Can You Poop in an RV? The Stinky Truth!

When you are first thinking about buying an Rv or living full time in an RV you often come across the question, can I even poop in an RV? For someone who knows nothing about RVs, this is a really good question. So here is the stinky truth… Can you poop in an Rv?

Yes. All RVs these days come with bathrooms and toilets. You can either hook up to a sewage line if you are stationary and flush out the hoses every couple of weeks or use a black water tank and dump it every couple of days if you are traveling. You also have the option of using a composting toilet in your Rv. 

How do toilets work in an Rv?

Rv toilets work differently than the traditional toilet in your home.

There are also different types of Rv toilets, there’s the most common toilet which you will use a lever either located at the bottom (foot peddle) or on the side of the toilet (flush by hand).

There are also composting toilets where you use no sewage hook up at all or water.

Push peddle/flush by hand toilets

These toilets are lightweight, easy to use and the most common option for Rv toilets on the market.

For example: If you need to go number 1, you will open the top like a regular toilet do your business and plush by pushing the peddle down all the way.

If you need to do number 2 there is a function where you would push the peddle down halfway and fill up the water to your desired fill.

Then flush the toilet like normal when your done doing your business.

Be sure not to overfill it or under fill it, use your common sense for this, depending on how much you feel like you need to go at the time.

Once you flush the toilet, it will be sent into a black water tank if you are not hooked up to city sewage.

There it will store the waste until you bring it to a dump station.

Composting toilets

Composting toilets are toilets that are not hooked up to a black water tank or any city sewage lines.

These toilets are great for single people, small campers, couples, or camper vans.

Composting toilets also surprisingly have no smell if you do it right.

I always think of composting toilets kind of like a litter box, but not really. ?

When using a composting toilet the pee will be collected into one bucket, and the poop will be collected into another bucket, separating the two.

Empty the pee around 2 to 3 days depending on how often you go. Try emptying it when it gets close to the top.

You can empty this into a regular toilet at a campground, or somewhere out in nature like a garden, or open field.

If you are at a campground that has sewage hookups, you can dump the pee right into the sewage line outside. Easy.

What to do with the Pee and Poop?

If you are using a Black tank

This means you are not hooked up to any sewer lines at all, in this event you may be boondocking, which means you are out somewhere in nature away from any shorelines and camping off the grid.

Depending on how many gallons your black tank is would be how often you would need to dump it.

The waste will collect into the black tank after each use when it is time to dump it, you will pull up to a dump station, hook up your sewage line and flush it out into the sewer.

make sure you flush out your black tank really good and consistently use toilet treatments to break up the waste.

If you are hooked up to city sewage

Your waste will be sent down the sewer lines.

Be sure though, not to keep your sewer line open while stationary, it will create build up.

Instead, only open your sewage lines and flush it out every 2 weeks or so depending on how many people are in your Rv or how often you use the toilet in your Rv.

Always remember to pressure flush the sewer lines as well to keep the “poo” out and prevent smelly situations.

You can do this kind of maintenance at the same time your flushing your lines outside.

Using your shower head or getting a wand that hooks up to a hose with good pressure will do the job.

If you are using a composting toilet

With a composting toilet, you will need to take the toilet outside to dispose of it.

Remember though, this is a composting toilet, meaning the poop will get composted over time and turn into fertilizer!

Which can be used for gardening, feeding grass and trees and overall helping mother nature out a bit.

Prior to using a composting toilet, you will need to put something into the toilet that will break down and compost the poop.

People use different types of soil for this.

Most commonly used soil for composting toilets is called Natural Coconut Fiber Pith. (dried coconut fiber)

You can also use cedar wood chips to keep it dry and keep odor to a minimum if you are concerned.

This combination turns your poop into fertilizer! How cool.

When using a composting toilet the poop gets dumped into a bucket with the dried coconut fiber and cedarwood right under the rim of your toilet.

To take the poop out of the composting toilet you will need to take the toilet outside and slide off the top part.

Using gloves and special composting bags you will then turn the toilet upside down and dump it into the composting bags.

At this point, your waste has been turned into fertilizer that you can actually use in your garden if stationary. (and if you have a garden!)

You can also throw it into a compost bin which will then decompose into the earth when dumped.

Can you use the toilet in an Rv while driving?

Absolutely not!

It is not only unsafe but illegal in most States.

Would also be a hassle if you are walking around in your travel trailer while somebody is towing it.

Not a good idea!

While towing or driving an RV Camper you must always wear a seatbelt, therefore you have to sit in the seat that is designed for you to sit in while your moving.

This does not mean you sit in the dinette or lay on your bed while rolling down i95.

If you are unsure which states have mandatory laws against this here is a helpful list:

States that have primary laws around seatbelts while driving:

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • District of Columbia
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • New Jersey
  • Mississippi
  • New Mexico
  • North Carolina
  • New York
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin

States that have secondary laws around seatbelts while driving

  • Arizona
  • Colorado
  • Idaho
  • Massachusetts
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Dakota
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • Wyoming

States that do not have any laws set in place around wearing seatbelts while driving

  • New Hampshire

Do Rv toilets smell?

Your basic Rv toilet hooked up to sewage lines may have a smell over time if not maintained often.

Depending on your treatment and how often you maintain your sewage lines and black tank can determine how smelly it can get.

Yes it will smell if you do not keep up with cleaning it regularly.

That goes for whether you are using a black tank or city sewage.

Most likely, if you have a routine in place, your Rv toilet will not smell any different than a regular home-based toilet.

This also goes for composting toilets.

Some people even argue that composting toilets are way better for odor then toilets used with sewer lines and black tanks.

The best composting toilet to get for your RV is this one.

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Jenn at Camperology

Hey there! Jenn here, I run this website. I live full time in my 2005 27' Fleetwood Terry Dakota with my son, partner, cat and dog. I created this website to help make your camper feel more like home while living in it full time. I enjoy finding new ways to organize and makeover my travel trailer, blogging, and drinking coffee.

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