Can you use an RV bathroom while driving?

In this article, we will answer the following question: Can you use an RV bathroom while driving? We will explain how come you can use the toilet while the RV is moving, and we will explain how an RV toilet works.

Can you use an RV bathroom while driving?

Yes, you can use an RV bathroom while it is in motion. Almost all RV’s water pump works as normal while driving, thus there won’t be any issues with using the bathroom facilities. 

However, keep in mind that as a rule, you should always be seated and with your seatbelt on when an RV or caravan is moving. This is regarding safety issues, as you cannot possibly know what might happen while driving. 

Before explaining why you can use the RV bathroom while driving, let’s see what it is allowed to do while the motorhome is on the move:

  • You can use an RV bathroom (toilet facilities);
  • You can sleep, read, play on your phone, take pictures – as long as you are seated and have your seatbelt on. 

While the RV is in motion, you cannot:

  • Move freely around the cabin;
  • Take a shower;
  • Cook, drink alcohol or eat at the table (unless you are seated with a seatbelt on!);
  • Sleep in a bed.

How come can I use the RV toilet while it is moving?

The simple answer why you can use the RV toilet while it is moving is because there is still electricity in your motorhome, thus the water pump is functional and ready to be used!

RV toilets offer convenience and an added level of comfort. When you have one in your RV, it eliminates some logistical challenges. You are more autonomous and will not have to depend on finding toilets or using plastic bags on a portable toilet.

An RV toilet is ideal for older travellers, who are less inclined to squat in the woods and children who might have trouble displaying “family jewels” in the middle of the road.

On the other hand, RV toilets take up valuable space and require additional maintenance, not to mention you’ll have to empty the dreaded black water tank at some point.

Perhaps if the emptying scares you or you do not believe that it can withstand mental pressure with respect to the sewage tank, it is preferable that you look for alternatives to evacuate what your intestine produces.

RV restrooms also present an additional expense. If you regularly pay for a spot in established campgrounds that have their own bathrooms, it may be more profitable to rely on those amenities, rather than take one with you.  Regardless of your camping style and your feelings about black water tanks (also known as a toilet waste holding tank), it helps to know your options.

Let’s talk about RV toilets for a bit

There are many different types of RVs and many different types of RV toilets. When choosing a toilet, think about the height of the throne, the space available, the cost, the maintenance required, where you are likely to camp, and your physical needs. If your toilet has a black water tank, consider the cost and availability of flush locations.

Some motorhome parking areas charge a fee to use the grey and black water discharge, while others do not, but they are not available everywhere, so you will need to plan ahead and include it within your route.

So what is the best bathroom for you? These are the four common types of RV toilets, each with its own pros and cons.

  1. Traditional RV plastic toilet: Price Range: $ 200 – $ 350.  Traditional RV toilets are very similar to the porcelain or plastic ones found in a traditional home.

However, they are installed over a holding tank, rather than a septic or sewer connection. Like a regular toilet, traditional RV toilets require water to function, either by connecting to an external water supply or your RV’s water tank.

When discharged, usually with a foot pump or electric shock, the contents of the container enter the sealed black water tank. The tank is attached to the side of the RV and connects to a hose, which is used to drain the tank to a discharge point.

  1. Cassette toilet. Price range: $ 600- $ 900 dollars. It’s basically a portable toilet that is fixed in place with a black water tank (or “cassette”) that can be removed through an access panel on the side of the RV. 

Due to the access panel, cassette toilets generally come pre-installed. Tanks are smaller in size, with a capacity of approximately 4.5 to 5 gallons, which means they need to be emptied more often.

  1. Portable toilet: Price range: $ 50 – $ 150 If you have limited space and would like to avoid pipes, a portable toilet might be for you. These are the easiest to install as they don’t have to be fixed anywhere, although you will need to secure them in some way. This is usually the cheapest option in the RV toilet world.

The toilet has a removable holding tank, which can be emptied into a normal toilet or flush station.

  1. Composting toilet: Price range: $ 600 – $ 2000 This planet-friendly option is ideal for reducing your pollution footprint. But it can take a while to get used to a composting toilet. It is the most used by those who decide to convert school buses into mobile homes.

As the main feature, they do not use water, which makes them useful for cold climates and long seasons. We have heard that perhaps one of its main disadvantages is that if it is not installed correctly the odour can be a big problem. Some will seal well enough to avoid floating odours.

How to empty and clean an RV toilet tank

Now let’s talk about the unpleasant moment of emptying the internal sewage compartment…. Work that nobody likes to do! This is why some motorhome rental companies charge an extra fee when returning the rental unit.

Contrary to what some people do, every time the tank is going to be emptied we recommend wearing rubber gloves and a suitable hose for this purpose.

Want to avoid bad odours in your RV toilet? Toilet maintenance is an important part of containing those odours in the holding tank, where (hopefully) they will never reach the nose.

After you empty your tank, it is imperative that you clean it. This is usually done by pouring the recommended cleaning products into the toilet bowl and then flushing it at the next flush point.

After emptying the tank but before storing the vehicle, it is advisable to put in the toilet, 1 cup of borax, 1 cup of liquid dishwashing detergent. The movement will clean the black water tank, the ice will scrub and do an action like an internal brush, the soap is removed and will do much more efficient work.

Check the toilet seal. This barrier at the bottom of the container keeps the odours contained and if it does not work correctly the trip will surely remind you frequently what you have eaten.

Avoid having a leaking seal, the best way is to keep it clean; You can also use the plumber’s grease to prevent the seal from drying out.

If possible, reduce synthetic chemical treatments as much as possible. There are some environmentally friendly products on the market, they help keep your tank clean and will decompose the waste inside it naturally.

Keep in mind that not all brands of toilet paper are recommended to be flushed down the toilet in an RV. In general, the best recommendation is not to throw the dirty paper into the toilet. Avoid clogging the tank and its few connections.

The bottom line

A well-maintained toilet can give you the comfort you are looking for, without headaches, odours, or overflows. And while it is possible to use the bathroom while the RV is in motion, please be careful and return to your seat as soon as possible.

If you have any questions or comments about the content, please let us know.

FAQ on Can you use an RV bathroom while driving?

How does the bathroom of a caravan work?

The toilet of a caravan is like that of a house, but everything goes to a deposit. A caravan toilet has a watertight hatch, and under it is a sewage tank. Use a chemical liquid to avoid bad smells and to undo the waste of our trips

How do you use a portable toilet?

Portable chemical toilets can be used in places where there is or not water or drainage, fulfilling functions temporarily or continuously. They work autonomously; they do not need to be connected to the water, sewage or cesspool network.

How to drain the water from a toilet?

To drain the water from a toilet open the lid and pour in the water slowly, lifting the bucket as it empties. This way, the cup will run out of water. If pouring the water out slowly doesn’t work, pour the rest into the cup at once. Sometimes it is better to be quick and sudden.


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