How To Build A DIY Composting Toilet With A Urine Diverter

compost toilet with urine diverter


ryans tiny house

Hi, I’m Ryan

I am all about living the off-grid life and being as sustainable as possible. When I heard about composting toilets, I knew I had to add one to my own tiny house!

ryan mitchell simple living expert

If you’re seeking a way to make the most out of the go, consider trying out a composting toilet. Composting toilets are a great way to stay off grid, help the earth, and create useable compost.

The best thing about composting toilets is that they are easy to make, easy to use, and, contrary to what you might think, they don’t smell or make a mess!

Steps To Make A DIY Composting Toilet With Urine Diverter

Steps To Make A DIY Composting Toilet With Urine Diverter

It’s honestly a pretty simple process to make your own composting toilet with a urine diverter. You don’t actually need a ton of materials to make it happen, and you can assemble it even if you are only at a beginner’s skill level.

Like I said, composting toilets are fairly easy to make and use. If you’re new to the building scene, make sure you have the right tools to get you going on your DIY compost toilet.

Materials Needed For A Composting Toilet

  • 5 Gallon Bucket
  • Plastic Urine Diverter
  • Straw Or Sawdust
  • Compost Pile
  • Caulk
  • Rubber Washer
  • Screws
  • Knob

The compost substance used in your compost toilet will be a mixture of several substances. Regardless of what elements you use to actually create your compost pile, you will want to use dry wood shavings and activated or mature sawdust as the primary cover material on the compost pile. By doing this, you’ll trap oxygen within your mixture and reduce odor.

how to start a compost pile

1Attach Plumbing Hardware To Toilet

The first thing you are going to do to start assembling your compost bucket is to cut a hole in the side of the bucket that your plumbing hardware is able to fit inside of. Then, you’re going to attach the plumbing hardware pieces together on the inside of the bucket.

2Prepare Your Urine Diverter

If you’ve bought your own plastic urine diverter, it is likely rimmed around the edges and made to sit upright on the inside of your composting toilet. However, you can also DIY your own urine diverter by cutting apart a separate plastic bucket.

budget diy urine diverter
To save some cash by creating your own diverter, just take a second plastic bucket and cut off about an inch from the bottom. You can throw the top half of your bucket away — you only need to hang on to the bottom half to create the urine diverter.

Now, cut the bottom of the bucket off and into two pieces from side to side, saving both pieces of the bucket. Each half should now look like a semi-circle. Now, connect the two pieces to each other using a cotton pin and a rubber washer.

Next, you’re going to attach your DIY urine diverter to the larger bucket you’re using for your compost toilet. This is where your zip ties and screws come in. Drill holes in the sides of the bucket and use zip ties to attach your urine diverter to your main bucket. When you attach this, you want to do so at a slight angle. Then, seal up the gaps with caulk.

If you want to forgo the hassle of making your own diverter, you can easily buy a urine diverter online. Bit setups can work great for your composting toilet.

3Add A Garden Hose To Your Composting Toilet

The next step is to attach your garden hose to your plumbing hardware. The garden hose will run from the composting toilet straight into a urine holding container that usually holds about 2.5 gallons. The hose is essential so your waste has somewhere to go!

4Attach Toilet Seat To Composting Toilet

Now, just install your composting bucket underneath your toilet seat. You can easily buy a plastic toilet seat online that works well with any composting toilet.

As far as what holds your toilet seat in place, there are several routes you can take.

Some DIYers use a wooden box that opens, a hole carved out of the top of the box for the toilet seat, giving easy access to the hose and compost bucket underneath. You can have this type of composting toilet outside or inside your home.

You can also build your composting toilet entirely into your tiny home or house either by attaching it to the wall or creating a wooden container that extends from the wall for your toilet to be located in.

toilet seat attached to composting toilet

5Give Your Composting Toilet A Try!

Now your composting toilet is all ready to start using. Once you get your composting toilet up and running, you’ll feel great about helping the environment, being off-grid, and being better prepared for those days when the plumbing system stops functioning properly.

septic system install

How To Use A Composting Toilet With Urine Diverter

How To Use A Composting Toilet With Urine Diverter

Now that your composting toilet is all ready to go, you’ll want to make sure you feel equiped to use it. Malfunctions with a composting toilet can get pretty gross pretty quickly, so you’ll want to ensure you know what you’re doing!

It’s Crucial To Keep Urine Out Of The Compost

One thing that is vital when using your compost toilet is that you’ll want to work to keep urine out of the compost at all costs. If the compost gets wet, anaerobic bacteria will start to grow in your compost.

If that happens, the anaerobic bacteria will release a very foul stench and it will not break down into fertilizer that is safe to use. Urine also contains nitrogen, which greatly hinders the composting process.

This is why using a urine diverter is so important! When you have a urine diverter, it will funnel your urine into a sperate collection chamber that you can dump in your yard and keep out of your fresh compost.

Using A Compost Toilet: Urine Verses Waste

When peeing in a composting toilet, you’ll want to sit entirely on the seat. If you hover above the seat, you are keeping the urine diverter from being able to do its job effectively.

With the urine diverter in effect, your liquid waste will go one direction and your solid waste is go elsewhere. You can throw toilet paper used when peeing into the same section with your solid waste and let it break down. You don’t have to use substrate cover material if you are just peeing.

When going number two, you definitely want to use substrate cover material over your waste. After each go, add enough cover material so none of your waste is visible. After doing this, go ahead and close the lid of your compost toilet.

tiny house toilet options

Empty Your Waste Bucket After Use

When you’re finished going, you’ll need to know how to effectively empty out your waste bucket. In order to make useable, safe compost out of your own human waste, your compost has to maintain a high temperature for a very long period of time. This is when the composting magic happens!

This high temperature isn’t actually going to be reached in the compost bucket connected to your toilet. In order to get your heap to finish curing, you’ll have to move your matter to a compost bin by emptying out your waste bucket.

How To Empty Your Compost Toilet

  • When your compost bucket is full, empty it into a large compost drum.
  • When your compost drum is full, cover it with a dry substance like straw.
  • Let that compost drum fester for an entire year.
  • After a year of composting, the contents in the bin will shrink and you can put fresh fertilizer on your plants.

Cleaning Your Composting Toilet

If it’s looking like time to clean your compost toilet, all you need is a squirt bottle and some vinegar to get the job done. Just pour vinegar in the spray bottle and give the inside of your composting toilet a nice spritz.

Whatever you do, don’t pour water into the composting toilet! Doing this runs the risk of getting your compost too damp and growing extra smelly bacteria. You can also install a new rubber seal to make your composting toilet cleaner and fresher.

Where To Buy A Composting Toilet With Urine Diverter

Where To Buy A Composting Toilet With Urine Diverter

If you don’t want to go through the process of building a composting toilet all on your own, there are plenty of places where you can buy one. When looking for a composting toilet to buy, consider what your budget is and if you’re needing to purchase the entire toilet or just the urine diverter or toilet seat alone.

privy folding seat

Separett Privy Kit with Folding seat

portable urine separating toilet

Separett Portable Urine Separating Toilet

45 degree funnel

Scribner Plastics 45 Degree D-Funnel

portable camping toilet with lid

Teencci Portable Camping Toilet with Lid

Where To Buy A Urine Diverter

There are several places you can buy your own plastic urine diverter.

Try the following places to get a urine diverter

we pee urine separator

Where To Buy A Plastic Toilet Seat

Where To Buy Just A Plastic Toilet Seat

where to buy a plastic toilet seat

Where To Buy An Entire Composting Toilet

If you don’t think the DIY route is for you, you can buy a composting toilet as is. It may be a little more expensive, but it will save you the hassle of having to build it all on your own.

Places To Buy An Entire Composting Toilet

where to buy an entire composting toilet

Your Turn!

  • Why do you think using a compost toilet will work for you?
  • Do you plan to build or buy your composting toilet?
  1. Could have used a few more pictures on what to do after I cut the bucket into 2 semi circles. I can understand where the pee goes, but how do you open it farther for serious business? and how does doing that separate the pee from solid waste. …This was incomplete and confusing.

  2. Thankyou for this article.

  3. Hi, I’m having trouble finding a pipe that fits the poo shoot. It’s a fair distance from the separator to the poo chamber, about 80cm and the separator isn’t round like a regular waste pipe. The chamber I’ve built is block work lined with fiberglass with a steel top with holes cut out.

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