Monday, January 25, 2016

When You Just Gotta' Go! (My Composting Toilet Story)

I met a new friend at a bar the other night.  She read an article in the local paper about my tiny house and reached out via facebook.  She is just starting to plan for her tiny house build.  She had so many questions! 

Most of them, however, had to do with how she might go about finding a host for her tiny house.  What would she tell them?  What did she need?  Should she build first and THEN look for a place to put it?

During this conversation I realized, more than I had before, how many of my initial decisions regarding the design and amenities for my tiny house were based on my goal of being as “low maintenance” as possible to my host. I wanted to make it easy for them to say “yes”. 

Lina Minard once said “All tiny house conversations turn to the subject of either poop, or sex, within the first ten minutes.”  And there I was, in a bar, explaining to a stranger, how to select a composting toilet, what it does, and how to become an expert on composting.
Reduce your water consumption by using a composting toilet.
Reuse the box as a collection bin for charity donations.
Recycle your old linens and pillows and extra household goods by donating them.
Win. Win. Win.

There really was never any question about whether or not I would have a composting toilet. I already have a portable RV toilet for my camper. And, I hate emptying it, so much, I have never used it.  And, I had no intention of using a 5 gallon Home Depot bucket.  So when it came to choosing a composting toilet, the main question really was “Which one?”
Hard at work on my water closet!
I turned to Google and YouTube and started my research. And, I discovered, out of all of the composting toilets out there, Nature’s Head had the best reputation and several glowing recommendations. 

You can do your own research as well but in a nutshell, here’s how it works:
1)      The liquid waste (pee) is diverted to a front-loaded and sealed container to prevent it from mingling with the solid waste. 

2)      The solid waste (poo) and toilet paper is diverted, via a manually opened latch, to a centrally-located tank where is it stirred, via a manual crank with peat moss to help remove the moisture and smell.

3)      A tiny fan runs 24/7 to remove smell and moisture from the solid waste tank.

4)      To clean it you just spray vinegar and water on the bowl after every use.
5)     Here's a link to a very cool and informative video review:
Almost ready, my Nature's Head toilet, sitting quietly in the background.

Here are the less than obvious attributes:
1)      Guests will need a set of instructions in order to use it properly.

2)      Male guests need to sit, to pee.  I can tell you that this is NOT a popular mandate in my tiny house.

3)      It is super easy to install!

4)      My guests are amazed at how you cannot smell it, at all!
The vent tube and fan are hardly noticeable!
As easy as it was, to install, I did have a few Oops moments:
1)      Don’t use Miracle Grow peat moss. I bought some and THEN read the manual where it says, several times in BOLD type, not to.  Doh!?  LOL

2)      You’re supposed to attach the toilet to the floor.  My floor, however, is glass tile.  There is a section in the installation manual that says I should attach it to a piece of plywood but, to be honest, I’m not sure why I even need to attach it to the floor.  It’s quite stable already.  I am sure, however, that I will eventually figure it out.  Maybe when I’m moving my tiny house and the full toilet tips over?  Note to self: empty toilet before I move my house again.

3)      I had to buy yet another tool, a hole saw, to install the vent tubing.  And, I find it very ironic that I spent so much time and money making a weather proof house and then have to drill big holes in it. 

4)      I read the instructions and they said to buy the converter if I would be plugging it in to a 110V outlet.  So, I went online and ordered one.  Then, when I went to unpack it I discovered that Nature’s Head had already sent me one, pre-installed on the toilet already.  Lesson:  Unpack the toilet, survey the supplies, read the manual and THEN buy extra stuff you may need to install it.
A throne to be proud of!
Larry at Nature’s Head is a great guy.  Heck, the entire staff is.  I received my shipment notice via email on a Sunday!

So, if you’re looking for a composting toilet that will last you a lifetime, from a company with a great reputation, and a product with unsurpassed quality; you really should buy a Nature’s Head.

Or you can use a bush.  My guy friends still do that and it works great for them…..


  1. where is your closet?

  2. email me your floor plan with measurements please.

  3. I discovered your blog today and am looking forward to working backward through it. I've been fascinated by tiny houses for several years now, and, in fact, am typing this in my small house -- 720 square feet. It's probably as close to tiny as I'll get, but I do much prefer it to the 2,000+ square feet of space that I have inhabited a time or two. I have an acre lot, an ideal place to build and park a tiny house.