Photo Credits: Robbin Holland

11 Fascinating Portable Toilet Facts

What is so interesting about portable toilet? While it is true that they can be unpleasant, we at Nisly Brothers go out of our way to keep our units clean & looking professional.  They can be respectable and even classy.  An example of a classy portable restroom is the luxury restroom trailer.  These are portable units that compare to a restroom in your house! At Nisly brothers, we strive to keep all of our portable toilet units decent and pleasant to use.  For your interest, read teh facts we’ve compiled below.

1. The industry began for shipyard employees in the 1940s

According to the Philadelphia PortaPotty Pros:

In 1940s, the shipyards of Long Beach realized that workers were losing valuable work time because they need to walk all the way back to the docks just to use the bathrooms. For this reason, they decided to build temporary bathrooms on the ships, making their work go faster and workers a little happier. They constructed a wooden cabana and then placed a small holding tank, and the first portable toilet was born.

2. The first toilet in the row is often the best.

On their blog, Gotugo says, “The first toilet cubicle is usually used least. This makes it the cleanest toilet in a row.”

3. The largest gathering of portable toilets was 5000 units.

The Philadelphia PortaPotty Pros company says, “[T]he largest gathering of porta potties was at the inauguration day of Barack Obama in 2009, with more than 5,000 porta potties on hand.”

4. Portable toilets save lots of water and protect the environment.

portable toilet facts about water

  • 125 million of gallons of water are saved using portable toilets.1
  • 45 billion gallons of fresh water are saved annually through the use of portable restrooms.1
  • Americans use more water each day by flushing the toilet than they do by showering or any other activity.2
  • Americans use about 100 gallons of water per day. Europeans use about 50 gallons of water per day. Residents of sub-Saharan Africa use only two to five gallons of water per day.3
  • A running toilet can waste up to 200 gallons of water per day.3
  • A portable toilet use 90% less water then a conventional toilet.4

Photo Credits: PSAI

1 Source: Portable Sanitation Association International
2 Source: Florida Water Association Association
3 Source: United States Environmental Protection Agency
4 Source: Gotugo Blog

Download the Complete PSAI Water Saving Sheet

It is in our best interest to do what we can to save our environment and to use our resources well. While Nisly’s recycling services help save the resources that we need for making products, portable restrooms help save the water we need for healthy living.

Video Credits: Service Sanitation

5. Portable toilets have many different names.

The following are a few examples:

  • WC (water closet; used in Europe)
  • Port-a-potty
  • Porta-john
  • Honey bucket
  • Port-o-john
  • Portable restroom (One of the more respectable terms and our preferred terms)
  • Johnny-on-the-spot
  • Jon

6. The flap on the front of a toilet paper roll is more popular.

“The U.S. spent over $100,000 on a survey to determine whether it was more common to put the toilet paper in the holder with the flap facing the front or behind. The flap in the front is the most popular.”

Source: Gotugo Blog Post on Fun Portable Restroom Facts.

7. Realtors use portable toilets while showing their houses.

These units have their way of showing up at unexpected places. Who would have thought that realtors would go to the bother of renting toilets. Then again portable toilet facts can be interesting and throw you a curve ball, just like interesting facts for anything else.

Real estate agents and home builders like to show homes to potential buyers in order to entice them into making a purchase. Sometimes the homes are being offer for sale won’t have utilities turned on or are in disrepair. In this case, a porta-potty can be brought in temporarily to help satisfy customers during an open house or a crowded real estate auction. In the case of home builders, they often have a set of model homes that are used to showcase the range of products that they are offering for sale. The many guests that come to the model homes (as well as the agents who work there) will likely need access to toilets. Many builders prefer to use porta-potties for their guests rather than letting the customers uses the toilets within the homes. This is to ensure sanitary conditions while preserving a clean and attractive environment within the model home.

Read More: VIP Restrooms

8. The use of portable toilets dates back many centuries.

According to the Jots And Sots blog on interesting facts on portable toilets, “The earliest form of portable toilet dates back to 6th century BC when the “chamber pot” was invented in Rome. Centuries later the chamber pot was still used as a means to prevent a cold, long walk to the outhouse.”

The earliest known toilet facilities date back to the third millennium B.C. Rudimentary lavatory facilities have been discovered in the form of recesses in stone walls of houses in Scotland dating back to around 2,800 B.C. Around the same time, it appears that Western-style lavatory facilities were being constructed from bricks with wooden seats in Pakistan. Sewage fell through a chute to a drain or cesspit. In Egypt, toilets have been found in the bathrooms of tombs, presumably for use in the afterlife. The first portable toilet dates back to the mid-fourteenth century B.C. In Egypt, a wooden stool with a large slot in the middle for use with a pottery vessel beneath it was discovered in the tomb of Kha, the senior official of the Thebes workmen’s community.

Read more: Made How

9. The word “commode” has elite french origins.

portable toilet facts picture

“The term originates in the vocabulary of French furniture from about 1700. At that time, a commode meant a cabinet or chest of drawers, low enough so that it sat at the height of the dado rail (à hauteur d’appui). It was a piece of veneered case furniture much wider than it was high, raised on high or low legs[2] and with (commode à vantaux) or without enclosing drawers.”

Taken from:

Photo Credits: Science Museum



10. One of the bigger portable restroom companies has 200,000 units.

United Site Services lists the following on their portable toilets page.

200,000 Portable Restrooms | 11,000 Hand Wash Stations | 500+ Restroom & Shower Trailers
80+ Locations Nationwide | 1,200 Service Vehicles | 2,500+ Professional Dedicated Employees Nationwide

11. Names for portable toilets were very different years ago.

“Early versions of the modern portable toilet were called the Elsan Chemical Closet, water closet, WC, and earth closet. These portable toilets were sold in Army & Navy Stores.”

Source: Jots And Sots

Other Interesting Portable Toilet Facts

The 2017 presidential inauguration caused quite a stir concerning portable toilets. This was all over the news for a period of time. Don’s Johns from Virginia was the provider for portable restrooms. Presumably because the logo and name contain the president elect’s name, it was seen fit to cover the logo.

Read the story HERE.

While these restroom units seem insignificant, they can and do surprise us at times with the facts that go with them. From something as noticed as being the medium to cause news reporters to write articles to something as simple as having many names, these toilets play an important part of our lives. We would not want to be without them.

Nisly Brothers Trash Service is here to help you with what you need regarding portable restrooms. You can even get portable toilets on a trailer and tow them to your site yourself if you wish. Feel free to contact Nisly anytime to get started.