One potty-training website advises if your child tries to flush a toy down the toilet, her interest indicates she’s ready for toilet training. Even when children have their own, child-size toilet, that doesn’t mean little Henry won’t decide to send Thomas the Train to a watery grave in your toilet.
Steps to Retrieve a Toy Down the Toilet
There are several DIY (do-it-yourself) fixes for homeowners who know little about plumbing, and we share those tips whenever possible. If your namesake flushes a toy down the toilet, it’s a sign your child is growing intellectually and exploring the world. That’s what you should remind yourself as you struggle to retrieve the stuck plaything. Try this:
- If you risk an overflow (or if you’ve already had one), lift the tank lid and close the flapper (the thing on the chain). The water in the toilet tank is clean; you don’t need gloves.
- Put paper towels/newspapers on the floor surrounding the toilet.
- Wear rubber gloves; reach in the toilet’s bowl, down into the drain to see if you can loosen the toy.
- If not, try a plunger. The cheaper suction-cup plunger won’t work for this job. Use the kind of plunger that has a flange on the bottom; it seals better.
- First, run the plunger under hot water. This softens the rubber and makes an even better seal.
- Insert the plunger, making sure there’s a tight seal all around it, then push down slowly and pull up abruptly. It may take 20 good plunges to dislodge the toy and send it on its way. If that doesn’t work…
Calling in the Professionals
The next toilet repair steps involve a level of commitment, plumbing knowledge, bravery, and tools.
- Get the water out of the tank; use dipping/scooping and towels to absorb the remainder.
- Buy or borrow a “water closet auger” or a “snake.” This is not a regular toilet snake; the design is different. There’s a steel cable inside the tube and a crank-handle. This snake has an open, coiled head that is used to “hook” the toy down the toilet, and pull it out. Others are designed to push and grind through the clog, which might loosen it enough to float free and away.
- While you’re cranking, when you feel some resistance, crank it a few more times and pull the cable out while keeping pressure on the crank. Hopefully, you snagged the toy and brought it up. And, hopefully, it can be washed.
- Make sure everything works. Do a test flush and then do a couple more test flushes with wads of toilet paper to ensure it goes down and stays down.
Another online DIY site goes beyond the basics into removing the entire toilet. This involves turning the water off at the base (shut-off valve near the toilet), more tools, more time, and more plumbing knowledge than most people have today.
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You Have a Problem, Not an Emergency
Unless you have a houseful of people and one bathroom, a toy down the toilet is not an emergency. But your plumbing professional should be available, 24/7 if you ever have an emergency. Because we’re family-owned and operated, we want to give our Phoenix friends and neighbors the best possible service at the best possible prices.
When your child flushes a toy down the toilet, don’t get mad: Get Forrest Anderson Plumbing & Air Conditioning. Call us anytime, day or night. If you have a new build or renovation project for your home or commercial property this year, contact us for more information. We’ll always strive to deliver on-time and within budget.