What are the toilet options for tiny homes?

If you’ve ever spent a few hours decluttering a room in your home, you know the satisfaction that comes from putting everything in its place and making space. Often this requires smart storage solutions and thinking cleverly about the usable space you have available in your home. 

This process is exasperated when you have a tiny home as often you will need to use the available space you have to its best potential, including your bathroom.

There are many different descriptions of what is the ‘official’ term for a tiny home. Often, tiny homes are classified as a home that’s been built on a trailer of some sort and is transportable. This is different to a small house as small homes generally range between 90 to 150 square metres and are set in the property like a traditional home, just smaller. 

Whilst there are many crossovers between tiny homes and a small house, the ability to transport tiny homes is the defining feature of a true tiny home.

What toilet options are available for tiny homes?

As we’ve mentioned above, tiny homes are typically built on a trailer frame or designed to be able to move about. It’s worth noting that tiny homes aren’t designed to be moved around like a caravan or motorhome. The difference with a tiny home is that once you’ve moved it, it’s really designed to stay in the one place for a considerable period of time as moving often becomes cost prohibitive. 

Given tiny homes are designed to be moved, it’s likely that plumbing your tiny home into town water isn’t going to be an option. Living in a tiny home is a way to move towards living off the grid and being more self-sufficient and one aspect of this mindset is saving water where possible. 

Water is heavy and requires a lot of space to store, so many tiny homes have limited capacity for storing water. Some tiny homes will give you the option to connect to a hose system (from town water) or to connect to an external water tank somewhere on the land or property. 

Flushing Toilet

Whilst it’s technically possible to install a flushing toilet into a tiny home, this isn’t a viable option as you either need to plumb it directly into the grid so your black water (human waste) is transported away or you will need to have a portable septic system to store black water in. 

This quickly becomes an untenable solution as plumbing your tiny home into the grid greatly disables your ability to move your home around (the whole concept behind tiny homes) and sewerage or septic systems require a lot of water usage and storage. 

Pros

  • Waste is flushed away
  • You don’t have to deal with waste

Cons

  • You will need to plumb your toilet into town water
  • If not connected to the grid, considerable water storage is needed
  • You’re not able to move your home easily if plumbed in

Caravan or cassette toilet

Some people opt for a caravan toilet (sometimes called a cassette toilet) however they soon realise they’re restricted by the amount of water they have available. Many caravan and cassette toilets need to be hooked up to a water source to enable their flush functions. 

Now, because your drinking water is essentially the only water you’re able to store in a tiny home, every time you flush your caravan toilet, you’re literally flushing perfectly good drinking water down the drain. 

Pros

  • Easy to install
  • Don’t take up a lot of space

Cons

  • Requires chemicals to treat waste
  • Needs to be emptied every couple of days
  • Needs to be emptied into a proper dumping point
  • Doesn’t deal with toilet paper very well (they get easily bogged up)
  • Are prone to stinking out your home if used for solid waste

Composting toilets

Composting toilets seem to be the most popular option for tiny homes as not only do they not require plumbing into any sort of waste storage system, they use no water. 

The Sun-mar GTG is a fully self contained composting toilet that is easily installed into tiny homes and doesn’t require pump outs, emptying every week or water to compost your waste. It can easily be hooked up to a solar system to run the exhaust fan (the exhaust fan helps to eliminate smells and also evaporates liquid from the compost pile). 

There’s a good reason composting toilets are the most popular option for toilets when it comes to tiny homes. 

Pros

  • Doesn’t use ANY water
  • Can easily handle both solid and liquid waste
  • Doesn’t require weekly pump outs
  • Doesn’t use any chemicals for treatment
  • Is environmentally friendly
  • Can be hooked up to solar power
  • Is fully self contained
  • Waste can be used on fruit and nut trees or scattered across lawns and garden beds

Cons

  • Requires electricity to run exhaust fan (although this can be connected to solar)
  • Requires you to manage waste

So if you’re in the market for a tiny home and are wondering what’s the best toilet option for you when you have limited space, limited water storage and don’t want to be dependant on town water, a composting toilet (the Sun-mar GTG in particular) is one of the best options for you and your tiny home.