are simple portable enclosures containing a chemical toilet
A chemical toilet is a toilet which uses chemicals to deodorize the waste instead of simply storing it in a hole, or piping it away to a sewage treatment plant. Common types include aircraft lavatory, some passenger train toilets and the portable toilets used on construction sites and at large...
which are typically used as a temporary toilet for construction sites and large gatherings and events. Most of the portable toilets have black open-front-U-shaped toilet seat with cover. They are often constructed out of light weight molded plastic
A plastic material is any of a wide range of synthetic or semi-synthetic organic solids used in the manufacture of industrial products. Plastics are typically polymers of high molecular mass, and may contain other substances to improve performance and/or reduce production costs...
Portable toilets are referred to colloquially as P-Pot, Porta-John, PortaJane, Port-O-Let, Port-a-Loo, Portaloo Porta-Potty, Tidy John, Kybo, Biffs, Standard Porta Potty Restrooms, and Toi-Toi – some of which may be trademarked – and more formally as a "Portable Sanitation Unit
Portable toilets are large enough for a single occupant – usually about 90 cm (3 ft) on a side by 210 cm (7 ft). While the units are typically free standing structures, their stability is augmented by the weight of the waste tank, which usually contains an empty liquid disinfectant dispenser and deodorizer. Some include both a seated toilet
A toilet is a sanitation fixture used primarily for the disposal of human excrement, often found in a small room referred to as a toilet/bathroom/lavatory...
and a urinal. Most include lockable doors, ventilation near the top, and a stovepipe vent for the holding tank. Leaving the toilet lid open will reverse the flow of the venting of the tank.
Newer models include toilet paper and, occasionally, antibacterial hand gel dispensers. It has become common for portable toilets to be paired with a portable hand washing station. These stations provide a foot pump to dispense water to wash one's hands after using the toilets. Soap and towels may be provided.
'Luxury' portable toilets also exist. These are typically conventional domestic plumbing fixtures within a portakabin-like structure.
Use in outdoor advertising
Another recent innovation in the portable toilet arena is their use as a form of outdoor advertising. Some advertisers wrap portable toilets with vinyl material similar to that commonly used on cars and buses. The graphic wraps are intended to catch the attention of potential customers waiting in line to use the toilet.
Though more expensive than a standard permanent outdoor latrine
A latrine is a communal facility containing one or more commonly many toilets which may be simple pit toilets or in the case of the United States Armed Forces any toilet including modern flush toilets...
, portable toilets have several significant benefits mostly related to their portability. They are rented to customers by companies that guarantee their cleanliness, and so as a rule are drained, cleaned, disinfected, and deodorized on a regular basis. As they are not plumbed, they do not clog. A single portable toilet can be hauled in the back of a pick-up truck
"Pick-Up Truck" is a song written and recorded by Belgian acid house musician Praga Khan. It is the third single from Praga's eighth studio album, Soundscraper....
. An average portable toilet is able to hold enough sewage for 10 people during the course of a 40 hour work week before the hold reaches unsanitary conditions.
They are frequently seen at outdoor work sites, particularly construction sites, and large banks of dozens of portable toilets allow for ready sanitation at large gatherings such as outdoor music festivals. Several portable toilets arranged in these large banks are referred to as a 'sitting' of portable toilets.
In the United Kingdom, the Trade Association representing operators of Portable Sanitation units is PSE. PSE also has a number of European members and works closely with similar trade organisations worldwide. PSE has a close working relationship with Government departments such as the Health and Safety Executive and Department of the Environment to improve stands of cleanliness and hygiene, and to promote good practice by its members. Unique to the PSE is its members' award scheme. Presently members are able to qualify for a Gold Award after completing a stringent set of assessments set by PSE. In the United States, a similar organization exists called the Portable Sanitation Association International. (PSAI)