The ultimate guide to portable car toilets and handheld urinals: try these on your next road trip

Posted by Dr. Shani Saks on

  1. Benefits of portable car toilets
  2. Our recommendations for the best portable car toilets

We’ve all been in the unpleasant situation of needing to urgently use the bathroom at an inopportune moment.  It could be while you’re out on a walk or while you’re shopping for groceries. But more often than not, it's something that happens on road trips - especially long ones.

When you’re determined to get to your final destination as quickly as possible, losing time driving miles out of your way to find a bathroom never feels like a good option. Fortunately, there is an alternative. When the urge to urinate strikes, and it feels like you can’t hold it one second longer, a car toilet is a quick and easy solution. 

A portable toilet is probably not the first thing that comes to mind when packing up the car and setting out on an adventurous road trip. But, portable car toilets and urinals are the secret to traveling without the worry of needing to find a restroom. They’re a great go-to for convenient and hygienic relief on the road. They'll help speed you to your destination more quickly and, if you hit a traffic jam, develop a flat tire, encounter hazardous weather, or have a roadside emergency, you’ll be especially glad you thought ahead and purchased a portable solution for urinary relief.

Portable toilets are compact. They’re designed to be transported easily and don’t take up precious cargo space that should be reserved for suitcases, camping gear (view our list of specific camping urinals here ), and other essentials. 

Portable toilets lock in odors. Although many people worry that toting one around will make the car smell, most portable toilets and urinals are designed to close tightly and securely in order to minimize the risk of bad smells. Also, after they’ve been used, portable toilets can be emptied at the next bathroom you come across along your driving route. 

Portable toilets designed for the car are affordable and well worth their price. They’re less expensive than larger camping toilets and, because they’re durable, they can be used again and again. At home, a portable toilet can serve as part of your emergency supply kit and, in the event of a natural disaster (or even just a clogged toilet), it can be used as a backup to your regular home toilet.

If you decide to invest in a portable toilet for your car, you may want to go all out and consider buying a small pop-up tent to throw in the car as well. Pop-up tents can be set up in seconds and work wonders when it comes to privacy. Also, to help keep your portable toilet neat and clean, consider adding a bit of kitty litter to it to mask odors or placing absorbable paper towels in the base to absorb liquid and minimize the risk of spills.

Here are five quick and easy tips to help you select the best portable toilet or urinal for you:

  1. First, determine what your specific needs are. How large of a toilet are you looking for? How often will you use the toilet? In what types of situations do you plan to use the toilet? What type of design do you feel most comfortable with?
  2. Consider any medical issues that you may have and think about how they might affect the type of toilet you need. 
  3. Search out brand name products that are familiar to you or recommended to you by friends or family. 
  4. Once you’ve identified a urinal you might want to buy, read online reviews posted by other users and determine if the product performs as advertised. 
  5. Finally, consider the cost of the toilet and how it fits with your budget.

Portable Car Toilets

Here are some of the pros and cons of several popular portable car toilets and urinals:

OXO 2-in-1 Go Potty

Designed for toddlers up to 50 lbs. for standalone use with disposable bags or as a potty seat on toilets. A splash guard at the front of the toilet helps keep urine where it’s supposed to be, in the bowl, and cuts down on wet clothing and accidents. The OXO 2-in-1 is compact and simple to assemble; legs fold out quickly and easily and lock in place. Although the OXO 2-in-1 is readily affordable at around $21, liners must be purchased separately. And, because it sits low to the ground, it can be awkward and uncomfortable for taller children.

YOMQLJXB Portable Car Toilet

Designed for both children and adults, the YOMQLJXB portable car toilet can be used with or without plastic liners. When used without liners, a drain valve at the base of the toilet’s bowl makes disposal of liquid waste easy and clean up simple. On the downside, some adult users complain that the toilet is small and that the companion lining bags are flimsy.  The YOMQLJXB is also relatively expensive for what you get, retailing for approximately $76.

Zinyeme Portable Toilet

Features an innovative design that includes a seat, a base, and a foldable, accordian-style sidewall. Made of a high quality plastic, the Zinyeme portable toilet is durable and waterproof and should stand up to a lot of wear and tear. Although the Zinyeme portable toilet weighs only 3 pounds, it can support up to 400 pounds of weight. Assembly and disassembly is easy and quick and, when disassembled, the toilet is remarkably compact. Plastic liner bags must be used; waste will seep out of the Zinyeme portable toilet's side walls without them. The toilet is sold with 12 plastic waste bags and a water-proof carry bag. Of note, some users comment that the edges of the seat can be sharp.

Go Anywhere Portable Camping Toilet

A one-piece, collapsible option designed for children and adults. Plastic disposal bags must be used to capture waste. A Go-Anywhere-Toilet kit that can be purchased separately includes bio-degradable bags and toilet paper. Go Anywhere also sells a companion “Poo Powder”. A scoop of the powder can be placed inside the waste bags to help gel and solidify the contents; the waste can then be discarded in regular trash cans. Conveniently, the Go Anywhere does not require any assembly and folds up into the size of a small briefcase when not in use. Its fold-out legs are stable and sturdy and support up to 500 pounds. Some campers report that the Go Anywhere can be somewhat difficult to open and close and is uncomfortable to sit on. At around $90, it is also a somewhat expensive choice.

Lion Alp Folding Toilet Seat

Consists of a durable and comfortable plastic seat that sits on a heavy-duty stainless steel frame. There is no toilet bowl, so plastic liner bags must be used to catch waste. There is a built-in anti-slip ring along the inside of the toilet’s seat that helps secure liner bags in place, preventing spills and mess. The Lion Alp sets up quickly and can be transported and stored conveniently when not in use.  The toilet weighs 6.3 pounds and can support 250 pounds. At $30, it is an affordable option.

Portable Handheld Urinals for Travel

Hand-held urinals provide quick relief when a bathroom isn’t accessible. Urinals for use on the road are usually modestly priced and easy to use and clean. Most are constructed of a durable plastic material and have spill-resistant and crack-resistant designs to prevent accidents and leakage.

Loona and Tanker Portable Urinals

Loona is a beautifully designed urinal for women or anyone with female anatomy. Loona features a snap close lid, stable base, and comfort handle. It has a 30 ounce capacity, is sanitary and easy to clean, and comes in three great colors--Loona Blue, Moon Grey, and Coral Dream.

Tanker holds 44 a travel must have for men or anyone with male anatomy. Tanker’s Twist & Lock lid and silicone seal make it completely water-tight, and its durable construction protects against cracks and leaks. Available in two colors, Khaki Green and Cement Grey, Tanker offers reliable and quick relief whenever and wherever it’s needed.

CareBag Male Urinal Bag

Is a unique alternative to a traditional reusable plastic urinal. It is a disposable bag made of a strong medical grade material. The bag contains an absorbent pad that quickly soaks up 16 ounces of liquid waste, converting it into a gel. After use, the top of the bag can be sealed with a drawstring to help contain odors and prevent leakage. The bag can then simply be discarded in the trash. The CareBag is for men, or anyone with a penis. Because it is small and compact, it can be carried discreetly. Although they are promoted to be leak-resistant, reviewers report that CareBags sometimes tear and leak.

YUMSUN Unisex Pee Bottle

Comes with two urine funnels (one designed for male anatomy and one for female anatomy) so that it can be used by anyone no matter their gender. It is made of a durable plastic that makes it leak-free. This pee bottle has markings that allow you to measure your urine output, a helpful feature if you need to track how much fluid you’re putting out. The bottle’s total capacity is approximately 33 ounces. In spite of its easy-to-grasp handle, some reviewers have noted that the Urinal Universal Pee Bottle is awkward to use. The Pee Bottle is an affordable option, costing about $17.

Buying a portable toilet or urinal to have in the car on road trips will provide you with an easy and hygienic way to use the bathroom when there may not be a bathroom nearby. Fortunately, there are a lot of good products to choose from. Once you’ve settled on one that meets your specific needs and expectations, grab a bottle of hand sanitizer and a package of moist wipes and throw everything into the back seat or trunk of your car. Just knowing relief is close at hand will make your adventures on the road more enjoyable.

Safe travels!

This article was written by Dr. Shani Saks

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