Toilets for Cottages

Many cottages are inappropriate locations for conventional flush toilets. Because of a lack of water, lack of space for a septic field or proximity to ecologically sensitive areas, some cottages need to rely on alternative means of disposing of waste. The importance of doing this properly is increased in direct proportion to how many people use the cottage, how frequently, and how many other cottages are in the immediate vicinity.

Chemical Toilet

Cottage toilets can be humble affairs.

A chemical toilet is the least expensive, if not the most pleasing, solution. The blue plastic porta potty seen on most job sites is an example. A chemical toilet is essentially a storage bin for waste with chemicals added to break down the waste and reduce odors. They are easy to use and don't involve a lot of installation expenses, but their ambiance is less than enticing.

Composting Toilet

A composting toilet differs from a chemical toilet because the waste breaks down naturally without the addition of chemicals. By design, many need a handful of moss or other organic material added with each use to help catalyze the composting. Excess liquid can compromise the functioning of a composting toilet, so urinating outside is sometimes recommended. A composting toilet can be situated inside a bathroom, in a shed, or even outside. They are self contained so don't require a hole in the ground, only a ventilation pipe that extends up high enough to enable airflow.


Outhouses have been the traditional solution to waste disposal in cottage country. Because many people slap together an outhouse without much thought, they have gained an undeserved reputation as grimy, smelly, disgusting places. If an outhouse is properly built and ventilated, it need not be like this at all. The important thing when building an outhouse is to dig the hole as deep as possible, so that the waste will compost down into soil before filling the hole. Venting the hole by running a six-inch pipe from the hole out and up the back of the outhouse will enable air flow and prevent odors. Outhouses may be a problem if population density is too high. They should be located far from any water source, and zoning regulations in some areas don't allow them.

About the Author

Jagg Xaxx has been writing since 1983. His primary areas of writing include surrealism, Buddhist iconography and environmental issues. Xaxx worked as a cabinetmaker for 12 years, as well as building and renovating several houses. Xaxx holds a Doctor of Philosophy in art history from the University of Manchester in the U.K.