Potty Training With An Outhouse

If you have an outhouse and small children, then there is no doubt at some point in time, someone has asked you about your potty training.  Or, if you’re toying with the idea of moving to the “boonies” with little children, then you’ve probably wondered yourself.

Before I had children, I wondered about this too.

A few things are different when you have an outhouse than when you have indoor plumbing.  But you might be amazed how much isn’t that different.

Here are some tips:

1.     Pick the most convenient time to start

Just like if you lived in the city and worked a 9-5, you would work with your child on weekends, or perhaps some time off, you want to pick a time that you can consistently work with your child.

If you are in the middle of planting, harvesting, calving, or another intense time, just wait.  Yes, your child may be a bit older than someone else’s when they get fully trained, but who cares?  Just like in any other location, potty training takes patience and consistency.

If you live in an area where you get 3 or 4 feet of snow (or more), your child probably isn’t going to want to start his or her training at this time.  And you won’t either, really.

2.     Use an indoor training potty

Just like if you lived in a suburban area, you can totally use an indoor training potty.  This is something people are surprised to see in a rural home.  Mom or dad still has to take it out to empty it, but it helps your little person to learn control when they have to go right now.

Trying to learn bodily control is much easier when a child has a “now” option, than when their first step is to get on their shoes and take a walk to an area to get their business done.

3.     Consider having a commode for nighttime

Priceless.  If it doesn’t gross you out (and if it does, you probably aren’t into homesteading), then not having to go out in the dark and make your way to an outhouse (that may or may not even have a light) will save your sanity.  Also, your young child may be scared to go out after dark, or just plain may not want to go outside when it’s cold.

4.     If possible, find a way to be able to prop the outhouse door open

If you think being alone in an indoor outhouse can be frightening for a small child, imagine what a small little outhouse can do to their little hearts and minds.  Don’t think it’s that big of a deal?  Try this:  put yourself in the smallest garden shed you can find.  Shut the door.  Make sure it’s dark.  Now pee.  In a hole.  While you listen to mother nature outside.  Yeah…if you’ve got a vivid imagination, it’s pretty frightening.

If you’re constructing or moving an outhouse (as you’ll have to do every few years), consider aiming the door toward the house.  Sounds funny, I know, but for little tiny guys, it can be comforting to hook that door open and still be able to see a clear visual line toward their “safety.”

5.     Invest in some solar lighting

We have a couple small solar lights.  They aren’t that bright, but they are dependable.  You could get the kind that stay in the outhouse (assuming you have a window, or your vent is big enough to keep it charged).  Or, you could use the hand held ones that turn off and on like a flashlight.

50% Off

Things you may not be prepared for:

1.     A child that is ready to drop their drawers anywhere there’s a tree.

Or a bush.  Or grass.  Or a rock.  Seriously, I’m still trying to stop all my boys from this no matter how old they are.

2.     Fear of other people’s toilets.

For some reason, all the church toilets are fine, but everyone else’s…they are another story.  Now, I know this is a stage with most children, as I watched other little ones before I moved out to the country.  But the lack of these experiences with kids out in the bush causes them to take a little longer to get over it.

If you live on a homestead, you may be concerned with potty training with an outhouse. Here are some tips to make it easier.

Have you potty trained a child?  What tips would you leave for other readers?



  1. I’m in the middle of potty training, but I just need several days in a row at home. It keeps getting interrupted! But yes, once the boys learn that they can go outside, they will go outside just to go. I’ve had to tell Esmond not to go on the porch, he had just opened the door to go right there!

  2. Hmm I remember some friends of my parents who lived out of town and they had an outhouse, done a long path. I used to hate using it when I was a child, it was scary and dark, and if I remember rightly it didn’t flush either, it was just a box. I must admit I am glad to have indoor plumbing. Thank you for sharing these points though, they are very helpful. Blessings

  3. Great post, I’m glad I have indoor plumbing. I can totally understand how scary it would be for a little one. I remember being scared to use an out house as a child. But now I can really see the benefits of having one on the homestead… keep the dirt out of the house…. Although at night I think I would want an indoor option… and in winter too…

    Thanks for sharing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


© 2016

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑