A Pot to Pee In

So…..we went much of this year without a pot to pee in.

It wasn’t because of bad investments or the volatile stock market.  We weren’t robbed. 

But when it came to life in Wanda (our van), we literally did not have a pot to pee in the first two months of the year.

I’ve shared before that in order to travel in a safe, self-contained manner we had constructed our own toilet.  We made a urine diverter with a plastic bucket and a heat gun.  (Separating liquids from solids is a major factor in eliminating odors.)  Having this feature in our van enabled us to travel more than 15,000 miles through 37 states in Wanda’s short life.  Whether we were parked behind a Cracker Barrel or on the edge of a cliff in the Dakota Badlands, we greatly enjoyed, and utilized, this modern convenience.

So how did we reach our predicament?

It was time to refine the existing toilet.  We were probably on version 4.0 already, having reduced it from the size of a royal throne to a sleek slide-out model tucked in the cabinet when not occupied.  Now it was time for version 5.0 that wouldn’t rely on so much caulk and self-engineered pieces.

We found an affordable plastic-molded diverter online that looked like it could do the job.  Now we had a starting point to build from.  But the new diverter meant the lid wouldn’t open and close the way it had before.  I practically went into a trance imagining all the different options when I finally realized we could hinge the lid with a piano hinge on the side rather than the back.  Of course, that complicated the movement of the spout.  Five plumbing fittings later and we were still scratching our heads.

Then we dropped the plastic-molded diverter on the garage floor.  The spout did not survive.  Thus began an experiment of various glues before we found one that worked best.  After a couple days of curing, we were back in business again. 

Many people would wonder why we don’t just buy a new, complete composting toilet.  I would answer that with a little story:   A couple years ago we lost Annie’s retractable leash while on a trip to Texas.  We were convinced it had fallen out of my brother-in-law’s truck on the shoulder of a two-lane highway.  Jenni and I returned the next day and drove several miles at 5mph looking for an $8 leash that we probably bought at Goodwill.  (Nine months later the leash showed up after a thorough cleaning of the truck by my brother-in-law!)   The point being, we’re retired, thrifty, and what else do we have to do.


Rebuilding the wooden box and mounting the urine diverter was a success.  The next obstacle was the actual vessel to collect the liquids.  In the past we had used gallon milk jugs because they were plentiful but now they were too tall.  Several internet searches were fruitless.  We resorted to walking the aisles of Wal-Mart with a measuring tape and eventually found a liquid detergent bottle that was a perfect fit. 

After over two months, we finally had a pot to pee in!

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