Occasionally, I write about the practicalities of travelling full-time. As well as providing a snapshot of our lifestyle, these articles serve as a reference to other families who have questions about life on the road.

One of my specific chores includes dealing with our toilet every week or two. I know people who travel without a toilet on board, but I’m happy to deal with the waste for the sake of the convenience. If we’re parking somewhere close to amenities, I prefer to use those, but more often than not, the girls like to use the toilet that we have our bus — it’s their ensuite!

Camping toilet in our housebus, December 2012
Our portable toilet is stored underneath the back bench-seat. It's on a platform with wheels and can be pulled out when it's needed. A magnetic gate-latch keeps the toilet platform in place while we're driving. A mirror-backed privacy screen can also be pulled out if we want to block off the sights at the back of the bus.

We keep a roll of toilet paper in the cupboard across from the toilet. It’s handy enough to be within reach, but still tucked away so it doesn’t unravel while we’re travelling. The girls can wash their hands in the nearby sink when they’re done.

We have gone through several portable toilets in the past two years. The first thing to go is the flushing handle, and unfortunately it can’t be replaced or fixed. Our current model is a generic brand with a metal rod that holds the flushing handle. This should last longer than the plastic rods on the more expensive, branded portable toilets.

Before we head off from the shed, I empty the toilet into the house system.

I pour an eco-friendly chemical into the toilet after every time I empty it and rinse it clean. The chemical starts breaking down the waste as soon as it’s in the receptacle, and it’s safe for disposal in a septic system.

Emptying the portable toilet, November 2012
Where it's possible, I ask friends if I can empty our toilet directly into their septic tank.

Dump site at Holbrook Caravan Park, December 2012
Some local councils subsidise the use of waste dump sites within caravan parks, meaning that they're free for the travelling public to use. At other times, a small fee (often $5) is payable to use the dump site.

Emptying the toilet is one of those chores that could possibly be a big deal if I make it into one, but I don’t. I’m happy to have the toilet on board, and I’m equally happy to empty it when it needs doing. Certainly, maintaining a portable toilet is not as easy as flushing the waste away, but it uses much less water and that possibly makes it more environmentally-friendly.

Have I convinced you? Possibly not, but that doesn’t matter. We’re happy with the way things are! If you’re travelling full-time and do things differently to us, I’d like hear how toileting works for you.