How to Build a Composting Toilet

by | Aug 27, 2018 | Camping, composting toilet

A composting toilet is a great way to add toilet facilities to your campsite with minimal cost and effort. Composting toilets break down waste, and what’s left can be used as a soil amendment. Safe use of human waste can be placed in an already existing compost pile, around fruit trees, on lawns and in gardens. (However, please do not use composting toilet waste on any edible plants, vegetables, or herbs.)

Supplies you’ll need: 

  • 2″ x 24″ x 48″ plywood
  • 2″ x 4″ x 8″ wood
  • 18.9 litre (5 gallon) bucket
  • Toilet seat
  • 20 screws

Approximate cost for supplies: $37.00 


Tools you’ll need: 

  • Circular saw or hand saw
  • Jigsaw or drywall saw
  • Pencil
  • Measuring Tape
  • Screwdriver 
Supplies to build a composting toilet

Let’s get started!


Here are the cuts you’ll be making in your wood and the dimensions for each piece:

  • 16.5″
  • 24″ x 9″
  • 21″ x 24″
  • 21″ x 9″

We will repeat these dimensions as we go along.

Measurements of wood to build a composting toilet

Step 1

Using your circular saw, cut 4 pieces from the 2″ x 4″ x 8″ wood. These will be used as the legs. Each leg is 16.5″ long.

Measure the legs for your composting toilet
Cut the wood pieces for your composting toilet

Step 2

Once you have your four legs finished, grab your plywood and bucket, and trace a circle onto your plywood using your bucket as a stencil. You may need to re-adjust your circle to make sure it is close enough to the edge so that users can sit comfortably.

Measure the hole for your composting toilet

Step 3

Use your traced circle as a guide to measure the size of the top of your composting toilet, and pencil-in your line across the plywood so you can cut the top. The top of our composting toilet measures 21″ x 24″.

Measure the wood for your composting toilet

Step 4

After the top piece of your composting toilet has been measured, you should have enough plywood left to now measure the 3 pieces that will be the side and front of your composting toilet. Our 2 side pieces measure 24″ x 9″ each and our front piece measures 21″ x 29″.

To give you an idea of what we mean by “side pieces,” here is what your finished composting toilet will look like.

Please note: the 2 side pieces are slightly longer than the front piece. The back will remain open so the bucket can easily be taken in and out.

Finished composting toilet

Step 5

With everything measured, go ahead and do your cuts.

Cutting pieces for you composting toilet
Cutting pieces for you composting toilet

Step 6

The 3 side pieces can now be screwed into the legs. Use 2 screws per side, or more if needed, to provide strength.

Wood pieces for your composting toilet
Attaching your composting toilet

Keep going until all 4 legs are screwed into all 3 side pieces.

Attaching your composting toilet

Step 7

To finish the top, use your jigsaw or drywall saw to cut your traced circle.

Cutting the top of your composting toilet
Cutting the top of your composting toilet

Step 8

Use 4 more screws to screw the top piece into the tops of the 4 legs. This will complete the table shape of your composting toilet.

Attaching the pieces of your composting toilet

Step 9

Place the toilet seat on the top piece and adjust it so that it covers your cut hole. With a pencil, mark where the toilet seat is and drill it into place.

Attaching the seat to your composting toilet
Attaching the seat to your composting toilet

And here you have your finished composting toilet!

Composting toilet top view
Front view of a composting toilet
Back view of a composting toilet
Front view of a composting toilet

For an added touch, sand the edges to avoid wood splinters. We recommend keeping a bucket of sawdust nearby to scoop in after every use (please use gloves and a dust mask when handling a composting toilet).

Sand the rims of the composting toilet

Have anymore tips or ideas on how to build a composting toilet? Please share in our comments section. List your land now on Campertunity and start booking campers.

Article by Nora Lozano, co-founder of Campertunity, an online peer-to-peer marketplace where landowners can list their land for campers to book for short term stay. Follow Camperunity on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook! Learn more and find a campsite!: 

Book a Campsite or List Your Land on Campertunity


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