minimalist toilet bowl

How to Make Emergency Alternatives for a Toilet Bowl?

Going to the toilet is an act of nature, and the modern world we live in means that we often have a toilet system that we can use. This means that we do not have to worry about going to the loo in a hole in the ground or similar. However, when you rely on going to the toilet in the bathroom, it might mean that you are left without access to the toilet bowl itself. When that happens, you need an alternative.

When you are in a pinch, use the following tips to create an emergency solution that works as an alternative.

toilet bowl at the edge of the corner

Emergency Alternatives for a Toilet Bowl

Here are some important alternatives you might want to consider.

Go the ‘Old’ Way

If you really need to go and you can find the time and the location, you could always create a hole in the ground. We mentioned how modern toilets mean that you do not have to do this anymore. But sometimes you have no choice other than to go for it simply. These are known as a latrine; to build a latrine, you must go through a quick building process.

Latrines are typically going to be holes dug into the ground that is at least three feet in depth. We recommend keeping the hole at least 1ft above the water table. Latrines should only be built when you are in a location where you know that you will not be disturbed or discovered. Do not try and build a latrine in an urban area.

To build a latrine, you must get a shovel and start digging down. Once you get about 3ft down (we recommend going to 4ft), you should fill up around 1ft of this with water. Once you have used the latrine, you should do two things.

First, throw in as much dirt, lime, and/or mulch as you can get your hands on. This can be used to cover up the waste matter that you have produced, reducing the risk of flies and other irritations bothering you. It also will help to mask the smell. Then, place a cover on top of the latrine. We recommend using thick plywood or something similar. Make sure it is marked, too, so that others know exactly what is in that hole!

Creating an Emergency Toilet Bowl Using Pails

The other option that we recommend you go down is creating an emergency toilet by using a pail. Pails are easily converted into toilets. It could be just what you need to start building your emergency toilet when needed. Converting a pail into an emergency toilet is not as hard as it might seem, It can be quicker and easier than building a latrine. How do you get started?

toilet bowl using a pail in the backyard

Get the Pail and Line It

First off, get your hands on a pail – we recommend you find a pail that is a minimum of five gallons in size. Your first job is to line the inside of the bucket that you are using. Then, line the inside of it using heavy-duty plastic. You should be able to use something like a heavyweight garbage bag as the lining. Look for something that is both durable and could be closed over at the end. 

Fill the Bags with Some Kind of Mask

The next job you have is to find a way of masking the odor of anything that goes into the pail. The best way to do this is the same solution you would use when trying to hide scents from a pet. Most people will turn to using something like fireplace ashes or sawdust. Though this might not be something, you can easily get your hands on in an emergency.

If you have a cat, you could easily use some kitty litter. Place this into the bottom of the bag. You do not have to place layers and layers of the stuff, but enough to help cover up the smell will be sufficient.

Do Your Business

Now that the pail is filled with the right lining and protection, you can do your business. Carry out your business, and then make sure that you get rid of the bag at the end of each day. This should be tied as tightly as possible without putting pressure on the bottom (you do not want this to burst). 

It should then be removed and disposed of in the right location. If you need temporary storage, you should look for a garage or an outbuilding. It is where you can store this until you can take the waste to a proper disposal point.

Be sure to have both toilet paper and a place to dispose of the toilet paper (another bag, ideally). Some hand sanitizer that you can use once you finish your business. 

Get Rid of Your Waste

Your next job is to get rid of the waste that you have from your pail. If your community has one, this will be done by taking it to a public sewer or a septic system. Not every community has one of these, so you might need to bury the waste in your yard. If you do this, please make sure that you dig deep enough to make sure that the waste product cannot escape or the smell lingers.

Again, it would help if you were looking for a 3-5ft deep hole to hide this waste within. Ensure that the hole is also at least 50 feet away from any habitable living space or area in which you will be present. In severe circumstances where there are problems with the sewage systems of your local area, you might be able to dispose of this with your normal garbage. Always make sure to verify this before doing so, though.

Going Down the Double Bucket Route

If you want to be more organized, then you should have two buckets. Make sure that they are both clearly labeled. You know exactly what bucket is used for what. Have one for “number one” trips and one for ‘number two’ trips. Make sure they are clearly marked. If you wish for extra comfort, you could also add a small toilet seat on top of both buckets. 


There you have it! Now you can build yourself a quick and simple emergency toilet bowl for when problems arise. Both options are hardly the most sophisticated. They can be easily put together with nothing more than manpower and/or a couple of typical household products. Just make sure that you take the disposal of your waste seriously. Get this right, though, and those toilet troubles in an emergency can become a problem of the past. 

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