How Urinals Were Added to Porta Potties

We’re used to having separate bathrooms for ladies and gents. We know the symbols and we regularly visit restrooms that differ depending on our needs. Restrooms that are built for men have urinals as well as stalls while most bathrooms built specifically for women have only stalls, (because they simply aren’t able to use urinals as easily). 

So why would we have porta potties that have both a sit-down option and a urinal in one? Why not just have separate options available like we do for indoor restrooms? People have been wondering, and we have the answer.

A Quick History of the Urinal

The first urinal was patented in 1866 by a man named Andrew Rankin, but the very first urinals were in use long before this and his patent was probably based on some of these much older designs. 

You can find these throughout history and in different countries. Many of us may know that there were public toilets where people sat in open chambers right next to each other. The first public toilets were introduced in 74 A.D. in where else but Italy. They weren’t very concerned with privacy (or sanitation, actually, but that’s another article) back in those days. 

Did you know about the standing versions? Yes, there were those, too, in fact. If you’re curious, there are extremely simple examples that were found in Sri Lanka you can take a look at. These urinals were created with stones carved where the feet would go, standing apart, and a hole where a man would aim. Underneath these were cesspits, similar to those that we went over in our article “History of the Porta Potty”. 

In some of these “open air” urinals, there were also juglets for water, to pour down after someone relieved themselves. In Paris, circa the 1800’s, the first pissoirs, as they were known, were installed around the city for men going to and from work. (Now we know why people say they are “going to the pisser”.)

Luckily we have pumps to clean out our potties. Bless the poor souls that had the job of cleaning those cesspits, chamber pots, and pissoirs, though.

Why Not?

Why wouldn’t there be urinals in porta potties? This is not a very scientific answer, but if you think about it, having urinals inside of a standard porta potty makes logistical sense for large crowds, special events, or large amounts of people over a shorter period of time. 

This way, you can place the porta potties where you would like them and with enough of them, it doesn’t matter how many women or men use the “facilities”, there will be an option for either one of them without having to get different units for each sex. So when you look at it this way, it makes perfect sense to have urinals in porta johns. 

But when did we come up with this idea and start putting them in the units?

When We Added Urinals to Portable Restrooms

The first portable restrooms were created to give ship workers the ability to go to the bathroom while they were working, without having to wait for the ships to be brought landside. These first restrooms were created to be tough and easy to use, so they were made of metal and wood and only held a single toilet option.

While urinals were pretty popular or at least possibly well known to some cultures, urinals weren’t as attractive as a portable option. 

In fact, there’s just not a lot of information about when urinals were first added to porta potties, but one can only imagine that because of the male-dominated industry of construction, where these units were first invented, the urinal became a quick option for the men working there. And of course, we’re sure that made the managers, foremen, and business owners happy. Time is money, after all. (Too bad they didn’t know the future would provide VIP restroom trailers!)

Whether its standard units (with urinals!) or high rise units for those construction sites, porta potties are our job and we’re ready to provide the rental urinals for your next event or festival too, so just give us a call at (918) 272-0568 to get your free quote.

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