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Are you planning to build or move into an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) or a tiny house? If so, choosing the right toilet is one of your most critical decisions.

You may not even realize how many toilet options there are! There are so many more options than just traditional toilets. 🚽

Let’s explore the best toilet options available for tiny houses, ADU, boats, container homes, tree houses, or whatever alternative spaces you have.

Researching your toilet options is important so you do not have to be like the many who learn the expensive way.

Let’s dive into the Guide to ADU & tiny house toilet options. 🧻

Key Takeaways

  • Several waterless toilet options that do not need a septic system are perfect for your backyard ADU or tiny house.

  • Portable toilets are the most versatile for those wanting to go on long hiking or remote trips.

  • Composting or urine-diverting toilets are eco-friendly alternatives to traditional water-based toilets that are also budget-friendly compared to incinerating toilets.

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I can earn commissions. If you decide to purchase through my links, it is at no cost to you.

6 Considerations to Understand Your Toilet Needs

Understanding your toilet needs is a prerequisite before exploring specific toilet options. The right toilet for your tiny house or ADU will depend on factors such as:

  • Who will be using the toilet

  • Available space

  • Capacity

  • Power

  • Cost

  • Access to water

  • Access to septic systems

Carefully considering these elements will help you select the most suitable toilet, ensuring a comfortable and functional living space – the first time!

1. Identify who will be using the Toilet

Toilets that require more maintenance, like emptying a liquid or solids container, may be harder for some to use.

1. Are there any physical limitations that would make carrying a container that is 10+ pounds difficult?
2. Is the toilet going to be in a rental? You want to ensure a pleasant experience for your tenants.
3. Who will be emptying the toilet? Not everyone will be comfortable with emptying a composting toilet.

2. Tiny House on Wheels vs Permanent Tiny House & Space available

Different toilets will work well in different spaces. A regular flush toilet would not be a good option for a tiny house on wheels, but it may be the best option for a tiny house on a foundation.

Storage space may be limited in a tiny house on wheels, and carrying a separate black water tank may not be ideal.

Available space is a crucial factor. Some models are more compact or would fit better in certain spaces, like under a seat, in a wet bath, or inside a shower.
Measure the floor space in your bathroom and compare it to the dimensions of the toilets you are considering.

3. Capacity & Portability

Capacity is another vital element to consider when selecting a tiny house toilet. Determine how many people will use the toilet and how often it will be used.

You may not want to empty the toilet daily because of limited capacity. You could choose a less expensive one if it is just you because it won’t fill up as fast with only one person using it.

Portability is a factor that will defintely determine which toilet you buy. Some are not designed to be carried around or moved in and out of cabinet.

4. Power source

Access to power should be considered, especially if you are on solar or battery power. Some toilets do require a power source for the exhaust fan to function.

The incinerating toilet uses a lot of power to burn the waste into ash, so it may not be ideal for a tiny house on wheels.

5. Cost


The cost of a toilet goes along with a few things, like if you are only looking for a toilet option for a few weekends a month versus everyday use.

A portable toilet will be your cheapest option, with your incinerating toilet being your most expensive option.

6. Access to Water or Septic


The cost of a toilet goes along with a few things, like if you are only looking for a toilet option for a few weekends a month versus everyday use.

A portable toilet will be your cheapest option, with your incinerating toilet being your most expensive option.

6 ADU & Tiny House Toilet Options

Armed with a better understanding of the factors to consider when considering your tiny house toilet options, it’s time to discuss the available options.

Each type of toilet has advantages and disadvantages, depending on your specific needs and circumstances.

These include:

  • Composting or urine-diverting toilets

  • Dry flush or cassette toilets

  • Incinerating toilets

  • Macerating toilets

  • Regular toilet (flushing)

  • Portable toilets

did you know

Each week there is 70+ gallons of water used to flush the toilet per person.

1. Composting or Urine Diverting Toilets 💩

Composting or urine-diverting toilets are eco-friendly options that require no water or septic system.

These composting toilets work by separating liquid and solid waste. This reduces smell and allows human waste to be turned into something useful.

The solids are sometimes combined with a composting agent like wood shavings, coconut coir, peat moss, or sawdust.

They are then thrown in a trash bag or a compost pile to continue to break down through natural processes.

The environmentally friendly nature of composting toilets makes them an attractive option for tiny house owners seeking a compost toilet solution that involves the composting process.

What People are Saying…
  • No Water or Sewer Needed
  • Easy to install
  • Compost can be used for gardening
  • No Smell
  • Have to empty liquid and solid waste
  • Have to buy compost material

2. Dry Flush or Cassette Toilet 🚱

Using sealed bags or cartridges to contain waste, dry flush or cassette toilets are compact and portable options.

These toilets are easy to install and maintain, ideal for temporary or mobile tiny house setups.

Dry flush toilets offer a simple and effective solution for managing waste in tiny houses, making tiny house toilets an essential component of a tiny house bathroom without the need for plumbing or sewage connections.

What People are Saying…
  • No Water Needed
  • No Sewer connection needed
  • No Smell
  • Easy install
  • The cassette cartridges can get costly
  • Initial cost is less than a composting toilet

3. Incinerating Toilets 🔥

Incinerating toilets burns waste into ash, making them suitable for off-grid living but expensive to purchase and operate.

These toilets require a significant amount of electricity to function; hence, they may not be the best option for those with limited access to power.

While incinerating toilets may cost more upfront, they offer a self-contained, waterless solution ideal for certain tiny house setups. Some work with 12V or propane.

What People are Saying…
  • No Water Needed
  • No Sewer connection needed
  • Very little waste created
  • No liquid or solids to empty
  • Costly
  • May require pro install

4. Macerating Toilets 🆙

You may have never heard of this toilet if you don’t live in a place with basements.

Macerating toilets use a pump to break down waste and can be connected to existing plumbing systems. This setup is suitable for situations where traditional plumbing is not easily accessible or for adding a bathroom.

While these toilets are more expensive than standard toilets, they still offer the benefit of connecting to a small-diameter pipe and easy installation.

These toilets can drain a shower and sink, making them perfect for alternative spaces.

What People are Saying…
  • Can install below a sewer line
  • Similar to a traditional toilet
  • Easy to install
  • Can connect a sink and shower
  • More expensive than a regular toilet
  • The macerating unit must be maintained properly

5. Regular Toilets or RV Toilets 🚽

A traditional flush toilet or RV toilet requires access to water and septic systems but offers convenience and familiarity.

Some traditional flush toilets use less water (under 2 gallons per flush) and are considered more environmentally friendly, so they should be considered.

An RV toilet will use significantly less water (about a quart or less), making it more eco-friendly.

What People are Saying…
  • Easy to use
  • Affordable
  • Don’t have to teach guests how to use it
  • No waste to empty
  • Needs a water and sewer connection
  • Will have to have a black water tank

6. Portable Toilet ⛺️

Portable toilets are affordable and easy-to-maintain options for temporary or mobile tiny house setups.

These toilets are lightweight and easy to transport, making them ideal for situations where you may need to move your tiny house frequently.

While portable toilets may not offer the same level of comfort and aesthetic appeal as other toilet options, they provide a practical solution for managing waste in temporary or mobile tiny house settings.

Some use this option as an emergency toilet if they are not near a restroom. Others have used this for nighttime bathroom situations only, especially if they have their bed in a loft and do not want to chance climbing down the stairs in the middle of the night.

Some users often have a cover material like sawdust for the waste to absorb any smells.

Some living the off-grid life may also have an inexpensive portable toilet to carry with them if they go on long hikes or similar adventures.

What People are Saying…
  • Easy to use
  • Affordable
  • Versatile
  • A variety to choose from
  • Not typically for full time use
  • Have to empty it daily

7 Key Factors to help Choose a Toilet for your ADU or Tiny House

Did you realize there were so many toilet options available? If you are overwhelmed, let’s summarize the toilet types before we share the top toilet options by type.

Here are the key factors and big questions you may need to review before deciding:

questions to pick a toilet

Top Composting or Urine Diverting Toilets

The most budget-friendly option for long-term use is the composting toilet.

These work well if you are on wheels and are permanently parked.

These toilets are popular among tiny house owners and ADU dwellers due to their eco-friendly nature, waterless operation, and odor-control features. Some popular composting toilets include:

Each of these toilets offers different features and price points to accommodate various needs and preferences, including some that do not need a compost medium.

Nature’s Head Toilet

Nature’s Head is a popular and affordable composting toilet with the following features:

  • Built-in urine diverter

  • Odor control fan

  • Self-contained design

  • Easy installation and maintenance

Read the full review — > Nature’s Head Composting Toilet Review

Nature-s-Head-Self-Contained-Composting-Toilet-with-Close-Quarters-Spider-Handle-Design-Incinerating-Toilet-Amazon-com
Image Source: Amazon

Separett Villa Toilet

The Separett Composting Toilet are a high-end composting toilet with:

  • Residential feel

  • Internal fan for odor control

  • Unlimited liquids collection if attached to a grey water source

  • Easy to empty solids container

Read the full review — > The Waterless Separett Villa Composting Toilet: A Real & Honest Review

Separett-Villa-9215-AC-DC-12V-Urine-Diverting-High-Capacity-Waterless-Composting-Toilet-Amazon-com
Image Source: Amazon

Sun-Mar GTG

The Sun-Mar GTG composting toilet is a compact and environmentally friendly option suitable for small spaces. It offers:

  • No composting material needed

  • Easy to remove liquids and solids container

  • Sleek design makes it easier to keep clean

  • Budget-friendly

Despite its smaller size, the Sun-Mar GTG offers effective solid waste management and is easy to maintain.

SUN-MAR-GTG-TOILET-Portable-Toilet-Compost-Toilet-for-RV-Amazon-com
Image Source: Amazon

Air Head

Air Head is a self-contained composting toilet with the following features:

  • Compact design

  • Easy to remove liquids container

  • Easy waste disposal

  • Odor control fan

Read the full review — > Air Head Composting Toilet Review

Airhead toilet diagram

OGO

OGO is a small and modern composting toilet with the following features:

  • Separate container for liquids and solids

  • Compact design, ideal for tiny houses with limited space – could fit under the seat

  • Easy to install and maintain

  • Effective odor control system

Although it may not be as well-known as other options, the OGO composting toilet is an efficient choice for those seeking a high-quality, space-saving toilet solution.

OGO™-Compost-Toilet-Best-Nature-s-Compost-Toilet-RV-Tiny-Houses-Vans-Boats-Electric-Mixing-Urine-Separating-Urine-Level-Sensor-No-Black-Tanks-No-Dump-Stations-Home-Kitchen
Image Source: Amazon

Top Incinerating Toilets

These toilet options fit better into permanently attached spaces than on wheels because of the electricity they use to burn the waste.

These toilets can be expensive to purchase and operate and require substantial electricity.

The top incinerating toilets include

  • Cinderella

  • Incinolet

Cinderella

Cinderella is a high-quality incinerating option with a modern design and efficient waste disposal system. This toilet offers the following features:

  • Burns waste into ash, making it easy to dispose of and maintain

  • Requires a significant amount of electricity to operate

  • Comes with high-quality components

  • Offers a long warranty period

Cinderella is a worthwhile investment for those seeking a reliable and efficient incinerating toilet. There is no messy compost to empty or liquids to dump. There is also a version for travel setups.

Cinderella Incinerating Toilet
Image Source: Cinderella

Incinolet

Incinolet is a durable and reliable incinerating option suitable for off-grid living. This toilet offers the following features:

  • Requires no water

  • Burns waste into ash for easy disposal

  • Ideal option for those with limited access to water or septic systems

  • Offers a self-contained solution for managing waste

Although it requires substantial electricity, its durable construction and user-friendly features make Incinolet a popular choice.

Incinolet-Toilet
Image Source: Incinolet

Top Dry Flush or Cassette Toilets

Using sealed bags or cartridges to contain waste, dry flush or cassette toilets are compact and portable options.

These toilets are perfect for temporary or mobile tiny house setups, as they can be easily installed and maintained.

Some of the top dry flush or cassette toilets include:

  • Laveo

  • Thetford

Laveo

Laveo is a battery-powered dry flush toilet with sealed human waste bags for easy disposal. This toilet is perfect for those who want a simple, portable toilet option requiring minimal maintenance.

The Laveo dry flush toilet uses a continuous bagging system (Think Diaper Genie) to contain waste, preventing smells from escaping.

Laveo dry flush toilet
Image Source: Laveo

Thetford Cassette

Thetford is a well-known brand offering a range of cassette toilets for tiny living and RVs.

The toilet has a variety of models and features to choose from, with a range of options to suit different needs and preferences.

Thetford cassette toilets offer efficient waste management and odor control, making them a popular choice among tiny home owners.

Thetford Cassette toilet
Image Source: Thetford

Top Macerating Toilets

A macerating toilet is typically seen in basements or places where you must pump your waste to the septic system.

Some have also installed this type of toilet when adding a bathroom; installing plumbing in the ground is too costly.

Some popular macerating toilet brands include:

  • Saniflo
  • Superflo

Saniflo Sanicompact Dual-flush

The Saniflo dual flush toilet uses 1-1.28 gallons per flush and can discharge gray water from a sink.

This toilet can be installed 9 feet below the sewer line.

Saniflo Sanicompact
Image Source: Saniflo

SuperFlo Toilet System

The Superflo toilet can pump waste 32.8 feet up, making it a beast when you need a toilet for your alternative space.

It also has a noise-canceling feature.

1 SUPERFLO-Macerating-Toilet-System-Silent-Powerful-Upflush-Toilet-to-Bathroom-Sink-Tub-with-600W-Toilet-Pump-AC-Vent-for-Basement-Amazon-com
Image Source: Amazon

Top Traditional Flush or RV Toilets

If you can opt for an ultra-high efficiency flush traditional toilet or RV toilet that uses less water, you can contribute to living more sustainably.

Ultra-high Efficiency Traditional Flush Toilets

American Standard Dual Flush

The American Standard toilet will help conserve water by only using 0.92 – 1.28 gallons per flush. This amount of water usage makes this an ultra-high-efficiency toilet.

The dual flush function will determine if you use just enough water to rinse liquid waste away or need just a bit more for the solid waste.

1 American-Standard-2889518-020-H2Option-Siphonic-Dual-Flush-Normal-Height-Round-Front-Toilet-with-Liner-White-2-Piece-Amazon-com
Image Source: Amazon

RV Toilets

Dometic 310

The well-known Dometic toilet is a gravity flush toilet that uses just one pint of water to flush. This toilet has a power flush feature to clear the bowl quickly and efficiently.

This toilet is a cost-effective, sustainable option to reduce water usage and have waste containers to empty.

Amazon-com-Dometic-310-Standard-Toilet-Oblong-Shape-Lightweight-and-Efficient-with-Pressure-Enhanced-Flush-White-Perfect-for-Modern-RVs-Dometic-Automotive
Image Source: Amazon

Top Portable Toilet Options

Portable toilets provide an affordable, easy-to-maintain solution for temporary or mobile tiny home setups. These toilets are lightweight and easy to transport, making them ideal for situations where you may need to move your tiny house frequently.

Some top portable toilet options include

  • Reliance Luggable Loo
  • Panmout
  • Dometic 972

Reliance Luggable Loo

The Reliance Luggable Loo is as basic as you can get.

It is a 5-gallon bucket and a toilet seat.

Amazon-com-Reliance-Products-Luggable-Loo-Portable-5-Gallon-Toilet-5-Gallon-Standard-Sports-Outdoors
Image Source: Amazon

Panmout Portable Toilet

For an even more portable toilet option, the Panmout foldable toilet can be used in a pinch for emergencies.

It folds up to the size of a large frisbee.

Amazon-com-Panmout-XXL-Portable-Toilet-19-7-H-Adjustable-Foldable-Camping-Toilet-Luggable-Loo-with-Lid-Strap-Toilet-Bag-for-Camping-Hiking-Travel-and-Car-Sports-Outdoors
Image Source: Amazon

Dometic 972

The Dometic 972 option fits perfectly under a seat or cabinet. It is lightweight, so it is not cumbersome when removed for use.

It is so compact that you may want to put it on a stool to use it.

This toilet will use minimal water, but since it is considered more portable, it is not typically used as a full-time toilet.

Amazon-com-Dometic-1223-0154-301097206-970-Series-Portable-Toilet-2-6-Gallon-Gray-Automotive
Image Source: Amazon

Your Tiny House Toilet Cheatsheet

Here is a quick table to help you sort out all the tiny house toilet options.

Toilet TypeConnectionsHow it Works
Regular Flush ToiletWater and SepticUses water to transport waste to a sewage system.
Macerating ToiletWater and SepticWaste is moved up to sewer drain line.
Dry Flush or Cassette ToiletPossible AC powerCaptures waste in sealed bags.
Composting ToiletSome can connect to grey water; 12VWaste is separated and composted
Incinerating ToiletPowerBurns waste to ash
PortableSome use minor water to wash basin; some use batteryEasy to transport and require frequent emptying, typically daily.
ReErin.com

Final Thoughts

I hope you are not overwhelmed. It may have surprised you how many tiny house toilet options there are.

Numerous toilet options are available for ADUs and tiny houses, each with advantages and disadvantages.

You can find the perfect toilet solution for your tiny house or ADU by carefully considering your needs, preferences, and local regulations.

The key is to select a toilet that fits your space, maintains a pleasant living environment, and aligns with your values and lifestyle.

Happy flushing!

Frequently Asked Questions

How do tiny homes have a toilet?

Many tiny homes that are off-grid opt for a self-contained toilet that doesn’t need water or a sewer system to function like the composting toilet.

What is the best toilet for off-grid living?

A composting toilet is a favorite for off-grid living because it is sustainable and does not use water or need a sewer connection.

What is the best kind of toilet for a tiny house?

Composting toilets are an ideal choice for tiny houses, as they don’t require a water connection or septic system and can create nutrient-rich compost in as little as six months.

Are there toilets that don’t require plumbing?

There is a whole world of toilets that do not need plumbing, like composting toilets, incinerating toilets, or cassette toilets.

What are the alternatives to toilets?

A cassette toilet or composting toilet are alternative to a “real toilet”

What do permanently attached tiny homes use for toilets?

Tiny homes typically use either incinerating toilets or composting toilets. Some may choose to use a regular flush toilet.

Can you have a toilet without a septic system?

There are many options, including composting, incinerating, or portable toilets.

Can I use a traditional flushing toilet in my tiny house?

Yes, you can use a traditional flushing toilet in your tiny house with permanent access to water and a septic or sewer system.

Author
  • Erin Hybart

    Meet Erin, a real estate enthusiast with a wealth of knowledge and an insatiable curiosity for all things Real Estate and living with intention. She passionately advocates for alternative, affordable, and eco-friendly housing solutions. She believes in pushing the industry's innovation boundaries and thinking outside the box. As a licensed real estate agent in Louisiana, Erin dedicates herself to assisting clients in buying and selling properties and mentoring fellow agents to succeed in their own Real Estate businesses. In addition to her professional pursuits, Erin channels her expertise into captivating house-flipping adventures.

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