Year-around Composting Toilets

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Toilets of Summer, Fall, Winter and Spring

Year-around Composting Toilets

Outdoor in winter
Outhouse in use in a skiing resort Lapland, Finland

Using a Compost Toilet All Year Round

When considering the year-round use of a compost toilet, the focus naturally shifts to the challenges posed by the colder months. While summer use is generally straightforward, it’s the winter season that raises the most questions. Ensuring that your compost toilet can handle the demands of a cold climate is crucial for year-round usability. Key factors such as capacity and the ability to service the toilet at any time become paramount.

Using a Compost Toilet in Cold Climates

When it comes to using a compost toilet in cold climates, it’s essential to understand the differences between having the toilet in a cabin where the temperature drops below freezing but is not used, and using the toilet all year round, including during the winter. Let’s delve into these scenarios to help you make the best decision for your needs.

Tiny house toilet
Split system composting toilet in tiny house

Using the Toilet Year-Round in Cold Climates

If your compost toilet will be used throughout the year, especially during the winter when temperatures can plummet, extra planning is necessary. Choosing the right model and ensuring proper installation are key to successful operation. At Waterless Toilet Shop, we have extensive experience with compost toilets in cold climates, as one of our founders is from Finland, a country known for its long, harsh winters. Our Green Toilet product line, developed in Finland and in use since the early 90s, is a testament to the reliability and effectiveness of these systems in cold environments.

When using a compost toilet year-round in cold climates, consider the following:

Capacity and Durability: The toilet system should be large enough to handle the waste accumulated during the cold season. Our Green Toilet 330 package is an excellent example, designed to manage waste efficiently even in freezing conditions. The composting containers must be sturdy enough to hold the frozen compost mass without issues.

Thermal Comfort: A thermal seat is a valuable addition for comfort during the winter months. It feels always warm to sit despite the outside temperature.

Ventilation: If the dry toilet is indoors, ventilation is crucial. Typically, a vent pipe is installed, often with an electrical fan. However, during cold weather, this can result in heat loss and increased energy consumption. To mitigate this, consider using a fan with power control to minimize warm air loss.

Insulation and Heating: For indoor compost toilets with a split system (where the composting container is below the floor), it’s recommended to insulate the space if it’s unheated, like a cellar. A self-adjusting heating cable can be a beneficial addition to keep the composting process efficient.


Storing the Toilet in Cold Conditions

If the compost toilet will be stored in a cold space and not used during the winter, it typically poses no problems. In fact, a dry toilet can make winter much easier for cottage owners by eliminating the risk of broken pipes and the need to heat the cottage just to keep a water closet functional. Simply ensuring the system is clean and dry before winter can prevent any issues.

Hybrid Solutions for Seasonal Use

For many cabins and cottages, a hybrid solution works best. This involves having an outhouse with a large-capacity system used extensively during the summer when outdoor activities are prevalent. Complementing this setup with a smaller indoor compost toilet provides convenience during the winter and bad weather. This dual approach ensures that you have a reliable and comfortable toilet solution year-round.



A compost toilet is a practical and viable solution for year-round use, even in cold climates. The key is to choose the right model and consider essential accessories, such as a thermal seat, winter-proof containers, and a fan with power control. These additions can significantly enhance the functionality and comfort of your compost toilet system during the winter months.

At Waterless Toilet Shop, we offer a range of products designed to withstand the challenges of cold climates. Explore our Green Toilet product line to find the perfect solution for your needs, ensuring efficient waste management and comfort no matter the season.

If you have any questions, our team of professionals is ready to assist you with expert advice and support.

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