What is Outhouse Toilet? Different types of Outhouse Toilets

What is Outhouse Toilet? Different types of Outhouse Toilets

What is Outhouse Toilet?

An outhouse toilet is a toilet that lacks the plumbing and ventilation of a conventional flush toilet. It is typically used by campers and others in rural areas who do not have access to a flush system.

Although modern flush toilets are common throughout much of the industrialized world, there are many places where they are still uncommon or do not exist at all.

In developing countries, this may be due to ongoing poverty and a lack of available water, and in more rural or remote areas it may be due to a lack of funds or the primitive living conditions of the people living there.

Different types of Outhouse Toilets

There are two basic types of outhouse toilets: A simple pit latrine and a bucket toilet.

A simple pit latrine

A pit latrine, which collects human excrement in a hole in the ground, is sometimes housed in an outhouse. When correctly constructed and maintained, they can help to reduce disease spread by minimizing the quantity of human excrement in the environment caused by open defecation.

When the pit reaches capacity, it should be drained or a new pit excavated, and the shelter relocated or rebuilt in its new location.

The removal of fecal sludge from the pit is a difficult process. If not done correctly, there are both environmental and health dangers.

Pit latrines were used by an estimated 1.77 billion persons in 2013. This is mainly prevalent in impoverished countries, as well as in rural and wilderness locations.

A bucket toilet

Another option is a bucket toilet, which consists of a seat and a portable receptacle (bucket or pail). These may be emptied onto composting piles in the garden by their owners (a low-tech composting toilet), or collected by contractors for larger-scale disposal.

Historically, this was referred to as the pail closet; the town hired employees known as “nightmen” (from night soil) to empty and replenish the buckets.

This technique was so closely connected with the English town of Rochdale that it was dubbed the “Rochdale System” of sanitation. Similar systems were said to be in existence in portions of France and elsewhere in continental Europe in the twentieth century, according to books.

Municipal collection was prevalent in Australia; “dunny cans” remained in use far into the second half of the twentieth century, as seen below. Outhouses are built above detachable containers in Scandinavia and some other nations, allowing for easier waste disposal and significantly faster composting in separate heaps.

A similar practice is in place in India, where hundreds of thousands of laborers participate in manual scavenging, which entails emptying pit latrines and bucket toilets without the use of personal protective equipment.

Outhouse Toilet Construction

An outhouse toilet is often constructed by digging one or two pits into the ground and then placing two thin partitions between them so as to create one large chamber.

One partition has an opening, known as the front door for men, while the other has an opening called the back door for women.

The two ends are then closed with wooden or plastic panels. The whole structure is raised above the ground and made weatherproof with roofing of grass, wood or concrete.

A long rod is provided for cleaning the toilet at night, and another one to release the front door in order to expel urine. The back door is opened in order to facilitate bowel movements. A specimen pit beneath the toilet collects human excreta.

The outhouse is usually located in a secluded spot behind the house to reduce noise and smell.

A simple outhouse may have a trough around the base of the toilet, which is flushed using water from a bucket. However, this trough may become foul over time, and so it is necessary to empty the pit periodically.

A better alternative is to place the toilet over an underground septic tank that collects waste matter from the pit and allows it to be decomposed through natural biological processes or by other treatment methods.

However, the sewage is highly offensive and potentially toxic to humans, so it must be disposed of in a manner that prevents it from contaminating the environment.

People tend to use toilets in a public place like parks or other open spaces where they can dispose of waste materials using the final toilet facility.

They also may have toilet facilities that are constructed at home indoor as well as outdoor which can be divided into multiple rooms for urination and defecation.

They have also used the toilet inside their house as they have more options to choose where do they want to use it.

When outdoor toilets are used, they need to look for areas that are well lit so that people can easily see where to dispose of their waste materials.

There is a concrete slab or circular cement block in the front of each toilet which is wide enough for two people. Inside the toilet, there should be some form of soil, such as sand, gravel, or cement and rotten leaves may be added.

Outhouse Toilet History

Old outhouse pits are seen as excellent places for archeological and anthropological excavations, offering up a trove of common objects from the past a veritable inadvertent time capsule which yields historical insight into the lives of the bygone occupants.

This is also called privy digging. It is especially common to find old bottles, which seemingly were secretly stashed or trashed, so their content could be privately imbibed. Fossilized feces (coprolites) yield much information about diet and health.

In the United States:

Outhouses are usually built on one level; however, two-story variants can be seen in exceptional situations. In Cedar Lake, Michigan, one double-decker was erected to service a two-story building. The outhouses were linked by walkways. It is still in use (but not the building).

In these cases, the waste from “upstairs” is routed down a chute separate from the “downstairs” facility, hence, contrary to countless jokes about two-story outhouses, the lower-level user has nothing to worry about if the upper level is in use at the same time.

The Boston Exchange Coffee House (1809–1818) has a four-story outbuilding with windows on each floor. Considering the period and place, some outhouses were quite elegant.

A magnificent 19th century antebellum specimen (a three-holler, for example) may be found at the plantation region of Stone Mountain State Park in Stone Mountain, Georgia.

Colonial Williamsburg’s outhouses ranged from simple throwaway temporary wood huts to high-style masonry buildings. At his holiday house, Thomas Jefferson planned and built two brick octagons

Outhouses of this type are sometimes seen to be overbuilt, impractical, and pompous, giving birth to the idiom “built like a brick shithouse.”

The meaning and use of that statement are debatable; however, depending on the nation, it has been attributed to men, women, or inanimate things.

Before toilet paper was widely accessible, anal washing was done with old newspapers and mail-order catalogs such as those from Montgomery Ward or Sears Roebuck.

Paper was frequently stored in a can or other container to protect it from mice and other pests. The catalogs had a dual role in that they provided something to read as well.

How to build an outhouse with a flushing toilet

How to build an outhouse with a flushing toilet is a question which every person faces.

This question is there when they do not have enough space to keep a separate toilet, or when they want to use the same space for more than one purpose. In such cases, it becomes difficult to find the right option.

For this reason, people are able to choose from a variety of different options for them and make their own choice according to their needs. When there is a need to build an outhouse with a flushing toilet, then there should be adequate space for building this toilet.

The best choice is going with a separate toilet from the house. Going for this option would help have different toilets for each of the people living in the house as it is difficult to maintain one toilet for all at this time and these days.

Planning is the first step in this matter. You can have a number of different ways for the construction and foundation of your toilet. You have to choose one which is convenient for you and having all the facilities required for a toilet.

Nowadays, people are using toilets with water flushing system which helps them in achieving everything on their own without keeping any extra help.

Most of people are using toilets with a chemical flush rather than water because it reduces the cost of maintaining a toilet.

The cost of maintenance is not high in this case, but it is enough to make sure that your toilet is running well and does not have any kind of damage.

It can be understood that toilets for these days come with facilities like automatic flushing system, motion sensors and other useful features which helps the person to use this toilet comfortably.

Also, the toilets are constructed with materials that are easy to maintain and are durable. The interior and exterior of these toilets should be maintained properly so that the user does not have any kind of trouble while using it.

The second is the choice of toilet materials. You can find a lot of options in the market with different materials like wood, plastic, fiberglass and more are available. If you are looking for a cheap option for you then it is better to go with the wooden material.

If you want to have a luxurious look for your toilet, then you can choose from many different options like fiberglass or a plastic material which would help in making your toilet look unique as compared to others.

The third is the choice of your toilet seat. There are many different options for you in this case as well. You can pick one that suits your taste and requirements, and can be comfortable for you to use it whole the time.

The quality of the materials should be checked before buying it as if it is not durable then you would have to replace it again at a later stage which will make your budget rise up more than you have imagined.

Finally, the choice of sanitary fixtures. Most of them come with these facilities, and you can use them in a better way by installing a good toilet paper.

This is the most important step when it comes to this matter as it will help you to achieve all your needs. You can use some of the risk-free deals that are available in the market and buy them at a cheaper rate. You can also buy some in bulk and save money on every purchase.


How long does the outhouse smell last?

The smell of a Thriftway outhouse can last for days and can be quite unpleasant for you and your family members.

The smell of the toilet is mainly due to the natural material that is used in the construction of this outhouse. This smell cannot be removed unless you use some kind of masking agent to reduce its effect.

What happens to the poop in an outhouse?

When correctly constructed and maintained, they can help to reduce disease spread by minimizing the quantity of human excrement in the environment caused by open defecation.

When the pit reaches capacity, it should be drained or a new pit excavated, and the shelter relocated or rebuilt in its new location.

How deep does an outhouse hole have to be?

The depth of an outhouse pit varies from one place to another. The most common depth used is six feet in the United States.

This depth is sufficient for most people to do their number 2 activities and includes a small storage area for toilet paper and other sanitary supplies.

There are also shelter rooms built with six-foot lengths of boxwood for seat toilets, although most shelters are four feet deep.

Why do you put lye in an outhouse?

Lime has historically been used to eliminate odors or aromas in outhouses or outdoor latrines. Lime does not speed up waste breakdown and may instead slow it down by lowering sewage acidity. Lime also helped to lessen the number of flies in the outhouse or toilet.

How do you keep an outhouse from smelling?

Homeowners can lessen outhouse emissions by including the following materials: lime, which has traditionally been used to neutralize outhouse scents and repel flies. Lime may cause skin burns if it gets on the seat; sawdust, wood ash, straw or peat moss, kitchen garbage

Can you build an outhouse for a family of four?

Yes, this is possible but it depends on how much space does your home provides for you to build one.

If you can’t get enough space then it’s better to buy a riel at the toilet so that all of you can sit on it at one point.

How big should an outhouse be?

The size of your outhouse should depend on how large your family is and how often you plan on using it.

If you plan on using it frequently, then the larger the space is, the better it will be.

The smaller outhouses are meant for use once every 3-5 days and should be big enough to fit all of your essentials.

Tenants may have to renege on making their rent payment if they have to use an outhouse. Therefore, landlords have the right to evict tenants who refuse to pay rent by using an outhouse.

Can you burn outhouse waste?

Yes, you can burn outhouse waste if you want to and they will smell less.

However, burning it will not eliminate the smell completely as the unpleasant odors may still stay in your living area but won’t be as strong as before.

Do outhouses get full?

No, they do not get full but sometimes, they use the minimum water that should be used.

What are the advantages of owning an outhouse?

They include:

  • It is cheaper in cost than using a public toilet. The cost of using an outhouse is lower compared to using a public toilet and is yet effective as well.
  • It’s fire proof and waterproof.
  • It can protect you from germs, flies and mosquitoes.
  • You can use them out of sight.
  • They are sturdier and don’t need to be repaired when there is a leak or damage to it
  • They are elevated which saves you space and helps in trapping water to keep the floor dry during the wet season
  • The smell they give off is not that much as compared to public toilets.

What are the disadvantages of owning an outhouse?

They are:

  • They may not be the preferred option for people whose home has no open space and no privacy, there are even outhouses that are invisible.
  • They may be hard to clean, take a lot of space and need maintenance
  • You may not be able to store excess water or have enough water for your toilet activities
  • They are difficult to clean and may get smelly or moldy if not cleaned properly
  • They may be a health hazard to you and your family.
  • They are open and hence reduce privacy.
  • They are not 100% effective in preventing the spread of diseases as they can leak or have bad odor which may cause disease breeding grounds
  • They require a lot of room, time, energy and effort when building them from scratch.

Is outhouse legal?

No, outhouses are not legal, but the government does not ban the construction of them.

Under the law of the country where you live, it is legal for a person to walk around with a portable toilet of some kind in a public place such as parks and public areas. This is based on your country’s laws and city building ordinances.

Can an outhouse leak?

Outhouses can leak if they were not properly made or maintained.

If you have an outhouse that leaks, problems such as water damage can develop.

These problems are caused by the following:

  • The leaking seat-drain system, which traps wetness and creates a perfect environment for bacteria to grow and release offensive odors.
  • Weak or broken toilet seal and bolt system which allows air to enter into the toilet. This air can lead to mildew growth, mold and rotting of woodwork inside the outhouse toilet.

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