How To Poop In A Bucket

What do you do if there is a disaster in your community? You will not be able to flush the toilets or run water down the drains if a flood, hurricane or something else overwhelms the sewer system. During a disaster situation, public services could be disrupted for many days. If the sewer system backs up or is unusable, you will not be able to use your toilet. Doing so could be very dangerous to your health.

Failure to properly dispose of human waste can lead to epidemics such as typhoid, dysentery and diarrhea. The spread of disease is imminent unless you take precautions and make your own emergency sanitation facilities.

Make Your Own Toilet

Your first task is to make some sort of temporary toilet for your family. Almost any covered metal or plastic bucket will do. If you have nothing but a 5-gallon bucket or even a garbage can, you can use it as a toilet. You can also dig a hole and squat over it, and then bury the waste. It would be something like glorified camping.

Wilderness Sanitation

A couple of years ago, we went on a one-week river-rafting trip down the Salmon River in Idaho with 12 people. We used what was called the groover. The groover got its name during World War II; the soldiers used their rocket boxes as toilets. They sat on them and got grooves in their behinds. When we set up our groover, it was always secluded in the trees or bushes. Sometimes, a jacket or tarp was hung around it to give more privacy. It had a regular toilet seat on it that was adapted with a metal piece on the underside that slid on and off the rocket box. There was a plastic liner inside. When not in use, the rocket box liner was sealed tight with a twist tie and the lid was locked in place. It was loaded onto a raft each day and taken with us so no trace was ever left behind. We had a separate bucket for the urine, which was dumped into the river. Before we launched each day, our groover captain would yell out the final call for everyone to get their groove on.

Make Your Own Sanitation Kit

The (5-gallon) buckets with toilet seat lids can be used to store the supplies needed for your sanitation kit. If you have to take off and go, you can grab the bucket by the handle and take it with you.

The following items can be purchased separately or found around your home. The idea is to get them all in one location in a sanitation grab-and-go bucket.

Supplies Needed

  • Two 5-gallon buckets with lids: one for urine and one for solid human waste.
  • Two plastic portable toilet seats.
  • Several rolls of toilet paper.
  • Paper towels, washcloths and hand towels.
  • A 2-liter bottle of water for washing hands.
  • Two packages of hand and-or baby wipes (large size).
  • Sanitary napkins and personal-hygiene items (if needed).
  • Biodegradable (if possible) heavy-duty (13-gallon) trashcan liners to line the 5-gallon buckets.
  • Heavy-duty twist ties to seal the liners shut when not in use.
  • Large garbage bags for trash.
  • Disposable gloves.
  • Face masks.
  • Small, collapsible shovel.
  • Plastic quart jar of laundry detergent, Borax, lime or a jar of Bio-Clean.
  • Hand sanitizer.
  • Small bottle of bleach with a tight-fitting lid.
  • Spray bottle to mix 1/8 cup bleach to 1 quart of water (label it) and use it to disinfect.
  • Spray bottle to clean the body.
  • Soap, hand-held mirror and personal hygiene items.
  • Diapers, if you have a baby.

Sanitation In The Home

If your house is still intact but the sewer system is backed up, you can keep the buckets with toilet seat lids in the house. Sprinkle the human waste with two tablespoons of lime, Borax, laundry detergent or Bio-Clean after you are finished using the toilet. This controls the smell and bacteria. It is best to use one bucket for urine and the other for waste. Disposable wipes or toilet paper can be put in with the waste.

The bucket with urine can be dumped more often, and the one with waste and liners can be sealed with the heavy-duty twist ties and disposed of by burying. To avoid the spread of disease, at least once a day bury all human waste by digging a hole 2 feet deep or deeper. Bury the entire bag of human waste in the hole and cover it up with the dirt from digging the hole. The biodegradable liners are the best for the environment.

Plastic Liners Inside The Toilet

If you cannot flush the toilet or the sewer is backed up in an emergency, it can still be used. Be sure to turn off the water coming into the toilet by turning the little handle on the pipe behind the toilet. Remove all the water from the toilet bowl. You can double line the toilet bowl with a heavy-duty garbage bag and follow the same procedure as you do with the buckets. When it is full, tie it up and dispose of it the same way as mentioned above.

If you live in an apartment and have no land to bury the bags, double bag them and then seal them the best you can with the twist ties. Place them in your outside garbage can until the city can collect the trash and dispose of it.


Container of Bio-Clean, a blend of bacteria and enzymesBio-Clean is a blend of bacteria and enzymes. The bacteria are all-natural, not genetically engineered. The enzyme concentration is the most powerful on the market. Bio-Clean is nonpoisonous. It creates no heat or fumes, and there is no boiling involved. It does not attack live tissue or inorganic materials, only organic wastes like human excrement, grease, hair, food particles, paper and cotton. This makes Bio-Clean safe for people, plumbing and the environment.

Bio-Clean changes the waste particles into water, carbon dioxide and mineral ash, which become harmless in the outhouse, cesspool, pit or waste system. These elements are then available to use as compost in the garden. I found out about Bio-Clean from my husband, who is a plumbing contractor. He sells Bio-Clean to customers for use in septic tanks to keep them from backing up.

ION Water Treatment

ION Stabilized Oxygen 2 oz. bottleI use a product called ION stabilized oxygen in all drinking water to kill bacteria. It will keep the water safe for up to five years. It has been found to be very effective in water treatment. Many studies have been done on this product, and it is concluded that ION will kill harmful bacteria within a few minutes. It doesn’t have any of the harmful side effects that are associated with chlorine or iodine. ION stabilized oxygen is a high concentration of oxygen. One 2-ounce bottle will treat 110 gallons of water. ION can be used medicinally to fight bacteria in the body. It can be used on cuts and wounds. ION will not harm the normal flora in our bodies. ION can be taken every day (20 drops per 8-ounce glass of water).

Use A Spray Bottle To Clean Your Body

Keeping the body clean in an emergency is very important. Boil the water and let it cool down, then fill a spray bottle with water and a small amount of antibacterial soap. Use paper towels or hand towels to wash up. If there is not a way to boil water to wash your hands, then put 20 drops of ION in a spray bottle full of any water and used to clean the body and hands. This will kill harmful bacteria in the water and on your skin. I keep ION in my medical kit and my 72-hour grab-and-go kit. I would not be without it.

–Peggy Layton


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Peggy Layton