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The Urban Survival Toilet

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The Urban Survival Toilet

If the grid goes down and you’re trying to stick out the disaster at home, one of the most immediate problems you’ll have to deal with is what to do with human waste. If the water stops running, you won’t be able to flush your toilets, and you don’t want to just keep using them without flushing. Not only is that unsanitary, your whole house will smell bad, and eventually your toilet will overflow.

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If you have a source of water nearby such as a stream or lake, you could haul buckets of water back to your house and use it to flush your toilets. But if you don’t have such a source, you’ll want to save every drop of water you have for drinking, which means you’ll need an alternative to your toilet. That’s where the urban survival toilet comes in.

In this video, Corporals Corner explains how to make this portable toilet. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 5 gallon bucket with handle
  • Trash bag liners
  • 2×4 or swim noodle
  • Toilet paper
  • Kitty litter

Watch the video below for the instructions on how to put it together.

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17 Comments

  1. Krissy on August 9, 2020 at 4:46 pm

    I tried to get your urban survival guide but you say my email address is not valid. Well, I get tons of other mail to that email, soI don’t understand why you say it’s not valid.

  2. prsmith on July 5, 2019 at 2:10 pm

    This is a messy problem on which your life depends and you should solve it now and not wait for an extended shtf disaster (no pun intended). I’d like to suggest that you think as your ancestors did. No running water. No bleach. No toilet paper. What to do?

    For starters, get on youtube and search for composting toilets. You don’t need to buy one but you want to look at the chemical processes and the do’s and don’t’s. They don’t use chemicals, they let nature deal with the problem.

    No toilet paper or bleach? You’re going to need soap, you might want to learn to make it or prepare to barter for it. Toilet paper will run out, plan for it. Washcloths or other soft material cut into 6 inch squares and hemmed can be repeatedly soaked then washed and spread in the sun to dry. They should be white like diapers. Washing? Here are some ideas: https://morningchores.com/manual-washing-machine/ Wetting the rag will clean better and folding the rag twice will give you three shots at getting clean without needing multiple rags.

    An outhouse screams people with preps and you certainly don’t want to be using it when evil stops by. You’ll need to protect that open pit to prevent people from falling in however so work to make a camouflaged cover. Shovels, post hole diggers and pickaxes with shortened handles are required tools and you might want a rake or broom to help restore the camouflage after each addition . Pee is heavy; pee outdoors whenever possible or, even better, keep a pee jar: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=73_f58MHE5U

    Sitting on a bucket with a foam donut ring is going to be temporary, uncomfortable and an accident waiting to happen – especially if you have kids. Build a box that sits over a bucket with a hole cut in the top. Mount a toilet seat (could be the one from your current toilet) over the hole. If you don’t have room to store the box, cut the needed pieces and store them and the necessary hardware (nails, screws, hinges, etc.) in the bucket.

  3. Mae on July 2, 2019 at 5:20 pm

    Good article, but it didn’t go into depth about where you are going to dump the waste. The bucket is going to fill up fast and then what?

    Better plan on digging an outdoor facility, deep, away from any water source and secure to deal with this subject.

  4. Mark Oliver on July 2, 2019 at 4:07 pm

    nobody thinks of this .including myself . I grew up with out drinkable water my mom good not go to the out house . I and my brothers had to take the honey bucket out to the out house .

  5. NP Duncan-adam on July 2, 2019 at 12:39 pm

    If and when things do go pear shaped things will tend to cascade from bad to worse there will always be that one person or group of people who by their nature screw it up for everyone so hygiene is going to be a matter of life and death remember the first toilets didn’t use water they used soil which covers the smell if you use such an item do ensure that it is emptied before it gets to heavy so you don’t burst the bag and have its contents everywhere also instead of putting one bag at a time put 5 or 10 then as you remove each one into your black pit at a minimum 4ft deep (have some pre dug for winter you dont want to try digging frozen ground).
    One other item you should have at hand is imodium as stress stomach upset and other things will cause diarrhea that has to be stopped as it will cause dehydration also a hygiene threat .
    Another concern will be toilet paper that will disappear quickly so an alternative is required using leaves is okay in the short term but in your living space they are not practical consider the old Terry Towling diaper a towel cut up after you have cleaned most of the fouling with something disposable finish with a patch of damp toweling that goes into your bleach bucket use light colored towels not dark clean them daily and have several available as yours and any with you will take some time to get used to your new environment.
    Keep anyone who is I’ll away from food preparation area even their plate cup and spoon should be washed separately after all the other stuff.

  6. Ray M on July 2, 2019 at 12:24 pm

    This is a good article for the basics although there are better ways to accomplish this. To each his own. May I suggest that you keep some sort of container near by with ordinary lime in it. When finished you can sprinkle a bit of lime on top (enough to cover it) and it will help reduce potential odors. That is “if” you’re planning ahead and remember to stock a bag or two of lime. Just a thought.

    • Alan on July 2, 2019 at 4:14 pm

      good tip, thanks!

    • prsmith on July 5, 2019 at 12:21 pm

      How long would you expect that ‘bag or two’ to last for a family of four?

  7. Steve on July 2, 2019 at 11:40 am

    it won’t take long with this set up to go bad, especially if you have children. better ways but this will work for a short time.

  8. Rick Palmer on July 2, 2019 at 10:59 am

    The concept is very good , but I would suggest a different bucket material. I would use a metal bucket for this reason: you still have to dispose of human waste. During my time in the mid 60′ southeast Asian ruckus, we would burn up our intestinal byproducts. A metal bucket can be filled with any flamable material, burned up, and reused. Two buckets on hand would be better. One for use while the other is being sanitized by fire. Hope this is helpful.

    • Alan on July 2, 2019 at 4:15 pm

      That’s a good idea, thanks for sharing!

    • prsmith on July 5, 2019 at 12:25 pm

      I cannot imagine living in an area with thousands or tens of thousands of people burning the previous day’s poop. I hope they will all do what our gg-grandparents did and dig an outhouse hole in which to dispose of the crap.

      • Joyce Taylor on May 14, 2020 at 8:58 pm

        And what about an apartment building full of people that need to go?

  9. Tina on July 2, 2019 at 10:33 am

    We use this when camping where there are no facilities.

  10. Mic on July 2, 2019 at 10:03 am

    There are better ones you can buy that have a toilet seat and a lid. You could even find plans on the Internet to build a better one than this.

    However, the real problem is not being addressed here:
    If you are in a Urban environment, what are you going to to with the toilets contents?
    There are few areas that you can dig a hole in and place your waste in, Then once they are quickly filled up, what are you going to do then?

    If you think you will just leave it in the bags unburied then remember that animals will get in it and the bags will leak and decay. So then you will have a health hazard.
    Doing this in an Urban environment is just a plan for disaster.

    Building an outhouse is a far better plan, properly built, it will provide for waste disposal for a lot longer period of time, before you must relocate it.

  11. Lauren F on December 5, 2018 at 5:16 pm

    I made 2 of these. I definitely prefer this over nothing. Better to be prepared with something.

  12. vocalpatriot on May 21, 2018 at 8:14 am

    Although I applaud the author’s intent to address this very important concern, this looks better than it works.
    There are better way to accomplish this..just look for them.
    Also If the power is out and you have no water, it won’t be long before the sewage system fails and then, even if you have water to flush your toilet, you won’t want to…look that up as well.

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