The poop bucket is for maintaining sanitation when you are without water to flush and can also be used temporarily off-grid or as a camp poop bucket. I admit it pooping in a bucket is gross, but it’s much less gross than filling up a toilet that won’t flush during an emergency like a hurricane or earthquake.
You could be without a toilet for days, weeks, or months in an emergency. In such a situation pooping in a bucket just makes sense.
Next, I will show you how to make your own emergency toilet for less than $10.00.
What You Need To Make It (Poop Bucket)
I purchased the stuff I needed to build an emergency toilet at Wally World for less than 10 bucks. You need a 5-gallon bucket, a pool noodle, pine straw bedding, heavy-duty kitchen trash bags, and a utility knife.
#1 Five-Gallon Bucket
I picked up a yellow 5-gallon bucket so it’s easier to see at night. But any 5-gallon bucket will do as long as it didn’t contain harmful chemicals.
#2 Pool Noodle (poop bucket)
I live in Florida, so noodles are everywhere all the time. If they are out of season where you live, purchase them online. I picked up a set of small pool noodles for 79 cents.
Tip: Pool noodles don’t last very long on these toilets, so keep the extra noodle(s) to make replacements.
#3 Pine Bedding or Pine Pellets (poop bucket)
Pine bedding is good because it eliminates odor and kickstarts composting when you bury it. Avoid using too much because the pine pellets will expand quite a bit. (especially when peeing a lot). It’s suggested that boys use a tree.
You can substitute pine bedding with leaves or pine needles from the forest floor in a pinch. If this bucket is part of your emergency kit, used in and around the house, go with the pine bedding.
Don’t Use Kitty Litter In A Poop Bucket
Many push kitty litter (scented clay) as the best thing to use in the poop bucket, but litter doesn’t stop odors. If you are in an enclosed space, this could be bad for morale.
Felicity, a boon docker at Happy Place Camping, used kitty litter in her crap bucket but switched to using pine pellets used in animal stalls. (Tractor Supply) She said regarding her R.V. bucket, “we had to empty the kitty litter once a day, or depending on how much it was used, the odor got so bad. Using the pine pellets, we went a week without changing the bag, and the bucket didn’t smell.”
Poop Bucket Interesting Fact: Pine bedding is suggested by most boon-dockers, people who R.V. without water or power. These individuals live off-grid for weeks at a time, and many of them use this kind of bucket toilet.
#4 Heavy Duty Trash Bags
Get heavy-duty trash bags with leak protection. I’m using tall kitchen bags that fit a 13-gallon can because that’s what I have. I’d avoid using huge contractor-grade bags. They will get in the way and could get messy. That said, get a bag that is a little bigger than the bucket so you have extra material to act as a handle when disposing of the bag.
#5 Utility Knife
Use a utility knife or razor knife to cut the noodle to size and split it down the middle to fit the bucket edge. Whatever you have to get the job done is good enough.
Poop Bucket In 7 Steps
Making a poop bucket is pretty easy. Below I show you how to do it in 7 steps. It will probably take you less than 10 minutes to get it done, and you will be glad to have it if you ever need it.
Step #1 cut the pool noodle to length
Using the utility knife, cut a piece of pool noodle 31″ long.
Step #2 cut the pool noodle length-wise
Using the utility knife, cut the pool noodle length-wise down the center of one side. The slit will open once cut and fit around the bucket’s rim.
Step #3 line the bucket with a trash bag
Line a 5-gallon bucket with a trash bag like you would a trash can.
Note: You can put the noodle over or under the trash bag. If you want to keep the noodle free of excrement, put the bag over the noodle (especially if you have kids using this)
Step #4 put your noodle on the bucket rim
Place Your Noodle Around the Rim Of the Bucket.
Tip: If you have little kids using the poo bucket, you should supervise, or they may knock the bucket over or fall in. Not a great scene in a survival situation. This is also a good reason to have the bag over the noodle, so there are no accidents when wiping or pooping in a bucket.
Step #5 add pine bedding
Line the bottom of the bucket with 2″ of pine filling or pellets.
Your throne is ready.
Step #6 cover your poop with pine bedding
Whenever someone uses the bucket, cover the duke or pee with pine bedding. This will keep the smell down and the bucket sightly.
Step #7 optional bug cover
I’ve read about people putting a bucket lid on an already-used poop bucket, but I don’t see that working. You must put the noodle back on every time you use the bathroom.
Instead, cover the entire bucket lightly with another trash bag to keep bugs and rain out. If you put your toilet paper on the handle, it will keep the paper dry as well.
Pooping In a Bucket: Optional Gear
Consider storing all your toilet necessities in a second 5-gallon bucket, including cleaning supplies, extra trash bags, hand cleaner, disinfecting wipes, flash-light(s), a garden trowel or scoop, extra toilet paper, and anything you think you’ll need in your emergency potty area. Put a lid on this bucket to keep supplies dry, and use it as a table. This is also handy if you are using a camping poop bucket.
For an in-depth list of emergency sanitation and hygiene, check out the Ready Squirrel article, “53 Must-have Items For Emergency and Survival Sanitation.
5 Ways to Dispose of your poop-bucket-bag
There are 5 methods you can use to dispose of your poop bucket. Remember, getting rid of your poop bucket requires forethought, especially if you live in a large urban area.
Human feces is some nasty stuff harboring pathogens and parasites that enter other hosts via the fecal-oral route. Treat your poop like it is a chemical warfare agent. Cholera, typhoid, hepatitis, polio, cryptosporidiosis, ascariasis, and schistosomiasis come from human feces. Yuck.
Tip: It is illegal in some areas to dispose of human waste improperly. Here are five possible solutions to disposing of your poop bag.
- Burn it with diesel: Military Solution
- Bury it deep (away from people and water)
- Compost It (research this before doing it)
- Dump it in a location that is certified for human waste (area dependent)
- Triple bag it and dispose of it through your local disposal service(area dependent)