Surviving the Nightmare of Festival Porta-Potties

It's the first night of an amazing festival. You're dancing, chatting, making new friends, and headbanging the night away when all of a sudden it hits you. You've GOT to GO. Yep, THAT go. You walk to the row of porta-potties, step inside one, and it's absolutely disgusting. So, what do you do now?! Don't fret fam! I have a guide for that.

Let’s get down to business….literally! First things first. You must accept that these are porta-potties. They won’t be perfect no matter how much advice I give you but we can make this much experience easier! Trust me, I have it down to a science now.

Your approach is EVERYTHING! You have two main options.

  • The Squat-For most potties, the bowl itself does not stand alone. It usually is surrounded by the tank which holds all the nasty stuff. The tanks are usually molded with perfect placement spots for your feet beside the actual seat. Place a foot on each side, squat down, and go. No seat contact at all. Clean and simple, this approach is my favorite. Sadly, it can be easily foiled if the molding is missing but if it’s there then you’re golden!
  • The Lean-You’ll notice the handles running horizontally on the inside of the door. Porta-Potties usually have this feature but sometimes they run vertically or diagonally depending on the make and model. Nine times out of ten they’re there in some configuration. I have never seen one without them. These handles are a tiny gift from the heavens above and supply the user with something to hold onto in order to lean back or hover over the seat to avoid contact. It’s an arm workout… but it’s better than sitting down!

Get your timing down.

  • The best time to visit the bathroom will always be in the early morning. Typically, they clean them around 5:00am-8:00am. This means that you can be the first one to use the freshly cleaned potty and it should be freshly stocked with toilet paper too! I know, waking up early at a festival might seem silly but seriously it’s genius. Then you can always go back to sleep if you want! Also, if it’s summer then you can experience a cooler time to use the bathroom. We all know it feels like a sauna in there during the hot parts of the day!! Nothing worse than a stinky hot box of porta-potty nastiness.
  • The flip side is the worst time to use it. Avoid late nights in the main venue (most of the time they are scattered all around. Especially if it’s a camping festival). The main venue potties are the most frequently used and you’re basically looking at a twelve hour old potty without any cleaning. If it’s summer, then it’s also been heated up all day. Do the gross math. No thank you!

Your porta-potty survival accessories. NEVER assume that the potty will be stocked with the things you need. EVER!

You’ve got to go in there prepared. Everyone carries some kind of backpack, hydration pack, fanny pack, etc. Be sure to put these goodies in yours for a clean and comfortable experience. Fellas, if you don’t carry a pack for some reason then load your pockets down or have your festie bestie close by!

  • Toilet paper or Kleenex-You never know when there will be absolutely NONE!
  • Baby Wipes-Always have them! These will help with all around cleanliness. Trust me, stock up on them.
  • Toilet Seat Covers-Seriously. If the approaches up top (the squat or the lean) are just not for you then go for these. It’s an easy way to beat the system entirely. Grab the good ones here.
  • Hand Sanitizer-You will want this. Most set ups do have a hand washing station but you can never rely on the idea that there will be soap. Sometimes there may even be a hand sanitizer station but again, you never know if there will be anything in it.
  • Headlamp-You will definitely want this or some other clever form of light. Not all potties are lit up.
  • Lysol Wipes-The wipes are so useful for germ killing! Let’s not forget (how could you really) how disgusting these bathrooms are. Germs are everywhere in there. Protect your health!

Last but not least, the most important rule of porta-potty use…KARMA. Please don’t abuse the potty. Try to keep it clean for everyone else. We all get in a hurry and want to get out of there quickly but remember that someone has to go after you. It’s just a really nice thing to do for your fellow festival goers.  If you’re able to plan accordingly, your porta-potty experiences will be perfectly fine! I hope this helps you all for your future festivals and makes going to the potty a bit easier! Take care and happy festing!

Megan Delaune

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