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How Much Water Does an RV Toilet Use Per Flush?

An RV toilet is a gamechanger for those who’ve only camped or traveled without one.

No more heading outside in the middle of the night, into the woods, or grimy public bathrooms to do your business. Instead, you can stay comfortable right in your own RV.

The one downside? You’ll more than likely need a supply of fresh water to make it work. And how much water does an RV toilet use, anyway?

Let’s take a closer look!

How Does The Toilet Work On An RV? 

Typical RV toilets work through a combination of gravity and water. When the toilet is flushed, a small door within the toilet bowl opens, allowing any waste to fall downward toward your rig’s black tank, where it’s stored. Simultaneously, water is released from RV’s freshwater tanks, flushing any remaining waste away down the hole and leaving a sanitary toilet for the following user.

Unlike a home toilet, there’s no large tank behind the toilet to hold water for flushing, and often little or none in the bowl when you “go.” 

There are also other styles of RV toilets that operate differently. Some, like cartridge toilets, skip the typical black holding tank in exchange for a removable piece that can be emptied at any dump station.

Composting toilets are also an RV toilet option that’s growing in popularity. These toilets separate solid and liquid waste, allowing it to decompose via natural processes. Of course, you’ll still need to regularly empty separate solid and liquid waste tanks, but no additional water is required for the process. 

Pro Tip: Want to know more about how your RV toilet works? Find out The Unfortunate Truth of RV Wet Baths.

Do RV Toilets Have Water?

In most cases, the answer is yes. The most common type of RV toilet remains the first type described above, using gravity and water to provide a flush experience similar to that found at home.

But a lack of access to water doesn’t mean an RV toilet is out of the question, as composting toilets will operate just fine without it.

RV toilet and bathroom.
Level up your RV camping game with a full wet bath with a toilet.

How Much Water Does an RV Use Per Flush?

RV toilets that use water as part of their flushing mechanism typically use a quarter-gallon to a gallon of water per use.

However, this can vary from person to person as many RV toilets will continue to flush as long as you hold down the button or lever. Non-standard RV toilets like composting toilets will require no water per “flush.”

How Much Water Does An Average RV Use Per Day?

The amount of water used by an RV will vary dramatically based on lifestyle, bathroom features, number of RVers, and other factors. Some RVers can use up to 10 gallons of water per person per day with daily showers, water for cooking and cleaning, and toilet flushing.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, very conservation-minded RVers can use as little as 2-4 gallons per person per day, primarily by cutting back on showers and dishwashing. Don’t forget to factor in any water needed for pets – your four-legged friends need a drink too!

It’s important to remember that this is the water you will use living in your RV. Your RV itself won’t need any water on a daily basis simply to operate or drive (in the case of motorhomes, beyond the normal fluids in your engine.)

Pro Tip: Want to make the switch to a composting toilet? Discover The Nasty Truth of RV Composting Toilets.

RV toilet
Most freshwater tanks hold a range from 25 to 100 gallons.

How Much Fresh Water Does An RV Need? 

How much fresh water you’ll need in your RV depends on how long you plan to camp without access to water. Generally, most freshwater tanks will range from 25 to 100 gallons. A couple going on a weekend camping trip can likely get by with a 25-gallon tank in a smaller camper.

However, a family planning to boondock for a weeklong vacation should plan on filling up their motorhome’s 100-gallon tank – and perhaps still find themselves needing more. Remember, you can usually find somewhere to re-fill your tank mid-trip if needed!

Can You Poop In A Camper Toilet? 

Of course. It wouldn’t be much of a toilet if you couldn’t take care of number two, would it? Your toilet system should have absolutely no issues with solid waste in most cases, as long as you keep one crucial thing in mind – toilet paper.

A variety of brands produce RV-specific toilet paper designed to quickly dissolve in your black tank. This helps avoid the unpleasant and stressful clogging situations that can result from regular home toilet paper. You may also find brands of septic-safe toilet paper that will work well in your rig, but RV-specific is still typically your best bet.

Is There an Alternative to Standard RV Toilets

There are some cases where it might not be worth it to have a traditional RV toilet. An RV composting toilet is the main alternative.

Composting toilets use no water. However, the emptying process is much more up close and personal.

No matter what toilet you choose, they allow you to take care of business in your own private space while on the road or camping. For most RVers, that’s a priceless investment! 

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  1. Bob says:

    I solved all toilet problems and water usage by removing my toilet. I poop into a plastic bag. Being a man I use a pee jug so only solids in the bag.