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At Tardis we provide portable toilets for all kinds of events all over the UK, meaning we get to talk to lovely customers all over the place, each with their own term for the common portable toilet, so I thought I’d do a list of all the slang names for portable toilets, you may not have heard of some.


I came across a lot of theories as to where this term came from, here are some:

*That the word comes from nautical terminology, loo being an old-fashioned word for lee. The standard nautical pronunciation (in British English) of leeward is looward. Early ships were not fitted with toilets but the crew would urinate over the side of the vessel. However it was important to use the leeward side. Using the windward side would result in the urine blown back on board: hence the phrases ‘pissing into the wind’ and ‘spitting into the wind’. Even now most yachtsmen refer to the loo rather than the heads.

*That an early British toilet company produced a model of container named “Waterloo” (in honour of the Battle of Waterloo), and the term derives from ‘going to the Waterloo’, and then abbreviated too simply as ‘going to the `loo’.



The bog is a colloquial expression in British English for a toilet. Originally “bog” was used to describe an open cesspit and the word was later applied to the privy connected to it. More wide-spread is the usage bogroll, meaning toilet paper.



The Dunny is an Australian expression for a toilet that’s outside. The person who appeared weekly to empty beneath the toilet was known as the dunnyman. The word derives from the British dialect word dunnekin, meaning dung-house. It is now an informal word used for any lavatory and is most often used referring to drop or pit lavatories in the Australian bush.



The Netty is a Northern English Expression for an outside toilet.


The John is an American term for the toilet.


The Privy is an old fashioned term used more in the North of England and in Scotland, a possible derivation meaning private place.



The Crapper is another term in general use, along with the word ‘crap’, meaning excrement. Crapper is the name of one Thomas Crapper, who is mistakenly associated with the invention of the modern flush toilet. He did have several patents related to plumbing, but the word “crap” predates him

So there you go, some weird and wonderful slang terms for portable toilets. What is your favourite? Comment below.

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