How to Prep and Dump a Composting Toilet
Are you still on the fence about installing that composting toilet in your RV?!? The biggest questions we get about our toilet (behind “Does it smell?”) are What do you need to do to prepare the toilet for use? and How the heck do you dump a composting toilet? At this point we’re pretty seasoned in the art of all things composting toilet related, so here’s our thoughts on how to prep and dump a composting toilet.
The first major decision after purchasing a composting toilet is deciding what to use as your compost material. We scoured the internet, visited the local hardware store to see the size of the peat moss bags (its giant!), and desperately tried to locate some Coco COIR at 5 different garden shops.
You can purchase Coco COIR at the hydroponic shop (also known as the grow your own mary jane shops in some towns), or you can order though our store. In the end we decided to use Coco COIR as it is a more eco friendly and sustainable option for composting than Peat Moss.
Do not remove your old toilet and begin installing your composting toilet until you have the composting material, otherwise you will not be able to go #2 in the RV!
How to Prep
Prepping the toilet is very easy, sanitary and relatively quick. This 10 – 15 minuet process is best done outside unless the weather is icky. You’ll want 2 liters of water, a bucket, gardening gloves and a shovel.
- Take off the top, aka the seat and set it out of the way.
- Break off enough coconut coir or sphagnum peat moss (about a 1 gallon buckets worth) and place it in your bucket.
- Hydrate the coco coir or sphagnum peat moss (typically comes dehydrated in a solid mass) with water until no dry clumps are visible and it has the look and feel of fresh garden soil (damp and crumbly, not wet). I use approx 1.5 – 2 liters of water.
- Pour the hydrated coco or moss until it levels out just under or at the agitator.
- Put the toilet back together and its ready for use.
Tip: Do not put a plastic bag inside the base, it will not work and isn’t necessary or helpful.
The liquid container of our composting toilet holds 2.2 gallons, and trust me you don’t want to wait till it’s full to dump. The liquid tank is somewhat translucent and you can see the pee line when it’s about 2/3 full, this alerts us it’s time to dump! We typically dump the urine tank every 3-4 days depending on how much we’re around the RV. This process can be a little stinky, especially if you’ve eaten asparagus since you’ve last dumped, so use caution on where you decide to dump (see below). I would recommend purchasing a second liquid tank, you never know when you might need it (especially if you live on a boat and accidentally throw it overboard!).
- Open the top, aka the seat, and lift to a 45° angle.
- With your free hand grab the handle, pull out the liquid tank and cap it.
- Dispose of Liquids
- The Shower Drain Dump – Once you master the technique this can be done without making a mess and with very little smell. I close the hallway door, open the bathroom window and the vent fan, but I do not turn on the vent fan. This is my preferred way as I know it’s legal and I don’t have to worry about some nosey neighbor calling the police on me.
- The Running Dump – Rich in nitrates urine is often called liquid gold, but you must make sure it’s legal to dump before doing so, and you do not want the urine to puddle. I have mastered the running dump where I hold the liquid tank near the ground and run while slowly dumping. This technique works well but you should not dump it right by your RV or the smell can linger. I only use this when staying in BLM or National Forest where we’re far away from other campers.
- The Rainy Day Dump – If it’s raining pretty well outside and we’re in a parking lot I sometimes just let it loose on the ground (if there is a city drain nearby). This is great as it doesn’t smell at all and it’s completely natural (if you go out nude you can get a shower too! Totally Joking).
- The Regular Toilet Dump – I have done this at a rest area in the past and it works fine if you flush while dumping the urine, but then you’re wasting water to dispose of the urine which seems to defeat the purpose of a composting toilet.
- The Pit Toilet Dump – Works well, hardly any smell at all (unless the pit toilet is overused or not well maintained already…you know what I mean). I’ll often use this method while staying on National Forest and BLM where a pit toilet is available.
- The Waterless Urinal Dump – The absolute worst way to dump, I did this at a BLM bathroom and about killed myself! Something about the way the waterless urinals work makes the urine smell amplify…I do NOT recommend this method.
- Once you’ve dumped, if possible, rinse tank with a little water (enough to cover the bottom), swirl like a fine wine, and dump. This helps reduce any build-up that may occur on the bottom and sides of the plastic bottle.
- Place the liquid bottle back into the toilet and clamp down the seat before use.
- Wash your hands and pat yourself on the back for a job well done.
When it comes time to dump the toilet we typically judge by the handle on the base. When the handle becomes difficult to turn it’s time to dump and change the compost, if you want to visually measure it’s time to dump when the base is ¾ full (it will look and smell like dirt inside other than the pieces of white toilet paper). This process is clean, it does NOT smell and takes me about 5 minutes. For the two of us using the toilet full-time, it takes around 3-4 weeks for the compost bin to “fill up”. If you enjoy keeping a bowel calendar, or if you always go once per day, then you can do the math: Nature’s Head recommends dumping the toilet after 60-80 uses depending on how much toilet paper you like to use.
If you are using the toilet full-time you want to wait at least 8 hours after your last deposit before emptying the composting toilet. We typically dump the toilet in the morning so the waste has the entire night to start the composting process before we begin the dumping process. This can be risky if you are an early morning pooper, or if you ate spicy food the night before, and you try to hold it till the compost has been freshened, so you’ll need to find a schedule that works for you. If you want to give your waste more time to compost you can purchase a second base (it comes with a bungee lid) to store the compost and allow it to decompose even further before dumping. Here’s the process I use to dump the solid side of our composting toilet:
- Put on Gloves (recommended if you are using the toilet full-time and optional if the contents have sat long enough to be fully composted).
- Remove the Liquid Tank and cap it (the last thing you want to do is accidentally knock it over).
- Unplug the vent hose and power cord, unscrew the two knobs holding the base to the floor, remove the entire toilet and take it outside (yes, your neighbor may look at you funny).
- Remove the top, aka the seat, and set it on the ground.
- Cover the top of the base with a 13 gallon Trash Bag; it is (typically) a perfect fit. We use a composting bag because it’s better for the environment as it will biodegrade much more rapidly than plastic. The downside to a composting bag is they are thinner than a normal plastic bag so you must be more careful so the bag doesn’t rip, they’re also more expensive but we’re only using 15 in a year so cost is sort of a moot point for us.
- Fill the base with hydrated COIR, take the toilet inside and reconnect the lid, power supply, vent hose, liquid tank and finally screw the toilet back down to the floor. It’s unnecessary to clean the base as any leftover waste will help begin the composting process for the next batch.
- (If you’re in a boat and you’re the legal distance away from shore, just send the compost flying overboard…downwind of course)
It may sound like a lot of steps but once you’ve done it a few times you’ll see its really much better than dealing with the standard RV black tank. The bonus for us: it’s not only about ease of use; it’s nice to know we’re doing something that’s a benefit for the environment and helps us wild camp for longer. So if you’re still on the fence about installing a composting toilet hopefully these How to Prep and Dump details and our “poop expert” opinion will help get you going!
Have more questions about how to prep and dump the composting toilet? Want to share your favorite dumping techniques? Let it all out in the comments below.
If you’re interested in buying our same composting toilet, the best place to purchase is directly from Nature’s Head.
Larry, the owner of Nature’s Head, has offered up a special discount to everyone that reads our site. If you click the link below he’ll beat the Amazon Price:Buy From Nature's Head Directly
The main advantage of ordering direct, vs Amazon, is to make sure you get the options you need for your specific installation (i.e. do you need the spider handle? Do you need a solar fan? Do you need spare parts?) Click the link above, select your configuration (we have the Spider handle with extra Liquids Bottle) and at checkout the discount will be automatically added.
If you’re still in research mode you’ll want to visit our site just before you purchase to click the link above, otherwise the discount may not be automatically applied. If you have questions, the customer support team is extremely helpful and can be reached by email or phone which you’ll find on the Nature’s Head contact page.
Disclaimer – We’re not experts and this information is based on our experience and opinions. It is your responsibility to understand the local laws, rules, regulations and safety procedures before dumping any waste on the ground, into trash bins or applying to a garden.
Kelly Robotham, Certified Sustainability Professional and Permaculture Educator
Wow. Amazing how ignorant we all can be regarding human waste and how easily we can jump to conclusions – (based on many of these comments!) Composting toilets like the Nature’s Head are better for the environment because they don’t use CLEAN drinking water to flush. It takes an amazing amount of fossil fuel to clean water to federal drinking water standards. Using a pump out station makes your waste some other community’s problem. They have to pump it and pipe it and treat it – using fossil fuels. In many countries, that isn’t easy.
Human waste is not radioactive! It has microbes and bacteria in it that require moisture to live. No moisture, they die. It carries disease IF YOU HAVE A DISEASE! If it is dry and no one has a terrible human disease, it is not inordinately dangerous. It is not edible, no doubt. But simply keep it out of your mouth and local waterways. Consider all the terrible things thrown into a solid waste landfill every day! In addition to adult and baby diapers, there’s all KINDS of dangerous materials. Suddenly throwing away a bag of human waste compost is such a big deal! Yes, it is far better to continue to compost it, and use it as fertilizer. Our land needs nutrients and fertilizers! But that isn’t always possible.
As for disposing at sea, ONE whale poops 100s of liters of poo each day and the ocean is dependent on these nutrients! Human waste is FULL of nutrients! Dehydrated partially composted human poo, at least 3 miles from land, is a bonus to marine life. It is full of nitrogen and other nutrients useful for marine life. Please don’t dump fresh toilet paper however, as paper takes a while to break down in salt water, is inedible to marine life and is unsightly. Toilet paper is easily collected in paper bags and burned, or thrown out with your trash on land.
I, for one, am grateful to the Wynn’s for all their knowledge and experience with composting toilets in a marine environment. I’ve learned a lot from your videos. We are so trained to the “out of sight, out of mind” disposal of human waste. We don’t think about the community expense to manage and treat it. There are many places in the world where there is no community public waste collection. We are animals. Our poo is not inherently dangerous if treated with care and knowledge about how to manage it. A Nature’s Head Composting toilet seems to be a welcome and more sustainable alternative to chemicals, pump out stations, and water-based toilets.
Thank you Nikki and Jason!
On your Leopard were did you run the vent line to the outside?
D and K
Anyone have the amount of coconut coir to water for reconstitution? Space is an issue when traveling and we would like to cut the core into appropriate “mixing sized chunks”
We have 3.5 kg of coconut coir, so what size chunks should we cut this into for reconstitution for using with natures head?
So excited for this product!
This toilet sounds great! But I’m looking for a composting toilet for an outhouse, where there will not be electricity. Do you have recommendations.
How vile and “I know it all”….opinionated critics can be. If you have nothing positive to say about what these two individuals are doing, then please, opt to leave them to do their own thing and enjoy their life experiences without attempting to impart your own way of being.
Dump it into the ocean, put it in a dumpster? This is so irresponsible! This is soil! The whole point of a composting toilet is to create compost.
Yes, when a composting heap or bin is available that is the best option but it’s not always an option. The point of having a composting toilet is to create a better way of disposing of our waste, not simply composting. The typical method of storing waste and water in a tank for days on end creates a serious bucket of nasty bacteria. By separating the urine and feces we eliminate that issue. Then, at least when we dump our compost into whatever our best option is at the moment, we aren’t dumping something hazardous.
What size of compost bags do you use?
Thank you both for all of the great information!
Maybe I missed something, but you never actually explained what you do with the waste? In one step you’re putting plastic bag over the toilet, and in the next step you’re bringing the toilet back inside the RV to reinstall it. You left out the most important part! care to elaborate on how you get the waste into the plastic bag and what you then do with said bag?
Also, how do you rinse any… ahem… “residue” out the bowl after going #2?
Once it is “in the bag” there are a couple of options. When they were RV based, Nikki & Jason would look for a local garden or farm that might like to add it to their compost piles. Barring that, once you bag it you can just put it in a dumpster (and before you say it, yes you can. Think baby diapers & how many of those goes to the landfill). As for bowl residue, 99% of the time there isn’t any because of the design of the toilet. If there is, head over to the blog and click on the “off the grid” tab for several vids on tips & tricks for cleaning, etc. https://www.gonewiththewynns.com/sailing Hope that helps!
I just can’t see how you can use that small receptacle for 60-80 uses, without toilet paper. I use a 5 gal buck with saw dust as my composting toilet and I can tell you there is no way I can use that thing 60 times before I dump it, and it is larger than that little thing they use. Plus I let it sit for a month after I change buckets. This whole video just seems ridiculous to me when they say wait 8 hours after using it to dump. What process can digest or break down poop in 8 hrs? Sorry but this whole thing sounds like an infomercial.
LC, my guess is that you put a lid on that bucket after every use? In which case there is no way for the “medium” inside to dehydrate. Consider this, vs the fan in the Nature’s Head, which is, in fact, dehydrating the medium and significantly reducing bulk.
My humble opinion…
I have ordered my Nature’s Head for our Bathhouse (after much research). I have found many Nature’s Head users, like yourself, who describe how they dispose of their waist on the move. But what about homesteaders. I have purchased a two compartment compost tumbler to use alongside my Nature’s Head, but after that I’m not sure how to handle the next stage. I was hoping in your experience or possibly from some of your followers I could gather some suggestions.
Let me make sure I understand something.
I can put in this composting toilet, hands on deal with my wee containers and poop, throw everything into a trash bag and THROW A BAG OF MY POOL AND MOSS into someone else’s trash container, then clean the whole disgusting mess. Repeat.
I can flush into a black tank, connect a hose to it, dump at a campground, run some clean water through the system, coil up the hose and drive away.
You people are nuts.
Say what?! Have you ever dealt with a black hose, or dumped a black tank before? It is not a pleasant process, nor an eco-friendly one. A black tank has to be emptied for most folks once a week. A composting toilet is a once a month job for the same usage and a far less smelly and offensive process. But, that is just my (and all the people that have left rave responses in the comments below) opinion and to each their own. I would encourage you to try and see one of each of the different styles of toilets in person before making a decision.
I am a 66 yr old female hell bent on buying an RV to travel but don’t want to haul around to empty a black tank. If you have to haul the toilet outside, how much will it weigh? Is there any reason why I can’t take it apart inside the RV and empty it? Also, does the fan need to run while you drive? I’m assuming it does to keep the smell out.
It is about 60 lbs when full but you can always take it apart inside and scoop some of the compost into your bag, then take the lighter base and bag outside to finish the job.
Thank you for the info. From what I heard the compost toilet doesn’t compost, but it starts the process.
If you are on a boat you should NEVER throw it in the sea though!!!! It creates serious environmental consequences, so please check that info and adress it. In Scandinavia that is forbidden, especially the pee, because it has a very bad effect in the Baltic Sea. It should be dumped in a harbour where there is proper places for it.
We would never dump our compost near shore. If you do some research, you will learn that it is considererd legal and safe as long as you are out to sea at least 3 miles away from land. Some older boats don’t even have holding tanks for waste.
It looks as though it is always necessary to remove the toilet to dump the bin… Is that the way it is? I’m looking into this, as we live in a 40′ travel trailer without hook ups. It get’s quite challenging in the winter to dump the black water tank.
Yes you do have to remove it, but if it’s too heavy you could always scoop & bag some compost out of the bin first.
So if I am understanding you right, you put the waste in a plastic bag (if you are RVing, or don’t have access to a compost bin to further the process) and then throw it away. Doesn’t this defeat the purpose of the composting process? I am not trying to be judgmental or snippy, I honestly want to know. If it ends up in a landfill anyway, in a plastic bag that doesn’t biodegrade for a long time, then what is the point? I can look into better bags (are there some you recommend? I don’t mind using an affiliate link), that can hold up to the task. I like the idea of a composting toilet and want to know how that works when it comes to disposing of the waste. Thanks for any further info you can provide as I try to make a decision about which method to use. I appreciate you taking the time to answer these questions!
You missed it but the info is above, ” Cover the top of the base with a 13 gallon Trash Bag; it is (typically) a perfect fit. We use a composting bag because it’s better for the environment as it will biodegrade much more rapidly than plastic. The downside to a composting bag is they are thinner than a normal plastic bag so you must be more careful so the bag doesn’t rip, they’re also more expensive but we’re only using 15 in a year so cost is sort of a moot point for us.” Biodegradable bags: http://amzn.to/2u30ay9
That makes sense regarding the bag, but what about the poop? The poop just goes to the landfill? Do you ever bury it?
Hi Nikki, my question is the same as Jannike’s. If the disposable bag goes into a regular dumpster it still goes to the dump where it doesn’t have oxygen to break down and turns into regular trash. Are there ever composting bins available to dump the bag of waste in or does it all go into the trash dumpster? When food goes into the dumpster it does not breakdown even though it is biodegradable because there is no oxygen, thats why separating food waste into a non regular trash dumpster is so important. Even if the bag is biodegradable it will not breakdown in a landfill.
They do search for places that will accept the compost but sadly that isn’t always possible. Living a nomadic life adds another layer of difficulty to every aspect of trash, recycling and composting, since you’re in a different location with differing levels of services nearly every single time you need a facility. Many locations in the U.S. don’t recycle. Period. More and more facilities seem to be moving to accept aluminum only. Finding a place with a community garden or municipal composting yard are even tougher. :o(
We are thinking of camping with a small pop-up trailer, which does not have electricity or a toilet installation area (so essentially luxury car/tent camping). Ideally we would like to use this as a totally portable toilet, in a small enclosed tent next to the camper which we would set up when we reach our destination. Then when we leave we’d just put in the back of the SUV. Can this toilet be used this way, without the fan (or alternately is there a way to use it without a plug-in electrical source? If we don’t have the fan pulling out the extra moisture, will the unit smell up the inside of the vehicle when transporting it to the next location? Thanks!
The fan is what pulls the odors out and away, so without a fan it’s going to smell. It’s also pretty big for lugging around. Have you looked at smaller port-a-potti units? They can be easily dumped into any toilet and are pretty small.
So do you just throw away the compost solids in a trash bin?
Any bacteria is dead after 24 hours, so it can be put in a trash bin or added to a compost pile to continue the process (it takes longer to break down the coconut coir so it can be used in gardening).
Still does not address where you get rid of the waste. All it mentioned is put in the garbage bag and thats it. What do you do with it? Put it in the trash along with other trash? Or can you use it in your flower gardening?
Everything you want to know is here: https://www.gonewiththewynns.com/composting-toilet-tips-tricks-solving-problems You can put it in a dumpster or bury it if you’re in a wilderness area that allows that. If you want to use it in your garden, you should add it to a compost pile and allow it to continue to decompose (although bacteria in the toilet compost are dead within a day, the coir needs more time to break down before you garden with it).
Is it possible to use a drain off the urine tank to an outside container
It is but – just requires some extra tinkering.
Anyone figure a way to empty the compost without having to take the whole thing apart abd turning upside down? Like a separate bin/bag right in it?
Thanks guys! we DID buy a Nature’s Head and think it is great….but…..wondering about those little black flies. Has anyone else had that experience? they look like fruit flies THIS time…last time they were like regular flies. Any hints?? We are on a sailboat…(just like YOU, now!) THANKS!
How about using the nitrifying bacteria (as sold in pet stores in small bottles as bio filter start-up culture) to convert the present ammonia into odourless nitrites and nitrates (aka fertilizer). You would need about a tablespoon of the bio filter starter liquid to a gallon jug, some water and some pee for the microbes to live and feed on the ammonia supplied by dayly peeing. This life can surely stay fully active converting away the ammonia (and associated smell) until the jug is 3/4 or completely full. Leaving a bit of converted and diluted urine will start a newly washed and dried jug for another 3-5 days of use… A to be tried an further tested and preferably simple jug rotating schedule could be devised to help bacterial activity and remove the need to buy extra starter liquid…
I’ve been using a composting toilet for over a year – love it! My biggest issues though is separating that huge block of coconut coir when its dehydrated. Have any tips? Do you hydrate the whole block?
We do tend to hydrate at least half of it at a time. I put it in a bucket, put in a liter of water to start, walk away, come back an hour later, slough off what I can and repeat. Otherwise I find myself chipping away at the block for a while (because I am impatient).
How long do you let your solid waste compost, and where do you dump your solid waste?
We change our composting toilet out every 3-4 weeks because we use it full time. We empty it into the composting bag and then add it to a compositing pile (some campgrounds have compost piles) when available and when not, it just goes into the garbage and will decompose there.
I am building a homemade bucket compost toilet for my Tiny House on Wheels (THOW’s). After a week of poo, pee, and cover material it is very heavy. Where do I dump it while I”m on the road?
I see you’re in Key West, I lived aboard my sailboat there off and on for many years. Pump outs were a major hassle for a while if you were anchored,not so much on a paid mooring. It seemed the “water nazis”, e.g.: FWC,Coast Guard,Sherrifs, City Police,etc. were always conducting searches under the auspices of checking for lockouts on head discharge hoses. Granted,there were a large number of undesirable vessels that would never put to sea again unless their moorings broke. But it did become quite an inconvenience being boarded all the time. The Keys being a protected marine sanctuary, I understand this need. But is there some sort of legal documentation that could be presented to prove that I am in fact being a respectable steward of the environment? I would welcome two less thru hulls in my boat as well as the extra storage afforded by removing the waste tank, not to mention the absence of odors!
Is there a style of toilet that just allows you to pull out the bin with the composted stuff in it, instead of hoisting the whole toilet? I’m old and have a muscle disease so it would be hard for me to lift the whole bulky toilet.
Check out the various Envirolet composting toilet systems. No urine jug to empty and so no need to separate your waste while using the toilet. And the composted material only needs to be dumped a few times a year, if you get an electric model.
Love all your videos, but this one seems like more cost more work and storage of extra materials (coconut fiber) for a few gallons of compost toilet compared to a 30-50 gallon black tank
I don’t know what you’re trying to say, Joe.
Additional work required to prep, maintain and/or repair, is a minimal when compared with traditional rv/boat toilets. Not to mention the odors that persist in a traditional rv/boat toilet systems and hoses.
Storage of extra materials? You’re concerned about the addition of a bucket of coco coir? You compare that to a 30-50 gallon black tank and STILL don’t get it?
So what’s your point?
I wonder about the camp fudy-duddy and “yes, your neighbor may look at you funny”. So when your in a very public area, such as an RV park, you dump and refill in your campground? I’m thinking this could create a problem with the fudy-duddy’s who think your playing with your waste in your campsite and worse then dumping it in the trash.
Have you run into this situation? Is it too messy to do in your bathroom?
It is all so simple and easy we never take the toilet out of the bathroom. So, when we walk out it looks like we are taking out the trash same as everyone else. We never have a problem and no one ever knows.
I didn’t read through all the comments to know it this has been posted or not, but, the coconut fiber you’re using as your composite material looks to be the same exact stuff I used as bedding in my snake cages when I had snakes. It is readily available in just about any pet store in the reptile section and it comes already prehydrated in bags or you can get blocks to soak in water just the same as the product you used. Hope this is helpful!
Where do you dispose of it if you’re not on a boat? BTW, not so sure sending human poop adrift is a great option. Like you basically said. If you us it full time, there’s gonna be uncomposted poop.
What a great video! How exactly do you dispose of the solid compost waste? Do you put it in the “yard waste” bin or just any old dumpster you can find? I’d love to have a composting toilet but do not have room to build a composting bin so I’d love to know more about your solution! Thank you.
We put ours into a regular trash can (it will still compost), lawn and leaf bin or in a compost pile at campgrounds and such.
Thank you for your videos. It took a lot of the apprehension about considering a composting toilet. My question is what other C toilets did you consider before deciding on Nature’s Head? It seem urine separating toilets are the way to go for sure. What are your thoughts about the Seperatt? I realize it’s not really a true composting toilet due to the waste need to compost in elsewhere, however, it seems to me that the Nature’s head only starts the process by adding the peat or coc-husks, the waste will still need to “cure” an additional 3 to 12 months elsewhere as well. The thing that’s attractive (if you can use that word when talking about toilets, lol) about the Seprratt is that you may have more room for poo because your not taking up any room with composting material and that you can plumb the urine waste elsewhere. It maybe a better choice for a stationary location than a mobile one. Please share any thoughts you have on this.
I purchased a Nature’s Head this winter and recently installed it. We went camping this past long weekend and the 4 of us used it exclusively. It worked great. I was plesantly surprised how well it worked, no smell. I had to dump the urine everyday. After 3 days, the handle was starting to get a little hard to turn. Maybe I had too much peat moss. Not sure. When we left, there was a line up of about 8 trailers at the dumping station. We just drove by without having to stop. Did you buy a spare fan incase it stops working? Thanks for the info.
That’s awesome! You will figure out how much moss is perfect after a few times of prep and dumping. As for the fan, just email or call Larry at Nature’s head and he will most likely send you an extra fan for free. Just tell him the wynns sent you. 🙂
I like that you use biodegradable bags. Where do you put the bag once you dump waste in it? Hole in the ground? Composting bin? I am contemplating where I will put it. 🙂 thank you for the good read.
I think you two are WONDER-FULL you’re both adorable! I am a 60 yr old full time solo woman currently camped and working to save up to purchase new batteries and tires ( both six yes old EEEK) and cannot wait to collect social security in two years ! Your composting toilet videos were amazingly helpful! Do not let the poo poo heads ( pun intended) get you to stop doing what you are doing EVERRRR
You have informed, amazed, and inspired an old artist to follow her gipsy spirit and get to BLM next winter- composting toilet and solar panels YAHOO! Thank u so much for posting this very helpful I of. You should have an online radio stream with questions and info for us out here in full time-ville!
Keep care safe journey and keep being YOU!
Debby Wright, do you still access this page? I am also 60 and considering going out solo in a camper of some sort, but none of my kids or my mom like the idea. I would love to talk to you to get some ideas so maybe I could convince them I will be alright. Thanks much and safe travels.
I have had a Nature’s Head for 6 months, and its a great solution, living in a camper while I build my house. My problem is mold grows so rapidly inside, and I am allergic to mold! Any ideas? Thanks!
You might be making your coco coir or peat moss too moist. Call Natures Head and chat with them, they are great at helping you through any issues.
Hi Merylee- I also have problems with mold. I’m moving into the RV to get away from it. I plan to test prebiotic substances to deal with the mold. . First, I will hydrate coir with a EM1, which is prebiotic for the soil, and water mix and but it in 5 gallon bucket in the sun for a few days. I will sniff it and will get asthma right away if it molds. If EM1 passes, I’ll poop in the bucket, stir it around and sniff it after a week or so. No asthma means it worked. A second test would be using homemade milk kefir. A woman I know reports great success using that in her black water. Tank to keep mold down.
Cursed autocorrect- probiotic not prebiotic
I’m waiting for the UPS truck now, they will be delivering my new Nature’s Head Composting Toilet. I already have the Coco Coir and I am looking for the biodegradable bags. What brand/source do you use? The company BioBag comes up a lot in Amazon searches.
I will be venting mine through the dryer vent, which is conveniently located just in front of the toilet.
Great series of videos on the toilet. Thanks for all the info.
How big of a deal is it to move the unit in and out of the RV through the small doorways? Is it easy and convenient to pick up? Will it spill or can the sections be locked together?
The toilet is easy to move about and does lock down so its easy to grab the whole thing and move outside. The whole dumping process is so simple we don’t take the whole thing outside. We just do it right there in the bathroom.
This was very interesting! I didn’t even know that such a thing existed. I have just begun thinking about RV living and right now it’s just a dream but a nice one! But if and when I do, I think I’m going to get one of these. Thank you Nikki and Jason for the “heads-up”! Did I just make a bad joke? Sorry.
ha ha, awesome joke!
Hi. I’ve watched your great videos and am intrigued, but I’m concerned I don’t have enough upper body strength or overall stature to manipulate the toilet, flip the black compartment over, etc. Do you think a petite woman with limited upper body strength can handle this? Thanks.
I would consider myself to be of average build and strength…and I am able to handle the toilet all by myself without concern. However, you could empty the toilet a little earlier than the full 60-80 uses and that would make it lighter. Maybe consider emptying around 40-50 uses and if that isn’t a problem, then you can wait the full 60-80.
Thanks Nikki. I appreciate your reply and the way you maintain this nice spot of civility on the internet!
That’s great news! Thanks for the link, we will look forward to your upcoming video on water saving tips. Especially since you now have an on board washer/dryer combo!
I have a few general questions- Is your combo ventless? if so, I’ve heard there can be some issues with the clothes getting dried well, any suggestions?
Thanks again, we are working to get details and iron out some possible concerns we may have. We hope to start building our Tiny Home in a year! I’m also inspired by you guys and am considering starting a blog/vlog, any suggestions on websites/software??
Do you use air conditioning? is that a drain on your solar power?
The more I learn, the more excited I get that what we want to do is possible!!
Audrey here is our post on laundry set up and tips: https://www.gonewiththewynns.com/easy-rv-laundry As for blogging, we have wordpress and all of our gear and software is here: https://www.gonewiththewynns.com/hd-video-secrets We do not have a super large lithium battery set up which is about the only option if you wanted to run an A/C. So, no we can not run our A/C on our current solar/battery set up.
Feel free to add this to my last post I forgot a few things. 1. My husband and I really enjoy watching your videos, we too are unconventional and feel inspired by you two! and 2. how do you keep the bowl clean? is there a special cleaner or a spray needed?
Thanks again, your wit, character and knowledge give us hope of finding our own, “American Dream!”
Thanks! AS for cleaning, there isn’t any specific products suggested. we use our normal all purpose cleaner from mrs meyers and it works great! I am also a fan of seventh generations all purpose cleaning wipes for the bathroom.
Thank you! Thank you! We are saving to build a “Tiny Home” and we want a composting toilet but could never find a video that told us EXACTLY what to do with it! We didn’t realize that disposing it in regular trash was even an option, but it makes sense since it’s just dirt. 🙂
When it’s parked we plan to make an actual composting bin for it, but wasn’t sure about while traveling what to do. We will be following your posts and vids from now on as we too hope to be green and not rely on hook ups so much. Where do you get your water supply and what do you do with grey water?
Thanks so much!
Thanks Audrey, so glad we could help! You can purchase an additional base with a lid for continued composting and it stores easily in a basement bin with no issues. As for getting water we use sanidumps.com or our gps to locate dump stations with water to refill our tanks. As for disposal of grey water (we have a video coming with water saving tips), you can see all of our quick boondocking tips here: https://www.gonewiththewynns.com/boondock-free-camp
Hello Jason and Nikki,
With the Natures Head toilet freeing up your Black Water Tank. Do you use the black water tank to expand your gray water capture? I think you did a video about tugs with just a simple connector between tanks?
And… Where can you dump gray water? We’re very new at this.
Thanks so much for sharing your adventure and advise.
Hey russ, you can find out how we connected our grey and black tank here: https://www.gonewiththewynns.com/all-composting-toilet as for where you can dump grey water…that all depends on where you are. If you are unsure about the area laws and regulations, always look up a dump station just to be on the safe side.
Hi Jason and Nikki!
Love you guys, love your show. As always great info and vid.
Thanks to you Natures Head is on my list to get for my future RV.
You both keep me inspired to peruse my dreams of travel and explore America and beyond starting with a bicycle then eventually in an RV (i have to figure out my income, though my profession as a graphic designer might make it possible to find contract work on the field) and eventually explore by sea.
Keep living and enjoying all that life has to give!
Bay Area – Ca
Thanks or stopping by to say Hi! Keep up with our site as we RV across america then move to the water for an international adventure. I’m sure we’ll make plenty of mistakes that can help with your planning.
I have a question:
Why not directly connect your liquid compartment to your old Black (now extended Grey) tank? you quite often empty it there anyway. this would really reduce the amount of emptying that you have to do, and totally get away from the running dump (unless you like the sport of it, a new Olympic event?)
Perhaps this is a new style composting toilet that one could design for direct replacements in RV’s? you heard it here first !!
I hate to squash your dreams of a new toilet…this concept has already been addressed by others 🙁 If you want to direct connect the liquids it is possible, it will just take a little extra modification.
Hi guys, I’m getting ready to order a Nature’s Head toilet. 2 things. Does it matter which handle you get? Spider vs. standard?
Also, I’ve read the comments on the Nature”s Head site and a lot of people talk about how you need a year or more for composting to really happen. I noticed you said to wait about 8 hours after you last used it. Have you found that the matter really composts? Do you have the extra storage bin to let it compost longer?
Thanks! Love your videos and blog. You have helped with a lot of information as I get ready to go full time in a couple of weeks. Especially since I’ve never camped 🙂
That’s great news Terri, here are my answers:
Handle – if you have limited space the spider handle takes up less room, but the standard handle is a little bit easier to crank (if you have the room). For most RV and Sailboat installations the space is tight so a spider handle is the safest bet.
Continued Compost – The perfect plan would be use the toilet and when you’re ready to dump put the contents into a garden compost pile for 6 months before using it on the garden. That is not a luxury we have with limited space in an RV. Most of the harmful bacteria will be dead within 6-8 hours of leaving the body and because the liquids are separated so there is not the same bio-hazard you get with a standard toilet. No matter what you end up doing with the compost it’s leaps and bounds better than a standard toilet with a ‘flush and forget’ system.
Hope you enjoy the road, let me know if there is anything we can help with. We painstakingly created our store, so if you are buying your first RV make sure you have a look around…it’s the products we use on a regular basis and make our RV life a little more simple.
Thank you for taking the time to respond. I ordered mine yesterday with the spider handle. Thanks for the other info too. I will definitely check out your store.
I hope to meet you all on the road at some point. You seem like such a fun couple to hang out with 🙂
Sounds great Terri, enjoy the toilet.
I keep thinking, “This has got to stink!” I’ve read several articles and watched your excellent videos, but I’m still wondering: does a composting toilet stink?
It does not stink. It’s difficult to wrap your head around until you use it. I was skeptical before we installed our, but now I believe 🙂
I like your video very much and it’s very helpful but I have a question about the brand you choose. I wonder why you didn’t choose Airhead instead of Naturehead? Because I searched the internet and it seems Airhead is the original designer and Naturehead is started by one of Airhead’s ex-employee. I am not asking you to compare these two companies but just the reason why these two toilet. Thank you very much. God bless.
I spoke with the owners of each company and I felt Larry was more on top of things so we decided to go with Nature’s Head. Also the price being less expensive didn’t hurt either. I’m sure both toilets work similarly, and there is some competitive blood between the two companies, but I’m not trying to sell either brand…we’re just reporting our experience with our composting toilet.
I bought the Airhead for my sailboat. I fond it to be not very well made. I had to repair it within one year after buying it. The plastic glue a type of silicone cane loose and urine filled my solids tank. The company sent me a partial tube of the caulking they use. I needed a toiled so i took a torch to the plastic to prep the plastic and used 3m 4000
Love, love, love your videos. Thank you for all you great tips. I will be fulltiming in less than 2 years and will be taking your tips and using them. You do such a wonderful service to those of us sitting and home waiting to join you on the road. I am feeling more and more prepared the more videos that you post. Compositing will be my choice of “going” thanks to your videos.
Thanks so much Shirlene! We were so clueless when we first started RV’ing and so we love sharing what we’ve learned to help the next fellow out. So anything we can do to get you ‘going’ and in a greener direction is a super awesome!
Thanks for the video- very helpful. I wondered if it would be possible to plumb the #1 outlet from the toilet directly to the RV black or grey tanks. Seems like it would reduce the amount of maintenance.
it is possible to bypass the liquid tank and go directly into the grey/black tanks. I have heard of people doing this successfully, but I assume it might take a little extra plumbing and handy work.
Definitely a possibility and something we may do in the future. If you get to it before us, let us know how it goes!
$900.00 plus seems steep for the average RV owner. make it more affordable it’s 90 percent plastic plus you have to manually rotate it. I do not see the cost involved on building this to be that high
Rick we have toured a lot of different factories through our travels and I can tell you that creating molds (like the toilet) are very expensive! Plus, its a small company that doesn’t order by the hundreds of thousands so that makes the cost go up as well. If composting toilets had the popularity of traditional toilets, I am sure the prices would go way down. We were hesitant on the cost a first as well and know plenty of people on tight budgets that decided to make their own (totally possible) but we wanted something that looked like a regular toilet and had been tried and tested. We obviously feel its a very worth investment but understand its not for everyone.
Ok, so I’ve seen both your videos and have even gone to the manufacturer’s website and I have just one more question… Do they make a composting toilet that’s essentially “waterproof” for a wet bathroom? I mean, I know it requires electricity. And I know as it sits right now, even without the electricity, it wouldn’t work because shower water would get into the composting bin. But, do they have a version for a wet bathroom? I didn’t see one at their website, and I didn’t even bother to contact them to ask. So, I guess what I’m driving at is… Would you find out for me? I mean, you draw a lot of water for the manufacturer, right? So I’m thinking your voice would be heard faster and more efficiently than mine. And if you find out that they don’t manufacture one, could you put the bug in their ear?
Kevin, you can put this toilet in the wet bath! The only thing you would have to do is make sure to keep the electrical outlet dry. Please reach out to Natures Head 251-295-3043 and most likely you will get Larry the owner (crazy right) and he can talk you through what you would need to do. It’s a super small company and Larry is extremely helpful and is very good at getting back to customers. If you don’t get him, leave a voice mail and he should call you right back. It’s just like the good ol days before automated responses. 🙂
That looked like a pretty simple task!
When are you installing yours? 🙂
I had a few questions about this but after watching this video you answered all my questions awesome video thank you.
Just wait till the next video Gary, it’s all about FAQ’s! We’ll answer questions you didn’t even know you had! haha.
This is your best video / post on composting yet – very helpful. Really takes the mystery away!
Any advice / thoughts for RVers who aren’t full time, but manage to get out for a few days once a month or so? Ok to leave the toilet ‘unattended’ for a month or so, or is it better to always dump and clean between extended down time?
oh yea Dave, the longer your toilet sits the better the compost is. In fact we are at a disadvantage because we’re full-time! You’ll just want to make sure your toilet is hooked up to the DC power in your RV so the fan does not stop running (or you can purchase the solar powered fan).
nice video… however, I think I’ll just stick with the flush system and be done with it.
We agree Tom, its not for everyone, but we sure like it…especially when it comes to wild camping.
So there is no mounting the toilet in the bathroom? If not aren’t you worried that the liquids might slosh out as you’re traveling? What about ventilation, I’m assuming you have additional hoses to disconnect.
Watch the previous videos, especially this one: https://www.gonewiththewynns.com/composting-toilet you’ll see the answer to your questions there.
Great videos! My boyfriend and I are converting a bus to an RV and definitely want a composting toilet. We have two cats just like you guys, and were wondering what to do about kitty waste. Do you compost it as well?
I use the compostable doggy bags and scoop their waste and dispose of it similar to the composting toilet. We use Nature’s Best litter as it’s safe and biodegradable as well.
Thanks for the tip! We will definitely look in to this!
Jim & Diane
Great video…heard you talk about it for a few years, but really didn’t know were “it” went or got processed. How heavy is the toilet to carry to the outside to change”.
Empty the toilet weighs a few pounds, when it’s full maybe 15-20 pounds? We don’t have a scale on board but it’s not too heavy for Nikki to pick up and move, but its not as lite as a pillow.
It’s a little curious, and maybe a little sad, that I was so excited to see your new video. I feel much more at ease about the process and will eventually make the investment and move to a composting toilet (haven’t bought the RV yet).
Many thanks to both of you for posting this. It really will make our investment decision easier.
Our pleasure Mark, we love the toilet and have been very happy with it so far…and yes you should purchase the RV first then the RV toilet 🙂
or…. you could buy the toilet first so that you can install it right away in your new RV 😉 that was my plan at least.
I get to pick up my new Jayco 19rd on June 2nd, and I have my sweet lil Nature’s Head still packed up in it’s box ready for installing! I am SO excited to get that Camper!
You guys are GREAT! I love data-mining you for all your great ideas, camping spots. thank you!
Maybe a stupid question? But, how does the liqued end up in one tank and the solids in another? Is it door you open or shut depending on what you are depositing?
Most composting toilets have a seat which will separate the liquids from the solids.
Susan, you should watch out What it is and How it Works video: https://www.gonewiththewynns.com/all-composting-toilet Then you”ll have the full scoop on everything!
No dumb questions, when the trap door is closed any liquids are directed towards the front where the liquid tank is, and when you’re ready to deposit the solids you open the trap door.