Emergency Toilet

Emergency Toilet

Emergency Toilet Introduction 

What is an emergency toilet and why do you need one? That is an excellent question! I strongly recommend this be added to any prepper supply list, especially if there are more than one or two people in your household. It really is essential for any prepper to have the capability to make an emergency toilet. 

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Have you ever made your own emergency toilet? Come on in and let me tell you about it! 

Emergency Toilet
Emergency Toilet

Why You Need an Emergency Toilet 

If the water stops working in your home for whatever reason or emergency, a portable emergency toilet is essential. A pipe can burst and the water has to be shut off for repairs, or the grid goes down. Murphy’s law always says that as soon as you realize the water isn’t working, everybody has to use the bathroom. This could also become a long-term problem in the event of some sort of wide spread catastrophe. 

Running down the road to McDonalds or a gas station may not be feasible, and it is beyond inconvenient. If this is a wide-spread emergency, the store or gas station may not even be an option because they can’t flush their toilets either. This is where this comes in very handy. 

Emergency Toilet
Emergency Toilet

But pooping in a toilet without the ability to flush is a problem as well. It is unsanitary, it smells, and it can fill up quickly. Once the water is back on and it is full and you flush, it may very well backup and overflow. Nobody wants that mess on their hands! 

That is where a portable emergency toilet comes in handy. They aren’t expensive to make, you likely have most of the necessary components in your home or garage already, and it is both easy and helpful. 

Emergency Toilet
Emergency Toilet

Emergency Toilet 


Let’s start with a 5 gallon bucket. I like these, or you can use a Firehouse Subs bucket if you have them stored up like I do. Although if you use a food grade bucket, please label it so that you don’t accidentally put food in it to store later. 

Buckets like this are cheap, lightweight, portable, and can be used for about a billion other things around the house when they aren’t in use for this purpose. I personally pull mine out when my husband wants to wash my truck and use it for soap and water. 

I keep several around the house at all times. They usually have a lid that comes with them, so they can be used for storage as well. I also love to use them for storage because they are stackable. 

Trash Bags 

You need a good sturdy trash bag for this. Nobody wants to clean out a bucket of poop, right? Let’s just be honest here. That screams illness to me, and that is the last thing you need in an emergency or disaster. 

Many preppers recommend the big black contractor bags. I am not a fan myself, because I have small hands and it is hard for me to tie them off. It requires a lot more touching of the bag. But they are definitely sturdy. 

With a standard trash bag, it generally has pull ties and that is my preference. I like these. The one big downside to these is because they aren’t as sturdy as a contractor bag, they need to be changed more often. 

There are also trash bags called Double Doodie, that are specifically for this purpose. Because they are more expensive and have only this use, they may not be the best option, unless you have the money and space to keep them. 

Cat Litter 

Cat litter is essential. It can work for humans just as well as it can cats. If you have a cat, this is even better. Just buy extra litter for your furry friend and nobody will ever know the difference. You can smile because you have a dual-purpose prep! 

This is what I buy for both my cat and the emergency toilet. This is something that comes in a variety of forms, sizes, and prices. It is up to you what you prefer. I like mine to be in buckets, because they stack well in a small space. You can also store it in the garage, out of sight. 

Toilet Seat 

I purchased a Luggable Loo here. It can be fastened securely to the bucket and you are free to do your business comfortably. These are also perfect for camping, so it has multiple uses! 

I place the trash bag inside of the bucket, draping it over the outside of the bucket. This toilet seat fastens over the top of it, and off you go. Sprinkle some cat litter into the bottom of the bag to start with. Then do your business. 


I keep a fairly healthy amount of cornstarch around for a number of reasons, including recipes, but for this as well. Another dual-purpose prep, which is always a big deal in my household, where space is always a problem. 

Sprinkle some cornstarch over the waste when you are done with your business. This will cause the liquid waste to gel up and remove any odors. 

Emergency Toilet
Emergency Toilet

Other Additions to Your Emergency Toilet 

Toilet Paper 

Toilet Paper is essential, and so are baby wipes when water is in short supply and you’re having to use an emergency toilet. 

I normally use reusable toilet paper, just because it is not only better for the environment, it is more sustainable than using paper toilet paper. But this is one instance where paper is better because it is disposable. I think disposable everything has its place, just not in daily life, but in emergencies. Because if you can’t flush, you can’t wash either. 

Hand Sanitizer 

I make my own hand sanitizer, but you can buy it here as well. A good supply of it never hurts! Because disease and illness come from waste and improper sanitization, which can make you very sick and even kill you. This is why I keep emergency toilet supplies as part of my prepping. I like keeping things sanitary and safe, especially in an emergency. 

Emergency Toilet Notes 

Generally speaking, you don’t want to throw the trash bags containing human waste into the trash can. That is a biohazard. But that may or may not be the only option you have. Check if trash services are running. 

You can dig holes if you have property and bury the waste. Some people suggest burning it, although I am not sure I would recommend this disposal method. If you are preparing for this, you want to have a disposal plan ready for when you need it. 

Another option would be compost. But you need to research exactly how to do this. Because it is not a simple process and human waste requires specific guidelines to follow on how to do it safely. Please, please do your research on this if it is an option that you are considering. 

If this is a simple short-term emergency, please dispose of these biohazards appropriately. If this is a long-term emergency, and that option simply isn’t available, you will want to think about alternative ways to dispose of the waste. 

Emergency Toilet
Emergency Toilet

Emergency Toilet Discussion 

Is an emergency toilet part of your preps? Has this post inspired you to gather the items needed to make one? Let me know your thoughts in the comments! 

Emergency Toilet
Emergency Toilet

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Emergency Toilet
Emergency Toilet
Emergency Toilet


    • Tinka

      Such an interesting and great post!
      It really isn’t something you’d think of and didn’t know, but it’s extremely helpful.
      Thank you so so much for sharing this x

      – Littletinkablee

  • Nyxie

    This was a brilliant read. Not something I would have thought of in an emergency but it totally makes sense. If the water stops running we don’t consider how many areas of our life are affected!

    – Nyxie

  • Scott J DeNicola

    This is something I have never thought of in the past but I can see it being a possible necessity. You may laugh but I have seen on construction sites something similar but for a seat, you can use a pool noodle that has been cut to size for the bucket and then down the middle so it can slide on top of the rim. Now you have a cushion. I learn so much on your site. Excellent food recipes and how to make a portable toilet. But helpful!

  • Lindsay Brown

    Great post and so useful! An emergency toilet isn’t something I would have thought about but as you mentioned it’s a pretty important piece of daily equipment!

    I didn’t realize how easy it would be to construct one. I basically have all of the items I would need right in my house!

    A great informative post, thanks for sharing your knowledge!

  • Sarah

    Never thought about having an emergency toilet, but this is something I need to consider in the future. I’ve heard of something similar before, the only difference is they used a pool noodle to line the top of the bucket to make it a bit more comfortable to use. I love the fact that it’s a cheap and easy thing to put together and a bucket has so many other uses as well. Will have to make sure I get one and add it to our emergency kit.

  • Sharon Wu

    I honestly never thought of making an emergency toilet (or even knew it was a thing, really)! Thank you for sharing the importance of having one. My brother really could have used one of these a month ago when his house was having some water leak issue and he had to shut down the water for a few days to get it fixed!

  • Tracy @ Cleland Clan

    This is such a great post. You never know when you might lose power for several days and need an emergency toilet. It would also be helpful to take tent camping, even with kids who can’t always make it all the way to the restrooms in developed campgrounds.

    • Snehal

      The concept of emergency toilet was new to me. Now it seems like one needs to have one. I would like to check out your suggested toilet paper. Gotta buy some new ones!

  • Thuy

    I would never have known how to even start making an emergency toilet until I read this. Now I’ll know what to do if the need arises. I don’t have a cat, but I know that where I live sometimes people stock up on sand or kitty litter to de-ice their driveways

  • Doris Jean

    You always make me realize how unprepared I am lol. Not many people can do that! I have never thought about having an emergency toilet although I have experienced not being able to use the toilet. The thought just never crossed my mind. Great article!

  • Luna S

    Never thought about using kitty litter in a camping toilet! Usually my father-in-law brings his camping toilet and we just use pine needles to line the bottom a little and then cover any mess left behind.

  • Melanie williams

    Wow what an interesting read and who knew that you could make one so easy. Perfect for camping if someone has not been prepared x

  • Morgan Paxton

    I never considered an emergency toilet before. This seems like it would be a really helpful post for those in Texas right now. I know so many are suffering from frozen pipes, power outages and more. I hope they recover quickly but something like this might help families get by while waiting for the snow to melt and repairs to be made.

  • Stella

    Awesome! A wealth of information! I actually wondered about this when I watched The Walking Dead. How did they dispose of their waste in all these run-down buildings they ended up using. They never show you exactly. I mean, it is easy on the go, but when you live somewhere, a hole in the ground won’t cut it long term.
    Love these ideas. Cat litter, of course! And cornstarch to liquify it. I wonder why it would be different with human waste compost, I buy animal waste compost for my garden! Like you said, more research required, but we should all definitely know this. I am aware of how unprepared I would be for camping, let alone a real emergency!

  • Britt K

    We use a toilet like this in a small tent when car camping. The only difference is that we have swapped the litter (that’s what we used at first) for wood shavings. They are lighter weight for when you have to move them around (like emptying the toilet) and I like the woody smell that you get when you open the toilet with them better than the smell of the litter lol

  • Lisa

    Depending on where you live and how much property you have burying your waste can infect the local water systems. It’s best to check with you municipality to see how to dispose of your waste products in a clean and safe way.

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