A boat bathroom is like boat insurance: You never need it until you need it.
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When nature calls, many of us just decide to hop in the water (sometimes frowned upon). But then this begs the “number two” question (absolutely, positively frowned upon). So the need is obvious, but we still go on boat rides expecting that we can just hold it or wait until we’re in the comfort of our homes or local marina later.
There are many reasons you might want to consider a portable toilet. Here are a few that I find most important.
Why Your Pontoon Boat Should Have a Bathroom
It never fails. You’re in the middle of a lake and the kids start squirming—you know what’s up.
If you entertain young children, you know that their bathroom breaks can be a bit unpredictable. Of course, you always warn them to relieve themselves at the house or marina before you leave, but between staying hydrated—and maybe enjoying one soda too many—it’s inevitable that surprises happen.
And of course, this applies to big kids and adults too. Even adults know a thing or two about keeping hydrated while out in the sun and on the water. We adults may just be drinking different types of liquids.
Large Bodies of Water
On larger bodies of water and lakes, you might travel for miles and not have land anywhere in sight. In cases like this, having a portable toilet on board might be a necessity.
If you do a lot of camping on your boat—even with dry land nearby—you may not be too keen on the trowel and squat method. A portable toilet can also come in handy when you don’t want to walk into the woods in the middle of the night with only a flashlight.
You might have a family member who needs the convenience of a nearby restroom at all times. It would be a real shame if they couldn’t come out for a joyride for fear of needing to go and having to hold it until you return home.
And I’m not only talking about people with severe medical issues, disabled persons or wheelchair users. This could extend to elderly family members and guests, or even expectant mothers. Don’t let pride keep grandpa from going fishing with his grandkids.
How to Set Up a Convenient Pontoon Boat Bathroom
Surprisingly, there are a lot of portable toilets from which to choose. Thanks to the variety of recreational activities and means of travel we enjoy these days—RVing and road trips, camping and boating—there’s a throne type for everyone! Then, there’s the option of composting toilets, as well.
After a good hunt, here’s a list of porta-potties I think are better for boating.
Choose from 4 Quality Portable Toilets
|Camco||VIEW ON AMAZON →|
|PARTYSAVING Portable Toilet||VIEW ON AMAZON →|
|Palm Springs Portable Toilet||VIEW ON AMAZON →|
|Thetford Portable Toilet||VIEW ON AMAZON →|
- 5.3 gallon holding tank is detachable; 2.5 gallon flush tank
- Sealing slide valve locks in odors and protects against leakage
- Side latches secure the tank to the toilet
- Bellow type flush and sturdy construction
- Measures 15.5 inch H x 14 inch W x 16 inch; Please note: Total seat width is 13 inches; Seat dimensions (inside) are: 8.5 inch W x 9 inch D
Holding Tank: 2.5 gallons fresh water, 5.3 gallons waste water
Overall Size: 16.38″H x 13.75″W x 16.13″D
Weight: 11.5 lbs (with empty tanks)
Flush Method: This portable toilet is standard-sized—meaning it’s the same size as a standard, residential toilet—and it has a bellow-type flush.
The tank’s top half has a removable cap to fill the flush tank with fresh water. The bellow pump flushes the water into the tank for the waste removal.
Cleaning Method: With side latches securing the bottom waste tank to the above freshwater tank. But on the back of the waste tank, the removable cap is removed for emptying.
Extras: One nice additional feature of this toilet is the slide valve that locks in odors and protects against leakage.
It comes with a limited one-year warranty on parts and a 30-day warranty on labor. Camco TST Orange Drop-In samples are included with your purchase, but you use can use the link provided below under Chemical Cleaners for replacements.
2. PartySaving Portable Toilet
- Completely self-contained 5.3 Gallon Portable Potty made of high density polyethylene
- Spacious fresh water reservoir and separate waste tank included
- Seat Post: 14"(L) x 14" (W) Max Weight: 300lbs
- No external connections required
- Side valve provides a tight seal, locking in odors and protecting against leakage
Holding Tank: 2.6 gallons or 5.3 gallons fresh water
Overall Size: 14″H x 16″W
Weight: N/A, but guessing around 9 lbs
Flush Method: A flush pump lever and flush spout work together by adding fresh water from the reservoir into the bowl while releasing the waste.
Cleaning Method: This PartySaving toilet has a leak-free design which makes removing waste fairly simple and clean.
A quickly removable screw cap provides a secure seal, containing liquids and solids until disposal, and the holding tank is detachable.
Extras: It’s made with high-density polyethylene so it should be very durable. There’s a waste lever to seal off anything in the holding tank. The trade-off is that it’s not a full-sized toilet seat, so it will feel smaller than the toilet at home.
3. Palm Springs Portable Toilet
- Self-contained portable toilet for camp site, boat, RV, or other recreation
- Sturdy full-size seat/lid; lushes like residential toilet; matte finish conceals scratches
- 3-gallon freshwater holding tank and 5-gallon waste-water holding tank
- One-piece, leak-proof tanks made of high-density polyethylene
- Arrived fully assembled; 16.5" high x 13.5" wide x 12" deep; weighs 9.75 lbs
Holding Tank: 3 gallons fresh water, 5 gallons waste water
Overall Size: 16.5″H x 13.5″W x 12″D
Weight: 9.75 lbs (with empty tanks)
Flush Method: This portable toilet is full-sized, just like a standard toilet. It even works just like residential toilets at home, so it’s much easier for kids to use.
You simply put fresh water in the top unit, push the pump to dispense some water into the bowl, do your business and pull the lever handle which opens the valve to flush into the lower unit. It arrives at your house fully assembled, ready to go.
Cleaning Method: Remove the fresh water top half of the unit and transfer the bottom half to a dump station.
Extras: Has a built-in handle for transporting back and forth from the boat. Made of high-density polyethylene with a matte finish to prevent and conceal scratches. Its one-piece design proves to be leak-proof, with heavy-duty side latches which lock the tanks together.
4. Thetford Portable Toilet
- [VERSATILITY]: Award-winning, top-of-the-line portable toilet, suited for RVs, boats, trucks, vans, healthcare, medical, camping and even off-the-grid lifestyle, with a 4 gallons fresh water tank capacity and a 5.5 gallons waste water capacity
- [DESIGN]: Sleek, modern, and homelike look, Porta Potti Curve comes with a comfortable seat height, increased bowl size, and battery-powered flush
- [FUNCTIONALITY]: Easy to use and clean, Curve has an ergonomic carrying handle, an integrated toilet paper holder, and a tank level indicator
- [SANITARY]: Odorless and leak proof, the portable toilet has a sealed valve to prevent odors from escaping and a rotating pour-out spout for emptying the waste water tank without backsplashes
- [OPTIONAL]: The hold down kit helps secure the portable toilet to the floor, holding it in place while you're on the road and Water fill adaptor
Holding Tank: 4 gallons fresh water, 5.5 gallons waste water
Overall Size: 17⅝”H x 15¼”W x 17¾”D
Weight: 10 lbs (with empty tanks)
Flush Method: This toilet has an average of 56 flushes, which is golden for longer trips.
There seems to be a bit of a two-step process to flush: First, you pull out the handle; second, you pump a bellow. Following this order or teaching younger ones to remember (especially if used once in a blue moon) may take some time.
Cleaning Method: It has an easy pivoting pour-out spout which empties. You simply take the cap off like standard models and hose or pour fresh water through the valve.
Extras: Although Thetford makes several standard models, this is the sleekest portable potty I’ve seen yet! It has the normal comfortable seat height we’re used to at home and with a larger bowl size than most portables.
It’s a bit more techy with hidden battery-powered flush controls and a holding tank level indicator for both fresh water and waste tanks. It even has a hidden toilet paper holder!
Keep Your Pontoon Clean with Boat Bathroom Accessories
Compostable Toilet Paper
- [VERSATILITY]: Aqua-Soft Toilet Tissue is designed to work with RV, marine, portable, or even with classic toilets
- [FUNCTIONALITY]: The luxurious 2-ply toilet paper is soft, snowy white, and highly absorbent
- [PERFORMANCE]: Specially designed to work with RV and marine waste systems, the toilet paper flushes easily and dissolves rapidly, helping prevent messy clogs
- [CONVENIENCE]: Aqua-Soft Toilet Tissue is available in a pack of 4 rolls, 396-sheets per roll
- Specially-made for RV and marine sanitation systems - the "Must Use" toilet tissue from the #1 company in mobile sanitation
Compostable toilet paper and biodegradable toilet paper are safe to use and won’t clog up your tank when you need to empty it.
The Thetford manufacturer makes its own brand of aqua-soft toilet paper, specially designed for marine sanitation systems. And—since you’re on a boat—no one wants to wipe with a damp tissue. I recommend a simple DIY storage container (like a coffee can) to keep it dry.
- Eliminates odors and helps break down waste in the RV holding tank
- Ultra-Concentrated: just one drop-in treats up to a 40 gallon tank
- Does not contain the toxic, formaldehyde-releasing ingredient bronopol
- RV and marine approved; Safe for all septic tanks
- Fresh citrus scent, 15 drop-ins/bag
The Camco portable toilet comes with TST Drop-In treatments. I think these would work just fine for all the toilets above.
With a citrus smell, they’ll do a great job disguising any odors, and they’re perfectly safe for the environment, so you know you’re not harming your beautiful lakes or oceans.
- Spritz the bowl before-you-go and no one else will ever know; our most popular scent! original citrus is an uplifting blend of lemon, bergamot and lemongrass natural essential oils
- The original non-toxic before-you-go toilet spray that stops bathroom odors before they ever begin - seriously! no more trying to mask odor already in the air
- Scientifically-tested formula made of essential oils and other natural compounds; no harsh chemicals, aerosol, parabens, phthalates, or formaldehyde; all stink-fighting good stuff
It may help to carry along a small deodorizer like the Poo-Pourri Toilet Spray.
So that it doesn’t take up much room, carry a smaller liquid (not air-compressed) bottle for spritzing which you can refill when it gets lower.
|Taylor Made Easy Up Partition||VIEW ON AMAZON →|
|Vortex Privacy Room||VIEW ON AMAZON →|
|Carver Changing Room||VIEW ON AMAZON →|
|NorthStar Privacy Station||VIEW ON AMAZON →|
|KingCamp Pop-up Privacy Shelter||VIEW ON AMAZON →|
|WolfWise Pop-up Shower Tent||VIEW ON AMAZON →|
Last, but not least, you’ll need a privacy partition! For pontoons, take a look at our blog post on this topic for a few reviews (click here to read). It gives several recommendations of drop-down partitions you can attach to biminis, as well as standing pop-up tents for motorboats or bimini-less boats.
Keeping a portable toilet on board our boats isn’t something we like to think about, but when you gotta go, you gotta go.
As you can see from the toilets reviewed, none of them require getting dirty or hands-deep in soiled tanks. It isn’t intimidating and—quite frankly—could probably prevent larger disasters (especially with children).
My niece is still learning—should she visit, having portable potty would be a priority!