Yes, port-a-potties deserve the hate. But we couldn’t live without them.

Yes, port-a-potties deserve the hate. But we couldn’t live without them.

Port-a-potties, sometimes called “poop prisons,” are famously unpopular by the public. Everyone knows that port-a-potties are never an ideal long-term restroom solution.  However, it’s also undeniable that port-a-potties play a crucial role in public life that we take for granted.

You may be wondering why we as a restroom company are defending porta-potties. After all, a huge reason for founding this company was the belief that too many locations have to settle for port-a-potties unnecessarily. However, it can’t be denied that sometimes the humble porta-potty can be the most practical option.


Temporary Applications

Many large public events wouldn’t be feasible if the porta potty didn’t exist. Marathons, Olympic events and NFL tailgating attract huge outdoor crowds that have massive restroom needs.  If these needs were not met, people would still show up, but they would flood local businesses restrooms, suffer through the discomfort, or even relieve themselves in public. There are also park concerts, 4th of July celebrations, political rallies, and limitless other examples.  When a gathering is large enough to absolutely require large scale restroom access but is too infrequent to justify massive permanent restroom structures, porta-potties are a major saving grace to fill this gap.

Porta-potties also serve as an ideal stopgap option for outdoor worksites, which is why they are so commonly spotted at construction sites.

One temporary application we feel is underrated is using porta-potties during the winter when existing restroom structures may need to be winterized. Porta-potties may be unpleasant in freezing temperatures, but they are still an option which visitors may be desperate enough to use.


Gender neutral

A port-a-potty is a non-gendered single occupancy restroom, which is an increasingly sought after trait in today’s evolving world. Users who may feel uncomfortable in sex separated restrooms will not have said issue here. Single occupancy is also great for “potty parity,” as it is often the case that women wait longer to use the restroom in sex separated restroom buildings. And in scenarios where there is a disproportionately male or female crowd, having all restrooms available to everyone is significantly more efficient.


Immediacy, portability, availability

Port-a-potties can be had in very little time, usually a waiting period of 2 weeks or less. This is significantly less time than a luxury restroom trailer, which often requires about 3 months advanced notice.

Port-a-potties are easy to move which can be useful during multi-day events where restroom needs might shift to different areas.

On occasion, you might have limited physical space to place a restroom, such as an alleyway, wooded area, parking lot, etc. For these situations port-a-potties can be problem solvers as they have the smallest possible footprint for a restroom.

Port-a-potties are self-contained, which allows them to be used in areas where a sewer or septic system isn’t possible. Flooding and other natural disasters could mean existing water supplies have been compromised.


Environmental port-a-potties

If you are considering a porta-a-potty but want something more environmentally friendly, check out Wasted*.  Their units feature sustainable servicing methods and products.  They also convert waste into fertilizer.  They claim that their restrooms have less impact on local aquatic systems and are responsible for fewer greenhouse gasses than traditional port-a-potties.


Other positives

Port-a-potties are the lowest cost restroom option. They are also ideally suited as “rental solution” for temporary needs.  Construction time and lead time for a real restroom can be many months and so a port-a-potties can serve just fine as a bridge solution until the real restroom arrives.

Having a restroom option will always be better than having none. A lack of restroom options won’t stop people from relieving themselves. In the developing world this notoriously leads to the spread of diseases and dangerous levels of environmental contamination.  Knowing that you can find a restroom almost anywhere, even if it is the lowly port-a-potty, is crucial for our avoiding a similar conundrum.


The limitations of port-a-potties

Port-a-potties are a great tool that fit specific needs wonderfully, but they shouldn’t be viewed as anything other than an emergency long-term solution. Visitors rate them very low for user satisfaction, and a significant portion of the population refuse to use them at all (particularly women).

Some things are best served as temporary and disposable. A plastic spork from a fast-food chain could be essential to enjoying your meal, but you wouldn’t set your table with sporks when inviting company over for a fancy meal. In the same way, visitors will be put off by the sight of a port-a-potty and could be less enthused about returning. For a long-term restroom, the best outcome is to deliver a clean flush restroom experience that people are comfortable using.


Saving up for a real restroom

If you can budget for a real restroom, we highly recommend our self-contained restroom units as your solution.  Until then, port-a-potties are an acceptable option, assuming they are not routinely vandalized. This isn’t great, but any restroom is better than none.