buckets for our food scraps and include liquid in that as well, such as outdated mayo, salad dressing, etc. Makes throwing out food that’s gone bad feel ok-its on its way to a new life!

    • Dawn

      I’ve always read that any types of oil (like mayonnaise) ruins the composting process.

  13. Sarah

    The peat moss idea is intruiging. We use sawdust currently but its a pain to get it (1 hour plus drive to the mill) and the sawdust we got from the mill doesnt absorb like the sawdust we save from our miter saw. Does peat moss soak up well? I have found it to be not so great soaking up the water for seedlings etc. I find there is an inverse relationship between cover material absorbency and volume required for effective cover. We always cover it to no detectable smell, and the amount seems to be less with the very fine dry sawdust compared to the coarse mill dust.

    • debra

      if you have trouble with the saw dust a cheap option is pellet stove wood pellets (saw dust pellets) and they must be the all wood ones. they desinigrate easily and absorb the moisture more easily. They generally only cost ( rounded out and with taxes) about 5$ a bag and these are big bags some are even cheeper. and they work really well as an option, when you can’t get good sawdust.

      • Great suggestion about the pellets! I was paying $5 for a garbage bag of sawdust, and I had to shovel it myself at a local sawmill…

  14. Elisa

    During my journey in being a sponge, this is one of the pieces of information I absorbed and can now happily share with you and your readers ^_^

    • Ken

      I’m curious, what community you live in? I don’t know any around here or elsewhere where this is legal. Out in the country perhaps, but not in any actual town or village. I don’t doubt that they work, I’m just saying most places this would be illegal. We are not even allowed to use household gray water in my community.

      • we have lived in the tiny house in Prescott, AZ in a residential neighborhood, and outside of Santa Fe, NM on 5 acres. alternative toilet options are probably not allowed in towns or cities, unless maybe active composting toilets…

    • Suzanne Dubinin


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  17. judy

    The low-tech definitely works. Cheap and easy. Just don’t let your bucket get too full – it gets heavy!

  18. alice h

    Peat moss isn’t a good sustainable choice. If you do a search on its environmental impact you may be surprised.

  19. I actually do use a litterbox for my daughter, who is handicapped and uses a toilet chair next to her bed. She is difficult to move very far, so it is convenient. I had to laugh at your comments, though.

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  21. Jen

    Well I do already have a cat… I wonder if he would mind sharing.

  22. Michael Rudmin

    I’d like to suggest an alternative: a rotating barriers bin that triggers sterilizing heat… then at one location dumps to a outdoor terrarium that grows a variety of plants such as corn, kudzu, asparagus, beans. You harvest and compost the entire plant top as it grows past a certain height. In the top of the terrarium are air ferns. Exhaust from the heating vents thru the air ferns to feed them and eliminate odors.

    • this sounds very cool! not very portable though… and if you’re renting land, it might be a tough sell to the landowners…

    • Do you have any links/schematics to a system like this? I’m building my tiny house on my lot as a permanent structure right behind our vegetable garden. I’d love to create an entire aquaponic composting system and haven’t found a good design. Great idea! Thanks.

      • Michael Rudmin

        No, I have no schematics. It is a suggestion, that’s all. (I’m amazed I stumbled on my post… I’d forgotten it.) I would actually suggest you compile a list of elements to do it… then see how you could arrange them, and then design the rotating chamber to match. Bearings could be taken from high-force casters at lowes. The heating elements could be from a portable stove burner. When you have everything else, then set the heights of everything, and then have a welder produce the turnstile. Then try it out… with a backup system so that you can actually dispose of anything that doesn’t work out.

        I suggest trying it in a shed, where you already have plumbing. Once you know it works, then make two. One is backup, and kept clean in case the other breaks down.

      • type earthship housing in your search bar

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  25. Alan

    I have used a composting toilet made by E….. for a few years. I hate it. Sure it puts back to the soil & all that but it is very finicky. One thing to know is poop is heavy, then add sphagnum or sawdust and wet it all with pee, and the agitator you are supposed to use after every use, which never happens, would get bogged down by the weight. I had to reach into the tank regularly and rake it. Not a pleasant procedure and if it is humid out the drying process is not complete. And of course when the roaches invaded……well it was really disgusting. I would probably try the Incinolet if I knew more about the liquid part of it. What happens when you have a party and 10 guys are peeing all the time? The cost, well if I had to install a waste treatment tank system, septic tank style, that can be used near the water, that would be several thousand, if approved. I like the option of not pooping and have tried it. Unsuccessfully unfortunately.

    • Haha! I hear you! The incinolet was not great with pee… The little coffee filters you put in would overflow! Really gross when that overflow is then cooked.

      with a sawdust toilet it is best to separate urine way too heavy! – probably true with an incinolet too – remember the 90 minute burn time after each event too! Have to pee in a separate bucket.

      Check out humanure handbook and their composting toilet with pee separator, seems best, and only $200 vs. $1,800 for the incinolet.

  26. Aran@sendan.com

    I live in rural Hawaii in a conventional house with a vast and expensive ($30K) state of the art five years ago conventional State approved, EPA compliant septic system. But I have an interest in building a tiny house – well not that tiny – 12×16 or 192 sq feet. Maybe it would be a guest house or maybe we’d find some agreeable gardening type to help out on the property in exchange for a place to stay. Don’t know.

    It seems to me that a bucket with a lid ought to do the job for one or two people. It should last two or three days especially if an outdoor shower was available for number one. The idea is to add an inlet into waste line feeding into our existing septic system so that the tiny house occupant could conveniently and safely empty their honey bucket.

    I think that what would be good is to have at least two buckets. They should have screw type lids for transport. Lids and seats and such are readily available as camping items. Seem all to use plastic liners that a person sneaks into the trash somewhere. We don’t want to do that.

    Any experience to share on the matter?

    • We do have experience using a “honey bucket”! The bucket was always outside and we used plastic liners and sawdust and took the bags to the dump.

      After using an Incinolet incinerating toilet and a sawdust bucket toilet I have a rekindled appreciation for flushing toilets! They make low flow RV toilets that use very little water, and flushing toilets that have a hand washing sink above the tank so you fill your tank with slightly used water.

      I think you would have to find a very willing person to use a bucket and dump it every 2 days in your septic system…and a male person to pee in an outdoor shower… If you already have a septic system and ample water, and it doesn’t freeze there, I would recommend a flushing toilet in the tiny house, connected to your septic system via an RV pedestal type connection.

      If you’re adamant about a sawdust toilet I would highly recommend building it according to the Humanure Handbook’s design. This involves a closed wooden box (bucket inside) with a toilet seat on top that is vented to the outside (human waste has a lot of moisture, and does not smell good).

      good luck!

      • Aran@sendan.com

        Thanks for your considerate reply. Your points regarding an enclosure for the “honey bucket” and the need for venting are well taken. My current design thoughts involve a free-standing shower/dressing room structure – a mini pool house if you will – that would incorporate an Ecovita separett privy kit. The thought is to place the “honey bucket” on a roll -out (with full extension hardware) so that it could be accessed easily without entering the structure.

        I don’t seeing it being that difficult to tie up a bag, place it in the back of a mini truck, drive 300 yards and place it in the very large rolling trash can that our county sanitation people pick up weekly (using a truck mounted mechanical grabber/dumper).

        The seriously committed could use Bokashi bucket composting for on site processing,

        I suppose it wouldn’t be that difficult to incorporate a porta-potty style urinal into the system. I plan to drain the shower and the diverted urine into a chambered leaching pit. Tying in another line is certainly doable.

        The building site for my tiny house is about 150 feet from the existing septic system and about 40 feet lower in elevation. The technical solution to make the connection would involve a macerator and at least two sewage injectors. I’ve pumped concrete that far and that high with success but do it to poop?

        To wax on philosophically the only thing that I am adamant about is Mom and Apple Pie. Still though I am becoming a firm believer in urine separation. When I last checked my personal equipment I had two entirely separate systems. God and evolution must have made it that way for a good reason.

  27. Carrie,

    You laugh about the kitty litter. We have invented and manufacture The Sanitizer™ Evaporative Toilet that in fact uses kitty litter.

    The Sanitizer™ is a simple, low maintenance, convenient, inexpensive and environmentally safe solution for sanitation. The Sanitizer™ weighs just 45 lbs. and is an odorless, waterless, evaporative toilet. It runs on 110 volts and aside from some minor methane venting it does not need any installation. Just plug The Sanitizer™ in and use it. It has a high capacity. The solids dry and are sanitized for safe, easy disposal in the trash. The liquids evaporate. The Sanitizer eliminates the need to treat toilet water.

    I invite you to visit our website at http://www.CUAProducts.com to learn more.


    Ted Knight
    Vice President
    Clean Up America, Inc.
    P. O. Box 5169, Arlington, VA 22205
    “Join the revolution in human sanitation!”
    703 532 2210

  28. brad

    Can a sewer system connect like a normal house?

    I don’t think I can live with poop next to me.

    • Yes, tiny houses can have conventional flushing toilets but the plumbing below has to be protected from freezing if you live in a cold climate. Insulation and/or heat tape.

      • brad

        Thank you.

        I live in a condominium.

        I agree to live in a small space.

        But, a house without real toilet, shower and laundromat is not realistic.

  29. sarah

    You know the really fancy “worlds best” cat litter… its basically chicken feed. And I highly recommend chicken feed, its cheap, absorbs quickly, is scoopable (excellent for hubby after burrito night), and is good at absorbing “everyday” odors, totally compostable/desposable, and is available online or at any farm/feed store. Feel free to add some baking soda if you need more odor control.

  30. I saw a video some time ago about a very cool toilet that had a liner. After going, you “flush” and it sucks everything inside the liner, the liner seals itself and you have an air tight package you simply toss. I have it somewhere in my endless notes on tiny houses. You should be able to find it googling. It sounded like the best solution I’ve found.

    • jamtell

      Its not called a diper Genie is it?
      That may work some how..I could figure it out with time to make it work.

  31. The link didn’t transfer so just google toilet that wraps waste. It’s the video

  32. Deb

    It’s the Dry Flush Toilet (dry-flush dot com in case the link doesn’t work). 🙂

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  35. Chris.B.

    Where do you park a litte home ? I’m fully self contained, live in calgary canada , I’m willing to provide 2500watts of solar and turbine power to the land owner +$ for parking on a farm or lot .. No takers 😢

    • Sabrina

      We live on Vancouver island, in an rv. Which does have benefits when finding a place to live. There is luck to be found on Craigslist, kijiji and Used______ sites. Also, spreading the word and networking with people who have the land. We have considered scoping out our preferred ares and dropping off letters. Marketing yourself as onsite security could help. Depending on the area, maybe even a letter at the town poster board.
      A terrific option is just around the corner! Good luck!

  36. Melissa

    Can you do an update on your incinerator toilet? How are you dealing with the smell? Does it get hot enough to light stuff on fire? I’m thinking about one for my tiny home but I’m hoping to build shelving around it and I’d like to know if it would light it on fire.

    • Update on the Incinolet incinerating toilet: it’s at the dump. An epic fail… Huge mistake… Would never recommend an incinerating toilet to anyone!!! Did not turn material to ash, used a ton of electricity, 90 minutes of a loud fan after each use, horrible smells outside, even with a custom chimney stack.

      • Melissa

        That sucks. I keep getting such mixed reviews about them. People either love them or absolutely hate them. Thanks for the reply though. Sorry it didn’t work out for you.

  37. Soozie Laubach

    The Sanitizer toilet is what I’ll pick when I’m ready to start my grand adventure in a small dwelling still t rying to find cost though if anyone knows pleeeease share it otherwise i will have to exchange my body type for the pooless thpe 😉

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  39. Patty McCredie

    Got a suggestion that I think will work well with the low-tech composter. (I’m just looking over all these options myself, haven’t made my mind up yet.) Blue Buffalo makes a new cat litter out of walnuts that is phenomenal. It’s called “Naturally Fresh.” Of course it’s not cheap. But a sprinkle strategically over the top I imagine could be very effective. I know it’s the best thing I’ve ever used for cat poop. I don’t know whether it’s the astringency of walnut shells… but this stuff really neutralizes smells. And made in the USA, they say.

  40. No one has mentioned the Dryflush system. It wraps your poop in a plastic bag.


    Joe Jenkins was a neighbor of mine. Really nice person. I highly recommend his Humanure Handbook. Definitely check local ordinances. Ithaca, NY specifically prohibits the Humanure type of composting. (Composting toilets OK.)

    I am going to be using the Sun-Mar Mobile in my van to camper conversion. It is has a 12v option which is great for off the grid installations.

    Yes, it is expensive but dumping fees are expensive, too. From talking with people about this, being generous with the peat moss is important in making the system work.

    Sun-Mar also makes an expensive compost tumbler for those of you wanting to go that route.

  41. I wonder if anyone has thought to try to incinerate waste using a more low-tech method. I think a decent sized rocket stove could turn poop to ash, or perhaps charcoal. If using forest trimmings or scrap wood, or biobriquettes made from waste paper, the fuel to run the stove would be inexpensive. Well-made rocket stoves tend to burn smokeless, so many consider them ecologically sound, though I’m sure that is up for debate in different circles.

    Heat a pot of poop on top of the stove. Pipe the resulting gas from the pot back down to the stove’s air intake, so the fire can combust the malodorous exhaust and hopefully not smell bad during a burn. With the absence of oxygen in the pot, it should be possible to turn the poop/sawdust mix into charcoal/biochar if it is removed from the heat before it turns to ash, same as one would make charcoal from wood. Perhaps by biobriquetting the heat-treated waste after the fire has done its job, you could get lengths of burnable charcoal to fuel the stove during future burns? If that would work, that batch could be used as the fuel source to incinerate the next batch. Or, barring that, perhaps the resulting biochar could safely and immediately be used as a soil amendment, since any dangerous pathogens would not survive that kind of heat.

    Just a thought. I haven’t found any information about doing this, and perhaps there is a good reason for that. Perhaps it flat out wouldn’t work. I intend to try this at the back of my lot with dog poop at some point, just to see what the outcome is. Would be awesome if I could quickly turn poop into something useful with no risk of contaminating anything with it and without having to handle it overly much.

    • interesting well-expressed ideas… I think the smell of burning poop would be the main deterrent. It’s awful. also convenience might be a problem when the urge strikes… would you transport the poop pot to the stove? or would the stove be the poop pot? and how would you go if it was burning? messy… dealing with waste really is one of the main tiny house issues / constraints…

      • Patty

        That’s why I spent $1000 on the Nature’s Head. It’s way overpriced but I feel ilke they worked the bugs out. Also, check out “Gone with the Wynns” on youtube about a composting toilet. They answer every single question you could have. Very entertaining.

        I know one thing for sure. I’m not cooking a big pot of poop on top of my stove. Even if you pay me.

  42. Karen

    OMG, do NOT buy the Dry-Flush! I doubt anyone here would because it’s not exactly ecologically sound, and the cartridges are expensive. But I just had to try it. I’m an idiot.

    Sometimes it requires 2-3 “flushes” to seal everything in. On more than one occasion, it looked completely sealed, and then I’d open up the lid two days later to find stinky waste percolating back into the bowl. Dry Flush never solved the problem and would not accept a return, so I turned it back into the bucket toilet I originally had in there in the first place, only now it’s this white, sterile-looking toilet instead of the beautiful Cabin Can I used to have.

    The walnut shell litter idea is interesting. I’m also going to try mixing baking soda in with my peat moss. I used to have a handle on this (composting without smells) and lost it somehow. I think now I was just getting stingy with the peat moss. I, too, have heard that it isn’t environmentally friendly, somehow, but I tried coco coir and it does *not* smell good to me… and that’s before it ever gets used.

    Regular “just peat moss” peat moss is actually *hard* to find these days, not easy. (If you want peat moss with Miracle Grow, you’re in luck.) Otherwise, I can only find it either in bales that are too big for me to handle by myself, or in small bags, but only in the spring and summer. Apparently, our hardware and garden stores are not aware that people poop in the winter, too. 🙂

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  44. Molly

    I have read great things about the Separett with urine diverter because urine+poo=stink and it’s just as good for compost dry. http://www.separett-usa.com/index.php/photos.html

  45. Give some serious consideration to the BoonJon dry toilet. It basically does what a cat does and completely covers the waste with sawdust. There is absolutely no sewage smell. It is ergonomically designed and super easy to use and keep clean. It doesn’t require any ventilation, electricity or water. It is clearly designed for tiny houses, cabins and camper-type uses.

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  48. Haylee

    I’m a little late to the party! I’m actually looking for options for my home (that we don’t have yet). Only, I won’t be in a tiny home, I’ll be in a yurt.

    Anyways, I read about this thing called an aquatron in the UK. With it, you can use a regular toilet and when you flush it, it separate the liquid from the solids. The solids go to a compost bin and the liquids go to wherever you decide. I’m just wondering if anyone has heard of this? Pros and Cons if you have? Where can I get one in the US?

  49. Here’s a list of the top 6 picks for tiny home toilets I choose… http://www.offgridandgreen.com/pages/best-tiny-house-composting-toilet

  50. Tony Fletcher

    I have had my Incinolet for about 5 months. No complaints. I have not encountered any of the problems I’ve seen posted on the Internet. My email is at the bottom for questions or pics of my installed Incinolet.

    Tony Fletcher

  51. Springintheair

    Our Ecojohn propane toilet has been perfect for our tiny home. We are off the grid so this was a perfect solution for us. We have solar and propane. No connection to septic. My husband cleans out the ashes about every 4 weeks. We were contemplating getting a cheaper composting model but I am happy we didn’t. This has worked for us over three years now.

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  53. BeanieBaby

    I think it could be an interesting idea to take the 5 gallon bucket and combine it with the ‘litterbox’ so that instead of having to deal with potential odors and having to find a compost pile you can just trow it away like any normal kitty litter.

    • This is exactly what I do, BeanieBaby. I use a home depot bucket, a seat with a lid and 4 gallon bags. Kitty litter and double bag it.

  54. Sara

    As a compromise between a low tech and high tech system we have gone with the C-Head. Brilliantly simple, low enough odor that we can keep it in a tent and sleep next to it for a week. When it is on the boat we use it in place for weeks before changing it and have no unpleasant odors. We use natural coconut husk or coir, which is a better choice for the earth. Peat Moss is not very sustainable. Once you cut it up it’s gone and takes a long time to replenish. Coconut husk is a constantly available byproduct of many processes. For constant use it would be best to semi-hard plumb it into a permanent liquid waste storage. We have plans for an off the grid house and will be creating french drains for the liquid waste to drain into. Solid waste must be composted or otherwise disposed of. We have 5 years of experience with this head.

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  56. Susan Chiles

    Mining Peat Bogs has released tons of CO2 into the atmosphere. I would ask for another alternative. I like the texture and coverage in many applications but I’m not buying it any longer.

    • Sandy Graves

      One of the advantages of the BoonJon composting toilet system is you have choices as to several renewable mediums that you can use. Coconut coir, pine or aspen small animal bedding available at Walmart, Petco and Petsmart, Fine pine shavings and pine and corncob pellets available at Tractor Supply or Rural King. Oak planer shavings available at most oak cabinet manufacturers for free. Coarse sawdust and shavings available at any lumber mill for $5 a pickup truck load, etc.

    • Sara

      Coir, coconut husk, is readily avaliable, inexpensive, sold in compact bricks that take very little room and does the job admirably. Any organic based (wheat, corn, pine) cat litter would work as well but is bulkier, and more expensive. Clay or silicon based litter is not a good environmental choice.

      We have used the coir in our C-head for years. It’s simple and seamless.

    • Patty

      Good to know. I had heard peat is not a renewable resource. I have a Nature’s Head and it’s great. It cost way too much money but I expect to use it a long time. Instead of peat, how about coconut coir? That’s what they recommend for the Nature’s Head. Completely renewable and otherwise just a waste product.

  57. Cher Darr

    While building my Mini McMansion Granny Cabin ;).. I’ve been 9 months in my RV. I use a PortaPotty for urine only and it lasts about a week. For pooh, the existing RV toilet, after plugging the water entry hose. I use a big bag to line the actual toilet (tall kitchen) (just because?), then 4 Gal.bio bags, in a bowl (Rubermaid w/red lid). If urine is an accident during pooh, I have kitty littler on stand by and only had to use it a couple of times. (The small bowl idea is credited to a Van Dwelling woman on CheapRVLiving.com) 🙂

    In thinking of my new home nearing completion, I wanted a one-sit solution without a bunch of fancy ‘connections/vents’ etc. I purchased a “SmartJon” on Ebay, mainly because it looked pretty and white. Well.. it has several issues, mainly that the urine tank only holds 2 days worth AND the connecting hose is 1/3 of the way down from the top, so more like 1.5 days. (Don’t ask me how I know). I may try to incorporate some small collection station outside of the house for the urine hose somehow, but.. it is essentially a bucket toilet with a urine diverter, with too many ‘connections and contraptions’ to make it my cup of tea!

    I have bio bags and a neighborhood dump, or the Jenkins option since I have land. I used to think Poop in bags to the dumpster was HIDEOUS. I got over it. SOMEONE needs to get something to the land fill to help degrade all the rest of that mess!!

    Just adding my 2 cents and bit of experience hoping to help some other tiny home-ers! I am definitely happy with the most basic solution(s) with as few ‘connections’ as possible! I just heard about using chick starter as a cover?! :):)

    • Sara

      Give the C-Head a try. it lives by the KISS principal. As in Keep It Simple Stupid ; -)

      You will still have to pay attention to the urine levels, but it is so straightforward that it is pretty fool proof.

      And it is easily converted/diverted to a much larger urine collection container, depending on your set up.

      I especially like that the urine collector is a gallon milk jug, which can be tossed into the recycle when it gets manky, and a new jug installed.

      As far as shit in the trash goes? Consider diapers, which add the negative ecological burden of a huge mass of uncompostable synthetic fibre and plastic to the anaerobic bundle. A plastic bag with desiccated poop and coir is a much better addition to the land fill!

  58. Tom

    I’m more curious how come everyone have to use a composite toilet? why can’t we have normal toilet or an rv toilet for tiny house? I just like the idea to flush out my junk instead of letting it sit there like some kinda cat litter

    • Sara

      I am guessing that you have never maintained a black water tank…
      They are ok so long as there are no problems and you have a pump out station handy. But that rarely is the case.

      It’s not that composting toilets are so sexy, but they are much easier to manage than the wet alternative.

  59. Leslie Gallo

    I’m an outsider here, but as a person who poos and watches Tiny House Hunters I’m intrigued as to why waste removal is never EVER discussed. I mean, it’s a reality, right? So what gives? Now I know! Thanks, and I’ll be staying in my tiny apartment hooked up to the sewer.

    • hahaha! yes, why is it never talked about? “Everyone Poops” is the most read post on this blog!!! it’s all real tiny housers EVER talk about!

      • Sandy Graves

        I would be glad to talk about it since I have basically made it a career out of it. I have put some posts on the website but they don’t get responded to much. I am a manufacturer of a dry toilet that can be used to compost waste or simply dispose of it. Most people view this as spamming but I have spent the past 7 years perfecting a system. So ask me anything. I’ll give you the straight skinny on this subject.

        Almost everything has a smell. The challenge is to get rid of strong or unpleasant smells. There is no magic poop box where poop just disappears except with a municipal system. Odor can be controlled easily with my toilet you just have to follow simple instructions like keeping the pee out of the poop. I have devised easy, cheap work-arounds for those who have difficulty with this. Again, ask me anything about tiny house toilets.

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