Can you put a regular toilet in an RV? (a complete guide)

In this article, we will answer the following question: Can you put a regular toilet in an RV? We will discuss the basics of an RV toilet. We will teach you everything there is to know, starting from installing to discarding them.  

Can you put a regular toilet in an RV?

We do not recommend putting a regular toilet in an RV unless you plan to transform your RV into a stationary home for a longer period. The main reason why you shouldn’t install a regular toilet in your RV is that a regular toilet, being made of porcelain, is harder to pin to the wall of an RV. Trust me, you will not appreciate it moving while driving. 

Besides, regular toilets have a bigger capacity than the classical RV toilet. This means that you will have to both fill the tank with fresh water and empty the black water tank more frequently than you’d like!

Below we offer you a 101 guide about RV toilets. It may not be the most exciting subject, but it is one that you definitely need to know about!

What kind of toilet for an RV?

To travel in total autonomy, the toilets are essential onboard your caravan, your campervan or your RV. Whether wearable, dry or chemical, you have many options for choosing the model that best suits your lifestyle. This section will explain their main differences to you to help you choose the best toilet for the campervan.

There are, therefore 3 large families of toilets provided for motorhomes and itinerant trips. Whatever the solution, we advise you to choose according to your use (number of days roaming, number of people). Let’s learn about the different portable toilet solutions today and how they work, so you can make the best choice for your needs.

Portable chemical toilets for an RV

This mobile version of the WC will allow you to arrange your van as you see fit. Compact, portable chemical toilets have the main advantage of not requiring any specific installation. You can also install them in a motorhome, campervan, caravan or tent. 3 major leading brands share the market: FIAMMA with the Bi-Pot, DOMETIC and its 900 range and THETFORD with the Porta Potti.

All portable chemical toilets, therefore, have 2 tanks. The first tank at the top is your water container which will act as a home flush. The second is a waste tank. There are therefore several tank capacities depending on your need for autonomy as well as the number of people to use the toilet. It is important to choose the right capacities for better comfort onboard your van or motorhome. 

A little tip for more comfort: Your seat will be much better if you opt for a large tank capacity! The chemical toilet, therefore, requires water but also the use of additives for their proper maintenance and the hygiene of your tank.

Chemical cassette toilets for an RV

The chemical cassette toilet is the most commonly used system in the motorhome industry. Indeed, for those who have space, you can set up your toilet area with an external gate dedicated to extracting your waste bin. 

The purchase of this model, therefore, includes several items of equipment: a fixed toilet with or without a water tank, a waste container and a gate. This type of installation requires an electrical connection for the flushing operation as well as a water connection for its filling. The cassettes that you find in the middle of the motorhome are of the THETFORD or DOMETIC brand.

The toilets installed inside your motorhome or campervan are connected by a kind of guillotine valve to your cassette located just below. The external gate built into the wall of your vehicle will give you access to this cassette for extraction and thus emptying from the outside.

Dry toilets for RVs

Praised for its ecological side, the dry toilet is particularly appreciated by campers and owners of RVs. But more and more van users are opting for this version without water, electricity and odour, provided they follow a few hygiene rules. 

More and more brands have started distributing them: The Camp4 brand from REIMO, the English manufacturer KAMPA but also OUTWELL, a manufacturer dedicated to the outdoors.

The dry toilet has a base with a seat and inside is a container for you to collect waste. This receptacle can be filled with a compostable bag, sawdust, straw or other dry biological materials. If you choose the dry toilet for your campervan, it’s up to you to find what best suits your use while respecting nature!

What toilet paper do I use for an RV toilet?

Many of you are wondering, can we use regular toilet paper or do we need specific paper? It will all depend on your toilet, it is best to opt for single-ply toilet paper so that it can easily fall apart in your cassette. For dry toilet holders, you can therefore prefer unbleached recycled fibre toilet paper.

Are chemical agents used for RV toilets dangerous for the environment?

Of course, bacteria harm the environment and the ecosystem if chemical toilets are flushed in the wilderness. If chemical toilets are poured into WCs or designated chemical toilet dump stations, for example at campsites or at public dump stations, this is not a problem. 

Chemicals in camping toilets lose their effectiveness after about five days. If you empty your camping toilet at home: never forget to do so, the toilet should always be emptied! Never throw them into a drain not connected to a water treatment plant.

Emptying an RV toilet

Some campers only use chemical toilets in extreme emergency cases or for small needs and otherwise prefer the sanitary installation of the campsite. This is an option, but not a necessity.

As we have already mentioned, bad smells can be easily avoided. There remains the problem of emptying, which is loath to many. In fact, emptying is child’s play and there is nothing dirty or messy about it.

Emptying a chemical toilet – how to do it properly:

  1. Position the toilet vertically.
  2. Take out the drain tap (tilt it slightly)
  3.  Open the drain valve cover 
  4. Tilt the tank, orient the drain cock towards the side edge of the drain tank. Do not aim directly into the water to avoid splashing. Aim carefully for the edge and you should be fine.
  5. As soon as the water flows out, press the button, removing the vacuum effect during the flow.

If the toilet paper and/or faeces are not yet fully dissolved, it is advisable to stir the tank slightly when emptying, in order to stir the water and avoid the formation of clogs.

Once the tank is empty, add a little more water, stir and empty again. Repeat this operation 2 to 3 times, until the drained water is clear.

Fill the tank with a little water, add the chemicals and put on the lid. The camping toilet is operational again.

Note: There is toilet paper specially adapted for chemical toilets. It breaks down more quickly in contact with chemicals. However, this is not magic paper, but simple single-ply cellulose. Similar results can therefore be obtained with ordinary toilet paper, which costs significantly less.

In summary

We do not recommend installing a regular toiler in an RV. The camping toilets designed especially for RVs, caravans and motorhomes can be used without problem. They are cleaner and more convenient than any sanitation facility. The camping toilets have been designed for this purpose, whether it is for small or large needs.

If you have any comments on the content, please let us know. 

FAQ on Can you put a regular toilet in an RV?

How to clean an RV toilet bowl?

To clean your motorhome toilet: Thoroughly dry the gaskets and the valve and coat them with Thetford Lubricant Spray. Wipe them off with a cloth or sheet of toilet paper

How does an RV chemical toilet work?

Here’s how an RV chemical toilet works: With the chemical product, like a water treatment plant, faeces are broken down in the toilet with the help of bacteria. The tank also contains perfume substances to prevent bad odours.

How to dismantle an RV toilet?

To dismantle an RV toilet, you will need 10 pan-head screws to unscrew to release the toilet block, then screws in the floor will have to be found and unscrewed. Disconnect by locating all the wires and pipes that supply the toilet


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