What Is a Portable Bathroom Called?

What Is a Portable Bathroom Called

Portable bathrooms go by many names – porta potty, porta john, portaloo, chemical toilet, mobile restroom, and more. But what term is most correct for these temporary sanitation units? While they all fundamentally refer to the same thing, some key nuances exist between the different names for portable toilets.

Common names for portable bathrooms include:

Porta Potty

This is the most widespread casual term used for a portable toilet. “Porta-potty” can refer to any temporary freestanding toilet unit, standard or deluxe. It’s an informal generic nickname.

Porta John

Similar to porta potty, “porta john” is a slang term for a basic portable toilet. It likely originated from “Portable John” referring to the Portable Sanitation Association International (PSAI) trade group that sets standards.

Portable Toilet

The most formal correct name is “portable toilet” – an accurate descriptive term for a toilet designed to be moved and transported, as opposed to permanent plumbing-connected facilities.

Portable Restroom

“Portable restroom” is also an accepted formal name along with the portable toilet. Restroom is a broader term indicating it’s a full temporary toilet facility, not just a standalone toilet.


Common in the UK and Australia, “portaloo” refers to a portable temporary plastic toilet unit. The name comes from combining “portable” and “loo”, British slang for toilet.

Types of Portable Toilets

There are different categories of portable toilets:

  • Standard – Basic portable restroom with tank, seat, and single occupant space.
  • ADA Accessible – Larger units with features for handicapped accessibility.
  • Luxury – Upscale portable bathrooms with amenities like flushing toilets and sinks.
  • Mobile Shower Trailers – Multi-stall trailers with complete shower facilities.

Proper Names by Situation

In formal manufacturer literature or waste pumping regulations, “portable toilet” is most appropriate. For talking with rental companies or at job sites, “porta john” or “porta potty” is fine. Avoid slang terms like “blue booth” which can as disrespectful.

FAQs About Portable Toilet Names

What does porta-pottyty mean?

Porta-potty is an informal slang term for any type of portable chemical toilet or temporary bathroom unit.

Why are they called porta johns?

The origin likely comes from a combination of “portable” and the trade group PSAI (Portable Sanitation Association International).

Is porta potty the right name?

Porta-potty is very common in everyday usage, but portable toilets or Portable Restrooms are more formal and technically correct names.

What’s the difference between a porta john and a porta potty?

Porta John and porta potty refer to the same thing – a portable toilet. The terms are interchangeable.


While portable toilets go by nicknames like porta potties and porta johns, the proper industry terms are portable toilet or portable restroom. These temporary, movable bathroom facilities offer flexible sanitation solutions for events, worksites, and more. Keep terminology professional depending on the situation while understanding the various informal names these portable bathrooms are called.


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