Be a good sport: a guide to porta loo etiquette

If you’ve ever taken part in a large scale sporting event – be it a marathon, a cycle race or a triathlon – you’ve probably encountered a portable toilet. We’ll go out on a limb and guess that it was probably not one of your most favourable bathroom experiences. And that’s okay.

While one may expect drunken parties and festivals to be among the worst offenders when it comes to toilet hygiene standards, there’s a strange phenomenon that seems to occur at sporting events when the bathroom walls are plastic rather than tiled brick. Those in the industry will all agree there is no challenge (or potential mess) greater than

providing waste management for events where nerves, adrenaline and tight spandex make for interesting results.

As a point of comparison, where events such as music concerts or festivals usually require about one portable toilet per 60 people, when it’s a sporting event, the ratio needs to be closer to one toilet for every 10 people. We won’t get into the details, but physical activity coupled with good hydration, plus nerves, can make food move very quickly through the digestive system.

Here’s a quick guide for porta loo etiquette at the next big race:

Squat for what?

No matter how well maintained a portable toilet actually is, the widely held assumption is that if its plumbing isn’t connected, it’s not hygienic. So what do people do? They try to squat or hover over the toilet seat. This is how ‘splashes’ and wet floors happen. Especially after the race when those quads are shaking and a squat is the last position they want to find themselves in.

Interestingly, despite common misconceptions, you’re statistically more likely to get sick or contract an infection from unwashed hands than simply using a portable toilet. So instead of trying to get into an awkward position, use some toilet paper to create a seat cover and get on with it. If you must squat or hover, simply clean up after yourself.

Don’t be awkward

When you’re inside a porta loo, lock the door. No one wants to open the door on someone in a… ‘compromising situation’. When there are hundreds of thousands of runners or cyclists and limited toilets, people will be trying the doors to see if there aren’t any ones available. That said, try to be as quick as possible and don’t use a porta loo as a changing room, your fellow competitors will thank you.

Leave it as you’d like to find it

When leaving a porta loo that doesn’t use running water, put the toilet seat down. It keeps odour under control by directing it up the vent, rather than into the cubicle. Also leave the door open (if you can) for the next person. This will help air things out, and it keeps queues moving faster. If the toilet is out of loo paper or there’s any issue with it, tell the nearest staff member if you can.

Fancy Flush is unparalleled in experience providing waste management solutions to sporting events of all types across the country. We offer a wide range of solutions from basic ablutions to luxury trailers, showers and much more. Get in touch for a tailored quote for your next event.