(Feature Image by Stefano Ferrario)
“Where do you poop?” Believe it or not, tiny home toilet questions are among the most frequently asked questions at open house events.
It’s no surprise.
A bathroom is an essential daily living need. It is especially important in a small space with the extra close proximity to the other “rooms.” Managing sewage and any associated odors is a top concern when it comes to choosing between tiny house toilet options.
When you shop for the ideal tiny home toilet option, contemplate where you plan to park your tiny home on wheels. If unsure, choosing a tiny house toilet with off-grid flexibility might be your best bet.
Also, consider the cleaning and maintenance requirements of each tiny house toilet option. What are you comfortable with? If you’re unsure, ask tiny dwellers about their experiences with different tiny house toilet options in Facebook groups.
These two big considerations led my boyfriend and me to change our tiny home toilet on multiple occasions. More on that later.
Generally, there are three top tiny house toilet options to choose from. Each of these varieties has its benefits and downsides.
Let’s take a closer look at the tiny house toilet options available!
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Tiny house toilet option 1: Conventional flush toilets
Yes, you can have a regular flush toilet in your tiny house. BUT, it only works for on-grid, long-term parking situations.
Keep in mind, municipalities with THOW zoning for backyard parking will require that you hook up to city sewer connection.
Even if you don’t begin with this option, it is worth your while to future-proof your tiny home by planning enough space for a flush toilet.
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Tiny house toilet option 2: Composting toilets
When you think of a tiny house toilet, a composting toilet probably is the first thing to pop in your mind. It is a popular choice, and for a good reason.
For instance, composting toilets can easily break-down waste, without the need for stinky chemicals or water, and are relatively easy to maintain. They also provide off-grid flexibility for any parking spot or road trip.
That’s why we chose a composting toilet in our tiny home.
We began with a self-made version. Basically, it was a bucket with a urine diverter attached to the front. To beautify it, we encased it in an attractive wormy maple box.
It got old quick. We had to empty it twice per week with regular use—partially due to necessary bulky layers of sawdust. While the smell was surprisingly low, it did linger longer than what’s pleasant.
Our original DIY composting tiny home toilet
Later, we upgraded to Nature’s Head composting toilet, aka dry toilet. Immediately, we noticed a significant improvement with the smell. It includes a mounted small computer-type fan.
With a minimal power draw, the air circulation fan and ventilation hose push stench outside. It also provides the added benefit of recycling the air in your tiny house bathroom.
Additionally, this setup helps speed up the composting process by drying out the solids.
Further, the rotating agitator bar provides further assistance to break down the solids and mix in the composting cover material. Typically, coconut coir or peat moss is used to absorb some liquids in this tiny home toilet and mask the odor.
“The Nature’s Head Composting Toilet is the latest design, the best value, and the most reliable choice for portable, self-contained, urine separating dry toilets — on the water, on the land, or on the road…While we designed our product to withstand the harsh marine environment, it can be used anywhere you need a toilet, especially anywhere that plumbing or electricity is difficult or non-existent.”
Dimensions: 2 x 20.5 x 21.7 inches
Weight: 28 pounds
Power consumption: 1.7 amps in 24 hours
When our little Nature’s Head exhaust fan stopped working, we decided to upgrade to a much larger variable speed fan. It packs a big punch.
After a couple of weeks of regular use, happy to report that any previous occasional smelliness is now completely gone!
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Previously, we also modified our Nature’s Head to divert the urine out of the tiny house instead of into the bottle. This was a game changer!
No more daily emptying, and no more late-night, messy overflow situations. Now it either goes into an exterior grey water holding tank with our sink water or directly into a sewer drain out.
The exterior urine diversion is one of the big reasons people like the Separett waterless toilet. Fluids are diverted outside the tiny house into a grey water container, filtration system, or sewer.
Another favorite feature is the simplicity of emptying the solids, far easier than Nature’s Head.
“It is very easy to empty the solid waste from the toilet holding area. Simply tie off the compostable liner bag and either remove the bag alone or within the container to carry to your remote compost, incinerator or approved solid waste disposal area. Additional compostable bags and containers can be purchased if required.”
The Separett Villa 9215 model is most suited as a full-time tiny house toilet. It is perhaps the most like a traditional one, with its porcelain appearance and comfortable seat.
Do you have small kids? Just place the Separett Child Seat on top for easy use by the little ones, while retaining the all-important urine separating function.
Like the Nature’s Head, the Villa 9215 does require power for the 2.5-watt exhaust fan. Due to its low consumption, this tiny house toilet option is well-suited for a battery or solar cell power.
Dimensions: 8.5 x 23 x 27.75 inches
Weight: 34 pounds
Power consumption: 0.06kWh in 24 hours
Based on my personal experience, I think a tricked out, self-made composting toilet can achieve the same results of either Nature’s Head or Separett model tiny home toilet options. And this can be done at a fraction of the cost.
Both of the fancy tiny house toilet options cost a pretty penny. On the other hand, they are still considerably less than a new septic system.
Keep in mind, the DIY tiny home toilet option does require much more elbow grease and finesse to get dialed. So depending on your budget, it could be worth it to go for the ready-made tiny house toilet option.
No matter what route you go, what I love about dry or composting tiny home toilets is the water conservation. It’s satisfying to know that I am saving approximately 2000 gallons of water each year.
Whereas, a conventional toilet uses a whopping 1.6 gallons per flush!
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Tiny house toilet option 3: Incinerating Toilets
Incinerating toilets completely burn solid waste, so all you have to deal with is sterile ashes. Though they use no water, consistent power is required, and a lot of it.
Each completed cycle of an electric incinerating toilet uses about 1–2-kilowatt hours of electricity. It can require around 20 amps to operate correctly.
This is not a good fit for off-grid, solar-powered tiny homes.
If you have limited power capability, propane incinerator toilets are available. But these can cost more than twice their electric counterpart.
Essentially, incineration tiny home toilets are odor-free indoors but can leave a lingering burnt smell. Additionally, they do occasionally emit pungent odors outside of your tiny home.
By far, the top benefit of incinerating toilets is how easy it is to empty waste. Just throw away the small bin of sanitary ashes when it’s full.
Dimensions: 31 × 22 × 27 inches
Weight: 73 pounds
Power consumption: 1 – 2 kWh per use
Cost: $1,929 – $2,029
- Can serve the regular use needs of 4 people
- Must be installed on a 20 amp dedicated circuit
Dimensions: 22 x 14 x 23 inches
Weight: 65 pounds
Power consumption: 1.5 Amp/hr or 17 watt/hr (DC); propane 0.09-0.19 lbs/cycle
Dimensions: 23.6 x 15.4 x 23.2 inches
Weight: 75 pounds
Power consumption: 0.8 – 1.5 kWh per use
Didn’t feel like these toilets fit your tiny living lifestyle? Check out these portable toilets instead!
Tiny House Toilet Options for Days
Everyone poops, but not everyone does it in the same receptacle. I shared three top tiny house toilet options. Which is most appealing to you?
If you want even more choices, don’t forget about the vast array of available RV and van life options, from gravity flush, macerating, to cassette toilets. It all comes down to what you are comfortable dealing with and budget.
Check our more must have’s for your tiny home with the posts below: