How to Empty a Porta Potty

There is nothing as smelly and unsightly as a full porta potty. While porta potty units already come with a complete waste collection system, including a holding tank, some restrooms are hard to access for emptying. Furthermore, if you’re in the industry of renting portable toilets or handling the servicing of these types of restrooms, then it is imperative that you know how to empty a porta potty unit efficiently.

 If you’re a construction worker, camper, or just someone who spends a lot of time outdoors, then you know the importance of having a porta potty nearby. They’re essential for those “emergency” situations when nature calls and there’s no bathroom in sight. But what do you do when it’s time to empty the porta potty? In this guide, we will walk you through the process of emptying a porta potty so that you can do it quickly and efficiently. 

What to know about porta potty

Portable toilets, also known as “porta-potties,” are commonly used at large public events such as parades and festivals where no traditional bathrooms are available. They can also be used on construction sites where workers may not have convenient access to bathrooms in nearby buildings.

A porta-potty consists of a small plastic container with a seat and lid mounted on top of it. A chemical toilet is placed in the bottom of the plastic container, which holds waste until it needs to be disposed of or emptied. In most cases, portable toilets will need to be emptied after each use. There are many misconceptions about porta potties.

Portable toilets are a common sight at construction sites, parades and other events. These toilets can be emptied by anyone who rents or owns the toilet. The waste is then transported to a sewage treatment facility for disposal.

Portable toilet owners have the option of emptying the toilet themselves or hiring a service to do it for them. The service will charge a fee to empty the toilet, but will then transport the waste to a sewage treatment facility for disposal. While this may be more convenient, it is also more expensive. Here you can learn how often a porta potty needs to be emptied.

Why should you empty a porta potty?

For one, it will save you money in the long run. The waste collected in the holding tank is full of harmful bacteria that can cause health problems if not disposed of properly. If the waste is left to sit for too long, it will start to decompose and produce a foul odor. Not to mention, it’s just gross.

Secondly, emptying the porta potty will prolong its lifespan. When the holding tank is full, it puts unnecessary pressure on the unit, which can lead to cracks and leaks. By emptying it regularly, you will prevent any damage to the unit itself.

Lastly, it’s simply good etiquette. Nobody wants to use a porta potty that’s overflowing with waste. If you’re renting a porta potty for an event, make sure to empty it regularly so that your guests will have a pleasant experience.

Now that we’ve covered the reasons why you should empty the porta potty, let’s walk you through the process of doing so.

What do you need?

  • A shovel
  • A hose with valve attached
  • Gloves
  • Eye protection
  • A plunger (optional) 

How to empty a porta potty: A step-by-step guide

A porta potty can be difficult to empty when it is full of solid waste. You have to dodge the odors and liquefied food that you find at the bottom of the unit. While porta potties are easy to use, it is important to know how to empty them correctly to avoid injury and keep your worksite clean.

There are several ways to empty a porta potty. The most common method is by pumping the waste through a hose into a portable waste tank. You can also empty the waste directly into a toilet, or you can use an environmentally friendly bio-breakdown chemical that turns solid waste into liquid waste.

These are the simple steps to empty your porta potty:

Method 1:

  1. The first step is to find a suitable location for emptying the porta potty. Make sure you’re away from populated areas and bodies of water. You don’t want any of that waste ending up in the wrong place.
  2. The next step in emptying a porta potty is to put on the right safety gear. You will need work gloves, goggles, and a face mask. If you are emptying a porta potty where vomit may be present, you will also want to wear rubber boots and protective clothing. It is not just unpleasant but also dangerous to come into contact with the waste products of others, so wear the proper safety equipment before beginning.
  3. Then remove the lid of the holding tank. Be careful not to touch any of the waste inside, as it can be harmful if ingested.
  4. The next step is to attach the hose to the outlet valve. Make sure the hose is secure so that there are no leaks.
  5. Then open the valve and begin emptying the holding tank. Empty it until it’s completely empty. If you’re having trouble getting all of the waste out, you can use a plunger to help move things along.
  6. The final step is to close the valve and detach the hose. Be sure to put everything back in its place so that nobody accidentally uses the porta potty before it’s been properly cleaned.

Method 2:

  1. Disconnect the vent pipe from the porta potty and seal it with duct tape. This will prevent any fumes from escaping into the air as you empty it.
  2. Remove the lid and toilet seat of the porta potty.
  3. Attach a water hose to the washout valve on the back of the porta potty.
  4. Attach one end of a suction hose to one end of your portable waste tank.
  5. Connect the other end of your suction hose to another washout valve and secure it with duct tape so no waste can leak out as you’re pumping it out of your portable toilet. If you don’t have an appropriate sized tank, you can use a plastic bucket instead by attaching your suction hose to its lid.
  6. Push in and hold down the flush button to pump water into your porta potty to loosen up any solid waste that’s accumulated inside it, then release your finger from the flush button once you’ve pumped in all the water you need.
  7. Open the discharge valve on your porta potty and let the waste flow into your portable waste tank or bucket. If there’s still solid waste clinging to the sides of your porta potty, you can use a plunger to loosen it up before pumping it out.
  8. Once your porta potty is emptied, close all valves and disconnect all hoses. Be sure to put everything back in its place so that nobody accidentally uses the porta potty before it has been cleaned.

Method 3: Bio-breakdown chemicals

If you want to empty your porta potty without having to pump out the waste, you can use bio-breakdown chemicals instead. These are environmentally friendly products that break down solid waste into liquid waste.


  1. To use bio-breakdown chemicals, simply add the recommended amount of chemical to your porta potty and close the lid. The chemical will do its work over the course of a few hours, turning all the solid waste into liquid waste.
  2. Once the process is complete, you can open the porta potty and empty it like you would a regular toilet. Be sure to flush several times to get rid of any residual odor.
  3. You can then close the porta potty and put everything back in its place until it’s ready to be used again.

Safety tips for emptying porta potty effectively

Here are some tips on how to do so: 

  • Be aware of the hazardous materials that may be present in the waste.
  • When handling any potentially harmful material, wear gloves and protective clothing.
  • Avoid coming into contact with waste if possible.
  • If you must come into contact with the waste, make sure to thoroughly wash your hands afterwards.
  • Make sure not to spill anything and clean up any spills immediately.
  • Make sure to dispose of the waste properly according to local regulations.

Should you empty it yourself or hire a company?

If you have a porta potty that needs to be emptied, you may be wondering if you should do it yourself or hire a company. There are pros and cons to both options.

Doing it yourself may be cheaper, but it can also be a messy job. You’ll need a place to dump the contents of the porta potty, and you may need to use gloves and a mask to protect yourself from bacteria.

Hiring a company may be more expensive, but it will probably be less hassle for you. The company will take care of emptying the porta potty and disposing of the waste properly.

Ultimately, the decision of whether to empty your porta potty yourself or hire a company is up to you. Just be sure to weigh the pros and cons of each option before making a decision.

Warning: Some porta potties contain chemicals to control odors and keep waste from solidifying in the bottom of the tank. If you decide to pump out the tank yourself, use caution because these chemicals can be hazardous when mixed with water or sewerage systems.


Now that you know how to empty a porta potty, you can rest assured that your next experience will be much more pleasant. Be sure to follow these simple steps and you’ll get the job done in no time.