Don’t want to hit up the rest stop on your next long drive? We get that. Here are our picks for the best portable toilets, whether you’re planning for a camping trip or just hitting the road.

All products featured here are independently selected by our editors and writers.If you buy something through links on our site, Mashable may earn an affiliate commission.

Plenty of people are hesitant to use public restrooms as of late, and we get it: There are legitimate Covid-19 risk factors to consider, especially when it comes to flushing toilets. Still, it’s difficult to make it through a long drive without having to go at least once. 

That’s where the glorious portable toilet comes in. The right device, whether that’s a simple bucket toilet, a more tech-y flushable toilet with a holding tank, a camping toilet, or a simple funnel, can help you get through a road trip without navigating rest areas or fast food bathrooms. You’ll just need the right setup.

What kind of portable toilet do I need?

There are lots of portable and camping toilets out there, but the ones we address here boil down to a few basic categories.

  • Bucket toilets: These are — you guessed it — camping toilets that are basically just buckets. Most come with seat attachments and ultra-fitted lids to block odors when the toilet isn’t in use. If you’re able to dispose of waste immediately, though, you can also just use a regular bucket fitted with a garbage bag.

  • Flushable portable toilets: This kind of portable toilet has a built-in flusher, which means waste will travel from the bowl to a tank below. Some flushers are battery-powered and others are manual. We’ve included both types on our list.

  • Portable toilets for kids: This smaller version of a portable toilet is designed specifically for children and often used for potty training. They’re generally foldable and made of plastic. Our pick is called a “potette,” a term that’s been trademarked by the company Kalencom. Comparable picks might be called “training potties” or “travel potties.”

  • Foldable toilets: This kind of portable toilet can be folded relatively flat for storage, which means it’s a good option for cars. (It also makes for a solid camping toilet.)

  • Urination devices: These are pee funnels for people with vulvas — i.e. people who can’t easily pee in a bottle or on the side of the road without taking their pants off. Funnels make the task a bit easier: The wide end goes over the vulva, creating a tight seal and funneling urine through the device and out the spout. 

What other supplies will I need?

In addition to your portable toilet, you may want some portable toilet accessories to make the whole experience a bit more comfortable. 

In general, biodegradable deodorizer packs are a smart move for any portable toilet with a bowl. There are several Tide Pod-esque options available on Amazon. Depending on where you plan to use your temporary bathroom setup, you may also want a privacy tent in which to place your portable toilet. (Haven’t you always dreamed of a soft-sided bathroom stall?) And if you’re on the road, be sure to prepare hand sanitizer, wipes, toilet paper, and perhaps a homemade hand-washing station.

Where am I supposed to dump this thing?

You cannot, unsurprisingly, dump waste from your portable toilet into any old garbage can. So where does it all go?

If you’re camping, there will likely be a place marked for waste disposal at your campsite, and you should empty and clean your camping toilet there. If you’re on the road, you’ll want to wait until you reach a residential toilet to dump everything out. Alternatively, RV drivers can use an RV dump site, which you can find using this interactive map.

In all cases, make sure you clean the toilet — and the tank, if yours has one — thoroughly with cleaner and a scrub brush after emptying. (Here’s a helpful guide, if you’re not sure where to start.) If you plan to store your portable toilet for an extended period of time, make sure it’s completely dry before you stash it — this will help keep it from molding while it’s packed away.

We won’t lie: Making a portable bathroom setup work will come with a learning curve. Once you prepare and know the ropes, though, you might be surprised at how much stress it relieves on the road. (Get it, relieves? Ugh, sorry.) 

Here are our picks for the best portable toilets.

Lots of color options • Can stand alone or attach to a standard toilet • Lightweight • Collapsible
Only comes with 3 liners
This sturdy portable toilet for kids is great for potty training or on-the-go needs.

Kalencom Potette

This colorful, almost cartoonish portable toilet for kids is a great value for the price. Plus, it doubles as a potty training tool.

  • Dimensions:
    8 x 9 x 2.5 inches
  • Material:
First, let’s acknowledge the elephant in the room: “Potette” is an extremely funny word. But this kids’ version of a portable toilet has truly been a lifesaver for reviewers, particularly on long drives. 
“This small but mighty potty saved us on each and every road trip,” writes one Amazon reviewer. “This absolutely beats going into gas stations or finding a restaurant while on an interstate.”
The toilet can stand alone in “seat mode” or, when its hinged legs are folded up, be affixed to the top of a standard toilet for potty training. It’s designed for children up to 50 pounds (when used as a standalone toilet), fully collapsible, and comes in a pretty stylish range of color combinations, including a vivid pink and purple situation that would work well for any Barbie fan. (Bright colors might not make using a portable toilet more enjoyable, but come on, we’re trying.) 
The toilet also comes with three disposable liners, so you’ll probably need to buy more. One reviewer said they had success using plastic shopping bags and a diaper to line the toilet instead, but that’s a decidedly riskier endeavor.

Super affordable • Easy to use • Dishwasher safe • Gender-inclusive branding
Case sold separately
The pStyle is an easy-to-use funnel that will make peeing on road trips way simpler for those hoping to avoid public bathrooms.

pStyle Female Urination Device

The funnel approach can be messy, but the pStyle all but eliminates the risk of leaks and unwanted splashing.

  • Dimensions:
    1.75 x 7.5 x 1.625 inches
  • Material:
    Plastic (BPA-free polypropylene)
Peeing on the go can be a complicated endeavor for people with vulvas. Aiming into any kind of “bottle” shape is pretty much impossible. 
That’s where devices like this option from pStyle come in. Marketed as “portable urinals,” they’re funnels that can be used without pulling down your pants all the way — you just have to unzip and place them inside the fly. As long as the end of the funnel is outside your clothing and pointed downward, you’ll be good to go.
While we’ll admit this sounded a little dicey at first read, reviewers are big fans of the pStyle, praising it for its convenience, lack of leaks, and rounded back edge, which doubles as a “squeegee” and greatly decreases (if not eliminates) the need for toilet paper. It’s a great choice for road trips, camping, or anywhere you technically have a private place to pee but would rather not get nude from the waist down to do so.
The company advises carrying the pStyle in a breathable, machine-washable case for hygiene reasons. Its own pCase, which is (somewhat annoyingly) sold separately, is sold out on Amazon, but is available on the pStyle website. You can also just carry the pStyle in another bag — a few reviewers said the pCase got a little drippy, so maybe do that.

Flushable • Sealed tight with two valves • Lightweight
Pricier than other options
This flushable option from Camco is ideal for 1-2 people and is designed for camping — though it’d definitely work on the road, too.

Camco Premium Travel Toilet

A flushable portable toilet costs more than a bucket toilet, but it also, you know, flushes.

  • Dimensions:
    16.2 x 16.2 x 18.55 inches
  • Material:
This flushable (!) portable toilet comes highly recommended by camping expert Raul Mercado, who runs the delightful website Camping Helper. Equipped with a 5.3 gallon detachable holding tank and flusher (which you pump up and down to use), it’s a little pricier than the other options on this list — but if you’re looking for a more hands-off cleanup experience, it’s probably worth it.
Mercado summed up why he loves the Camco in an email:

“The reason the Camco has become a favorite is that you can take it pretty much anywhere, it’s not heavy, and [it] takes a while to fill up if you’re the only one using it. This isn’t the most beautiful portable toilet on the market but you can rely on it to get the job done when you don’t have another option. It has a bottom and top section so you can easily detach one from the other in order to clean and there’s a sliding valve you can close that keeps any smell contained in the bottom section.”

He also recommends adding biodegradable deodorizer packs to the toilet, which will help keep smell to a minimum. (Luckily, it comes with a pack already, but you’ll probably want more.)

Foldable and easy to store • Relatively simple cleanup
Legs aren’t adjustable
Folding portable toilets are favorites of frequent travelers and vanlifers — and this one is a particularly good option.

Green Elephant Folding Commode

This portable toilet seat can be easily folded and stored (in your trunk, under a seat in your car) when not in use.

  • Dimensions:
    15 x 15.8 x 15.3 inches
  • Material:
    Stainless steel (legs), vinyl (seat)
Hilary Bird, a vanlife blogger who runs the blog Green Van Go, swears by the Vingli portable toilet, which she loves for being easy to put together, lightweight, and simple to store. (When it’s clean, she folds it up and places it under her bed.) Unfortunately, that particular portable toilet is sold out, but we’ve found a reasonable substitute in this camp toilet from Green Elephant, which is also light, foldable, and compact. 
To use the toilet, place either a bucket (the company recommends a two-gallon bucket) underneath the seat or attach a trash bag (Green Elephant sells a biodegradable version, but any will work), then discard. Reviewers report that the seat is comfortable — it’s the least it could do! — and the legs, which are made of stainless steel, are sturdy. 
It’s also frequently discounted on Amazon, so you’ll likely end up paying a little less than list price. Either way, though, we think it’s a good deal if you need a portable toilet that’s truly compact.

Affordable • Compatible with most garbage bags • Easy to clean
Too tall for small kids
The Luggable Loo is a straightforward, easy-to-clean portable toilet option — and it’s very well-priced.
If you’ve done a cursory “portable toilet” Google (who hasn’t?), you’ve likely come across the Luggable Loo already. It is, to be clear, a bucket with a lid, but it’s also a bucket with a lid that’s specifically designed to be a portable or camping toilet, so it’ll serve you a bit better than your standard Home Depot pail. Its simple design makes it useful in a wide variety of situations, which is evident in the positive reviews from truckers, campers, and road trippers. 
“I purchased this as a new Professional Driver hoping it would cut down on having to waste time finding stops for the restroom if in a time crunch,” writes one reviewer on the REI website. “Glad I did! Saves me time and headaches! I don’t bother with buying the recommended bags to line it. They seemed overpriced to me. Instead I line it with 3-4 heavy duty trash bags, fill the bottom with newspaper and scented kitty litter.”
The same reviewer said they cleaned their Luggable Loo with Clorox regularly, then replaced it altogether after six months for a fresh start. If you’re using your portable toilet that regularly, you might want to do the same — luckily, it’s affordable enough that frequent replacements aren’t unthinkable.

Lots of features • Battery-powered flusher • Unobtrusive design
More expensive than other options on this list
This pricier portable toilet can be a serviceable stand-in for the real thing, at least temporarily.

Thetford Porta Potti 565E

For a more high-tech option, try a battery-powered portable toilet like this Porta Potti. (It even has a TP holder.)

  • Dimensions:
    18.39 x 15.75 x 17.83 inches
  • Material:
This portable toilet is the most expensive on this list (by quite a bit), but it also imitates an actual toilet most accurately. If it’s features you’re after, this is likely the best choice for you: It has a tank level indicator, a toilet paper dispenser integrated into the unit, a battery-powered flusher, and a spout that will make the emptying process smoother. Like the Camco travel toilet, its tank and bowl are also held together by multiple valves, which lowers the risk of leaks.
Reviewers like this option for its compactness, sleek-for-a-toilet looks, and versatility. One person, who says they used the toilet during the winter while the water in their cabin was turned off, said it served as a reasonable temporary substitute: “We have experience with RV toilets so our expectations weren’t too high. The seat height is the same as our conventional toilet and is comfortable. The flush is adequate but we use water from a jug for the big jobs,” they wrote. “The holding tank is easy to empty into our underground waste holding tank. It sure beats driving to the camp bathroom!”
(Several other reviewers also recommended filling the bowl with a bit of water before pooping — it makes the toilet easier to flush. Thanks, reviews!)

Leave a Reply