Survival Toilet: 7 Easy Steps To A DIY Poop Bucket

The survival toilet is for maintaining sanitation when a hurricane hits, an earthquake, frozen pipes, loss of municipal power. You name it. Any number of emergencies that leave you without water to flush your toilet is a good reason to have a pre-made poop bucket.

In an emergency, you could be without a toilet for days, weeks, or months. So, I will show you how to make your own emergency toilet for less than $10.00.

Emergency Toilet: 5 Things You Need

I purchased the stuff I need to build an emergency toilet at Wally World. I already had heavy-duty kitchen trash bags and utility knives. My total expense for a 5-gallon bucket, two pool noodles, and 24 liters of pine bedding was $8.65, plus sales tax. Ok, let’s get down to it.

One: 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.

Two: A Pool Noodle

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 the 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.

Three: Pine Bedding or Pine Pellets (Used in Animal Pens)

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.

In a pinch, you can substitute pine bedding with leaves or pine needles from the forest floor. 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 Use Pine Pellets

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 in regards to her R.V. bucket, “we had to empty the kitty litter once a day, or more 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.

Four: 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.

Five: 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.

Emergency Survival Toilet: build it in 7 easy steps

Step One: cut pool noodle to length

Using the utility knife cut a piece of pool noodle 31″ long.

Step Two: cut 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 rim of the bucket.

Step Three: 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 Four: put your noodle on

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.

Step Five: pine bedding

Line the bottom of the bucket with 2″ of pine filling or pellets.

Your throne is ready.

Baby Ruths In Honor of Bill Murray
Yes, I did clean and eat them
All Covered

Step Six: cover your business

Every time someone uses the bucket, cover the duke or pee with pine bedding. This will keep the smell down and the bucket sightly.

Step Seven: 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. Every time you use the bathroom, you would have to put the noodle back on.

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.

Poop Bucket: Optional Gear

Consider storing all of your toilet necessities, before use of course, inside the 5-gallon bucket for storage. Store 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.

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. link

5 Ways to Dispose of your poop-bucket-bag

There are 5 methods you can use to dispose of your poop bucket. Keep in mind, getting rid of your poop bucket requires some forethought. Especially if you live in a large urban area.

Human feces is some really nasty stuff harboring pathogens and parasites that enter other hosts via the fecal-oral route. Treat your poop like it a chemical warfare agent. It kind of is, cholera, typhoid, hepatitis, polio, cryptosporidiosis, ascariasis, and schistosomiasis all 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.

  1. Burn it with diesel: Military Solution
  2. Bury it deep (away from people and water)
  3. Compost It (research this before doing it)
  4. Dump it in a location that is certified for human waste (area dependent)
  5. Triple bag it and dispose of it through your local disposal service(area dependent)