Maintaining Your Porta Potti

Thetford Curve Porta Potty 
If you have a porta potty or are considering this feature for your camping set up, keep reading.  I'm going to give you some tips and ideas that can help you make up your mind.  Porta potties make a practical add-on for pop-up or tent campers.  Who wants to make a trip to the bathhouse in the middle of the night or for an emergency.  A porta potty can be a game changer for your camping experience.

Small, pop up campers have both disadvantages and advantages.  The light towing weight is a key factor for us since we didn't want to buy a new towing vehicle for a camper.  A pop-up camper is the perfect entry-level camper for our family.  We also gave up having a bathroom in our camper by going this route.  Don't let a lack of a bathroom deter you from tent camping or a camper without a bathroom.  We are perfectly happy with our set up.

We added a Thetford Porta Potti Curve Portable Toilet to our pop up camper.  You can read my full review of this porta potty from a previous post.  I love this porta potty for three reasons:
  1. It is tall enough to sit on comfortably.
  2. It does not smell.
  3. Cleans easily.
What is not to love?  However, with any equipment, you do have to maintain it to keep it working properly.  Here are some tips for you.

Use the Proper Toilet Paper

RV Toilet paper is a must.  This paper is made to be used in a porta potty and will break down easily.  Don't try and use regular paper.  It will be a mess and will be terrible to clean up.  I listened to a podcast this week that talked about this very thing.

If you have a regular black water tank on an RV with a bathroom, you might use toilet paper that states it is for septic tank use.  Whatever you do - NO brands like Charmin.  It will not break down.  And for a porta potty, the RV toilet paper is going to be your safest route for easy cleanup.

Use Deodorizer and Chemical Treatment for RV Toilets and Porta Potties

Both Camco and Thetford make these little deodorizer products that will help keep odors at bay from your porta potty.  The model that we have in our camper closes off the waste compartment from the fresh water compartment.  And there really is no smell.  I do recommend dropping one of these treatment tabs into your tank when you set up for good measure.  This product also helps to break down waste and tissue.  

The lever on the side opens to allow waste into the compartment below and closes when finished flushing to keep odor away and from spilling waste.

Check Your Batteries If You Have Them

Our Thetford Curve has a battery operated flushing mechanism.  Over time, these can corrode.  If you leave your camping equipment dormant for a period of time, this will happen.  If you are not going to be using your camper for a while, take them out and store the batteries separately.  This will keep your batteries from damaging the flushing equipment.  

Our Thetford Curve has a battery operated flushing system that uses 4 AA batteries.

Also, you can turn off that flushing system on ours while at the campsite.  Ours got stuck once and flushed over and over while we were eating one night and flooded our camper.  We've learned to just turn off the flushing system until we need it.  It's just a dial turn for activating or deactivating the system.  

Flushing system button.  Press to flush clean water into the bowl.  Turn the dial to turn this off.

Clean Up 

When we are taking down, the first thing that my husband does is takes our porta potty to the dump station and cleans it.  This will let us sit it out to air dry while we pack up.  We use a mild bathroom cleaner that is effective from the Honest Company.  Thetford makes products to clean RV equipment such as porta potties.  You can also clean with items like baking soda and vinegar.   

Completely Dry

Let your porta potty completely dry.  If you pack up and it is still damp or wet, take it out and let it dry at home before shutting everything up completely.  Leaving things wet will breed odors, bacteria, and mold.  Not a good combination.  Our porta potty separates into two main pieces at the midsection.  A nice sunny spot works well to both dry and just ensure odor is gone.  If you have that option, I recommend it.  

Porta potty maintenance can scare off some people.  If you are squeamish or just want to ensure that you don't have a bad experience, get some disposable gloves to wear.  This may help.  Our porta potty has a curved waste pipe that drains the waste tank.  This feature makes clean up less messy.

Before you invest in a porta potty, consider the construction and features of the product you are buying.  The overall construction of the product will make regular maintenance less of a hassle over time.  Sometimes it is worth it to spend a little more to get a product that works well and lasts over time.

We use this potty on every single camping trip.  It has been a lifesaver on rainy nights, cold weather and for emergencies.  If you don't have this feature in your pop up, maybe this is the time to consider one.  Now that you know how to maintain your portable toilet, maybe you will have the confidence to add this to your camping wish list.

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