Can You Pee In A Composting Toilet?


Composting toilets are essential to life in a homestead. They provide us with a safe method of using the toilet while also giving us compost. As to how they work, people tend to have misconceptions and/or, lots of questions. In this article, we will answer the question, can you pee in a composting toilet?

There are two different types of composting toilets. One that has a separate chamber for urine and one that doesn’t. In both circumstances, you can pee in the composting toilet. If the chambers are not separate it is not much of a big deal but you might slow the decomposition process down.

If you are considering creating a self-sufficient homestead or, at the least, consider getting yourself a composting toilet, this is the ultimate article for you to read.

We will be discussing everything that you need to know about a composting toilet and we will include what happens when you pee in one. So, keep reading.


Related: If you don’t yet have a compost toilet. Consider getting one of the best compost toilets out there. It’s easy to clean, well priced, and it’s NSF certified, so it’s possible to pass the building code in certain locations. Of course, I am talking about the Nature’s Head Compost Toilet.

Nature’s Head Compost Toilet


Peeing In A Composting Toilet

This is a question that I get asked more often than I thought I would and the answer is pretty simple. I still think that it is important to highlight this question and its answer. So let’s get straight into it.

A composting toilet can either have a separate chamber for urine or it can have just one chamber. In this section, we are going to discuss both of those different types of composting toilets.

Same Chamber

If the composting toilet only has one chamber, you can still pee in that toilet. It should not affect the decomposition process that much.

The only thing that can happen and, as we said above, you might affect how long it takes for the waste to decompose. This is because too much saturation slows down the process.

To solve this issue, I’ll add extra peat moss or wood chips to help soak up the excess moisture.

Separate Chambers

In a composting toilet that has two Chambers, one is for feces and one is for urine. You can pee in the toilet with absolutely no problems at all. This is because the toilet diverts urine into its own chamber.

Having two separate Chambers might mean that you have to clean the composting toilet a little bit more regularly, especially the liquid tank that holds the urine. This is because, with the feces, most of the organic matter gets decomposed by the bacteria but this does not happen with the liquid. You have to manually dump the urine tank more often.

What Is A Composting Toilet?

A composting toilet, also sometimes referred to as a “dry toilet”, is a toilet that uses no water during the flashing process. In fact, a composting toilet does not use any water at all to perform any of its functions.

You might be asking yourself how is this even possible and surely it must create a huge mess, well this isn’t exactly true thanks to the ingenuity of people.

Composting Toilet Components

Let’s take a look at the components that go into making a composting toilet.

  • The chamber: Some composting toilets have one chamber and others have 2. This is where all the waste goes.
  • A ventilation unit: This is to prevent the build-up of gasses and odors. It also helps with the decomposing process.
  • Access door: This is to give you access to the chamber for cleaning.

Related: Are Composting Toilets Legal In Hawai’i?

How do composting toilets work?

The composting toilet uses bacteria in a controlled environment to break down organic materials found in human waste. 

The bacteria will decompose human waste and leave only compost hence its name the composting toilet.

In most cases, it is recommended to use something like sawdust, coir, or Pete moss after every use. This is to remove moisture and create air pockets in the waste. Doing this will ensure rapid decomposition.

Do You Have To Empty A Composting Toilet?

One of the biggest reasons why people would have a composting toilet is so that they can make their own compost. Think of it as recycling. That being said, let’s answer the question, do you have to empty a composting toilet?

You do have to empty your composting toilet because the decomposition process does not get rid of all the material. It only gets rid of most of the organic material. That being said, you do not have to empty your tank very often, instead, you can empty it every 70 or 80 uses. I recommend emptying it every 70 uses. For a urine chamber. You can keep an eye on it as most of the time, the chamber for urine is visible.

You can then store the compost in bags in an area of your choosing. Eventually, you can use that as a compost in your garden.

How Do You Clean A Composting Toilet?

As with any toilet, a composting toilet needs to be cleaned. I have found that it is more important to do proper maintenance and cleaning on a composting toilet to avoid any bacteria or messy situations. So, in this section, let’s take a look at how to clean your composting toilet.

  • The Toilet itself: For this, I recommend using a disposable cloth and a great antibacterial cleaning product. This is entirely up to you because we all have our own preferred cleaning products. Try your best not to let any of the antibacterial cleaners get into the chamber unless you are going to clean that out as well.
  • The Bowl: I do not think that this needs any explanation but you want to dump the contents of the chamber into a composting bag. Once that is done, you can give it a clean with fresh water. Add some more Coir or sawdust and reassemble the toilet.
  • The urine chamber: For this, all you have to do is monitor the capacity of the chamber and dump the contents when needed. Once you have dumped the chamber, you canvas it out with freshwater and a cleaning product of your choice.

Related: Do Composting Toilets Need Water And Electricity?Opens in a new tab.

Does Composting Toilets Have A Bad Smell?

This depends entirely on which toilet that you go for. One is not manufactured the same as another. So, you want to check with the manufacturer of the toilet regarding the ventilation options that come with the toilet.

Most composting toilets have a constant amount of pressure than that keeps away bad smells or I think it would be better to say that it keeps the bad smells at bay and within the chamber. If the toilet has a ventilation unit, this is the best option because the smells will be unnoticeable.

In composting toilets that only have one chamber, you are more likely to have a bad smell coming from them. This is because the liquid from your urine may be the thing that causes the entire tank to stink. So, if that is a problem that you have been experiencing, you might want to start peeing somewhere else until you can get a proper ventilation system in place.

Conclusion

My goal for this article was to answer your question as to whether or not you can pee in a composting toilet. The short answer to that is, yes, you can pee in the toilet. If you have a two-chamber toilet, this is the best, you just need to dump the liquid tank regularly.

As with all of our articles, instead of just answering your question, we went in-depth on the subject. Hopefully, after reading the article, you are able to not only maintain your composting toilet but hopefully, you understand the system a lot better.

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Sean Jennings

Sean has been living simply Off-Grid in Hawai'i for over 18 years. He lives debt free on Hawai'i Island with his family and over 40 chickens. When he's not tinkering around the homestead, he's off exploring the shorelines for fish & surf.

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