Portable Toilets and Kids: A Parent’s Guide to Avoiding the Yuck

Talk to any parent and they’ll tell you they dread using a porta potty with their kids. They worry that the portable toilets aren’t clean. They’re afraid of what their kids may touch inside. And they may have some horror stories from previous experiences to share.

However, summertime activities often leave no choice but to either use a portable toilet with your kids or ask them to hold it. (And we all know how well that usually works out!)
So, if the thought of taking Junior to do his business in a porta john makes you squirm, we’ve put together a resource to take the anxiety out of the process!

Portable Toilets



Porta potties are actually much cleaner than you might imagine. Units that are rented for short-term events are cleaned thoroughly from top to bottom between each rental and permanent units (like those at a park) are serviced regularly to uphold hygiene standards.

Surprisingly enough, the dirtiest area of a porta potty may be the floor. Depending on what users have on their shoes when they enter, this can be the biggest source of yuck. In more rugged areas like on trail heads, people can track in things like mud and animal feces, making this a key area to avoid having your kids touch while using the potty. For many parents, keeping their kids off the floor of the unit is easy enough because there just isn’t a ton of space for kids to sit down there.

So, rest assured that proper use of a porta potty already eliminates much of the potential for coming into contact with something gross.

Toilet Seats

If people use the potty correctly and clean up after themselves properly, the toilet seat should stay fairly clean. However, since porta potties don’t have interior lighting, it’s possible that someone could make a mess at night and not realize it. For this reason, it’s a good idea to use some paper to line the toilet seat before having kids sit down. You don’t need to use a huge amount of paper – just enough to make a thin barrier. This protects their bottoms and hands. Holding their hands while they use the toilet is a good way to keep them from touching anything else (like the urinal) while they’re there.

Blue Chemicals

Obviously, it goes without saying that you should never touch the blue chemicals inside the porta potty’s holding tank. Most children understand that and won’t attempt to do so, but it never hurts to mention it again. The biggest problem parents report is that children sometimes try to drop things into the tank (especially those oh so tempting newly refilled tanks). The risk here is that the blue liquid can splash out if something other than waste is dropped inside. The tanks are only intended to hold waste and paper, which is lightweight, so normal use won’t cause splashing.
To keep kids from accidentally dropping something inside, remove (or secure) all accessories and put away toys before letting kids use a porta potty. This means taking off sunglasses, hats, purses, play jewelry, and anything else that could fall off your child before letting him/her go to the bathroom.

Hand Sanitizer

Using the provided hand sanitizer is the best way to keep yourself and your kids hygienic while using a portable toilet. It’s there for a reason – just use it!

The best way to apply the hand sanitizer is to open the door and then get a squirt of sanitizer so that you can rub it on your hands immediately after exiting the unit. This ensures your hands are clean even after touching the door in case someone before you opted to skip the sanitizer step and touched the door with dirty hands.

Tips for Keeping Kids Clean in the Summer

Remember, portable toilets are certainly not the only source of yuck your kids will encounter this summer outdoors.
Here are some other great mess-reducing tips:

  • Bring your own hand sanitizer in your purse, diaper bag, or pocket anywhere you go
  • Opt for snacks that won’t melt (i.e. chocolate) and cause a mess
  • Choose water over sugary drinks to minimize messes and keep kids hydrated and healthy
  • Keep shoes or sandals (closed-toed are the best) on kids to protect feet and keep them clean
  • Stock up on wipes to help clean sticky messes
  • Use cupcake wrappers or paper cups with holes poked in to keep hands clean while eating popsicles
  • Keep a spare towel in the car
  • Bring a spare change of clothes in case kids have an accident

Kerkstra Luxury Portable Restroom Service Inc. provides portable restroom service across Michigan and luxury restroom trailers for all of the states surrounding the Great Lakes. Take a look at our mobile restroom trailers and request a quote today!