How Does a Composting Toilet Work in a Tiny House?

If you’re building a tiny house or are thinking of being in the tiny house, you’ve probably thought about how does a composting toilet work in a tiny house and how can I pick the most appropriate one?

Peeing and pooping in a tiny house is a normal thing that tiny residents do, yet many questions go unanswered. But don’t fret because we have all your bathroom questions addressed for you.

We will answer all the tiny house composting toilets questions for you that you’ve been hesitant to ask but have always wanted to be aware of. 

Find out more!

How does a composting toilet work in a tiny house?

Composting toilets are toilets that are dry that deal with human waste by composting. They function by mixing the solid matter with other dry substances like peat moss or coconut Coir to convert the waste into compost.

In order to aid in the process of composting and getting rid of the smell, composting toilets generally come with a urine-diverting system that redirects the urine away from the solids. The resultant compost and urine can be used for garden maintenance or disposed of.

A composting toilet is a non-water fixture that converts human waste to compost. It can be used as an ordinary flush toilet.

The only thing it does is can store your waste that you will need to spin from time in order to assist the process of composting begin and then break it into pieces.

It’s similar to garden compost, however, the purpose is to keep the moisture out to divert the poop and urine into two containers.

But, you’ll need to add additional materials into the composting chamber in order to remove the smell and speed up the process of composting.

They can range from popcorn to peat moss, to sawdust. I have used coconut shavings after having learned about them at a small-scale house festival.

Based on the way my body functions is that I need to alter my diet every 4 to 5 months. I place it in separate compost bins to make compost for another 6 months before I utilize it as mulch for my yard and fruit trees.

To pee, I do a weekly emptying and then use it in the yard.

What are my tiny house toilet options?

The three choices to choose from when it comes to the small home toilet: All-in-1 composting toilets as well as incinerator toilets and composting toilets made from DIY.

All-in-one composting toilets

How Does a Composting Toilet Work in a Tiny House

All-in-one composting toilets are a unit. It’s simple to install and comes with an exhaust fan that lets out the smell. It’s compact, the installation process is easy, and it costs approximately $1000 or less.

Incinerator Toilets

Incinerator toilets are waterless toilets that use electricity to heat human waste in the form of ash. Like composting toilets, they’re small, look similar to a normal toilet, and are easy to put in.

However, it is expensive at about $2,000 to buy and consumes a lot of energy and takes some time to finish all the burning cycles.

What is the reason for a Nature Head compost toilet?

It was a reputable brand with a long experience and a history of success in the industry of tiny houses.

Instead of taking an opportunity on something that isn’t established or a brand new company, I chose something that I could have known would be successful.

Nature's Head Self Contained Composting Toilet with Close Quarters Spider Handle Design
  • No one - and I mean no one - will beat my customer service and individual...
  • Easy to install by any reasonably handy person.
  • Absolutely No Odor. No Maintenance. 5 Year Warranty.
  • Huge Capacity. 2 people using full time will empty every 4-6 weeks. Easy empty...
  • A vast improvement over older composting toilet designs. This one works!

Last update on 2023-09-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

I’d hate to have paid a thousand dollars for compost toilets and find myself unable to smell the urine.

There’s a chance that you don’t have any previous experience with a compost toilet unless you’re using some shady park-system outhouses. And comes from someone who enjoys walking through the woods as amusing, they’re not too awful to me.

It is still a bit difficult to inquire about the inevitable squeamish sensation that usually comes on when you talk about poop.

Although it’s understandable that you might be interested in learning about compost toilets so that you can simplify your life Here are the top 20 frequently asked questions regarding the compost toilet that will hopefully help you understand your questions.

DIY composting toilets for composting

The composting toilets you make yourself are ones that can be made by yourself with a five-gallon container and an organic composting material like peat moss or coconut Coir.

The disadvantage of this bucket method is it will not remove the smell from your home. It will cause your home to smell. But, you could spend a little more time setting up an exhaust system. It’s affordable for about a couple hundred dollars.

Other toilets for tiny houses

Composting toilets isn’t your only option for toilets in tiny homes. There are two other options to think about.

Septic System For example in the event that your land is owned by you on which your tiny house it is possible to set up a toilet with a flush feature however it’s necessary to put in the septic tank, which could cost anything from $5,000 to $20,000 for materials as well as permits, labor, and expenses based on the region you live in.

Make use of public restrooms. There are very few who choose this route, however, it can work for some people who live near public toilets or gyms. But, the ease of owning an individual bathroom with shower facilities is a treat. I believe that having composting toilets are so superior to having no toilets.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of composting toilets?

Composting toilets are perfect for those who prefer to live in off grid cabins and RVs, vans, and even tiny homes. In addition, composting toilets can be perfect for those who do not have the option of spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on a septic system.

This is the reason that nearly all tiny houses are fitted with toilets that compost. This being said Here are the advantages and disadvantages of installing a small house composting toilet that you ought to consider prior to purchasing one for your home.


  • Costs less in the long run in the long run than installing a septic tank. You could save thousands of dollars over the course of choosing to not connect to the sewer system. Environmentally friendly (reduces electric and water usage and also creates compost)Ideal for off-grid life
  • The installation process is easy and DIY-friendly.
  • It’s odorless (as long as it’s installed and properly taken care of)
  • Toilets that compost is small easy to transport and simple to clean.


  • Utilizing a composting toilet will require more effort than traditional toilets.
  • You’ll need to be at ease with dumping your urine as well as solids regularly. Maintenance: The two kinds of toilets listed below need minimum or no maintenance compared to composting toilets. It is essential to have peat you must always have moss might be illegal in the municipality you reside in. You should check with the town hall.

Does a composting toilet make your home smell bad?

The mystery surrounding this toilet system is due to the lack of information, which makes people question its effectiveness and feel it’s not worth the effort. People believe that compost toilets for homes might not be the ideal solution since it may cause the smell of rotten eggs.

However, this isn’t the case with modern technology, even in tiny houses. Although there may be a little scent, it may resemble the scent of wood or mulch. However, the Nature Head compost toilet is odorless and does this by using an internal fan that is utilized to move the smell and fumes out of pipes and out into the house. It’s basically like exhaust and the fan assists in removing stinks and breaks the compost material into smaller pieces more quicker. There are seals that can be placed around the toilet itself to keep it airtight.

What’s the most efficient composting toilet for tiny houses?

From the various toilet options that we’ve listed above The most effective, economical, and easy-to-use choice is to buy one composting toilet all-in-one, particularly The Nature’s Head Composting Toilet.

Nature's Head Self Contained Composting Toilet with Close Quarters Spider Handle Design
  • No one - and I mean no one - will beat my customer service and individual...
  • Easy to install by any reasonably handy person.
  • Absolutely No Odor. No Maintenance. 5 Year Warranty.
  • Huge Capacity. 2 people using full time will empty every 4-6 weeks. Easy empty...
  • A vast improvement over older composting toilet designs. This one works!

Last update on 2023-09-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

I’ve been using this product since the year 2019. Since then, I’ve only had a couple of minor problems.

It is the Nature’s Head composting toilet is an unwater-based composting toilet with a urine diverter as well as one exhaust vent that continually removes the smell from the small house.

It’s odd to be a lover of a toilet, but we really love ours since it requires minimal to no maintenance. Additionally, the product comes with an outstanding warranty. We had to replace a few components due to improper handling however Nature’s head provided us with spare parts at no cost and then shipped them the following day.

How to Use a Composting Toilet?

How does a composting toilet work in a tiny house? In the beginning, you’ll need to fill up the container with 2 gallons of composting media like peat moss or coconut coir prior to the first use.

If you are ready to utilize it, simply press the lever to open the lid of the trash container. Then, continue your routine as usual. Be sure to direct your pee into the waste container, and your urine will go into the diverter.

After you have completed your work, pull up on the lever to shut the lid. After that, turn the handle for three full revolutions in order to combine the garbage into your composting material. That’s it!

How and where do you empty a composting toilet?

To empty the waste tank to empty the container, unhook the latches on the right and left sides of the container. Then, you can raise the bowl so that you can remove the container for urine.

The urine bottle can be emptied from the bottle into a normal toilet or thrown into your garden, mixing it with water in a 1:10 ratio.

In order to empty your solid tank remove the latches from one side of the toilet. Then, raise and slide the seat unit towards the left to take it out of the toilet.

Once the seat is removed and the seat removed, place a 13-gallon cooking bag on top of the container that is solid. Flip the unit upside down to empty the contents of the container. Then, you can dispose of them in the same manner as you would dispose of regular garbage.

How often do composting toilets need to be cleaned?

If two people use the toilet for a long period of time the composting toilet has to be cleaned every 4-6 weeks to remove solid waste and 2 to 3 months for urine.

Personally, we love to go to public toilets as often as we can, which is why we generally clean our composting toilets every 2 to 3 months.

How Bad Do Composting Toilets Smell?

There is hardly any smell from your composting toilet. The reason for this is that the composting toilet is able to divert the solids from the urine and the smell is continuously released to the outside. This makes sure that there’s no smell coming out of the toilet into your home.

There can be an “earthy” smell when the solid waste area is nearly full. Even then you can lessen the smell by running an exhaust fan for your bathroom or emptying the toilet.

Here’s a word of caution. An unpleasant odor can be created when you don’t properly aim your urine and the urine mixes with solids. Trust me when I say that you will notice it that it smells like urine. To stop this from happening, be sure to make sure you aim correctly!


Are Tampons Safe to Use in the Composting Toilet?

In no way should you use pads, tampons, or wipes in the composting toilets or composting outhouses! Any toilet paper is fine and less substantial brands (such as RV or marine paper) are the fastest to compost. Disposables, wipes, and tampons must not be thrown in the bin for solids. Some brands are made of a mixture of organic cotton and rayon and are typically bleached with chlorine.

How Much Does a Composting Toilet Cost?

A decent composting toilet portable model that comes with two chambers, as well as various ventilation options for a home could cost anywhere from $600 to $1000. If you can afford more than $2000, you could purchase a top-of-the-line model based on the features you want within your small home.

How Can You Manage Diarrhea and Other Ailments Using Composting Toilets?

There may be a need to add a tiny amount of organic bulking materials such as peat moss, or coco fiber In these scenarios. Nature Head compost toilet is filled halfway or maybe a bit more, so there’s usually the possibility of adding. It’s not a huge deal, in fact, and you shouldn’t have frequent diarrhea so it shouldn’t be a frequent occurrence.

What Should You Do if Your Compost is Extremely Dry?

Because churning hard or dry compost can be difficult it is possible to put water in peat moss and coco fiber and then wait for the moisture to disappear. Then, you are able to begin the agitator. I would suggest not adding water too often, because it can cause further problems. I’d rather dry instead of being too moist.

Do Cold Winters Cause Harm to Your Toilet?

It is important to think about liquid waste when you compost toilets. Clean the urine bottle or tube every time during cold winter conditions to prevent any system harm. While these toilets are suitable for all climates since however, we’re still speaking about compost that is organic. they are not able to compost during cold winter months. In this case, you’ll need to ensure that your home is adequately insulated.

Do Compost Toilets Require Electricity?

A number of models draw power for continuous venting using the fan. Some use batteries to power the fan or other sources, and some are attached to wall plugs like the one I have in my Nature Head compost toilet which has an outlet close to it in my tiny home on wheels.

What Can You Add to Your Compost Toilet?

Learn more about it through the instruction manual provided by the manufacturer. While most manufacturers provide their own mix, you may make use of other ingredients like coconut fiber peat moss, and sawdust.

What to Do With Urine From the Composting Toilet?

The trees and plants will get the benefit of urine. It is possible to dilute one portion of urine into eight percent water in order to make fertilizer for your plants. There is no need to be concerned regarding the smell. I have it in my backyard all the time. I also pee in my yard even when nobody is around, so that’s a plus.

How Do You Deal With Compost Toilet Waste?

It is possible to put it into a trash bag and throw it into the trash in the same way as baby diapers or put it in an organic compost pile to process. I have an additional compost bin outside to do this, and let it sit for a further six months before putting it to use in the vicinity of Shellmate Island.

Are There Any National Building Laws About Compost Toilets?

There might not be specific rules or regulations regarding this particular toilet facility. However, it is best to verify the local regulations regarding this issue. You can look it up on Google or make contact with your local zoning office regarding this.

Can You Buy a Compost Toilet for a Boat, RV, or Tiny Home?

Yes. It is necessary to search for portable toilets that are thought to be suitable for travel. The toilets that are self-contained should stop leaks or spills from leaking even when there’s an intense movement taking place.

Is It Safe to Use Toilet Paper in Tissue in a Compost Toilet?

If you buy compost toilets for your camping or RV, or a tiny home, you do not need to carry any specific toilet paper. The system will break down toilet paper like solid waste in a short time. While you are able to make use of any toilet paper but it’s best to choose one-ply choices. They are simple to tear down. They are also suitable for all Septic tanks such as those found in Shellmate Island. Shellmate Island.

Is a Composting Toilet Worth It?

Absolutely. Actually, it’s essential. That’s why nearly everyone living in the tiny house community is equipped with composting toilets. Additionally, it’s significant in terms of cost savings when you consider that it can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to put in the septic system should you be in the market for flushing toilets.

How does a composting toilet work in a tiny house? Composting toilets are the ideal alternative for those who want to live a sustainable lifestyle and go off-grid. Toilets that compost will cost more initially and require additional steps, however, they can also help save energy, water, and waste can be reused to make fertilizer.

Toilets that are of good quality are non-odorless. A majority of the toilets come with a fan to remove any smell emanating through the toilet. Toilets typically function by segregating liquids and solid waste. Solid waste goes into one chamber and is combined with peat moss to break it down.

If you reside in an area that does not allow composting then you should collect the solid waste into biodegradable plastic bags and dispose of it in the same way as the diapers of babies are to be discarded. If you don’t, you’ll be able to utilize the waste material to compost.

The liquid waste is stored in a tank which is to be removed when it’s full. It is possible to dispose of liquid waste in RV dump stations, or on the ground if you’re located in a remote area where it is permitted. You must eliminate garbage every 3-7 days for liquid waste, and every 2-4 weeks for solid waste.


Dibyajyoti Bordoloi is the founder of He has over 16 years of experience not only designing and building various Tiny Houses, Apartments, and RVs but teaching non-technical Tiny House owners and RV owners like you how to do it the right way. He is also a proud member of the Chamber of Real Estate and Builders Association (North-East India). He is also a successful Investor and Trader in Equities and Real Estate.