There may come a time when you are faced with a true disaster: You got to go, but there’s no where to do business. This is what’s called a SHTF scenario, where there’s no running water, no electric, and no way to get to a toilet. Though it’s a messy situation to plan for, knowing that you have an emergency toilet option ready to go can give you peace of mind.


Here are some emergency toilet for when plumbing fails:


Latrines and Catholes

Here are two quick options for relieving yourself in an emergency situation. Of course, there are dozens of reasons why you might be unable to go outside to dig a hole; but if you can and must, a cathole or a latrine trench is good for short-term disasters.


Catholes are as the name implies. You simply dig a hole about 12-15 centimeters deep. Squat, do your thing, cover it, and move on. Latrine trenches are just an upgraded version of a cat-hole and are often longer, wider, and can hold more.


These options aren’t very sanitary or environmentally-friendly, though. You can’t count on them for too long.


Composting Toilets

A self-contained compost toilet is a great option for two reasons. One, it can save you during a crappy situation, and it is also excellent for off-the-grid sanitation. However, these units can be rather expensive to purchase, and while you can build one yourself, even the materials needed for construction are pricey.


Compost toilets also need to be placed somewhere with adequate ventilation. So, you wouldn’t be able to put a compost toilet in, let’s say, a bomb shelter or bunker.


Camping Toilets

For a short-term catastrophe, like getting snowed in and having burst pipes, you can have a camping toilet or portable commode available. It’s better than having to go outside, and it helps keep your space clean.


Of course, the downside to this is that the waste is all going in one place, it is bound to smell, and the reservoir is small, so it will fill rapidly.


Relevant: Why Does The Toilet Whistle After Flushing?

Twin Bucket Toilets

Just as the name states, the twin bucket method means taking two compost buckets and separating your waste accordingly. While using a bucket to relieve yourself might take some getting used to, it is the best method for long-term SHTF scenarios and is much cleaner than a camping toilet. Not only are buckets easy to come by, but they hold a lot.


Why The Twin Bucket Works Best

Separating urine and feces has some benefits. Urine can be used as a fertilizer, and it is easy to dispose of. All you need are two 5-gallon compost buckets with lids. You should line the buckets with vinyl bags—the thicker, the better. Always line the poo bucket. Feminine hygiene products should also be disposed of in the one designated for feces.


No one wants to think about what would happen if toilets suddenly stopped working, but it is best to be prepared than be caught with your pants down. Literally. Now that you know your options for emergency toilets, it’s time to stockpile some vinyl bags and buckets!